ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-2-112 NC13785 Atlanta, MO
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 6 May 1935
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-2-112
Operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC13785
MSN: 1295
First flight: 1935
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 6
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 8
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:11 km (6.9 mls) WSW of Atlanta, MO (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM (ABQ/KABQ), United States of America
Destination airport:Kansas City (unknown airport), MO, United States of America
A Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) DC-2 crashed near Atlanta, MO, killing five of the eight persons aboard. Senator Bronson M. Cutting (R-N.Mex.) was among the fatalities. A Bureau of Air Commerce report cited the accident’s causes as the U.S. Weather Bureau’s failure to predict hazardous weather and misjudgements by the pilot and TWA ground personnel. In June 1936, however, a committee chaired by Sen. Royal S. Copeland (D-N.Y.) issued a report alleging that the tragedy was caused by malfunctioning navigational aides and voicing other criticisms of the Bureau of Air Commerce. The controversy gave impetus to legislative efforts that eventuated in the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 which included establishing an independent Air Safety Board.

Probable Cause:

It is the opinion of the Accident Board that the probable direct cause of this accident was an unintentional collision with the ground while the airplane was being maneuvered at a very low altitude in fog and darkness.
The probable contributory causes of this accident were:
(a) A forecast by the United States Weathcr Bureau which did not predict the hazardous weather that developed during the latter part of the forecast period.
(b) Improper clearance of the airplane from Albuquerque by the company's ground personnel because of their knowledge that the plane's two-way radio was not functioning on the western night frequency.
(c) Improper control by the company's ground personnel at Albuquerque for not calling the airplane back or ordering it to stop at an intermediate point when it was found that two-way radio communication could not be established.
(d) Error on the part of the pilot for proceeding in the flight after discovcring that he was unable to effectively comunicate with the ground.
(e) Failure of the company's ground personnel at Kansas City to expeditiously redispatch the airplane to a field where better weather existed when it bccame apparent that the ceiling at Kansas City was dropping to and below the authorized minimum for landing and while the airplane still had sufficient fuel to meet the Department of Commerce requirement of 45-minute fuel reserve after effecting a landing.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

» FAA historical chronology


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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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