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1957 Northeast Airlines flight 823 disaster....



Item # 574435

February 2, 1957

LEOMINSTER DAILY ENTERPRISE, Massachusetts, February 2, 1957

* Northeast Airlines Flight 823... Douglas DC-6 airplane crash

This 8 page newspaper has a five column headline on the front page:  "Report 20 Dead In Plane That Crashes After Takeoff At N. Y.", with subhead and supporting text (see images), tells of Northeast Airlines Flight 823 airplane crash disaster.

Other news of the day. Complete and in good condition.

wikipedia notes: Northeast Airlines Flight 823 was a scheduled flight departing from New York City's LaGuardia Airport en route to Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida on February 1, 1957, but crashed shortly after takeoff. The equipment used on this flight was a Douglas Aircraft Company DC-6A four-engined propeller airliner, registration N34954, first placed into service in 1955.

While originally scheduled to depart at 2:45pm, delays due to snowfall pushed departure back to 6:01pm. At takeoff, with a nearly full complement of 95 passengers and 6 crewmembers (3 flight crew & 3 stewardesses), the plane weighed in at 98,575 pounds, just 265 pounds below maximum takeoff weight. Despite some sliding of the nosewheel on snow-covered pavement, the airplane was cleared to take off via runway 04 (040° magnetic heading), departing to the northeast of the field.

After what was described as a normal takeoff roll, the aircraft lifted off. Upon establishing a positive rate of climb, the landing gear and wing flaps were retracted, and the engine power was reduced to the maximum except for takeoff (METO) setting. The aircraft was now gaining altitude, flying on instruments without outside visibility as it headed over Flushing Bay. While the aircraft's clearance instructed that it proceed northeast on a heading of 40° (runway heading), the airplane began a gradual turn to the left. When it had reached a heading of 285° (nearly due west), it overflew Rikers Island. Its altitude was insufficient to clear the trees on the island, and the aircraft crashed, coming to rest within 1,500 feet of the point of first impact. The duration of the flight from takeoff to crash was approximately 60 seconds. The crash resulted in twenty fatalities and seventy-eight injuries among the passengers and several injuries but no fatalities among the crew.

An investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Board was hampered by a lack of information about what transpired aboard the aircraft in its final minute, as flight data & cockpit voice recorders had not yet been routinely installed in commercial aircraft. The Board found that the probable cause of the accident was "The failure of the captain to: 1) properly observe and interpret his flight instruments, and 2) maintain control of his aircraft." In layman's terms, the captain, lost spatial awareness when he entered the clouds seconds after takeoff, and therefore didn't detect or correct the airplane's deviation from its desired course.

Category: The 20th Century

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