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Accident description
Last updated: 21 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 1 March 1978
Time:09:25
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC10 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
Operator:Continental Air Lines
Registration: N68045
C/n / msn: 46904/44
First flight: 1972
Engines: 3 General Electric CF6-6D
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 14
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 186
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 200
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX) (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America
Destination airport:Honolulu International Airport, HI (HNL/PHNL), United States of America
Flightnumber: 603
Narrative:
Continental Flight 603 (Los Angeles - Honolulu) received clearance to taxi to runway 06R at 09:01. At 09:22 the flight was cleared to taxi into position and hold. Takeoff clearance was given a minute later, but the crew delayed the acknowledgment, because the captain thought the clearance was given too soon after a heavy jet aircraft had made its takeoff. Acceleration was normal, but while approaching the V1 speed (156 knots) a loud "metallic bang" was heard, followed by a quivering. As rejected takeoff procedures were begun, the airspeed continued to increase to 159 knots. The aircraft appeared to be decelerating normally, but with 2000 feet of runway remaining, the flight crew became aware that the rate of deceleration had decreased and they believed that the aircraft would not be able to stop on the runway. The aircraft was steered to the right and departed the right corner of the runway end. About 100 feet beyond the runway, the left main gear broke through the nonload-bearing tarmac surface and failed. A fire erupted in this area as the aircraft turned to the left, coming to rest 664 feet from the runway end and 40 feet right of the extended centreline in a 11deg left wing low and 1,3deg nose-up attitude.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The sequential failure of two tyres on the left main landing gear and the resultant failure of another tire on the same landing gear at a critical time during the take-off roll. These failures resulted in the captain's decision to reject the take-off."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-79-01
Download report: Final report

Classification:


Runway excursion

Sources:
» Flight International 12.08.1978 (458)
» Flight International 16.12.1978 (2158)
» Flight International 21 October 1978 (1459)
» NTSB-AAR-79-1


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 22 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N68045
tail section after being scrapped
photo of McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N68045
tail section after being scrapped
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Map
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 Los Angeles International Airport, CA to Honolulu International Airport, HI as the crow flies is 4082 km (2551 miles).

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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DC-10

  • 446 built
  • 5th loss
  • 2nd fatal accident
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 12th worst accident (currently)
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