Accident description
Last updated: 24 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Friday 26 July 2002
Time:05:37
Type:Silhouette image of generic B722 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 727-232F
Operator:FedEx Express
Registration: N497FE
C/n / msn: 20866/1067
First flight: 1974-09-03 (27 years 11 months)
Total airframe hrs:37980
Cycles:23195
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15 (HK3)
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Tallahassee Municipal Airport, FL (TLH) (   United States of America) show on map
Crash site elevation: 25 m (82 feet) amsl
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Memphis International Airport, TN (MEM/KMEM), United States of America
Destination airport:Tallahassee Municipal Airport, FL (TLH/KTLH), United States of America
Flightnumber:1478
Narrative:
The pilots had initially briefed the approach to runway 27, but since winds were calm a straight in visual approach to runway 09 was attempted. The crews' statements indicate that the base leg was normal and the gear was down and flaps at 30 degrees when the plane impacted trees 3,650 feet short of the runway, generally along the runway centerline. The tops of the trees were broken about 50 feet above ground level. The plane descended through trees until impacting the ground about 1,000 feet later. It slid an additional 1,100 feet - most of it in open field - and came to rest about 1,000 feet from the runway facing in the opposite direction of travel (approximately 260 degrees). The plane struck construction vehicles that were parked on the field during the night. Burn marks on the ground indicate a fire on the plane for the last 1,000 feet or so of travel.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the captainís and first officerís failure to establish and maintain a proper glidepath during the night visual approach to landing. Contributing to the accident was a combination of the captainís and first officerís fatigue, the captainís and first officerís failure to adhere to company flight procedures, the captainís and flight engineerís failure to monitor the approach, and the first officerís color vision deficiency. "

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

Sources:
» NTSB

METAR Weather report:
09:53 UTC / 05:53 local time:
KTLH 260953Z 00000KT 8SM FEW001 SCT150 SCT250 22/22 A3011 RMK AO2 SLP195 T02220217=

10:53 UTC / 06:43 local time:
KTLH 261053Z 00000KT 9SM FEW001 SCT015 SCT150 BKN250 22/22 A3013 RMK AO2 SLP200 VIS SW-NW 1/2 CB DSNT SE CB DSNT SW FU SCT015 FU PLUME OVR APCH RWY 09 T02220217=

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America
report status: Final
report number: NTSB AAR-04-02
report released:08-JUN-2004
duration of investigation:683 days (1 year 10.6 months)
download report: Collision With Trees on Final Approach Federal Express Flight 1478, Boeing 727-232, N497FE, Tallahassee, Florida July 26, 2002 (NTSB AAR-04-02)
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Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 2 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Boeing 727-232F N497FE
photo of Boeing 727-232F N497FE
photo of Boeing 727-232F N497FE
photo of Boeing 727-232F N497FE
photo of Boeing 727-232F N497FE
photo of Boeing 727-232F N497FE
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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 Memphis International Airport, TN to Tallahassee Municipal Airport, FL as the crow flies is 732 km (458 miles).

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Boeing 727

  • 101st loss
  • 1832 built
  • 55th worst accident (at the time)
  • 60th worst accident (currently)
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 United States of America
  • 1303rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 1417th worst accident (currently)
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