ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed L-049-46 Constellation NC86501 Chicago Municipal Airport, IL (MDW)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 18 December 1949
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-049-46 Constellation
Operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC86501
MSN: 2022
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:9512
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 26
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 31
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Chicago Municipal Airport, IL (MDW) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO), United States of America
Destination airport:Chicago-Midway Airport, IL (MDW/KMDW), United States of America
Flightnumber: 154
TWA Flight 154 departed San Francisco at 00:45 on an Instrument Flight Plan for New York with one stop scheduled at Chicago. Over Moline, IL, Chicago Air Route Traffic Control cleared the flight to Aurora Illinois, and instructed it to hold west of the Aurora Intersection because of an estimated two-hour traffic delay. Flight 154 reported over the Aurora Intersection at 07:03, and a few minutes later the captain requested a clearance to return to Omaha. This clearance was granted. Seven minutes later, at 07:10, while en route to Omaha the company issued the flight revised instructions to proceed to Kansas City. While en route to Kansas City, the company's Kansas city dispatcher informed the flight that if they returned to Chicago immediately, an approach clearance could be obtained without delay. Accordingly, the flight returned to Chicago and upon arrival there approach control cleared it to make an ILS approach and to land on runway 13R. At this time the Chicago weather was reported: ceiling 300 feet, visibility 1-1/2 miles with moderate fog and smoke, and wind west-southwest at 8 mph. The ILS approach was abandoned at the captains discretion and he started another. On this second approach the aircraft was observed to touchdown approximately 3,200 feet from the approach end of the runway. From this point, it traveled the remaining 2,530 feet of the runway, traveled 875 feet beyond the far end of runway 13R and went through a heavy wire fence, crossed a parking lot and struck a billboard and a large ornamental stone pillar before coming to rest. Contact with these structures extensively damaged the aircraft.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the execution by the pilot of a final approach at an excessive air speed and a landing too far down the runway."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

High speed landing
Runway excursion

» CAB File No. 1-0136


photo of Lockheed-L-049-Constellation-NC86501
accident date: 18-12-1949
type: Lockheed L-049 Constellation
registration: NC86501

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 San Francisco International Airport, CA to Chicago-Midway Airport, IL as the crow flies is 2957 km (1848 miles).

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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