1959 Turkish Airlines Gatwick Crash - Accident


TC-SEV, cruising at 6,000 feet (1,800 m), left Epsom at 16:27 hrs for Mayfield, East Sussex, the holding point for Gatwick. The airport's approach control informed the pilot that it would be positioned by radar for an ILS approach to the easterly Runway 09.

The latest actual weather conditions observed at Gatwick Airport were surface wind calm, visibility 1,800 yards (1,600 m), mist, no low cloud, and shallow ground fog patches of only 1 foot (0.30 m) to 5 feet (1.5 m) in depth.

The weather reported to the aircraft was "surface wind calm, visibility one decimal one nautical miles, mist, three oktas at eight hundred feet, the QFE one zero three six", which was acknowledged by the pilot.

At 16:34 hrs, the pilot was instructed to descend to a holding pattern at 4,000 feet (1,200 m) on reaching Mayfield NDB and to steer a course of 280 degrees and then to continue to descend to 2,000 feet (610 m).

Turned on to the ILS approach path, TC-SEV overshot the centre line slightly. At 5 nautical miles (9.3 km) from touchdown, the aircraft affirmed that it could continue on the ILS. At 16:38 hrs, the captain was requested a change to tower frequency and this was acknowledged. It was the last communication with the aircraft.

The aircraft was visible along the approach path centre line on the radar screen towards the runway until it disappeared about 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) from the threshold. It was assumed that the aircraft had crashed since no reply was received to radio calls to the aircraft.

The aircraft had flown into the top of trees 390 feet (120 m) AMSL at the edge of Jordan's Wood east of the Newdigate-Rusper road on a heading parallel to the approach path to Runway 09 at Gatwick. The aircraft lost its wings and had its engines torn off as it descended at an angle of about 6 degrees from the horizontal 300 yards (270 m) through the woods, and touched the ground with its wheels. After rising again slightly the main part of the wreckage landed upside down with trees embedded in the mangled fuselage about 100 yards (91 m) further on, after which it caught fire. The rear part of the fuselage came to rest upside down and remained untouched by fire. Shortly after, an explosion occurred in the main fuselage.

The accident site was located 2.8 nautical miles (5.2 km) from the runway threshold and 550 feet (170 m) to the north of the approach path centre line.

This was the first air disaster in which Turkish Airlines was involved.

Read more about this topic:  1959 Turkish Airlines Gatwick Crash

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