ČSA Flight 001

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Czechoslovak Airlines Flight 001
Il-18 CSA.jpg
Ilyushin Il-18B in ČSA livery
Date July 28, 1976, 9:37 CEST
Summary Pilot error and/or technical failure
Site Lake Zlaté piesky near Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
48°10′55″N 17°11′24″E / 48.18194°N 17.19000°E / 48.18194; 17.19000Coordinates: 48°10′55″N 17°11′24″E / 48.18194°N 17.19000°E / 48.18194; 17.19000
Aircraft type Ilyushin Il-18B
Operator ČSA
Registration OK-NAB
Passengers 73
Crew 6
Fatalities 76
Injuries 3
Survivors 3 (passengers)

Czechoslovak Airlines Flight 001 was an Ilyushin Il-18B four engine turboprop airliner, registered OK-NAB, which was operating as a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Prague's Ruzyně airport to Bratislava-Ivanka Airport, both in Czechoslovakia, which crashed into the Zlaté Piesky (Golden Sands) Lake while attempting to land in Bratislava on July 28, 1976. All 6 crew members and 70 out of 73 passengers died.


The flight departed Prague airport at 8:52 (CEST) and proceeded routinely to Bratislava. At 9:35:10 (CEST) the flight was cleared by Bratislava tower to land on runway 22. For reasons that are unclear, the crew executed a highly unstabilized ILS instrument approach to runway 22, with rates of descent as high as 22 m/s (72 ft/s) instead of 10 m/s (33 ft/s); speeds varying from 225 to 435 km/h (140 to 270 mph) instead of 269 km/h (167 mph); and flap selection directly from 0 degree to full flaps instead of in gradual increments. As they approached the runway, the crew inadvertently set thrust reversal at the no. 2 and no. 3 engine (inboard engines) while still airborne. The thrust reversal caused the no. 3 engine to fail and the crew then inadvertently feathered the no. 4 prop, losing all thrust on the right side of the aircraft. At 50 m (160 ft) above the runway threshold the crew attempted to execute a go around. They tried to restart the no. 4 engine at 40 m (130 ft), but the ensuing right bank due to asymmetric thrust increased; the aircraft then lost control and struck lake Zlaté piesky (Golden Sands) in a 60 degree right bank and a 60 degree nose down attitude.[1]


The investigators published [2] the causes as follows:

  • Use of thrust reversal at altitude under 1,000 m (3,300 ft)
  • Improper manipulation of the thrust levers of the inner engines
  • Reducing speed under the allowed limit on final approach
  • Erroneous feathering of the engine number 4 propeller
  • Failure to bank the plane towards the working engines side
  • The immediate cause was the attempt to start engine number 4 at low speed and altitude

Rescue operation[edit]

The plane crashed into a lake in a densely populated area and rescue operations started immediately after the crash. Svazarm divers tried to help, but most passengers drowned or died due to crash forces. Initially four passengers were pulled out alive, of whom two later died in the hospital.


Surviving passenger Jaromír Kratochvíl later claimed in an interview that flight captain requested emergency landing in Brno but it was rejected because of the Vietnamese delegation visiting the city and an emergency landing would harm the image of the country. He also claimed that Vienna airport offered an emergency landing permission but communist authorities rejected it.[3] It is unclear how a surviving passenger would be aware of the captain's actions during the flight, or how searching for an alternate emergency landing site relates to an unstablilized approach with inadvertent thrust reversal deployment at Bratislava.

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