Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- October 2

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Oct 2, 1970: A chartered Martin 404 carrying members of the Wichita State University football team crashed near Silver Plume, Colo., killing 32 of the 40 persons aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board later cited the probable cause as the operation of the aircraft over a mountain valley route at an altitude from which the aircraft could not avoid obstructing terrain. Among factors listed as contributing to the accident was the charter company’s poor operational management. The accident called into question the business practices of charter and leasing firms, and Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe on Oct 9 ordered an investigation of companies designated as commercial operators of large aircraft (see March 5, 1971). While this investigation proceeded, FAA on Oct 27 proposed a rule redefining the term "commercial operator" and requiring educational institutions and similar groups to hold an air travel club certificate when operating large aircraft over 12,500 pounds. The proposal would also have required operators of large aircraft to obtain a commercial operator's certificate for certain operations in the furtherance of business. Industry response to the proposal proved strongly negative.

Meanwhile, another major crash of a charter flight occurred on Nov 14, 1970, when a Southern Airways DC-9 descended too low during a nonprecision approach at Huntington, WVa. The accident killed all 75 of the plane’s occupants, including the Marshall University football team. (See Mar 5, 1971.) ”

In case that last entry is tickling your memory, there was a movie made about the aftermath of the West Virginia crash -- We Are Marshall.

Don Brown
October 2, 2007

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