ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed L-188CF Electra N859U Salt Lake City, UT
ASN logo

Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 18 November 1979
Type:Silhouette image of generic L188 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-188CF Electra
Operator:Transamerica Airlines
Registration: N859U
MSN: 2016
First flight: 1960-04-06 (19 years 8 months)
Total airframe hrs:41764
Engines: 4 Allison 501-D13
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Salt Lake City, UT (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Ogden-Hill AFB, UT (HIF/KHIF), United States of America
Destination airport:Las Vegas-Nellis AFB, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America
Flightnumber: 18
Flight 3N18 departed Hill AFB for an IFR cargo flight to Nellis AFB. While climbing from FL120 to FL130 the crew reported loss of electrical power and requested no-gyro vectors to visual flight conditions and immediate descent clearance. During the descent the aircraft attained a high airspeed and high rate of descent and disintegrated in flight.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A progressive failure in the aircraft's electrical system leading to the disabling or erratic performance of some critical flight instruments and flight instrument lighting while the flight was operating in night instrument meteorological condition. As a result of these conditions, the flight crew could not resolve the instrumentation anomalies to determine proper aircraft attitude reference, and became disoriented and lost control of the aircraft. The crew's efforts to regain control of the aircraft imposed aerodynamic loads which exceeded design limits of the aircraft and caused it to break up in flight."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-80-11
Download report: Final report

Loss of situational awareness
Electrical system problem
Fuselage failure
Loss of control

» NTSB-AAR-80-11

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all...


photo of Lockheed-L-188CF-Electra-N859U
FDR parameters
photo of Lockheed-L-188CF-Electra-N859U
accident date: 18-11-1979
type: Lockheed L-188CF Electra
registration: N859U
photo of Lockheed-L-188CF-Electra-N859U
accident date: 18-11-1979
type: Lockheed L-188CF Electra
registration: N859U

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 Ogden-Hill AFB, UT to Las Vegas-Nellis AFB, NV as the crow flies is 601 km (375 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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.
languages: languages


The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2023 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314