ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-121 N738PA Karachi International Airport (KHI)
ASN logo
Date:Thursday 4 August 1983
Type:Silhouette image of generic B741 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 747-121
Operator:Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: N738PA
MSN: 19645/14
First flight: 1970-01-19 (13 years 7 months)
Total airframe hrs:53324
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 16
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 227
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 243
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Karachi International Airport (KHI) (   Pakistan)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL/VIDP), India
Destination airport:Karachi International Airport (KHI/OPKC), Pakistan
PanAm Flight PA073 was cleared to land at runway 25R of Karachi International Airport (KHI), Pakistan. The approach speed just prior to touch down was 152 knots. After touch down reverse thrust was applied on engines No.1, 2 and 3. Engine No.4 which had an unserviceable reverser was left in forward idle.
Seventy knots was called and some three seconds later reverse power was decreased. At this stage EPR on No.4 engine increased rapidly. The aircraft veered to the left of the center line at about 7400 feet from the approach end of runway 25R and departed the runway edge at 8000 feet from the approach end of runway 25R with 2500 feet of runway remaining. Shortly before the aircraft departed the runway, the pilot flying (co-pilot) reported that he had no brakes and no nose wheel steering. The captain stated that he got on the brakes and tiller at this time to assist. After departing the runway surface the aircraft travelled 380 feet through soft mud before it came to rest at a point about 2100 feet from the end of runway 25R, heading about 160 degrees on the Southern side of the runway with the tail of the aircraft 120 feet from the runway edge. Shortly after the aircraft departed the runway, the nose gear struck a VASI light installation and its concrete base causing the nose gear to collapse backwards and to the left, resulting in total destruction of the VASI light installation and damage to the forward cargo hold, floor of the first class section and the stairway leading to the upper deck. Damage to the aircraft was substantial.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan determines that the probable cause of the landing accident on runway 25R at Karachi International Airport at 0438 hours (Pakistan Standard Time) on 4th August 1983, to Pan American World Airways Flight PA 073,Boeing 747-100 Registration N 738 PA, was loss of directional control as the result of inadvertant application of forward thrust on No.4 engine at the time the pilot flying was coming out of reverse thrust on engines No.1, 2 and 3 during the landing roll, and subsequent failure of the crew to recognize the assymetric power condition. Contributing were failure of the crew to monitor the engines, and failure to follow specified procedures during the landing."

Runway excursion


photo of Boeing-747-121-N738PA
accident date: 04-08-1983
type: Boeing 747-121
registration: N738PA
photo of Boeing-747-121-N738PA
accident date: 04-08-1983
type: Boeing 747-121
registration: N738PA

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 Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport to Karachi International Airport as the crow flies is 1061 km (663 miles).

languages: languages


Boeing 747

  • 1551+ built
  • 10th loss
» safety profile

  • 24th worst accident (at the time)
  • 44th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2023 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av., 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314