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Avianca Flight 011
An Avianca Boeing 747 similar to the aircraft involved.
Accident summary
Date November 27,1983
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site near Madrid, Spain
Passengers 169
Crew 23
Injuries (non-fatal) 8
Fatalities 181
Survivors 11
Aircraft type Boeing 747-283B
Aircraft name Olafo
Operator Avianca
Registration HK-2910
Flight origin Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt, West Germany
2nd stopover Charles de Gaulle Int'l Airport
Paris, France
3rd stopover Madrid Barajas Int'l Airport
Madrid, Spain
4th stopover Simón Bolívar Int'l Airport
Caracas, Venezuela
Destination El Dorado International Airport
Bogotá, Colombia

Avianca Flight 011, registered as HK-2910, was an international scheduled passenger flight from Frankfurt via Paris, Madrid, and Caracas to Bogotá operated by Avianca of Columbia, which crashed near Madrid on November 27, 1983. All 23 crew and 162 passengers were killed; 11 passengers survived.[1]

History[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

The aircraft, a Boeing 747-283B, serial number 21381, was manufactured in 1977. Powered by 4 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-70As, the airframe had over 20,000 hours in flight (although mechanical failure is not thought to have been a contributing factor in the crash). Originally owned by Swedish company SAS and later Scanair as LN-RNA, the plane was transferred to Avianca and registered as HK-2910X in March of 1982. [2]

Flight and crash[edit]

The flight left Paris on its second leg, to stop in Spain at Madrid-Barajas International enroute to Bogota, Colombia, at 22:25 on November 27th, 1983. Upon reaching the Madrid airspace, the pilot asked for and received landing clearance to approach runway 33. Three minutes after midnight, the craft was cleared by the Madrid tower for final landing approach.

However, the pilot had unwittingly made a wrong turn on his approach vector, and was not completely aware of his position; he was in fact well below the Minimum Descent Altitude for his current flight path. During descent, the aircraft descended below 2248 feet, whereupon the outer starboard engine and the starboard landing gear impacted a hill at 142 knots. The plane immediately struck another hill, followed by the right wing impacting the ground at 126 knots, causing the plane to "cartwheel". The airframe disintegrated into at least 5 large pieces with much of the fuselage coming to rest upside-down.

All 19 crew onboard were killed, along with 162 out of 173 passengers.

Investigation[edit]

The accident was investigated by the Spanish Accident Investigation Board, who determined the most likely cause to have been pilot error, and a failure to follow proper instrument approach procedures. The pilot was not precisely aware of his position, and the Board determined he had "set out to intercept the ILS on an incorrect track", which placed the aircraft over the wrong terrain for his approach, in a hilly region of rapidly changing terrain height. [3]

The crew also did not respond properly to the ground-proximity warning system (GPWS), which can be heard on the flight recording. (There is a persistent rumor that the pilot responded to the GPWS by saying "Shut up, Gringo" but this is not borne out by the transcript of the recording; the pilot responds to 15 seconds of GPWS warning with "Bueno, beuno", roughly, "Ok, ok" in English.[4][5])

The airport's approach controller was also faulted for providing faulty position information, failing to inform the crew that radar service had been terminated, and failing to maintain proper radar surveillance of the craft.[6]

Notable people killed[edit]

On-board Flight 011 were four well-known Latin American authors, traveling together from Paris to Colombia for an international conference of Latin American writers. These four were

External links[edit]

External images
Pre-Crash photos of HK-2910 at Airliners.net
Photo of the crashed airliner from AirDisaster.com

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 40°24′12″N 3°26′57″W / 40.40333°N 3.44917°W / 40.40333; -3.44917