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Datum:Montag 20 April 1953
Flugzeugtyp:Silhouette image of generic DC6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-6B
Fluggesellschaft:Western Air Lines
Kennzeichen: N91303
Werknummer: 43823/298
Baujahr: 1952
Triebwerk: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16
Besatzung:Todesopfer: 4 / Insassen: 5
Fluggäste:Todesopfer: 4 / Insassen: 5
Gesamt:Todesopfer: 8 / Insassen: 10
Sachschaden: Zerstört
Konsequenzen: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Unfallort:San Francisco Bay, CA (   USA)
Flugphase: Annäherung (APR)
Betriebsart:Inländischer planmäßiger Passagierflug
Flug von:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO), USA
Flug nach:Oakland International Airport, CA (OAK/KOAK), USA
Flugnummer: 636
Western Flight 636 was a scheduled flight from Los Angeles to Oakland with an intermediate stop at San Francisco. The DC-6 departed San Francisco's runway 28R at 23:05 for s short VFR flight across the bay to Oakland. The flight was to remain clear of clouds at a minimum altitude of 500 feet.
The crew were cleared to enter the traffic pattern for Oakland's runway 27R, three minutes later. On approach, the aircraft descended into the bay and crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's action in continuing a descent below the 500-foot prescribed minimum altitude until the aircraft struck the water. A probable contributing factor to the aircraft striking the water was the sensory illusion experienced by the pilots."

» CAB File No. 1-0020
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 39-AN/34 (67-71)


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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 San Francisco International Airport, CA to Oakland International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 18 km (11 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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