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Accident description
Last updated: 11 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Monday 11 November 1946
Time:03:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3)
Operator:United Air Lines
Registration: NC19947
C/n / msn: 4873
First flight: 1942
Total airframe hrs:11684
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 20
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Cleveland, OH (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Chicago (unknown airport), IL, United States of America
Destination airport:Cleveland (unknown airport), OH, United States of America
Flightnumber:UA404
Narrative:
Flight 404 departed Chicago at 01:42 on an instrument flight plan to cruise to Cleveland at 9,000 feet. The en route and descent portions of the flight were uneventful. The instrument approach was started at 03:21 at which time the flight was given the 03:20 special weather report: ceiling indefinite 400 feet, overcast, low, thin, broken; visibility 2 miles, light rain, light fog. The pilot was cleared to land at runway 36L. After passing over the airport at approx. 300 feet, the controller cleared the pilot to use runway 36L, 36R or 31, at the captain's discretion. When north of the airport, the aircraft turned to the right for a landing approach to runway 31. Mistaking the end markers on the approach end of runway 23 for the end markers on the approach end of runway 31, the pilot established an approach toward a dark area north of the airport. Before the pilot was able to correct his error, the right wing of the aircraft struck trees and other obstructions adjoining the northern boundary of the airport and the aircraft dived into the ground.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The error of the pilot in establishing an approach toward an area not cleared for landing as a result of having mistaken the end markers of Runway 23 for those of Runway 31. A contributing factor was the failure of the pilot to abandon his attempt to land at Cleveland Airport when confronted with weather conditions below the minimums prescribed for that airport."

Sources:
» CAB File No. 4331-46


Photos

photo of Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3) NC19947
photo of Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3) NC19947
photo of Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3) NC19947
photo of Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3) NC19947
photo of Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3) NC19947
photo of Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3) NC19947
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