ASN Aircraft accident Convair CV-440 N4819C Bishop Airport, CA (BIH)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 13 March 1974
Type:Silhouette image of generic CVLP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Convair CV-440
Operator:Sierra Pacific Airlines
Registration: N4819C
MSN: 138
First flight: 1953
Total airframe hrs:41112
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 32 / Occupants: 32
Total:Fatalities: 36 / Occupants: 36
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:8,3 km (5.2 mls) SE of Bishop Airport, CA (BIH) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 1860 m (6102 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bishop Airport, CA (BIH/KBIH), United States of America
Destination airport:Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America
Flightnumber: 802
The aircraft was chartered by Wolper Productions Inc. to fly a movie production crew from Bishop (BIH) to Burbank (BUR). The cast and crew of the television series 'Primal Man' was returning from shooting a prehistoric hunting sequence in the snow-covered Sierra. Amongst the crew were director-writer Dennis Azzarella and actor Janos Prohaska.
Flight 802 departed Hollywood-Burbank Airport at 18:14 to pick up the passengers at Bishop. The flight from Burbank to Bishop was conducted under VFR conditions and at 19:10 the crew contacted the Tonopah Flight Service Station (FSS) and cancelled their VFR flight plan. The crew then "air filed" an IFR flight plan for the return trip from Bishop to Burbank. The aircraft landed at Bishop at 19:20. Baggage and equipment were loaded and 32 passengers boarded the flight. The Convair CV-440 departed the gate at about 20:20. The crew then contacted the Tonopah FSS and advised that they were taxiing for departure and requested that their IFR clearance be activated.
After takeoff from runway 12 the flight made a climbing right turn, circled back over, or near, the BIH VOR and then proceeded outbound in an east-southeasterly direction.
At 20:24 Flight 802 again contacted the Tonopah FSS and reported that they were off Bishop at 20:20 and were, "climbing VFR over Bishop, awaiting clearance."
About four minutes later the aircraft struck a foothill in the White Mountain range at an elevation of 6100 feet (1860 m). The aircraft was on a heading of about 175 degrees magnetic and in an approximate 25 degree bank to the right at impact.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The National Transportation Safety Board is unable to determine the probable cause of this accident. The reason why the flightcrew did not maintain a safe distance from hazardous terrain during night visual flight conditions could not be established."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 10 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-75-01
Download report: Final report

Cause undetermined
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» The Victoria Advocate - May 16, 1974

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

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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 Bishop Airport, CA to Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA as the crow flies is 350 km (219 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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Convair CV-440

  • 233 built
  • 19th loss
  • 11th fatal accident
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

 United States of America
  • 69th worst accident (at the time)
  • 97th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

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