Allegheny Airlines Flight 736

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Allegheny Airlines Flight 736
Occurrence summary
Date December 24, 1968
Summary CFIT
Site Bradford, Pennsylvania
41°46′4″N 78°36′6″W / 41.76778°N 78.60167°W / 41.76778; -78.60167Coordinates: 41°46′4″N 78°36′6″W / 41.76778°N 78.60167°W / 41.76778; -78.60167
Passengers 41
Crew 6
Fatalities 20
Survivors 27
Aircraft type Convair CV-580
Operator Allegheny Airlines
Registration N5802
Flight origin Detroit, Michigan
1st stopover Erie International Airport
Destination Bradford Regional Airport

Allegheny Airlines Flight 736 was a Convair CV-580, registration N5802, that crashed while attempting to land at Bradford Regional Airport in Bradford, Pennsylvania on December 24, 1968. Twenty of the 47 occupants on board were killed.


Flight 736 took off from Detroit, Michigan bound for Washington D.C. with intermediate stops in Erie, Bradford, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The flight was uneventful until the aircraft began its approach to Bradford. Weather was overcast with one and one half miles visibility and snow showers. Flight 736 reported over the VOR outbound at the beginning of the instrument approach procedure. The crew was told to contact Braford Flight Service Station. At 8:08 p.m. the flight reported that they were doing the procedure turn inbound for runway 32 and they were informed the wind was 290 degrees at 15 knots. There were also light snow showers. Flight 736 continued to descend till the aircraft contacted trees 2.5 nautical miles short of the runway. The airplane cut through the trees until it impacted the ground some 800 feet from its original contact with them. The fuselage came to rest inverted.[1]

Due to a blinding snowstorm, rescue workers were initially prevented from reaching the crash site.[2] To help guide people to the downed plane, one surviving passenger lit a bonfire.[3]


Less than two weeks after flight 736 crashed, Allegheny Airlines Flight 737 also went down on approach to Bradford Airport. Both aircraft were approaching the same runway but in opposite directions at the time of the crashes.[4] Shortly after Flight 737's crash, Allegheny Airlines self-imposed new rules for landings at airports. The rules required visibility of 1,000 feet up and three miles out for any airport without instrument landing systems.[5]

Almost 42 years after the crash, one of its survivors announced she was paying for a plaque for the flight's victims, survivors, and rescuers.[6]


The NTSB determined the probable cause to be "The continuation of the descent from the final approach fix through the Minimum Descent Altitude and into obstructing terrain at a time when both flight crewmembers were looking outside the aircraft in an attempt to establish visual reference to the ground. Contributing factors were the minimal visual references available at night on the approaches to the Bradford Regional Airport; a small but critical navigational error during the later stages of the approach; and a rapid change in visibility conditions that was not known to the crew."[7]


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