ICAO Circular 88-AN/74
History of the Flight:
Flight 42 (TWA 42) was a scheduled domestic flight from San Francisco, CA to JFK airport. It took off from SFO @ 0905 hours PST and arrived over Buffalo, NY @ 1548 hours EST @ FL370. Subsequently the flight descended to FL250 under the control of the New York Center. It was then cleared to descend to FL210 and later to 11,000 ft and was given the JFK altimeter setting of 29.63. The flight reported level at 11,000 @ 1617 hours. A short time later the crew observed an aircraft at their 10 o'clock position on what appeared to be a collision course. The Captain immediately disengaged the auto-pilot, banked the aircraft to the right pulling back on the control column at the same time. The co-pilot acted in concert with him. As the aircraft rolled, it became apparent that this evasive maneuver would not allow the two aircraft to pass clear of each other. The pilots then tried to reverse the bank pushing on the control column at the same time. Before the aircraft had time to react, two shocks were felt and the jet entered a steep dive. Control was regained, damages assessed and the crew reported to the New York Center that they had collided with another aircraft and declared an emergency. They were given vectors and clearance to JFK airport and after a large 360 degree left turn they landed on runway 31L at approximately 1640 hours EST.
Flight 853 (EA 853) was a scheduled domestic flight from Logan I'ntl, BOS in Boston, MA to EWR, in Newark, NJ. It took off from BOS @ 1538 hours EST. The flight climbed to and maintained 10,000 ft. The last altimeter setting given to the flight was the BDL, Bradley Field setting of 29.58 provided by Boston Center @ 1556 hours. No acknowledgement was received. Control was subsequently transferred to New York Center in a radar handoff from the Boston Center at Approximately 1610 hours. It subsequently reported maintaining 10,000 ft and radar identity was confirmed by New York Center. At approximately 1618 hours the New York Center recorded on a flight progress strip that EA 853 was passing the Carmel (CMK) VORTAC. Just prior to reaching CMK the flight was flying in and out of cloud tops. As the aircraft emerged from the clouds the co-pilot observed a jet at his 2 o'clock position, he shouted "look out" and pulled quickly on the control column helped by the Captain. However the collision could not be avoided and after the impact the aircraft continued to climb, then shuttered and began a left turning dive. At 1621 hours the flight initiated a MAYDAY distress call and advised that they had been involved in a mid-air collision. Since there was no response from the controls or trim tabs, efforts to recover were made with power application only. The aircraft descended through solid clouds and recovery was made below the clouds by the use of throttles only. A power setting was found which would maintain a descent and a level flight attitude with some degree of consistency. The aircraft passed over the Danbury, CT Airport, DXR, at about 2,000 to 3,000 ft, too high to make an approach. Airspeed could be maintained between 125 and 140 knots; the nose would rise when power was added and fall when power was removed. The rate of descent could be maintained at approximately 500 ft/min. It was apparent that flight could not be maintained and a decision was made to effect a landing in a open field. Just prior to ground contact, power was added to bring the nose up to parallel the sloping terrain. The left wing of the aircraft struck a tree immediately before contact with the ground was made. The emergency landing was made in an open field near Danbury, CT, 3 miles northeast of the CMK VORTAC at 1628 hours.
Injuries aboard EA 853:
Fatal Injuries; 1 Crew 3 Passengers
Damage to Aircraft:
Impact damage to TWA 42 consisted of the complete severance of the outer 25 ft of the left wing at about wing section 700. There was a moderate impact damage area noted on the top of the number 1 engine cowl and heavy score marks angling inboard along the number 1 engine nacelle and pylon. There was considerable secondary structural damage caused by heavy impact forces and flying debris.
EA 853 was destroyed by impact and subsequent fire.
Grass on a large area of the hill was burned and several gouge marks caused by impact were evident.
Crew Information TWA Flight 42:
The Captain of TWA 42, aged 45, held a valid FAA ATP certificate with appropriate type rating in the Boeing 707. His last proficiency & line checks in the Boeing 707 aircraft were on 7 Sep 65 and 17 Oct 65 respectively. His last 1st Class medical was dated 22 Sep 65 with no limitations. He had flown a total of 18,848 hours including 1,867 hours in Boeing 707 aircraft.
The 1st Officer of TWA 42, aged 42, held a valid FAA ATP certificate. His last proficiency check in the Boeing 707 aircraft was 25 Jun 65. His last 1st Class medical was dated 10 Sep 65 with no limitations. He had flown a total of 12,248 hours including 2,607 hours in Boeing 707 aircraft.
The Flight Engineer of TWA 42, aged 41, held a valid FAA Flight Engineer's certificate and a Commercial Pilots license. His last proficiency & line checks in the Boeing 707 aircraft were on 24 Nov 65 and 1 Dec 65 respectively. His last 2nd Class medical was dated 17 Feb 65 with a waiver that "holder shall possess correcting glasses for near vision while exercising privileges of his airman certificate" He had flown a total of 11,717 hours including 5:52 hours on the Boeing 707.
The four Flight Attendants aboard TWA 42 had received their most recent emergency procedure refresher training in Nov 65.
Crew Information Eastern Flight 853:
The Captain of EA 853, aged 42, held a valid FAA ATP certificate with appropriate type rating in the Lockheed L-1049 aircraft. His last proficiency check & line checks were on 8 Nov 65 and 5 Nov 65 respectively. His last 1st Class medical was dated 25 Oct 65 with no waivers. He had flown a total of 11,508 hours including 1,947 hours in L-1049 aircraft.
