ASN Aircraft accident Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia F-GEGH Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 21 December 1987
Type:Silhouette image of generic E120 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia
Operating for:Air France
Leased from:Air Littoral
Registration: F-GEGH
MSN: 120033
First flight: 1986
Total airframe hrs:2505
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5,1 km (3.2 mls) NE of Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) (   France)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Brussel-Zaventem Airport (BRU/EBBR), Belgium
Destination airport:Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD/LFBD), France
An Embraer 120RT Brasilia turboprop plane, operated by Air Littoral, was destroyed when it crashed into trees while on approach to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), France. All sixteen occupants were killed.
The airplane operated Air France flight 1919 from Bordeaux, France to Brussel-Zaventem Airport (BRU), Belgium, and Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS), the Netherlands and return. However, poor weather at Amsterdam forced the crew to cancel the flight leg to Schiphol Airport.
AF1919 departed Brussels at 13:30 with the copilot as Pilot Flying and the captain as Pilot Monitoring. It reached the Bordeaux area without incident. The crew contacted Bordeaux Approach at 15:01 and were vectored for an ILS approach to runway 23. Visibility was poor with low clouds at 100 feet and a runway visual range (RVR) of between 650 and 350 metres.
Flight 1919 crossed the KERAG beacon, the initial approach fix (IAF) at an altitude of FL144, at 15:04:40. Cloud base was still around 100 feet so the crew requested to enter a holding pattern to the south of the airport. The weather conditions slightly improved during the next few minutes and Bordeaux Approach reported a cloud base at 160 feet. Flight 1919 had not reached the holding pattern yet and the pilot decided to attempt to rejoin the ILS. At 15:06:38 the flight was cleared direct to the BD beacon and to descend down to 2000 feet. At the BD beacon, the flight was cleared for final approach and instructed to contact Bordeaux Tower. The airplane had overshot the centreline and was slighty right on the glidepath. Bordeaux Tower then instructed the flight to report over the Outer Marker, which was acknowledged by the captain. After crossing the Outer Marker, the airplane was still not properly established on the ILS. The airplane descended below the glideslope with the crew hurriedly deploying flaps and landing gear. The captain did not contact Bordeaux Tower as requested. Instead he took over control of the airplane, attempting to continue the approach. Both crew members had very little time to adapt to their new roles as the airplane was descending below the glide slope. The descent continued until it struck trees and crashed at 15:10:18.

Probable Cause:

CAUSES (translated from French):
The accident was the direct result of poorly managed aircraft trajectory.
- The lack of vigilance with respect to altitude, by one pilot and then the other, when they were in a pilot-flying situation (PF, according to the Air Littoral Operations Manual) both when the aircraft descended out of the ILS beam through 2000 feet altitude and when it descended below 220 feet, the decision height.
- Inadequate coordination of tasks between the two pilots who formed the flight crew, neither of which had performed important tasks related to this function, such as monitoring and reporting ILS or altitude deviations, while in a nonpilot-flying situation (PNF, according to the same manual).

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: Report f-gh871221
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

» ICAO Adrep Summary 2/88 (#29)


photo of Embraer-EMB-120RT-Brasilia-F-GEGH
flight profile
photo of Embraer-120RT-Brasilia-F-GEGH
accident date: 21-12-1987
type: Embraer 120RT Brasilia
registration: F-GEGH
photo of Embraer-120RT-Brasilia-F-GEGH
accident date: 21-12-1987
type: Embraer 120RT Brasilia
registration: F-GEGH

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 Brussel-Zaventem Airport to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport as the crow flies is 773 km (483 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

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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Embraer EMB-120

  • 357 built
  • 2nd loss
  • 2nd fatal accident
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
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  • 43rd worst accident (at the time)
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