Bonanza Air Lines Flight 114
The crash aircraft in January 1959 (old registration)
|Date||November 15, 1964|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)|
|Site||Clark County, 2.7 miles (4.3 km) W of Sloan, Nevada
|Aircraft type||Fairchild F-27|
|Operator||Bonanza Air Lines|
|Registration||N745L (formerly N145L)|
|Flight origin||Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport|
|Destination||McCarran International Airport|
At 8:25 p.m., during a landing approach in poor weather conditions, it crashed into the top of a hill in open desert country about 10 miles (16 km) SSW of Las Vegas. All 29 aboard -- 26 passengers and a crew of three -- died instantly when the plane exploded on impact, no more than 10 feet (3 m) below a ridge crest. Although this was not the only incident involving a Bonanza Air Lines airplane, it is the only crash with fatalities during the airline's 23-year history.
Media reports initially stated that 28 had died, but these were corrected when the body of a very young girl was found amid the debris. The rugged terrain and snowdrifts surrounding the crash site initially prevented ground vehicles from reaching the wreckage, so four helicopters assisted in the recovery efforts. Eventually a narrow, unimproved road one mile long that climbs up a ridge and terminates at the hilltop crash site was built to assist in salvage operations; it can still be seen in current aerial photos.
Pilot Henry "Hank" Fitzpatrick, a veteran with over 11,000 hours experience, was initially blamed for flying too low due to misreading the approach chart for McCarran International, but an investigation years later showed that the chart was marked in a non-standard, and possibly confusing, manner. Some heirs of the crash victims sued the publisher of the chart, but before a verdict was reached in the wrongful death lawsuit the chart company, Jeppesen, agreed to pay the plaintiffs US$490,000.
- Brief incident summary at ntsb.gov Archived January 25, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- Bates, Warren (November 15, 1999). "Hunt for Lost F-27". reviewjournal.com. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on 2003-05-08. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Bonanza Air Lines accidents and incidents at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Place Crash Takes Lives Of 28 People". The Free-Lance Star. Associated Press. November 16, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Bodies Recovered At Air Crash Site". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. November 17, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "ACME Mapper aerial view of crash site". Mapper.acme.com. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- "Aetna v. Jeppesen lawsuit, appeal ruling". openjurist.org. April 20, 1981. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
-  Gallery of historic and current photos from the Las Vegas Sun
- Photograph of wreckage at the crash site at bonanzaairlines.com
- Pre-crash photograph of the Fairchild F-27 involved in the incident from the Ed Coates collection
- Names of passengers and crew