61 Years ago today: On 24 September 1959 a TAI (France) Douglas DC-7 crashed on takeoff from Bordeaux when the plane struck trees killing 46 out of 65 on board.

Date:Thursday 24 September 1959
Time:22:24 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-7C
Operator:Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux – TAI
C/n / msn:45366/892
First flight:1957
Total airframe hrs:5844
Engines:Wright R-3350 (988TC18)
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 45 / Occupants: 56
Total:Fatalities: 54 / Occupants: 65
Aircraft damage:Damaged beyond repair
Location:3 km (1.9 mls) SW of Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) (   France)
Phase:Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD/LFBD), France
Destination airport:Bamako Airport (BKO/GABS), Mali

TAI flight 307 was a regular passenger service from Paris-Orly, France to Bordeaux, France, Bamako, Mali and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The DC-7 took off from Bordeaux runway 23 at 22:23 UTC for the leg to Bamako. After leaving the ground and reaching a height of about 30 m, the aircraft overflew a zone without luminous ground markings. The aircraft didn’t gain altitude and collided with pinetrees 2950 m from the start of the takeoff.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The Board considered that the accident was probably caused by the most unfavourable combination of several of the factors set forth under “Theories considered as to the cause of the accident.”
The reconstructed flight showed that during the first segment of climbout and during a very short critical phase [about 10sec beginning 40sec after full throttle] a slight increase in speed will produce a considerable decrease in rate of climb or even a slight loss of altitude.
In view of the rapid sequence of cockpit operations during this phase, together with the rapid variation in flight parameters, and the lack of precision – even inaccuracy – of readings of certain instruments, and lacking time reference and external visual references, a pilot may follow a line of flight that will bring the aircraft back near the ground if, during this period, optimum climbing speed is not maintained and the altimeter is not carefully watched.”