Date & Time:
May 14, 1977 at 1433 LT
London - Athens - Nairobi - Lusaka
Captain / Total hours on type:
Copilot / Total hours on type:
Aircraft flight hours:
Aircraft flight cycles:
The crew was completing a cargo flight from London to Lusaka with intermediate stops in Athens and Nairobi. Following an uneventful flight from Nairobi, a clearance was given to descend further down to FL70 in 1,000 feet steps. At 09:28 the copilot reported that the airfield was in sight. Lusaka then cleared the aircraft to descend to 6,000 feet (2,221 feet above runway elevation) and moments later a clearance was given to make a visual approach for runway 10. At 09:32 flaps were selected to 50°. Suddenly, at 09:33, the complete right-hand horizontal stabilizer and elevator assembly were seen to separate in flight. The aircraft pitched rapidly nose down and dived vertically into the ground from a height of about 800 feet. The main wreckage was located 3,660 meters from the runway threshold. The aircraft was totally destroyed and all six occupants were killed.
The accident was caused by a loss of pitch control following the in-flight separation of the right hand horizontal stabilizer and elevator as a result of a combination of metal fatigue and inadequate failsafe design in the rear spar structure. Shortcomings in design assessment, certification and inspection procedures were contributory factors.