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Date:Monday 23 November 1964
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-331
Operator:Trans World Airlines - TWA
Registration: N769TW
MSN: 17685/123
First flight: 1960
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT4A-12
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 11
Passengers:Fatalities: 45 / Occupants: 62
Total:Fatalities: 50 / Occupants: 73
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (   Italy)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO/LIRF), Italy
Destination airport:Athens-Ellinikon International Airport (ATH/LGAT), Greece
The Boeing 707 started its takeoff run on runway 25 at 14:05. While accelerating through 80 knots, the no. 4 engine instruments indicated zero thrust followed by the no. 2 engine thrust reverser deployment light. The crew aborted the takeoff at a speed below V1 at 800-900 m down the runway. The plane decelerated slower than expected and veered to the right, until the no. 4 engine struck a pavement roller. The 707 caught fire and traveled another 260 m before coming to rest, engulfed in flames.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Damage to reverse thrust system of No.2 engine, not discernible by means of cockpit instruments, and consisting in the disconnection of a duct with resulting lack of pressure in the pneumatic clamshell door actuating mechanism.
This malfunction allowed in the development of considerable forward thrust by No.2 engine even though the four levers were in the "reverse" position."

Engine reverse issue
Rejected takeoff
Runway excursion

» ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.16 - Volume III, Circular 82-AN/69 (113-124)


photo of Boeing-707-331-N769TW
accident date: 23-11-1964
type: Boeing 707-331
registration: N769TW
photo of Boeing-707-331-N769TW
Seat map Boeing 707-331 N769TW

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 Roma-Fiumicino Airport to Athens-Ellinikon International Airport as the crow flies is 1063 km (665 miles).

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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Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (GAPPRE): recommendations and guidance material to prevent runway excursions
Boeing 707

  • 858 built
  • 13th loss
  • 11th fatal accident
  • 7th worst accident (at the time)
  • 26th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
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