ASN logo
Last updated: 23 October 2021
Date:Thursday 15 November 1956
Type:Silhouette image of generic M404 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Martin 4-0-4
Operator:Trans World Airlines - TWA
Registration: N40404
MSN: 14104
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 35
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 38
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS/KLAS), United States of America
Destination airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America
The aircraft was on its last leg of a flight to Los Angeles when it taxied to runway 07 at 14:49 PST. The Martin 4-0-4 took off at 14:56 and made a climbing left turn, heading for Los Angeles. A few minutes later the no. 2 engine lost power and backfired, forcing the crew to feather the prop. They elected to return to Las Vegas, which was radioed to air traffic control at 15:01. The aircraft flew a wide base leg before turning to runway 07. Airspeed was excessive as the aircraft crossed the threshold (115-120 knots, were 95-100 knots should have been normal). The Martin floated for 2749 feet before touching down and bouncing a few times. Airspeed during the last bounce was 100-105 knots and the pilot-in-command ordered full power and 12deg flaps for a go-around. The aircraft climbed, veered to the left and struck the ground left wing-low, sliding for 225 feet before coming to rest.
It appeared that the no. 2 engine failed because of the failure of the no. 2 cylinder exhaust push rod. This caused the exhaust valve to remain closed, trapping exhaust gases under pressure. When the intake valve was opened these gases entered the induction system of the engine, causing loss of power and backfiring.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "During an emergency situation the captain failed to reduce speed during the latter portion of a single-engine approach; this excessive speed resulted in an overshoot and an attempted go-around which was beyond the performance capability of the aircraft under existing conditions."

» ICAO Accident Digest No.8, Circular 54-AN/49 (148-151)


Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

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 Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV to Los Angeles International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 377 km (236 miles).

languages: languages