Accident McDonnell Douglas MD-11F HL7373,
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Date:Thursday 15 April 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD11 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas MD-11F
Owner/operator:Korean Air
Registration: HL7373
MSN: 48409/490
Year of manufacture:1992
Total airframe hrs:28347 hours
Cycles:4463 flights
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney PW4462
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:10 km SW of Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport (SHA) -   China
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport (SHA/ZSSS)
Destination airport:Seoul-Gimpo (Kimpo) International Airport (SEL/RKSS)
Investigating agency: MAK
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The MD-11F cargo plane, HL7373, was operating flight KE6316 from Shanghai's Honqiao Airport, China to Seoul, South Korea. The plane was loaded with 68 tons of cargo and pushed back from its stand. Shanghai Tower then cleared the flight as follows: "Korean Air six three one six clear to destination flight planned route flight level two niner zero. After departure turn left direct to November Hotel Whiskey. Initially climb and maintain niner hundred meters. Departure frequency one one niner zero five. Squawk six three one six." The engines were started and the airplane taxied to runway 18. Shortly after 16:00 hours the flight was cleared for takeoff. After takeoff the first officer contacted Shanghai Departure and received clearance to climb to 1500 metres (4900 feet): "Korean Air six three one six now turn left direct to November Hotel Whiskey climb and maintain one thousand five hundred meters."
When the aircraft climbed to 4500 feet in the corridor, the captain, after receiving two wrong affirmative answers from the first officer that the required altitude should be 1500 feet, thought that the aircraft was 3000 feet too high. The captain then pushed the control column abruptly and roughly forward causing the MD-11 to enter a rapid descent. Both crew members tried to recover from the dive, but were unable. The airplane crashed into an industrial development zone 10 kilometers (6 miles) southwest of Hongqiao airport. The plane impacted the ground, destroying several houses.

Probable Cause: The joint investigative team determines that the probable cause of the Korean Air flight KE 6316 accident was the flight crew's loss of altitude situational awareness resulting from altitude clearance wrongly relayed by the first officer and the crew's overreaction with abrupt flight control inputs.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: MAK
Report number: Final report
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


ICAO Adrep Summary 3/2001 (#35)

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
25 May 1996 HL7373 Korean Air 0 Los Angeles, CA sub



photo (c) via Werner Fischdick; Anchorage International Airport, AK (ANC); July 1998

photo (c) Tom Vance; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX); 14 November 1998

Revision history:


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