ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-49J (DC-3) N15570 Lone Pine, CA
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 18 February 1969
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-49J (DC-3)
Operator:Hawthorne Nevada Airlines
Registration: N15570
MSN: 6320
First flight: 1943
Total airframe hrs:48274
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 32 / Occupants: 32
Total:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:20 km (12.5 mls) W of Lone Pine, CA (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 3587 m (11768 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Hawthorne Airport, NV (HTH), United States of America
Destination airport:Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America
Flightnumber: 708
The DC-3 aircraft left Hawthorne (HTH) at 03:50 PST on a VFR flightplan for Burbank (BUR) and Long Beach (LGB), USA. Last contact with the flight was at 04:06 when the crew contacted the Tonopah Flight Service Station, and requested that their flight plan be opened. At 05:10, some 20 km West of Lone Pine, the airplane impacted the face of a sheer cliff on the east slope of the Mount Whitney at an elevation of 11,770 feet m.s.l. (3587 m). The main body of the wreckage slid down the cliff and came to rest 500 feet back from the cliff.
An extensive ground and air search was launched after the aircraft was declared missing. Due to heavy snow accumulations on the ground, low clouds throughout the search period, and extremely hazardous terrain, the aircraft was not located until August 8, 1969.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The deviation from the prescribed route of flight, as autorized in the company's FAA-approved operations specifications, resulting in the aircraft being operated under IFR weather conditions, in high mountainous terrain, in an area where there was a lack of radio navigation aids."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 years
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-70-05
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Follow-up / safety actions
On December 29, 1970 the FAA required the installation of an ELT on most civil airplanes of U.S. registry

FAA issued 1

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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 Hawthorne Airport, NV to Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA as the crow flies is 480 km (300 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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
  • 3944th loss
  • 1565th fatal accident
  • 10th worst accident (at the time)
  • 15th worst accident (currently)
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 United States of America
  • 60th worst accident (at the time)
  • 98th worst accident (currently)
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