Accident Boeing 707-321B HK-2016, Thursday 25 January 1990
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Date:Thursday 25 January 1990
Time:21:34
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 707-321B
Owner/operator:Avianca
Registration: HK-2016
MSN: 19276/592
Year of manufacture:1967
Total airframe hrs:61196 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 73 / Occupants: 158
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:Cove Neck, NY -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Rionegro/Medellín-José María Córdova Airport (MDE/SKRG)
Destination airport:New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK/KJFK)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
Avianca Flight 052 (Bogotá - Medellin - New York-JFK) took off from Medellin at 15:08 with approx. 81000 lb of fuel on board. When arriving near New York, the aircraft had to enter 3 holding patterns. The first for 19 minutes over Norfolk, the second for 29 minutes over New Jersey, and the third pattern over the CAMRN intersection for 29 minutes. Over CAMRN the aircraft descended from FL140 to FL110. At 20:44:43, while holding at CAMRN for 26 minutes, the New York (NY) ARTCC radar controller advised AVA052 to expect further clearance at 21:05. At that moment the Avianca crew advised ATC that they could only hold for 5 more minutes and that their alternate Boston couldn't be reached anymore due to the low state of fuel. The flight left the holding pattern at 20:47 and the crew contacted the New York TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) who guided AV052 for a runway 22L ILS approach. On finals, at 21:15 the crew contacted JFK Tower and they were cleared to land four minutes later.
Due to the bad weather (300 feet ceiling, 400 m visibility, RVR - runway Visual Range of 2400 feet and wind shear of ca. 10 kt) the crew had to carry out a missed approach at 21:23. ATC vectored the crew for another approach. About 21:32, at 12 miles SE of JFK Airport, engines number 3 and 4 ran down. Shortly afterwards followed by the remaining two. At 21:34, heading 250° and flaps at 14° and gear up, the aircraft impacted on a hillside in a wooded residential area on the north shore of Long Island. The starboard side of the forward fuselage impacted and fractured the wooden deck of a residential home.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the flight crew to adequately manage the airplane's fuel load, and their failure to communicate an emergency fuel situation to air traffic control before fuel exhaustion occurred. Contributing to the accident was the flight crew's failure to use an airline operational control dispatch system to assist them during the international flight into a high-density airport in poor weather. Also contributing to the accident was inadequate traffic flow management by the FAA and the lack of standardized understandable terminology for pilots and controllers for minimum and emergency fuel states. The Safety Board also determines that windshear, crew fatigue and stress were factors that led to the unsuccessful completion of the first approach and thus contributed to the accident."

Accident investigation:
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Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NTSB/AAR-91-04
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 3 months
Download report: Final report

Sources:

Epidemiology of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the Avianca plane crash: Avianca Flight 052, January 25, 1990
Aviation Week & Space Technology 2.4.1990 (52-53)
NTSB/AAR-91/04

Statistics

  • 4th worst accident in 1990
  • 14th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 14th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Location

Images:


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) NTSB; Cove Neck, NY; January 1990


photo (c) via Werner Fischdick; London-Gatwick Airport (LGW); August 1988


photo (c) Tom Vance; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX); 07 March 1989

Revision history:

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