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Date:Friday 11 October 1946
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54B-15-DO (DC-4)
Operator:Eastern Air Lines
Registration: NC88729
MSN: 18396
First flight: 1944
Total airframe hrs:2045
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000-13G
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 22
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 26
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:near Alexandria, VA (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Atlanta (unknown airport), GA, United States of America
Destination airport:Washington-National Airport, DC (DCA/KDCA), United States of America
Flight 564 departed Miami, Florida, at 16:20 with its destination Newark, and with stops scheduled at Tampa, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. The flight progressed according to its flight plan to Atlanta, where a landing was made at 19:43. Because of low ceilings and visibility forecast for Washington it was agreed that Flight 564 would be cleared from Atlanta to Newark, subject to possible reclearance en route in the event the weather at Washington was suitable for a landing. The flight departed Atlanta at 20:27 and proceeded on an instrument flight plan at 7,000 feet along Airway Green 6. Nearing Washington, the crew obtained permission to approach the National Airport. At 23:16 the flight reported that It had missed its approach and requested clearance for a second approach. While maneuvering for another approach, the DC-4 struck the crest of a low ridge at an elevation 200 feet above sea level, 6 miles south-southwest of Washington National Airport. The aircraft progressed upslope, continued in a turn for approximately 500 feet during which time the landing gear failed and the right wing began to disintegrate as it struck and demolished two telephone poles in its path. As it passed over the top of the ridge and started down the northern slope, the aircraft momentarily left the ground making contact again on the left wing and causing the wing to break outboard of the No. 1 engine. Pivoting on the left inboard wing panel, the aircraft rolled into an Inverted position and skidded tail first to a stop.

The DC-4 struck a ridge while on approach. The aircraft burned out after all occupants had deplaned.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board finds that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the pilot to maintain flight at or above the minimum safe altitude for instrument approach to Washington National Airport."

» Air Britain Casualty compendium (pt. 44)
» CAB File No. 4400-46


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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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