ASN Aircraft accident Fairchild F-27B N4905 Iliamna Airport, AK (ILI)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 2 December 1968
Type:Silhouette image of generic F27 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fairchild F-27B
Operator:Wien Consolidated Airlines
Registration: N4905
MSN: 49
First flight: 1959
Total airframe hrs:17194
Engines: 2 Rolls-Royce Dart 514-7E
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 36 / Occupants: 36
Total:Fatalities: 39 / Occupants: 39
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:42 km (26.3 mls) E of Iliamna Airport, AK (ILI) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 67 m (220 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Anchorage International Airport, AK (ANC/PANC), United States of America
Destination airport:Iliamna Airport, AK (ILI/PAIL), United States of America
Flightnumber: 55
A Wien Consolidated Airlines Fairchild F-27B, N4905, crashed at Pedro Bay, Alaska. The 36 passengers and three crewmembers were killed in the accident and the aircraft was destroyed by in-flight breakup and ground impact.
The aircraft was being operated as Flight 55 in scheduled domestic passenger service between Anchorage International Airport, AK (ANC) and Dillingham Municipal Airport, AK (DLG) with en route stops at Iliamna Airport, AK (ILI), Big Mountain Airport, AK (BMX), and King Salmon Airport, AK (AKN).
Flight 55 departed from Anchorage at 08:46 on an instrument flight plan for Iliamna. The flight was cleared to cruise at 16,000 feet. The weather at Iliamna was reported to be clear, and the visibility was 15 miles at the time of the flight's departure from Anchorage.
The flight proceeded toward Iliamna without reported difficulty, and at 09:25, the first officer requested a clearance for an approach to Iliamna. This request was approved. No further communication was received from the crew.
Ground witnesses in and around the Pedro Bay area reported that they saw a fireball and a large cloud of black smoke which appeared to be behind the wing of the aircraft. The aircraft appeared to continue on course for a short period of time, then pieces of the aircraft were seen falling, and the aircraft entered a spinning descent.
The major portion of the wreckage was located on the southern shore of Foxies Lake at an elevation of approximately 220 feet.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was an in-flight structural failure caused by an encounter with severe to extreme turbulence. This turbulence was not forecast and its presence was not known to the flightcrew. The failure occurred in an area of the right wing (WS 197) which had been weakened to an indeterminate degree by pre-existing fatigue cracks."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-70-16
Download report: Final report

Wing failure
Loss of control

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all...


photo of Fairchild-F-27B-N4905
accident date: 02-12-1968
type: Fairchild F-27B
registration: N4905

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 Anchorage International Airport, AK to Iliamna Airport, AK as the crow flies is 310 km (194 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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Fairchild F-27

  • 129 built
  • 15th loss
  • 10th fatal accident
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 3rd worst accident (currently)
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 United States of America
  • 50th worst accident (at the time)
  • 85th worst accident (currently)
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