Accident Douglas DC-2-112 NC13721, Tuesday 7 April 1936
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Date:Tuesday 7 April 1936
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas DC-2-112
Owner/operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC13721
MSN: 1247
Year of manufacture:1934
Fatalities:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 14
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:5 km SE of Fairchance, PA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Camden Central Airport, NJ
Destination airport:Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport, PA (AGC/KAGC)
Investigating agency: BoAC
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Crashed into Chestnut Ridge three miles south-east of Fairchance en route Camden, NJ to Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport, PA in fog. Pilot Capt Otto Ferguson, co-pilot Harry C. Lewis, hostess Nelly H. Granger and eleven passengers on board. Only the hostess and one passenger (Mrs M.C. Ellenstein) survived.

It is the opinion of the Bureau of Air Commerce that the probable cause of this accident was poor judgment on the part of Pilot [name] for flying by visual ground observation methods after having descended through the clouds and overcast in mountainous terrain at a point unknown to him. Because of low clouds and poor visibility, this required flying close to the ground whereas the safest method under such circumstances is to climb into or above the overcast to a safe altitude and determine the location of the plane by instruments and radio.

Contributory causes to this accident were:
1. Failure of the pilot to identify accurately his position with respect to the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport before descending through the overcast in preparation for his scheduled landing.
2. Failure of the pilot to proceed to and follow the right hand side of the west leg of the Harrisburg radio range course when it first became necessary for him to resort to instrument flying in the vicinity of Harrisburg due to weather conditions and failure to complete his flight on the right hand side of the northeast leg of the Pittsburgh radio range, as provided for by both Department of Commerce and TWA regulations.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BoAC
Report number: Final report
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 4 months
Download report: Final report



  • 8th worst accident in 1936
  • 13th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 3rd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time


Revision history:


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