Accident Boeing S.307 Stratoliner N19903, Thursday 28 March 2002
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Date:Thursday 28 March 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic s307 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing S.307 Stratoliner
Owner/operator:National Air & Space Museum
Registration: N19903
MSN: 2003
Year of manufacture:1940
Total airframe hrs:20577 hours
Engine model:Wright R-1820-97
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:Elliott Bay, WA -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Seattle-Boeing Field International Airport, WA (BFI/KBFI)
Destination airport:Seattle-Boeing Field International Airport, WA (BFI/KBFI)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Boeing Stratoliner N19903, built in 1940, was restored to flying conditions and rolled out on June 23, 2001 in Seattle. The aircraft was restored to original condition with Pan American Airlines livery, carrying the name "Clipper Flying Cloud". On March 28, 2002 the aircraft took off from Boeing Field for a local flight around 12:30. The crew were to practice takeoffs and landings and shake out any mechanical problems. Both pilots were planning to do three takeoffs and landings each, with a refueling stop in between. The first pair were uneventful, with the plane flying from Boeing Field to Everett-Paine Field. On takeoff there, at 12:51, the No. 3 engine surged briefly. It returned to normal, but the pilots decided to abort the rest of the practice and return to Boeing Field. On approach it appeared that the left-main landing gear had not locked down. The approach was aborted and the plane circled Vashon and Bainbridge islands as the flight mechanic manually cranked the wheel into the locked position. The pilot then resumed its approach. The airplane was about 6 miles from the runway when fuel pressure for the number three engine dropped below minimum. The boost pumps were turned on; however, fuel pressure did not recover, and the engine lost power. The low fuel pressure light then illuminated for the number four engine. The captain commanded the flight engineer to switch fuel feed to another tank. The flight engineer's response was, "There is no other tank. We're out of fuel." The captain pushed the throttles forward and called for the number three engine to be feathered. When the throttles were pushed forward, multiple engine surges occurred. Then the surging stopped, and it appeared that the remaining engines had also lost power. The airplane was rapidly losing altitude and the captain decided to ditch in Elliott Bay. After landing, the airplane remained afloat while the crew evacuated. They were quickly picked up by rescue boats. The airplane was subsequently towed to shallower water by a Seattle Police Department boat before it partially sank in the water just offshore. The day after the accident, the aircraft was lifted from the water.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Loss of all engine power due to fuel exhaustion that resulted from the flight crew's failure to accurately determine onboard fuel during the pre-flight inspection. A factor contributing to the accident was a lack of adequate crew communication regarding the fuel status."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: SEA02FA060
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Download report: Final report


Seattle Times


photo (c) Scott Cronk, Seattle -; Elliott Bay, WA; March 2002

photo (c) Scott Cronk, Seattle -; Elliott Bay, WA; March 2002

photo (c) © Bob Harrington, Seattle -; Elliott Bay, WA; March 2002

photo (c) © Bob Harrington, Seattle -; Elliott Bay, WA; March 2002

photo (c) Karl Krämer, via Werner Fischdick; Oshkosh-Wittman Field, WI (OSH); July 2001

photo (c) Harry S. Conrad; Seattle-Boeing Field International Airport, WA (BFI/KBFI); June 2003

Revision history:


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