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Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 3 July 1963
Time:09:09
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-3C
Operator:New Zealand National Airways Corporation - NAC
Registration: ZK-AYZ
MSN: 26649/15204
First flight: 1944
Total airframe hrs:18629
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 20
Total:Fatalities: 23 / Occupants: 23
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:near Mt. Ngatamahinerua (   New Zealand)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Whenuapai Air Base (NZWP), New Zealand
Destination airport:Tauranga Airport (TRG/NZTG), New Zealand
Flightnumber: 441
Narrative:
Flight 441 departed Whenuapai at 08:21 for a flight to Tauranga (TRG). En route to Tauranga, the DC-3 crashed into a face of a rock of the Kaimai Range at an altitude of 2460 feet.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A strong downward current in the lee of the Kaimai Range close to the Gordon quarry. This downward current carried the aircraft below the level of the crests of the range, where under the conditions prevailing at the time, the aircraft encountered an area of extreme turbulence in which it was impossible for the pilot to regain effective control and recover height.
Contributory causes: a) The captain of the aircraft was unaware of his true position and initiated a premature descent. However, it must be appreciated that he decided to descend only to the level officially designated as the minimum safe altitude in the area of his descent. b) The decision of the Civil Aviation authorities to classify the Kaimai Range as non-mountainous terrain for the purpose of determining the safe altitude for the route. c) The misleading forecast of the upper wind between Wenuapai and Tauranga."

Sources:
» ICAO Accident Digest No.15 - Volume II, Circular 78-AN/66 (138-148)
» Report of a public inquiry into the circumstances of a Civil Aircraft Accident involving National Airways Corporation DC-3 ZK-AYZ, in the Kaimai Range on 3 July 1963 (No. 25/3/1338)


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Whenuapai Air Base to Tauranga Airport as the crow flies is 169 km (106 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Douglas DC-3

  • ca 13.000 built
  • 3653rd loss
  • 1436th fatal accident
  • 111th worst accident (at the time)
  • 158th worst accident (currently)
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 New Zealand
  • The worst accident
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