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Last updated: 6 May 2021
Date:Tuesday 12 December 1972
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-331C
Operator:Trans World Airlines - TWA
Registration: N788TW
MSN: 18713/378
First flight: 1964
Total airframe hrs:29715
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Departure airport:Baltimore/Washington International Airport, MD (BWI/KBWI), United States of America
Destination airport:New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK/KJFK), United States of America
A TWA 707-331C, N788TW, operating as Flight 669, crashed during an ILS approach in IFR conditions at John F. Kennedy International Airport, at 22:56 on 12 December 1972. The three crewmembers escaped without injury; there were no passengers on board. The airplane was on a Cat II autoland approach when the flight crew allowed the airplane to descend below the glideslope, and the aircraft struck approach light bars mounted on a wooden pier. The airplane continued on to the runway, but departed to the right, traveling approximately 2,600 feet before coming to a stop, facing the opposite direction. Both main landing gear and all four engines separated from the aircraft during the accident.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The captain did not maintain a safe descent path by visual external reference during an instrument landing system approach."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 141 days (5 months)
Accident number: NTSB-AAR-1973-11
Download report: Final report



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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 Baltimore/Washington International Airport, MD to New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY as the crow flies is 293 km (183 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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