ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed 414-56 Hudson IIIA VH-ALA Lae Airfield
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 18 April 1948
Type:Silhouette image of generic L14 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed 414-56 Hudson IIIA
Operator:Guinea Air Traders
Registration: VH-ALA
MSN: 6460
First flight: 1942
Total airframe hrs:851
Engines: 2 Wright GR-1820 Cyclone
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35
Total:Fatalities: 37 / Occupants: 37
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:4 km (2.5 mls) W of Lae Airfield (   Papua New Guinea)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Lae Airfield, Papua New Guinea
Destination airport:Bulolo Airport (BUL), Papua New Guinea
The Lockheed Hudson departed Lae Airfield for Bulolo and Wau, Papua New Guinea, at 09:19 hours. Shortly after takeoff, when at an altitude of about 500 feet, the no.1 engine failed. The aircraft then stalled and spun into the ground on an island in the Markham River. Only the pilot was provided with a seat and seatbelt as the airplane was operated in freighter configuration.

The loss of power on the no.1 engine was due to the failure, through fatigue, of the Accessory Drive Gear.

Probable Cause:

Cause: "Loss of control of the aircraft, most probably due to poor technique on the part of the pilot, following failure of the port engine shortly after takeoff.
Probabe contributory causes:
1. The inadequate conversion course to Hudson aircraft undergone by the pilot. The syllabus laid down in Air Navigation Orders was not followed, in that the pilot was not required to demonstrate adequatly his ability to control the aircraft in asymmetric flight during landing and takeoff, and in stalling.
2. The incorrect disposabl of the load, resulting in the position of the Centre of Gravity of the aircraft being outside the rearmost limit laid down in the Interim Certificate of Airworthiness of VH-ALA. Under these conditions the stability of the aircraft would be adversely affected."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: DCA Australia
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 80 days (3 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Centre of Gravity outside limits

Loss of control

» The Lockheed File - VH-ALA
» Early Aviation Disasters / D. Gero, 2011


photo of Lockheed-414-56-Hudson-IIIA-VH-ALA
accident date: 18-04-1948
type: Lockheed 414-56 Hudson IIIA
registration: VH-ALA
photo of Lockheed-414-56-Hudson-IIIA-VH-ALA
accident date: 18-04-1948
type: Lockheed 414-56 Hudson IIIA
registration: VH-ALA
photo of Lockheed-414-56-Hudson-IIIA-VH-ALA
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s 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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Lockheed Hudson

  • 2584 built
  • 5th loss
  • 4th fatal accident
  • The worst accident
» safety profile

 Papua New Guinea
  • The worst accident
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