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Last updated: 21 October 2019
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 25 January 1961
Type:Silhouette image of generic COMT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4
Operator:British Overseas Airways Corporation - BOAC
Registration: G-APDM
C/n / msn: 6414
First flight: 1959
Total airframe hrs:5633
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Avon 524
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 44
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 52
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:67 km (41.9 mls) N of Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (   Italy)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO/LIRF), Italy
Flightnumber:BA115
Narrative:
The Comet 4 operated on BOAC flight 115 from London to Rome, Khartoum, Nairobi, Salisbury and Johannesburg.
During the descent towards Rome, the aircraft prematurely descended and performed the approach procedure. After lowering the gear and beginning his approach, the aircraft hit pine trees on Monte Cimino, 40 miles North of Rome.
Damage was caused to nosewheel, main undercarriage and flaps, but aircraft managed to make a successful landing at Fiumicino afterwards.

Probable Cause:

The accident was attributed to the following causes:
1. Exercises for familiarization, as recommended by ICAO, with the approach procedure for Fiumicino were not carried out. These exercises were all the more necessary as it was the first time that this crew had flown to the airport.
2. The aircraft did not fly over NR and did not follow a QDR (magnetic heading) between 115 and 122 from NR.
3. The two radio compasses were tuned to the same frequency. As a result, only one "double" erroneous indication was available, whereas it would have been possible to have had useful indications from different sources for a "fix", by using the bearings of pairs of radio beacons.
4. After both radio compasses had been tuned to the NF frequency, and their indications agreed with one another, they were accepted as reliable.
5. For the final navigation phase only the radio compasses were used. More importance shouId have been attached to the contemporaneous indications of the compass and clock after appreciable differences had been noted between information shown in the flight log and data which could have been obtained subsequently by observation and measurement.
6. Inaccuracy in radio communications on the part of the second pilot, (as shown in communication at 2029:30 hours).
7. The Prague transmitter interfered with radio beacon NF.

Classification:

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 69


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Map
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 London-Heathrow Airport to Roma-Fiumicino Airport as the crow flies is 1434 km (896 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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