Pan Am Flight 1-10
|Date||15 April 1948|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to mechanical and/or electrical failure|
|Aircraft type||Lockheed L-1049C-55-81 Super Constellation|
|Aircraft name||Clipper Empress of the Skies|
|Destination||New York City|
Pan Am Flight 1-10 was a passenger flight from London to Shannon Airport, during a flight round the world from San Francisco, California to New York. On 15 April 1948 it crashed 725 meters (2,379 ft) short of runway 23. 10 flight crew and 20 passengers died in the crash; 1 passenger survived with minor injuries.
"Pan Am Flight 1-10", flown with the Pan American Airways Lockheed Constellation, aircraft NC-88858 named "Clipper Empress of the Skies", departed from a London airport at 0:35 am. At 1:59 am it reported to Shannon Airport that it was at the marker at Limerick Junction. The flight received clearance to land on runway 23 at 2:10 am but reported a missed approach ten minutes later. After getting a second clearance to land, it struck a stone fence 725 meters (2,379 ft) short of the runway, but perfectly aligned with it. The initial crash ripped the plane apart. The undercarriage and the engines were torn off while the fuselage broke into three pieces. Fire destroyed the remains of the fuselage.
Cause of the accident
The Civil Aeronautics Board investigated the crash and published its findings on 24 June 1948:
|“||The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the continuation of an instrument approach to an altitude insufficient to clear the terrain. A contributing factor may have been the failure of the pilot's instrument fluorescent light.||”|
The flight crew had earlier reported trouble with the pilot's instrument fluorescent light. At earlier stops in Brussels and London this light had failed too, but the maintenance crew in London could not solve the case due to lack of spare parts.
Shannon Airport had earlier reported a fire in its ILS system, causing the system to fail. By the time the "Clipper Empress of the Skies" arrived, the system was again fully functional.
- Accident description at aviation-safety.net