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5 January 1969 - Afghan 701

The aircraft descended below the glide slope and crashed into trees and a house short of the runway killing 50 of 65 aboard and 2 on the ground.

Ariana Afghan Airlines, Flight 701, a B727-113C with registration YA-FAR, was carrying out a runway 27 approach into London Gatwick with the autopilot coupled to the ILS because of bad weather (freezing fog and an RVR of 100m). The 'stabilizer out of trim' warning light illuminated shortly after glide slope capture. The captain responded by disconnecting the autopilot. After passing the Outer Marker flaps were changed from 15deg to 30deg and the rate of descent increased. The aircraft descended below the glide slope until the pilot realised that the aircraft was too low (200ft agl). A missed approach was executed, but the descent was not arrested in time to avoid a collision with trees and a house.


Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

Legenda:

LAW = London Airways Control Zone
APP = Gatwick Approach
?? = unknown.
CPT = Captain
COP = Co-pilot
F/E = Flight engineer
RDO-... = Radio transmission by ,,,

time source: content
01.13 LAW: Gatwick's runway visual range is 100 metres ... er ... confirm your point of landing now.
RDO-CPT: Roger, we are trying ... er ... to Gatwick, we'll see later
LAW: 701. I didn't get that. Again, please.
RDO-CPT: I say again ... er ... we are trying in Gatwick, 701.
LAW: asks 701 to maintain height and course to Mayfield beacon and then on to Gatwick
LAW: Gatwick visual range is 100 metres.
LAW: says that Runway 27 is the Runway to be used
RDO-CPT: Gatwick. The runway 27.
01.20 LAW: gives permission to descend to 8000ft
01.23 LAW: 701, London. I just checked Gatwick. The runway remains ... the range remains at ... er ... 100 metres and there's no sign of improvement at the moment.
RDO-CPT: We'll try Gatwick ... er ... if we cannot make it at gatwick will it be OK if we go to Heathrow?
LAW: acknowledges the question and clears the flight to 5000ft with a direct course to Mayfield beacon.
01.27 APP: Gatwick weather - surface wind is calm. Met visibility is five zero 50 metres in freezing fog. Runway visual range is equal to 100 one zero zero metres. Temperature is -3.
RDO-CPT: acknowledges runway number and barometric pressure.
APP: Er ... 701, do you wish to make an approach?
RDO-CPT: That's affirmative.
APP: clears 701 down to 2000ft
CPT: It's ground fog, not air fog
??: Yeah, once you get in it you have to be very fucking slick.
F/E: I suppose it'll be known as freezing fog, not moving.
APP: directs 701 for a runway course
CPT: Alter course.
CPT: What's the minimum?
COP: Minimum?
CPT: Yeah.
COP: Gatwick ....er, minimum two hundred [cloud base] and a half mile [visual range].
CPT: Two hundred and a half.
CPT: What's the sea level? We don't see the ...
APP: 701 ... er ... in event of an overshot will you be wishing to go back to Mayfield or proceed to London?
RDO-CPT: Er ... proceed to Mayfield then proceed to London, 701.
01.29 LAW : tells 701 that they're at 13 DME
CPT: Flaps two.
CPT: Flaps five.
COP: Outer marker number one identified.
COP: Roger, put flaps one five.
RDO-COP: tells approach that 701 is established on the localizer
APP: clears 701 to descend from 2000ft
APP: In the event of ... er ... overshoot, climb on runway heading to 2000ft.
CPT: What is the flap?
COP: Flaps at fifteen ... glideslope alive.
CPT: Gear down.
COP: Gear is coming down.
COP: What's that red light?
CPT: Yeah, that's the light at the end of 09. [it was actually a hazard warning light on top of a hill short of the runway]
COP: asks the engineer if the stabilizer out of trim warning light went on and to set the bug points on the Airspeed Indicator to 114kts and 124kts
F/E: V Ref set at 114 at your side
COP: 124 set.
F/E: Anti skid five releases.
COP: Gear down and three green lights.
01.32 F/E: Stand by for the flaps
F/E: says that flaps should have been going to 25 and 40 degrees
APP: gives 701 clearance to land
APP: Runway visual range still 100 metres.
APP: acknowledges 701 over the outer marker
CPT: Flaps three zero.
CPT: Three zero coming down.
01.33 COP: Four hundred feet.
CPT: Four hundred feet?
COP: Yes, we have four hundred feet.
[full power was added]
COP: We're finished!

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