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Last updated: 20 February 2019
Date:Friday 26 July 2002
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
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15 (HK3)
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Tallahassee Municipal Airport, FL (TLH) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 25 m (82 feet) amsl
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Departure airport:Memphis International Airport, TN (MEM/KMEM), United States of America
Destination airport:Tallahassee Municipal Airport, FL (TLH/KTLH), United States of America
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:

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. "

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 11 months
Accident number: NTSB AAR-04-02
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground


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=

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 2 Safety Recommendations

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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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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).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkís opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Boeing 727

  • 1832 built
  • 101st loss
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