Accident description
Last updated: 24 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Monday 17 October 1988
Time:00:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-338C
Operator:Uganda Airlines
Registration: 5X-UBC
C/n / msn: 19630/746
First flight: 1968
Total airframe hrs:57776
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 45
Total:Fatalities: 33 / Occupants: 52
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1 km (0.6 mls) SE of Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (   Italy) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Gatwick Airport (LGW/EGKK), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO/LIRF), Italy
Flightnumber: 775
Narrative:
The aircraft took off from London-Gatwick (LGW) at 21:10 UTC on a flight to Rome (FCO) and Entebbe (EBB) . During descent to Rome, clearance was received for a descent to 4000 feet in preparation for an ILS approach to runway 16L. Visibility was deteriorating with RVR values of 400m (point Alfa), 1000m (point Bravo) and 350m (point Charlie). A missed approach procedure was carried out at 00:05. A second approach was attempted, this time to runway 25. This was also abandoned due to poor visibility. RVR values for runway 34L (1600m, 2000m and 150m resp. at Alfa, Bravo and Charlie) made the crew request radar vectoring to runway 34L. The aircraft was established on the localizer at 00:28. The aircraft continued to descend below the 420 feet MDA, although the runway visual markings hadn't been located. Because the flight crew failed to use the indispensable altitude callouts, the GPWS sounded unexpectedly.
The aircraft impacted the roof of a house 1300m short of the runway, 100m right of the extended centreline. It continued and impacted another building 85m further on. The Boeing then broke up and burst into flames.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The crew's lack of adequate preparation in the procedure for a Non Precision Approach on runway 34L at Fiumicino Airport, especially in the matter of crew coordination and altitude callouts and their continued descent beyond MDA without having located the runway visual markings.
Besides, the following factors may have contributed to the cause of the accident:
1) Presumed mental and physical fatigue, accumulated by the crew during the two previous landing approaches, which were also carried out in an environmental situation that was extremely unfavourable and operationally demanding.;
2) A configuration of the Altitude Instruments, which although sufficient for the approaches that were carried out, consisted of a single radio altimeter with the acoustic warning of the MDA crossing inoperative;
3) The attention of the crew was excessively concentrated on the luminous sources along runway 34L, instead of on the instrument readings.
Furthermore (...) part of the Board of Inquiry as well as the representative of the Ugandan CA, disassociated themselves from the majority, during the phase of identifying the factors that may have contributed to causing the accident."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

Sources:
» ICAO Adrep Summary 2/89 (#10)
» ICAO Circular 260-AN/154


Photos

photo of Boeing 707-338C 5X-UBC
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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from London-Gatwick Airport to Roma-Fiumicino Airport as the crow flies is 1396 km (872 miles).

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