The 1st Officer of EA 853, aged 34, held a valid FAA Commercial Pilot's certificate with appropriate ratings and an FAA Flight Engineer's certificate. His last proficiency check was dated 14 Sep 65. His last 1st Class medical was dated 9 Mar 65 with no waivers. He had flown a total of 8,090 hours including 899 hours in L-1049 aircraft.
The Flight Engineer of EA 853, aged 27, held a valid FAA Commercial Pilot's certificate and Flight Engineer's certificate. His last Flight Engineer's check was dated 17 Jul 65. He had flown a total of 1,011 hours including 726 in L-1049 aircraft.
The two Flight Attendants aboard EA 853 had received appropriate evacuation and ditching training.
Aircraft Information TWA 42 Boeing 707:
TWA 42, a Boeing 707, was properly maintained in accordance with FAA approved company maintenance procedures and there was no evidence of any malfunctions or irregularities in either the systems or the maintenance thereof that could have contributed to the accident. Testimony and aircraft records indicated that there were no carry-over airworthiness items at the time TWA 42 departed SFO San Francisco, CA nor were any enroute discrepancies entered on the flight log prior to the collision. At departure the adjusted take-off gross weight was 222,174 lbs. including 82,000 lbs. of fuel. Aircraft loading was within allowable weight and center of gravity limits. The type of fuel being used was not stated in the report.
EA 853, a Lockheed Constellation had a total airframe time of 32,883 hours of which 7 hours had been accumulated since the last major inspection. The aircraft had one altimeter installed which did not meet Technical Standard Order (TSO) requirements nor was it of the type on the accepted list for certification. Examination of the instrument subsequent to the accident indicated that it had been modified in compliance with Kollsman Service Bulletin #9. This instrument when modified in accordance with this bulletin should have been capable of meeting the performance requirements of TSO C10A.
At the time of departure the aircraft had an operating weight of 97,019 lbs. which was well below the maximum allowable take-off gross weight of 113,075 lbs. as specified for an intended landing at EWR Newark, NJ. The center of gravity was within allowable limits. The type of fuel being used was not stated in the report.
At the time of the accident, U.S.Weather Bureau surface weather charts indicated the northeastern section of the country was in a post frontal zone with a frontal system extending into the Atlantic Ocean from a low pressure area centered 100 to 150 miles off the Massachusetts coast. A general northwesterly flow of air was shown from the upper Great Lakes and New England region to the Carolinas.
The 1540 hours HPN White Plains, NY surface weather observation was in part: 4,000 scattered clouds, 8,000 broken clouds, 12 miles visibility, temperature 46F, dewpoint 35F, wind from 300 at 7 knots.
U.S.Weather Bureau forecasts for the area which included the Carmel VORTAC, and valid at the time of the accident, called for variable cloud conditions with the cloud tops near 8,000 ft and isolated tops to 13,000 ft.
Radar weather observations were taken approximately 30 minutes before and after the accident. The observation taken before the accident, at 1545 hours showed broad areas of scattered showers with the tops of detectable moisture 10,000 to 15,000 ft. The observation taken after the accident, at 1645 hours showed an area of broken light rain showers with the tops of detectable moisture 8,000 to 12,000 ft south of the New York area, and 12,000 to 16,000 ft north of New York with snow showers in the northwest portion of the observed area.
The pilot of a corporate aircraft enroute from SYR Syracuse, NY to JFK stated that he climbed through multi-layered clouds after his departure from Syracuse, and was on top of an overcast at 15,000 ft, approximately 25 miles southeast of Syracuse. He described the overcast as continuous and relatively smooth with some billowing in the Carmel area. At 1645 hours approximately 30 minutes after the accident, he descended in the area of the Carmel VORTAC and reported that he was just clear of the tops of the clouds at 11,000 ft and in the clouds at 10,000 ft. He also reported the visibility was unrestricted above the overcast.
The nearest official surface weather observations to the scene of the accident were made at HPN White Plains, NY, which is located approximately 14 miles southwest of the Carmel VORTAC.
Statements of other crew members of other aircraft in the general area of the Carmel VORTAC near the time of the collision indicated that there was a solid overcast whose ragged tops were between 10,000 and 11,000 ft. Visibility was unrestricted above this cloud layer.
Thirteen passengers aboard TWA 42 recalled flying on top of a solid cloud layer prior to and at the time of the mid-air collision. A few of the thirteen recalled puffs of clouds that extended up from the cloud layer and they estimated these to be fifty to a few hundred feet above the layer of clouds. Eleven of the passengers aboard TWA 42 stated they were in the clouds at the time of the collision.
A majority of 24 statements from EA 853 passengers indicated the flight was flying over a solid overcast just before the collision. They estimated that their height above this overcast was from 100 to 1,500 ft. A few of the passengers stated they were flying through puffs of clouds just prior to the collision.
Aids to Navigation:
All pertinent NAVAIDS and facility equipment were reported to be operating normally at the time of the accident. A flight check of the Carmel VORTAC and the JFK radar was conducted by the FAA approximately four after the accident. The flight inspection report showed satisfactory performance of these two facilities and the communications frequencies of 126.40 and 125.50. Other aids or equipment in use at the time of the accident were re-certificated by technicians of the FAA. All equipment was certified to be operating satisfactorily.
Communications were normal until the time of the collision at approximately 1619 hours. Following the collision a period of approximately 2 and 1/2 minutes elapsed before radio communications were re-established with EA 853. The crew reported the collision and advised of the difficulties they were encountering in maintaining control of the aircraft. The controller monitored the progress of the flight until radar contact was lost. The last position given to the crew was 6 mile northwest of the Carmel VORTAC.