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Accident description
Last updated: 20 June 2018
Date:Tuesday 11 July 1961
Time:11:36 MST
Type:Douglas DC-8-12
Operator:United Airlines
Registration: N8040U
C/n / msn: 45307/146
First flight: 1961
Total airframe hrs:124
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 115
Total:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 122
Ground casualties:Fatalities: 1
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO (DEN) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Omaha-Eppley Airfield, NE (OMA/KOMA), United States of America
Destination airport:Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO (DEN/KDEN), United States of America
Following departure from Omaha, hydraulic difficulties were experienced. The flight continued to Denver, using flight manual procedures. Upon arrival near Denver, the ejectors were extended hydraulically, but the hydraulic pressure dropped to zero when an attempt was made to extend flaps to 25 degrees. The hydraulic system selector was then placed in the no. 3 position (flap and gear downlock) and the approach was continued. After touchdown the throttles were placed in the idle reverse thrust position and power was applied. An uncontrollable deviation from the runway occurred and the aircraft crashed into a new taxiway construction. The undercarriage was torn off and the DC-8 caught fire and burned.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines the probable cause of this accident was the asymmetric thrust which, during a hydraulic emergency, resulted from failure of the thrust reversers on engines nos. 1 and 2 when reverse thrust was selected. A contributing factor was the failure of the first officer to monitor the thrust reverse indicator lights when applying reverse thrust."


Runway excursion


photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
photo of Douglas DC-8-12 N8040U
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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 Omaha-Eppley Airfield, NE to Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO as the crow flies is 772 km (483 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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