TWA Flight 553
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2013)|
|Date||March 9, 1967|
|Site||Concord Township, Champaign County, near Urbana, Ohio|
|Type||McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15|
|Operator||Trans World Airlines|
|Type||Beechcraft Baron 55|
Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 553, registration N1063T, was a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15 jet airliner operated by Trans World Airlines en route from Pittsburgh to Dayton that collided in mid-air with a Beechcraft Baron (a small general aviation airplane) near Urbana, Ohio on March 9, 1967. All 25 people on board the DC-9 were killed, as was the pilot of the Beechcraft, its sole occupant.
Flight 553 departed from Greater Pittsburgh Airport en route to Dayton Municipal Airport. After passing Columbus, Ohio, Flight 553 had been cleared to descend from Flight Level (FL) 200 (about 20,000 feet (6,000 m) above sea level) to 3,000 feet (900 m). As it descended through 4,500 feet (1,400 m) in uncontrolled airspace it collided with a Beechcraft Baron 55 that was not in contact with air traffic control. After the collision both aircraft fell to earth in Concord Township, a rural area northwest of the city of Urbana in Champaign County.
Visual flight rules (VFR) were in effect at the time of the accident, meaning it was the responsibility of the pilots on both aircraft to "see and avoid" each other. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the accident and determined that, due to the high rate of descent of the DC-9, its pilots were not able to see the other plane in time to avoid a collision. Weather conditions included widely scattered thin clouds, with haze reducing visibility to 6 to 7 miles (10 to 11 km), twice the 3-mile (5 km) visibility required for VFR flight.
After this accident all aircraft operating below 10,000 feet (3,000 m) were required to maintain speeds below 250 knots (460 km/h; 290 mph) IAS. It also contributed to the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to create Terminal Control Areas or TCAs (now called Class B airspace) around the busiest airports in the country. The airspace around Dayton did not become a TCA, undergoing only minor changes until it was reclassified as Class C airspace in the late 1980s.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- Airliners.net Flight 553 preparing for departure in a photo by Bob Garrard, 1967
- National Transportation Safety Board Report AAR68 on the crash