ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 707-321B N320MJ Marana-Pinal Air Park, AZ (MZJ)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Thursday 20 September 1990
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-321B
Operator:Omega Air Inc
Registration: N320MJ
MSN: 20028/783
First flight: 1969
Total airframe hrs:34965
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Marana-Pinal Air Park, AZ (MZJ) (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Departure airport:Marana-Pinal Air Park, AZ (MZJ/KMZJ), United States of America
Destination airport:Tucson-Davis Monthan AFB, AZ (DMA/KDMA), United States of America
Boeing 707 N320MJ was bought by Omega Air Inc. in September 1990. It was one of a number of Boeing 707 and Boeing 720 airplanes purchased by the United States Air Force (USAF) for their engines and engine pylons as part of a USAF and manufacturer "donor program" contract. That contract, with Boeing Military Company of Wichita, provided for the delivery of Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines on Boeing airframes from commercial sources. Omega Air, Inc., and other operators and brokers had ferried a number of these airplanes to Davis Monthan Air Force Base. It was determined that other B-707 airplanes also had arrived at Davis Monthan AFB in a stripped condition. These airplanes had carried Special Airworthiness Permits issued by Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs.)
The NTSB learned that third-party parts brokers had previously contracted to take avionics and instrumentation from these airplanes prior to the last leg of ferry flights.
Approximately 50 indicators and annunciators had been removed from the pilots' instrument panels of the accident airplane prior to the attempted flight. As a result, the pilots' instrument panels contained only two airspeed indicators, an altimeter and a standby attitude indicator. Engine Exhaust Pressure Ratio (EPR) gauges were attached to the glare shield by masking tape. There was no standby magnetic compass ("wet compass") or "mechanical cockpit checklist" on board. A checklist card, listing start, taxi and shutdown procedures was found at the accident site. The before-takeoff checklist was probably done from memory. The fact that the rudder trim was 7.9 to 8.3 units (79%-83%) nose right was not noticed prior to takeoff. In addition to the missed rudder, an item possibly overlooked in the before-takeoff sequence was the fastening of the captain's shoulder harness.
Shortly after takeoff from runway 12 the airplane rolled right as a result of the rudder trim. The right hand wing tip struck the ground and the airplane cartwheeled.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Improper preflight planning/preparation by the pilot, and his failure to use a checklist. Factors related to the accident were: the FAA's inadequate surveillance of the operation, the FAA's insufficient standards/requirements, the pilot's operation of the aircraft with known deficiencies, and his lack of recent experience in the type of aircraft. "

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 4 months
Accident number: DCA90MA055
Download report: Summary report

Loss of control

» ICAO Adrep Summary 2/93 (#15)
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-92-1 through 4

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 4 Safety Recommendations

Show all...


photo of Boeing-707-321B-N320MJ
accident date: 20-09-1990
type: Boeing 707-321B
registration: N320MJ
photo of Boeing-707-321B-N320MJ
accident date: 20-09-1990
type: Boeing 707-321B
registration: N320MJ
photo of Boeing-707-321B-N891PA
accident date: 20-09-1990
type: Boeing 707-321B
registration: N891PA

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 Marana-Pinal Air Park, AZ to Tucson-Davis Monthan AFB, AZ as the crow flies is 56 km (35 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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Boeing 707

  • 858 built
  • 118th loss
  • 63rd fatal accident
  • 63rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 76th worst accident (currently)
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