Event Details

Title:Runway underrun, Flying Tiger Line, Inc., Douglas DC-8-63F, N785FT, Naha Air Base, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, July 27, 1970
Micro summary:This Douglas DC-8-63F crashed into the water short of the runway.
Event Time:1970-07-27 at 1136 local
File Name:1970-07-27-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-72-10
Site of event:1500' to 1900' N of runway 18
Latitude/Longitude:N2613', E12739'
Departure:Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Tokyo, Japan
Destination:Naha Air Base Okinawa, Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Airplane Type(s):Douglas DC-8-63F
Flight Phase:Landing
Operator(s):Flying Tigers
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:Flying Tiger Line, Inc., Flight 45, a Douglas DC-8-63F, N785FT, on a cargo operation, crashed into the water off the approach end of Runway 18 at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, at approximately 1136 local time, July 27, 1970. The four crewmembers, the only occupants of the aircraft, died as a result of the accident. The aircraft was destroyed.

The flight was making a precision radar approach to Runway 18 at Naha when, at a point approximately 1 mile short of the touchdown point, the aircraft's rate of descent increased and the flight descended below the glidepath. While the radar controller was warning the , crew that they were too low, the aircraft struck the water approximately 2,200 feet short of the threshold lights for Runway 18.

The weather at the Naha Air Base, 8 minutes prior to the accident, was reported to be: ceiling 1,500 feet, visibility 7 miles in light rain showers, winds variable at 5 knots, towering cumulus overhead and in all quadrants, altimeter setting 29.84 inches, visibility to the north 1 mile. Scattered stratus clouds were reported at 1,000 feet and broken cumulus clouds at 1,500 feet.

A weather observation taken about 4 minutes after the accident was: ceiling 1,500 feet, visibility 10 miles in light rain showers, wind 360' at 8 knots, altimeter 29.83 inches, visibility to the north 1.5 miles. Scattered cumulonimbus and broken cumulus clouds were reported at 1,500 feet. Cumulonimbus were reported northwest-northeast of the station and stationary towering cumulus were existent in all quadrants.

Ground witnesses reported that just north of the approach end of Runway 18, there was a heavy rain shower from which the aircraft emerged at very low altitude just before it struck the water.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was an unarrested rate of descent due to inattention of the crew to instrument altitude references while the pilot was attempting to establish outside visual contact in meteorological conditions which precluded such contact during that segment of a precision radar approach inbound from the Decision Height.

As a result of a number of instrument approach accidents that occurred in 1968 and early 1969, the National Transportation Safety Board made a number of recommendations regarding altitude awareness to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Safety Board believes that the Administrator should again reemphasize those altitude awareness recommendations to air carrier flight-supervisory and pilot personnel. Additionally, the Safety Board recommends that: (1) company flight operating procedures be amended to eliminate any uncertainties in crew coordination and altitude callout procedures during instrument approaches, and (2) the FAA issue excerpts of information contained in this report to stress to flightcrews the need for continuous surveillance of flight instruments when they are operating in meteorological conditions similar to those discussed in this report.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Runway Underrun
Operations - Unstabilized Approach
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