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10 August 1968 - Piedmont Airlines 230

Piedmont Airlines, Flight 230, a Fairchild Hiller 227B, N712U, a regularly scheduled passenger flight, crashed and burned while on an approach to the Kanawha County Airport, Charleston, West Virginia. The three crewmembers and 32 of the 34 passengers were fatally injured in the accident. The aircraft was destroyed by impact and subsequent fire.

Piedmont flight 230 was on an ILS localizer-only approach to Charleston-Kanawha County Airport runway 23 when it struck trees 360ft from the runway threshold. The aircraft continued and struck upsloping terrain (+30deg) 250ft short in a 4-5deg nose down attitude, slightly left wing down. The Fairchild continued up the hill and on to the airport, coming to rest 6ft beyond the threshold and 50ft from the right edge of the runway. A layer of dense fog (about 150ft thick) was obcsuring the threshold and about half of the approach lights. Visual conditions existed outside the fog area.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "An unrecognized loss of altitude orientation during the final portion of an approach into shallow, dense fog. The disorientation was caused by a rapid reduction in the ground guidance segment available to the pilot at a point beyond which a go-around could not be successfully effected."


Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

PIC: Pilot-in-command / Captain
COP: Co-Pilot
TWR: Tower

time source transcription
08.55:00 PIC Well, looks like our altimeters were within reason
  COP Yeah
  PIC Yeah, I like that altimeter
  COP Boy, you know it - reads right about the middle marker there
  PIC Yeah
  COP I always watch that radio altimeter
  . [Sound of person whistling]
08.55:35.3 PIC I go by this one on a field like this close one
  COP Yeah
08.55:41.1 . [Sound of power increase]
  PIC There's too many valleys here
  PIC Ask him - John, ask him if he's got his lights turned all the way up
08.55:55 COP Have you got the lights turned all the way up?
  . [Sound of power increase]
  TWR Sure do, uh, a little fog, right off the end there and it's wide open after you get by that, it's more than a mile and ahalf on the runway
08.56:05.2 PIC Fuel trim
08.56:09.1 ? I'm going to hold this altitude
08.56:24.6 COP I got the lights in sight down low. Got it?
08.56:26 . [Sound of power reduction]
  PIC In sight, thank you.
  COP Everything's good.
08.56:32.3 PIC Landing flaps
08.56:37.2 COP I got the chart right here we're liable to lose it.
08.56:42 COP Got the charts there?
  PIC Yeah, boy.
08.56:49 . [Sound of power reduction]
08.56:51 . [Sound of power increase]
08.56:51.9 COP Watch it!
08.56:53.2 . [Sound of impact]

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