Aerolíneas Argentinas Flight 322
An Aerolíneas Argentinas Comet 4, similar to the one involved in the accident
|Date||23 November 1961|
|Site||2 kilometres (1.2 mi) off Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
|Aircraft type||de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4|
|Flight origin||Ministro Pistarini International Airport, Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|1st stopover||Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil|
|2nd stopover||Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad|
|Destination||Idlewild Airport, New York City, United States|
Aerolíneas Argentinas Flight 322 was a scheduled Buenos Aires–São Paulo–Port of Spain–New York City international passenger service, operated with a Comet 4, registration LV-AHR, that crashed during climbout on the early stages of its second leg, when it collided with tree tops shortly after takeoff from Viracopos-Campinas International Airport on 23 November 1961. There were 52 fatalities, 40 of them passengers.
The jetliner arrived from Buenos Aires, Argentina and landed at Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, 62 miles (100 km) north of São Paulo, as an intermediate stop. It took off at 05:38, bound for Piarco International Airport, Trinidad, with New York City as its final destination. After reaching an altitude of about 100 metres (330 ft), the aircraft lost altitude, collided with eucalyptus trees and crashed into the ground; its fuel tanks exploded on impact. All 52 people on board were killed in the disaster.
The accident was investigated by the Brazilian government with participation from the government of Argentina, the state of registry of the accident aircraft.
The weather conditions at the time of the accident were "dark night due to 7/8 (broken) stratocumulus at 400 metres (1,300 ft) and to 8/8 coverage (overcast) by altostratus at 2,100 metres (6,900 ft)." According to the Brazilian Air Ministry, the weather conditions did not contribute to the accident.
The investigation revealed that the first officer was seated in the left seat of the flight deck, which the investigators saw as an indication that he was receiving flight instruction from the captain during the accident flight.[nb 1]
The Brazilian Air Ministry determined the following Probable Cause:
It was presumed that the co-pilot was under flight instruction. If such was the case, the instructor, who was pilot-in-command, may have failed to brief or supervise the co-pilot properly.
The Argentinian government issued the following statement:
Argentina has determined, in the light of information it has gathered, that the cause of the accident was: "Failure to operate under IFR during a takeoff by night in weather conditions requiring IFR operation and failure to follow the climb procedure for this type of aircraft; a contributory cause was the lack of vigilance by the pilot-in-command during the operations."
- Aerolíneas Argentinas accidents and incidents
- List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft
- The Brazilian Air Ministry report mentions the first officer's lack of logged pilot in command time in type, although it's unclear whether Argentinian flight rules would have allowed a first officer to log such time before he is promoted to captain. The Argentinian government makes no mention of this point in its official "cause" statement.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 25 May 2011.
- "FROM ALL QUARTERS – The Aerolineas Comet Accident" (pdf). Flight: 868. 7 December 1961. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- "Official accident report of Comet IV LV-AHR". Brazilian Air Ministry on De Havilland Comet website. Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
- "52 Killed in Crash of Argentine Jet – Hits After Takeoff in Brazil – Craft Was Bound for New York City". Associated Press, in The Capital Times, Madison, WI. 23 November 1961.
- "Jetliner Crashes, Burns in Brazil, 52 Feared Dead". Associated Press in Press-Telegram, Long Beach, CA. 23 November 1961., "The ill-fated plane was the airline's flight 322.", p. 3
- "Comet Airliner Crashes in Brazil – 52 Killed". Reuter. 23 November 2009.
- "ALL 52 ON JET DIE IN BRAZIL CRASH; Argentine Comet Dives to Earth Just After Taking Off – American Aboard All 52 on Argentine Jet Killed in Crash on Take-Off in Brazil". Associated Press on NYT. 24 November 1961.
- Brazilian Air Ministry accident report on prevac.com.ar (Argentinian aviation safety website, in Spanish) (Archive)