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Accident description
Last updated: 19 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 30 October 1941
Time:02:04
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-3A-269
Operator:Northwest Airlines
Registration: NC21712
C/n / msn: 2124
First flight: 1939
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3-G
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Total:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 15
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Moorhead, MN (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Minneapolis-Wold-Chamberlain Field, MN (MSP/KMSP), United States of America
Destination airport:Fargo-Hector Field, ND (FAR/KFAR), United States of America
Flightnumber:Trip 5
Narrative:
Crashed in fog due to icing. Twelve passengers and three crew were on board. The pilot Clarence Bates was the only survivor.

Northwest Airlines Trip 5 originated at Chicago Municipal Airport, Illinois with Seattle, Washington as its destination. Intermediate stops were scheduled at Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota; Billings, Montana; Butte, Montana and Spokane, Washington.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause:
The failure of the aircraft, when the inboard portions of the wing were stalled, to respond to the application of full power in the manner reasonably to be expected in the light of the aeronatical knowledge then available.

Contributing factors:
1. Accumulation of ice on the wings and other surfaces of the airplane, increasing the stalling speed and the drag of the airplane on the power required to maintain flight.
2. Failure of the captain, due to his having lost confidence in the airspeed meters, to realize his close approach to a stalled condition.
3. Action of the captain in descending to attempt a landing at Fargo with known icing conditions and critical ceiling conditions, instead of proceeding to an available alternative.
4. Failure of the dispatcher to recognize the seriousness of weather conditions in the vicinity of Fargo and to direct the pilot to proceed to his alternate.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 93 days (3 months)
Accident number: SA-53
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Icing
Loss of control

Photos

photo of Douglas DC-3A-269 NC21712
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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 Minneapolis-Wold-Chamberlain Field, MN to Fargo-Hector Field, ND as the crow flies is 356 km (223 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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Douglas DC-3

  • ca 13.000 built
  • 30th loss
  • 17th fatal accident
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 372nd worst accident (currently)
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