ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63AF N785FT Okinawa-Naha AFB (AHA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 27 July 1970
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC86 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63AF
Operator:Flying Tiger Line
Registration: N785FT
MSN: 46005/412
First flight: 1968
Total airframe hrs:6047
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-7
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:0,7 km (0.4 mls) off Okinawa-Naha AFB (AHA) (   Japan)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Tokyo-Haneda Airport (HND/RJTT), Japan
Destination airport:Okinawa-Naha AFB (AHA), Japan
Flightnumber: 45
DC-8 N785 feet departed Los Angeles for a flight to Da Nang AFB, Vietnam with intermediate stops at San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Cold Bay, AK, Tokyo, Okinawa and Cam Ranh Bay. Flight 45 departed Tokyo 09:29 for the IFR flight to Okinawa. The flight proceeded without difficulty to Okinawa, and was cleared for an en route descent to an altitude of 1,000 feet msl to make a precision radar approach to runway 18 at Naha AFB. At 11:31 the flight was advised "... have reduced visibility on final ... tower just advised approach lights and strobe lights are on ....". At 11:32:46, a new altimeter setting of 25.84 inches was given to the crew and acknowledged. The landing checklist, including full flaps. setting of radio altimeters, gear down and locked, and spoilers armed, was completed at 11:33:49.
At slightly less than 5 miles from touchdown, the crew was instructed to begin the descent onto glidepath and was cleared to land. The approach continued, with various heading changes and, at 11:34:53, the crew was advised that they were slightly below the glidepath 3 miles from touchdown. Additional vectors were provided and at 11:35:14, 2 miles from touchdown, the crew was again advised "...dropping slightly below glidepath ... you have a 10 knot tailwind." At 11:35:34, the controller advised the crew that they were on glidepath. The DC-8 continued to descend and broke out of heavy rain and low clouds at an estimated altitude of 75 to 100 feet. The aircraft struck the water approximately 2,200 feet short of the runway at a speed of 144 kts.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "An unarrested rate of descent due to inattention of the crew to instrument altitude references while the pilot was attempting to establish outside visual contact in meteorological conditions which precluded such contact during that segment of a precision radar approach inbound from the Decision Height."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 5 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-72-10
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

» NTSB-AAR-72-10


photo of DC-8-63-
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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