NLM CityHopper Flight 431

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This article is about an accident experienced by NLM CityHopper in 1981. For the Kenya Airways accident that took place in 2000, see Kenya Airways Flight 431.
NLM CityHopper Flight 431
NLM CityHopper F-28-4000 PH-CHI LFSB Jun 1979.png
PH-CHI, the aircraft involved in the accident, is seen here at Euroairport. (1979)
Accident summary
Date 6 October 1981
Summary Structural failure in severe turbulence[1]:183
Site near Moerdijk
51°42′N 4°31′E / 51.700°N 4.517°E / 51.700; 4.517Coordinates: 51°42′N 4°31′E / 51.700°N 4.517°E / 51.700; 4.517
Passengers 13
Crew 4
Fatalities 17 (all)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Fokker F-28-4000
Aircraft name Eindhoven
Operator NLM CityHopper
Registration PH-CHI
Flight origin Rotterdam Airport
Stopover Eindhoven Airport
Destination Hamburg Airport

NLM CityHopper Flight 431 refers to a Fokker F-28-4000, registration PH-CHI, that was due to operate an international scheduled RotterdamEindhovenHamburg passenger service. On 6 October 1981, the aircraft encountered severe weather on the first leg, minutes after taking off from Rotterdam Airport, and crashed 15 miles (24 km) south-southeast of Rotterdam. All 17 occupants of the aircraft – 13 passengers and crew of 4 – perished in the accident.[1]:183[2]


The aircraft involved in the accident was a Fokker F28-4000, registration PH-CHI, that was built in 1979 with c/n 1141. At the time of the accident the airframe had accumulated 4485 flight hours and 5997 cycles.[2]

Description of the accident[edit]

During the weather briefing 44 minutes before takeoff, the crew was apprised to an area of strong thunderstorms with 3/8 (37.5%) sky coverage of cumulonimbus at a base of 1,200 feet (370 m), south-southwest winds 15 to 25 knots (28 to 46 km/h; 17 to 29 mph) strong, and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) visibility at Rotterdam Airport.[2] The aircraft took off at 5:04 p.m. CET (UTC +1) from Rotterdam Airport.[2] The crew noted heavy rain in thunderstorms on the airplane's weather avoidance radar at 5:09 p.m., receiving clearance to avoid the area.[2] At 5:12 p.m. the aircraft entered a tornado while flying through clouds.[2] The weather system the aircraft entered into was apparently the same "tornado-like" system that Zeeland locals described as being responsible for considerable property damage.[3] Meteorologically, these vortices are indeed tornadoes, and the disintegrating airliner was seen exiting cloud cover. A police officer first photographed the tornado, then smoke from the burning plane a few minutes later. An investigation concluded that a sharp increase in altitude registered on the altimeter was not a change in altitude, rather a pressure drop associated with the tornado.[4][5]

Stresses experienced by the airframe owing to severe turbulence resulted in loads of +6.8 g and −3.2 g causing the starboard wing to detach.[2][6] The aircraft spun down into the ground from 3,000 ft (910 m), crashing some 400 m (1,300 ft) from a Shell chemical plant on the southeastern outskirts of Moerdijk.[3] All 17 occupants of the aircraft perished in the accident.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 14 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b "F.28 crashes in bad weather". Flight International: 1127. 17 October 1981. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Grazulis, Thomas P. (2001). The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 260–1. ISBN 0-8061-3258-2. 
  5. ^ Roach, W.T.; J. Findlater (February 1983). "An Aircraft Encounter with a Tornado". Meteorological Magazine (London: Meteorological Office) 112 (1327): 29–49. 
  6. ^ "F.28 wing loss followed severe turbulence". Flight International: 1124. 17 October 1981. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. 

External links[edit]