ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-47A-90-DL (DC-3C) N63439 Refugio Pass, CA
ASN logo

Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 6 April 1951
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47A-90-DL (DC-3C)
Operator:Southwest Airways
Registration: N63439
MSN: 20229
First flight: 1944
Total airframe hrs:8132
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19
Total:Fatalities: 22 / Occupants: 22
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Refugio Pass, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Santa Maria Airport, CA (KSMX), United States of America
Destination airport:Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, CA (SBA/KSBA), United States of America
Flightnumber: 7
Southwest Airways Flight 7 originated at San Francisco, for Los Angeles, with stops scheduled at San Jose, Watsonville, Monterey, Paso Robles, San Lois Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Oxnard. Departure from San Francisco was 18:00, 15 minutes behind schedule. Flight 7 proceeded in a routine manner and landed at Santa Maria at 20:10. All previous scheduled stops had been made with the exception of the one at San Luis Obispo which was passed over because of local weather. Departure from Santa Maria was at 20:18, 12 minutes behind schedule. Two minutes after takeoff from Santa Maria the flight radioed its on and off times to and from that station and gave an estimated arrival time of 20:39 at Santa Barbara. This was the last radio contact with the flight. The crew should have used the 4000 feet minimum altitude to remain VFR above the clouds, but instead where at 2740 feet MSL in instrument conditions. The aircraft struck the gradually rising slope of a ridge.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the flight, for undetermined reasons, to maintain the specified minimum en route altitude of 4000ft for the route being flown."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» CAB File No: 1-0019
» ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.2, Circular 24-AN/21 (87-89)


Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

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 Santa Maria Airport, CA to Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, CA as the crow flies is 77 km (48 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.
languages: languages


Douglas DC-3

  • ca 13.000 built
  • 2940th loss
  • 1033rd fatal accident
  • 82nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 177th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

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

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

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