Accident Douglas DC-7B N8210H, Thursday 31 January 1957
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Date:Thursday 31 January 1957
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas DC-7B
Owner/operator:Douglas Aircraft Company
Registration: N8210H
MSN: 45192/764
Year of manufacture:1957
Total airframe hrs:1 hours
Engine model:Wright R-3350 (972TC18DA4)
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:6,5 km NW of Sunland, Los Angeles, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO/KSMO)
Destination airport:Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO/KSMO)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
Douglas DC-7B N8210 took off from Santa Monica at 10:15 for a local functional test flight. At 10:50 a US Air Force Northrop F-89D-40-NO Scorpion (52-1870) took off from Palmdale, also on a functional test flight following overhaul. Purpose of the flight was to check the radar fire control systems of both all-weather interceptors. Both aircraft were performing their tests at an altitude of 25000 feet, over a published local flying zone (bounded by San Diego, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield and El Centro). An almost head-on mid-air collision occurred and part of the DC-7's left wing was sheared off. The F-89 crashed in flames in the mountains; one of the two crew ejected safely. The DC-7 crashed onto a schoolyard.
At the time of the collision the DC-7 was flying at FL250 and at about 330 knots true airspeed to check carburetor operation at maximum cruise power. The F-89 was turning left from a 135deg heading to 45deg heading using a 30deg bank for a simulated intercept.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The high rate of near head-on closure at high altitude, which together with physiological limitations, resulted in a minimum avoidance opportunity during which the pilots didn't see each other's aircraft."

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: CAB
Report number: final report
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report

Sources:

ICAO Aircraft Accident No.9 (Circular 56-AN/51), p. 38-44
Pacoima Jr. High School Airplane Crash of 1957 (audio recording as it happened)

Statistics

  • 71st worst accident in 1957
  • 14th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 2nd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Location

Images:


photo (c) Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB); near Sunland, CA; 31 January 1957; (publicdomain)

Revision history:

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