Narrative:William Jackson of Travel Associates leased DC-3 N142D from Avion Airways for the purpose of transporting sportsmen from Memphis to Belize. The aircraft departed Memphis at 04:36 on an IFR flight to New Orleans. At 06:35 the crew contacted New Orleans approach control: "... out of three point four for three thousand." The approach controller told the crew to maintain 3000 feet and proceed direct to the ILS outer compass locator. He gave the weather as "sky partially obscured visibility 1/16 fog and smoke, altimeter 30.00, runway 10 runway visual range less than 600 feet". The pilot elected to carry out the approach despite the fact that minimum visibility for an approach was 2400 feet and that the centerline lights were inoperative. After being given vectors for the runway 10 approach he decided to carry out a low pass and continue if runway lights became visible. Apparently the pilot continued the descent. The aircraft contacted the runway very hard 1198 feet past the threshold, bounced and after power was applied, the DC-3 struck the ground again 3100 feet further on. The airplane cartwheeled and caught fire.
Probable Cause:PROBABLE CAUSE: "The controlled descent of the aircraft into known below minima weather conditions and the failure of the crew to discontinue the landing attempt upon reaching the decision height. Contributing to the cause are existing regulations which permit an approach to be initiated in conditions well below minima, lack of clarity in the regulations in describing missed approach procedures while following visual cues to the runway, misinterpretation by the crew of information received from the approach controller (in this case, the legality of landing in low visibility conditions), improper crew action at the time of initial runway contact , and poor crew judgement partially induced by fatigue, and the lack of management required for such an operation."
Insufficient rest / fatigue
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground
Follow-up / safety actions
Three safety recommendations were issued with regards landing minima. One of the recommendation stated that FAR 91.117 be amended to the effect that no descent below 200ft shall be performed unless landing minima are present.
NTSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation
Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations
N142D was sold to Avion Airways in October 1966
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 Memphis International Airport, TN to New Orleans International Airport, LA as the crow flies is 558 km (349 miles).