Date & Time: Dec 25, 1954 at 1200 LT
London – Prestwick – Shannon – Gander – New York
Crew on board:
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
The flight from London to Prestwick was uneventful. Throughout the flight the captain kept in touch with the weather conditions and Prestwick Approach Control received the aircraft about 0248 hours. Preceding the aircraft by approximately four minutes in arrival at Prestwick was a Constellation, and these two aircraft were fed into the stack at Prestwick; the Constellation at 4 000 feet and the Stratocruiser at 5 000 feet. The runway to be used was Runway 31 which required the approach to be made from the southeast. The Instrument Landing System (hereinafter called ILS) without the Glide Path and the Ground Control Approach system (hereinafter called GCA) were available on Runway 31. G. C.A. took over the Stratocruiser about 0314 hours and at 0323 hours the talk-down controller 'took over the aircraft. Meantime Meteorological Reports had been passing from ground to air. The talk-down was completed at 0325 hours when the aircraft was 400 yards from the threshold of Runway 31. The approach up to this point had been high but uneventful. A few seconds later the aircraft struck the ground 127 feet short of the threshold of Runway 31, sustaining some damage. It then ran on to the runway and proceeded for some 90 feet where it was again airborne for another 400 feet. It then contacted the runway and sustained considerable damage, and came to rest with the passenger compartment in an inverted position on the south side of the runway about 550 yards from the threshold. Except for the front portion of the fuselage which lay on its port side, severe damage resulted from fire which broke out and spread rapidly, due probably to the partial detachment of the port wing and rupture of the fuel tanks. From the accident there survived seven of the crew and one passenger.
Probable cause:
The accident was the result of errors of judgment on the part of the captain in:
- starting his final approach to land at too steep an angle and,
- flaring out too late and too severely with the result that the aircraft sank and hit the ground short of the runway. During the flare out the aircraft passed through low cloud, thus reducing the captain's visibility. The accident was also contributed to by the failure of the first officer to carry out the order of the captain to put on the landing lights which prevented the captain from observing timeously the low cloud over the approach lights.
Final Report:
G-ALSA.pdf9.95 MB