44 Years ago today: On 19 November 1977 a TAP Air Portugal Boeing 727 overran rhe runway and crashed into a steep bank, killing 131 out of 164 occupants.
|Date:||Saturday 19 November 1977|
|Operator:||TAP Air Portugal|
|First flight:||1975-01-07 (2 years 11 months)|
|Total airframe hrs:||6154|
|Engines:||3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 8|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 125 / Occupants: 156|
|Total:||Fatalities: 131 / Occupants: 164|
|Aircraft fate:||Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Funchal Airport (FNC) ( Portugal)|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Lisboa-Portela de Sacavém Airport (LIS/LPPT), Portugal|
|Destination airport:||Funchal Airport (FNC/LPFU), Portugal|
TAP Flight 425 was a regular service from Brussels (BRU) to Funchal (FNC), Madeira with an en route stop at Lisbon (LIS). Weather conditions at Madeira were poor. It was raining and a 6/8 cumulus overcast at 1500 feet with a visibility of 3000 m made for a challenging approach.
The first NDB approach to runway 24 was discontinued at the ‘MAD’ NDB because the crew hadn’t established visual contact with the runway. Heavy rainshowers were reported, but the flight crew reported seeing the runway lights when over the ‘MAD’ NDB for the second time. The aircraft touched down 2000 feet past the threshold with just 3000 feet runway length remaining. Thrust reversers were deployed and spoilers extended, but the 727 aquaplaned slightly and could not be stopped on the runway. The Boeing overran and plunged over a steep bank. It struck a stone bridge, shearing off the right wing. It then crashed almost vertically on to a beach about 130 feet below the level of the airport, bursting in flames.
PROBABLE CAUSE: (translated from Portuguese:
The Commission of Inquiry established as a probable cause of the accident the impossibility to decelerate the aircraft and to stop in the length of the runway due to, probably, the following factors:
– Very bad weather conditions at the time of landing;
– Possible existence of conditions for hydroplaning;
– Landing at a speed of Vref + 19 knots;
– Landing long with a long “flare”;
– Sudden directional correction after touch down on the runway.