Event Details

Title:Hard landing, Alitalia Airlines, McDonnell-Douglas DC-8-62, I-DIWZ (Italian Registry), John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York, September 15, 1970
Micro summary:This McDonnell-Douglas DC-8-62 made a hard landing, injuring several people and severely damaging the airplane as it left the runway.
Event Time:1970-09-15 at 1321 EDT
File Name:1970-09-15-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-71-9
Site of event:JFK RWY 4R
Departure:Rome, Italy
Destination:John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, USA
Airplane Type(s):Douglas DC-8-62
Flight Phase:Landing
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:69
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:Alitalia Airlines Flight 618, a Douglas DC-8-62, I-DIWZ, made a hard landing on Runway 04 Right (Runway 4R) at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York, at approximately 1321 EDT, September 15, 1970. The accident occurred following a localizer approach to Runway 4R. The glide slope portion of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) was inoperative. There were no fatalities. The 10 crewmembers and 146 passengers evacuated the aircraft after it came to a stop in a sandy area to the west of Runway 4R. Sixty-nine occupants, 11 of whom were hospitalized, sustained injuries.

The aircraft veered off the left side of the runway and, as it continued in a divergent path, it ground-looped to the left before coming to a stop. The fuselage split open in an area just aft of the wing. Three of the engines separated from the aircraft during the landing rollout.

The Kennedy International Airport weather at 1323 EDT was scattered clouds at 606 feet, measured ceiling 800 feet overcast, visibility 4 miles, fog, temperature 73 F., dew point 68 F., with the wind from 300 at 5 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the use of reverse thrust in flight, contrary to published procedures, with a resultant uncorrectable high sink rate. The captain's decision to use reverse thrust and not to execute a missed approach was a reaction under stress occasioned, at least in part, by Air Traffic Control (ATC) instructions which led to positioning the aircraft too high and too close to the runway. ATC vectored the aircraft to the final approach path under IFR conditions and in the absence of an operating ILS glide slope.

Subsequent to the accident and in response to operator inquiries, the Douglas Aircraft Company issued a letter to all DC-8 operators on the subject of in-flight use of thrust reversers. This letter summarized the specific reasons Douglas demonstrated and certificated the DC-8 aircraft using in-flight reverse thrust to a minimum in-flight speed of 190 knots indicated airspeed in the clean configuration only.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Airspace - Air Traffic Control
Operations - Airspace - Non-Precision Approach
Operations - Evacuation
Operations - Hard Landing
Operations - Runway Excursion
Operations - Unstabilized Approach
Systems - Engine - Engine Management
Other - Certification
Consequence - Damage - Airframe or fuselage
Consequence - Hull Loss


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