52 Years ago today: On 23 May 1971 an Aviogenex Tupolev 134A crashed on landing at Rijeka; killing 78 out of 83 occupants.

Date:Sunday 23 May 1971
Type:Silhouette image of generic T134 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Tupolev Tu-134A
First flight:1971
Total airframe hrs:111
Engines:Soloviev D-30-II
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 75 / Occupants: 76
Total:Fatalities: 78 / Occupants: 83
Aircraft damage:Destroyed
Aircraft fate:Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rijeka Airport (RJK) (   Croatia)
Crash site elevation:85 m (279 feet) amsl
Phase:Landing (LDG)
Nature:Int’l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Gatwick Airport (LGW/EGKK), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Rijeka Airport (RJK/LDRI), Croatia

Aviogenex flight 130, a Tupolev Tu-134, crashed following a heavy landing at Rijeka Airport (RJK), Croatia (then: Yugoslavia).
Just five of the 83 occupants survived the crash.

The aircraft, operating on a charter flight from London-Gatwick Airport (LGW), approached Rijeka in poor weather with heavy cumulo-nimbus, heavy rainfall and severe turbulence about 4 km from the runway threshold. As the aircraft passed through the area, it was carried upwards and rolled to the right. The aircraft was now above the ILS glide path. Some 800 m short of the runway, at a height of 60 m the crew decided to continue the approach. Power was reduced and the angle of descent increased to 10 degrees. The aircraft struck the runway with the right main gear at an airspeed of 260 km/h with 4g deceleration force. The right wing detached and the plane rolled on its back. The remaining stub of wing folded to block the overwing emergency exit. The aircraft slid for 700 m and caught fire.
Probable Cause:

It is considered that the probable main cause of the accident of the TU-134A aircraft, registration marks YU-AHZ, which occured on the 23rd May, 1971, at “Rijeka” airport was a heavy landing on the right leg of the main landing gear, emphasised by an irregular position of the wheels and 0.7% slope up of the runway at the point of touchdown.
The Commission consider that the described deviation from the flight tehnique in itself, did not cause the crash of the aircraft, but that loading which resulted from the conditions under which the landing was performed made a greater contribution to the crash.
However, non-adequate handling of controls of the aircraft and engines could be explained only by false perceptions (illusions) of the crew concerning the aircraft position in respect to the runway.
The last minute of the flight was analysed on the basis of:
– flight recorder oscillogram
– results obtained during the investigation on the flight on board of the same type of aircraft.
– study of aerodynamic characteristics and stability of TU-134A – analysis of meteorological situation
– analysis of crew members’ statement
According to the opinion of the Commission this was an exceptional and complex case of many unfavourable circumstances which resulted in this catastrophy.