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Accident description
Last updated: 20 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 7 April 1936
Time:10:20
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: NC13721
C/n / msn: 1247
First flight: 1934
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 11
Total:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 14
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:5 km (3.1 mls) SE of Fairchance, PA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Camden Central Airport, NJ, United States of America
Destination airport:Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport, PA (AGC/KAGC), United States of America
Flightnumber: 1
Narrative:
Crashed into Chestnut Ridge three miles south-east of Fairchance en route Camden, NJ to Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport, PA in fog. Pilot Capt Otto Ferguson, co-pilot Harry C. Lewis, hostess Nelly H. Granger and eleven passengers on board. Only the hostess and one passenger (Mrs M.C. Ellenstein) survived

Probable Cause:

It is the opinion of the Bureau of Air Commerce that the probable cause of this accident was poor judgment on the part of Pilot [name] for flying by visual ground observation methods after having descended through the clouds and overcast in mountainous terrain at a point unknown to him. Because of low clouds and poor visibility, this required flying close to the ground whereas the safest method under such circumstances is to climb into or above the overcast to a safe altitude and determine the location of the plane by instruments and radio.

Contributory causes to this accident were:
1. Failure of the pilot to identify accurately his position with respect to the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport before descending through the overcast in preparation for his scheduled landing.
2. Failure of the pilot to proceed to and follow the right hand side of the west leg of the Harrisburg radio range course when it first became necessary for him to resort to instrument flying in the vicinity of Harrisburg due to weather conditions and failure to complete his flight on the right hand side of the northeast leg of the Pittsburgh radio range, as provided for by both Department of Commerce and TWA regulations.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: BoAC
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 147 days (5 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Classification:
VFR flight in IMC
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

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Map
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 Camden Central Airport, NJ to Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport, PA as the crow flies is 412 km (258 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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