Accident Lockheed L-1011-385-1 TriStar 1 N310EA, Friday 29 December 1972
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Date:Friday 29 December 1972
Time:23:42
Type:Silhouette image of generic L101 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Lockheed L-1011-385-1 TriStar 1
Owner/operator:Eastern Air Lines
Registration: N310EA
MSN: 1011
Year of manufacture:1972
Total airframe hrs:986 hours
Cycles:502 flights
Engine model:Rolls-Royce RB211-22C
Fatalities:Fatalities: 101 / Occupants: 176
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:Everglades, FL -   United States of America
Phase: Unknown
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK/KJFK)
Destination airport:Miami International Airport, FL (MIA/KMIA)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
Flight EA401 departed New York-JFK at 21:20 EST for a flight to Miami. The flight was uneventful until the approach to Miami. After selecting gear down, the nosegear light didn't indicate 'down and locked'. Even after recycling the gear, the light still didn't illuminate. At 23:34 the crew called Miami Tower and were advised to climb to 2000 feet and hold. At 23:37 the captain instructed the second officer to enter the forward electronics bay, below the flight deck, to check visually the alignment of the nose gear indices. Meanwhile, the flight crew continued their attempts to free the nosegear position light lens from its retainer, without success. The second officer was directed to descend into the electronics bay again at 23:38 and the captain and first officer continued discussing the gear position light lens assembly and how it might have been reinserted incorrectly. At 23:40:38 a half-second C-chord sounded in the cockpit, indicating a +/- 250 feet deviation from the selected altitude. None of the crewmembers commented on the warning and no action was taken. A little later the Eastern Airlines maintenance specialist, occupying the forward observer seat went into the electronics bay to assist the second officer with the operation of the nose wheel well light.
At 23:41:40 Miami approach contacted the flight and granted the crew's request to turn around by clearing him for a left turn heading 180 degrees. At 23:42:05 the first officer suddenly realized that the altitude had dropped. Just seven seconds afterwards, while in a left bank of 28deg, the TriStar's no. 1 engine struck the ground, followed by the left main gear. The aircraft disintegrated, scattering wreckage over an area of flat marshland, covering a 1600 feet x 300 feet area.
Five crew members and 94 passengers died in the accident. Two passengers died more than seven days after the accident as a result of their injuries.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the fight crew to monitor the flight instruments during the final 4 minutes of flight, and to detect an unexpected descent soon enough to prevent impact with the ground. Preoccupation with a malfunction of the nose landing gear position indicating system distracted the crew's attention from the instruments and allowed the descent to go unnoticed."

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: DCA73AZ005
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 6 months
Download report: Final report

Sources:

NTSB-AAR-73-14

Statistics

  • 11th worst accident in 1972
  • 3rd worst accident of this aircraft type
  • worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Location

Images:


photo (c) NTSB; Everglades, FL; December 1972; (publicdomain)


photo (c) Aviation Safety Network

Revision history:

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