Air France Flight 117

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Air France Flight 117
An Air France Boeing 707-320 similar to the crashed aircraft
Accident summary
Date 22 June 1962
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site Dos D'Ane, 25 km (15.5 mi) WNW of Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
16°18′40″N 61°46′05″W / 16.311°N 61.768°W / 16.311; -61.768
Passengers 103
Crew 10
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Fatalities 113 (all)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Boeing 707-328
Aircraft name Chateau de Chantilly
Operator Air France
Registration F-BHST
Flight origin Paris, France
1st stopover Lisbon, Portugal
2nd stopover Santa Maria Island, Azores
3rd stopover Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
4th stopover Caracas, Venezuela
Last stopover Lima, Peru
Destination Santiago, Chile

Air France Flight 117 was a multi-leg international scheduled flight from Paris-Orly Airport via Lisbon, the Azores, Guadeloupe and Peru to Santiago, Chile, which crashed 22 June 1962. The Boeing 707-328 aircraft involved in the accident was just four months old.

The flight was uneventful until approaching Pointe-à-Pitre. The airport is surrounded by mountains and requires a steep descent. The weather was poor – violent thunderstorm and low cloud ceiling. The VOR navigational beacon was out of service. The crew reported themselves over the non-directional beacon (NDB) at 5,000 feet (1,524 m) and turned east to begin the final approach. Due to incorrect automatic direction finder (ADF) readings caused by the thunderstorm, the plane strayed 15 km (9.3 mi) west from the procedural let-down track. The plane crashed in a forest on a hill called Dos D'Ane ("The Donkey's Back"), at about 1,400 feet (427 m) and exploded. There were no survivors. Among the dead was French Guianan politician and war hero Justin Catayée.

The investigation could not determine the exact reason for the accident, but suspected the insufficient meteorological information given to the crew, failure of the ground equipment, and the atmospheric effects on the ADF indicator. After the crash Air France pilots criticized under-developed airports with facilities that were ill-equipped to handle jet aircraft, such as Guadeloupe's airport.[1] This was the second accident in less than three weeks with an Air France Boeing 707 after the crash on 3 June 1962.

Some debris still remain at the site, where a memorial monument was placed in 2002 to mark the 40th anniversary of the crash.[2]

Air France currently uses this flight number on a ShanghaiPudong to ParisCharles de Gaulle flight using a Boeing 777.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boeing Crash Pilot's Alleged Protest Before Flight." The Times. July 2, 1962. 10.(subscription required)
  2. ^ "Dos d'Ane – La Stèle". 5 September 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Air France (AF) #117 Flight Tracker". FlightAware. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 

Sources[edit]