59 Years ago today: On 1 March 1962 an American Airlines Boeing 707 lost control and crashed into Jamaica Bay off New York, killing all 95 occupants.
|Date:||Thursday 1 March 1962|
|C/n / msn:||17633/12|
|Total airframe hrs:||8147|
|Engines:||4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1-MC6|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 87 / Occupants: 87|
|Total:||Fatalities: 95 / Occupants: 95|
|Aircraft fate:||Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Jamaica Bay, NY ( United States of America)|
|Phase:||Initial climb (ICL)|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL/KIDL), United States of America|
|Destination airport:||Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America|
The American Airlines Boeing 707, named “Flagship District of Columbia”, was cleared for takeoff at 10:05 on a scheduled domestic non-stop IFR flight to Los Angeles, California. The aircraft carried out what appeared to be a normal takeoff, and lift-off was at 10:07 hours about 5000 ft down runway 31L. At 10:07:37 the aircraft started a gentle turn to the left approximately 8000 ft down the runway, at an altitude of 100 ft, and was established on a heading of 290° at 10:07:42. Straightening out from the turn, the aircraft continued to climb for several seconds on a heading of 290° and started a second turn to the left as instructed by Departure Control. These manoeuvres were in accordance with the noise abatement procedures then in effect for taking-off from runway 31L. Having started the second turn, the angle of bank increased until the aircraft rolled through 90° of bank at a peak altitude of about 1600 ft msl . It then entered an inverted, nose-low attitude and plunged earthward in a nearly vertical dive. It struck the earth in the shallow waters of Pumpkin Patch Channel of Jamaica Bay during low tide. Impact was at an angle of approximately 78° nose down on a magnetic heading of 300°. Fire broke out a few minutes later.
PROBABLE CAUSE: “A rudder control system malfunction, producing yaw, sideslip, and roll leading to a loss of control from which recovery action was not effective.”