Monday, 18th of January, 1960
– United States of America
Capital Airlines Flight 20, a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Washington-National Airport, DC (DCA/KDCA), to Norfolk Municipal Airport, Virginia (ORF/KORF), operated with a Vickers 745D Viscount, registration N7462, experienced an inflight engine failure and loss of control, which caused the aircraft to impact trees and terrain in Holdcroft, near Charles City, Virginia.
The aircraft was completely destroyed. The four crew members and 46 passengers perished. (50 fatalities)
The crash of Flight 20 is the 57th deadliest aviation accident on U.S soil. It is also the ninth worst accident involving the Vickers Viscount.
En route from Washington to Norfolk at an altitude of 8000 feet in icing conditions, two engines failed. While descending to a lower altitude, the remaining two engines also failed and the propellers autofeathered. The crew tried to restart the engines and put the aircraft into a dive trying to drive the propellers out of the feathered position as they were not able to unfeather them normally. Eventually they managed to restart engine no. 4. Applying full power to this engine caused the Viscount to enter a circling descent until it crashed into trees with almost no forward velocity.
“The accident was attributed to the delayed arming of the engine ice protection systems while flying in icy conditions, resulting in the loss of engine power and attendant electrical energy required to unfeather propellers and relight sufficient engines to maintain flight.”