Accident Latécoère 631 F-WANU, Tuesday 28 March 1950
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Date:Tuesday 28 March 1950
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic l631 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Latécoère 631
Owner/operator:SEMAF
Registration: F-WANU
MSN: 3
Year of manufacture:1946
Total airframe hrs:20 hours
Engine model:Wright R-2600-A5B Cyclone
Fatalities:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:5 km W off Cap Ferret -   France
Phase: En route
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Biscarrosse-Hourtiquets Seaplane Base
Destination airport:Biscarrosse-Hourtiquets Seaplane Base
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
A Latécoère 631 flying boat was destroyed when it crashed off Cap Ferret, France. All twelve on board were killed. The flying boat was being operated by SEMAF, an organisation that was founded in March 1949 to operated the remaining Latécoère 631's that were no longer used by Air France following the fatal accident of F-BDRC in 1948. SEMAF began using F-WANU to conduct test flights in order to establish the cause of the accident involving F-BDRC.
The accident happened when the aileron control couplings failed as a result of severe vibration of one of the engines' gear boxes during one of these test flights.

Probable Cause:
The inquiry came to the conclusion that the probable cause of the accident was fatigue failure of the aileron control couplings resulting from the simultaneous occurrence of several vibratory phenomena:
The cruising speed of the propeller with a 7/16 reducing gear in resonance with the critical vibratory frequencies of the wing and the aileron (excitation amplified by the propeller cuffs);
The occurrence of extreme aileron flutter, aerodynamically induced as a result of failure of the linkage between the aileron and the slat.
It was impossible for the crew to detect these phenomena before their results became irreparable.

Sources:

Du trimoteur au quadrijet: le transport aérien en Afrique noire francophone 1940-1961 / Vital Ferry, 2006
ICAO Circular 31-AN/26

Statistics

  • 51st worst accident in 1950
  • 4th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 3rd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Location

Revision history:

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