Accident McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 I-ATJA,
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Date:Wednesday 14 November 1990
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC93 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
Registration: I-ATJA
MSN: 47641/746
Year of manufacture:1974
Total airframe hrs:43894 hours
Cycles:43452 flights
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 46 / Occupants: 46
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Stadlerberg -   Switzerland
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Milano-Linate Airport (LIN/LIML)
Destination airport:Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH/LSZH)
Investigating agency: BFU Switz.
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Alitalia Flight 404 took off from runway 36R at Linate Airport in Milan, Italy at 18:36 on a scheduled passenger service to Zurich, Switzerland.
After an uneventful flight, AZ404 was cleared to descend to 4000 feet and to make an ILS approach to runway 14 at Zürich-Kloten Airport. At 14 nm from the runway 14 threshold, the aircraft captured the localizer. At about 11,5 nm short, the aircraft descended through the cleared altitude of 4000 feet. Descent from 4000 feet was only allowed after intercepting the glide path at 8 nm.
The aircraft descended about 1400 feet below the glide path until it struck trees on the Stadlerberg mountainside at an elevation of 506 meters, 5,2 nm from the runway. The aircraft crashed and broke up, killing all 46 on board.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "False indication of VHF NAV unit No.1 in the aircraft; probable altimeter misreading by the PIC; no GPWS warning in the cockpit; pilots not aware of the possibility of incorrect indications in the NAV equipment in use (without flag-alarm); inadequate failure analysis by the pilots; non-compliance with basic procedural instructions during the approach; COPI's initiated go-around procedure aborted by the PIC; the approach controller not observing the leaving of the cleared altitude of 4000ft QNH before the FAP."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BFU Switz.
Report number: Nr. 1457
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report


Air Safety Week 5 April 1993 (p. 4,5)
NTSB Safety Recommendations A-92-8 and 9



photo (c) BFU; Stadlerberg; 14 November 1990

photo (c) via Werner Fischdick; Frankfurt International Airport (FRA); May 1990

Revision history:


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