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ATC transcript Itavia Flight 870 Ustica - 27 JUN 1980
Last updated: 16 October 2004
ATC transcription of the June 27, 1980 accident of Itavia Flight 870, a DC-9 near Ustica.
ATC Readout as published in Italian by VOLARE, n.40, year IV. English translation provided by Enrico Zaffiri.

The reader of these transcripts is cautioned that the transcription of a CVR tape is not a precise science but is the best possible product from a group investigative effort. The transcript, or parts thereof, if taken out of context can be misleading. Therefore, the CVR transcripts should only be viewed as an investigative tool to be used in conjunction with other evidence. Conclusions or interpretations should not be made using the transcript as the sole source of information.
Furthermore, this transcript is made available for educational purposes, so the reader is encouraged to read the accident description associated with the transcripts for better understanding of the circumstances.


F/O : IH870's First Officer radio transmissions
TWR : Bologna Tower
ACC: Control Centers

time source content
20:00 local F/O Itavia 870, ready for start-up.[Flight IH870 is running about two hours late due to small technical problems and heavy weather that has disrupted normal air traffic over Italy that day]
TWR 870, cleared to start. When ready, cleared also for taxi.
F/O Roger.
20:05 TWR 870, clearance.
F/O Go ahead.
TWR Itavia 870 is cleared to Palermo via Firenze, Amber 14; climb and maintain flight level one-niner-zero. Read back and call when ready for take-off.
F/O 870 is cleared to Palermo, via Firenze, Amber 14, level 190. We'll call you ready.
20:07 F/O 870 is ready for take off.
TWR 870, cleared for take-off.
20:08 TWR 870, airborne at 08, call Padova center, good-bye.
F/O With Padova, bye.
20:11 F/O Padova, good evening, Itavia 870.
Padova ACC Itavia 870, continue as cleared and report Firenze.
F/O We'll report Firenze.[Control was procedural. IH870 reached Firenze VOR at 20:20]
20:20 F/O Over Firenze, Itavia 870.
Padova ACC Contact Rome Radar, 124.2, good-bye.
F/O Rome, 124.2, good-bye, 870.
F/O Good evening Rome, Itavia 870.
Rome (North -East sector) ACC Good evening to you too, 870. Squawk 1136. Cleared to Palermo, via Bolsena, Puma, Latina, Ponza, Amber 13
F/O 1136 is coming and 870 is cleared to Palermo via Bolsena, Puma, Latina, Ponza, Amber 13 and we're approaching 190...
Rome ACC Climb initially to 230.
F/O Up to 230, 870.[IH870 is cleared to FL230 and not to an higher level because at FL250, a few miles ahead, another Itavia aircraft, flight IH779 from Bergamo to Rome Ciampino, is about to start descent. The radar controller asks to the DC-9 crew if they ha
F/O Rome, 870, with the traffic in sight, is turning left again, crossing 245.
Rome ACC Roger, direct to Bolsena.
F/O Direct to Bolsena, 870.
20:27 Rome ACC [due to some scallopping of the Firenze VOR, IH779 and IH870 are now about 8 miles left of the Amber 14's centerline]Itavia 779, proceed direct to Campagnano [VOR], 160 heading from present position. Also 870 take 160 heading.
F/O 160 for 870.
20:34 Rome ACC 870, call Rome 125.5. Bye.
F/O 125.5.
F/O Rome, good evening. 870 is over Bolsena.
Rome (Terminal) ACC Radar contact, as cleared.
20:39 Rome ACC 870, 124.2, good evening.(IH870 is over Puma reporting point and is turning left to Latina VOR]
F/O Thank you, bye.
F/O This is 870, good evening, Rome.
Rome ACC 870 ?
F/O Good evening, 870 maintaining 290, over Puma.
Rome ACC Roger, proceed Latina, Ponza.
20:44 F/O Rome, 870.
Rome ACC Itavia 870, for Ponza 123.35.
F/O Bye.
F/O 870, good evening, Rome.
Rome (South Sector) ACC Good evening, 870; mainatin 290, report Amber 13, Alpha.
F/O Yes...neither Ponza is working ? We've found a graveyard this evening; coming from Firenze we didn't find one beacon working properly.
Rome ACC In fact, everything is a bit out, Ponza too. What's your heading now ?
F/O We've 195.
Rome ACC Well, maintain 195. You'll go some mile south of Ponza.
Rome ACC I don't know if you want to keep this heading. Otherwise you can go left, 15-20 degrees.
F/O OK, we put 210.
20:48 F/O This is 870: is it possible to get 250 ?[IH870 requests a lower level due turbulence)
Rome ACC Affirmative: you can start descent now.
F/O Thanks: leaving 290.
20:51 Rome ACC 870, you've left Ponza three miles to the right, so approximately to Palermo it's good this heading.
F/O Very kind, thanks, we're approaching 250.
Rome ACC Perfect, anyway call me when receiving Palermo [VOR].
F/O PAL [VOR] is already on the air and coming well. And we got the Ponza DME.
Rome ACC Good, so normal navigation to Palermo. Maintain 250, call me over Alpha.
20:56 F/O It's over Alpha, 870.
Rome ACC Affirmative, slightly to the right, about four miles. Radar service terminates here. Call 128.8 for further (instructions)
F/O Thank you for everything and good-bye.
F/O Rome, Itavia 870. 115 miles to PRS [Raisi VOR, near Palermo], maintaining 250.
Rome ACC Roger, Itavia 870. An estimate for Raisi ?
F/O We estimate Raisi at 19.
Rome ACC 870, roger. Cleared to Raisi VOR, no delay expected. Call back for descent.
F/O To Raisi, no delay. We'll call you for descent, 870.
Rome ACC That is correct.
20:59:45 [Last transponder answer from the IH870 is recorded at the far southern end of the Ciampino civil radar range. IH870 is recorded at FL250, about 50 miles north of Ustica island]
21:04 Rome ACC Itavia 870, when ready, cleared to 110, report leaving 250 and passing 150.[No answer]
Rome ACC Itavia 870, Rome [No answer]
Rome ACC Itavia 870, Rome, do you read ?[No answer. Two other traffic are requested to relay the calls to IH870, but no answer is ever get from the DC-9. All 81 people on board perished in this yet to be explained crash]