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Last updated: 25 October 2021
Date:Friday 21 November 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47A-1-DK (DC-3)
Operator:SAA Historic Flight
Registration: ZS-BXF
MSN: 12107
First flight: 1943
Total airframe hrs:25962
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:3,7 km (2.3 mls) E of Lanseria Airport (HLA) (   South Africa)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Lanseria Airport (HLA/FALA), South Africa
Destination airport:Swartkop Air Force Base (FASK), South Africa
Flightnumber: 668
The Douglas C-47 owned by the SAA Historic Flight flew to Lanseria (HLA) to carry out a sightseeing flight. Fuel allocated in the aircraft for the flight was 400 US gallons (1514 liters). The aircraft departed Swartkop Aerodrome at 14:10 UTC on a ferry flight to Lanseria from where the sightseeing flight took place. A supernumerary pilot, about to undergo conversion training, was the only other person on board. The purpose of his presence was to observe procedures, flying and handling of the aircraft during the ferry flight. The flight departed Lanseria at approximately 14:55 UTC with 24 passengers on board and landed back at 15:55 UTC.
At 16:10 UTC, after the passengers had disembarked, Flight 668 took off from runway 24 at Lanseria for the return flight to Swartkop. At about 6000 ft Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) and about 1500 ft Above Ground Level (AGL) to the South of and downwind of runway 24R, the left engine failed. The first officer was the pilot flying and the captain was the pilot non-flying. The captain switched the left engine booster pump on and changed the left-hand side fuel tank selection from the left main to left auxiliary tank and the left engine recovered. Shortly thereafter the right engine also failed. The first officer commenced a turn towards runway 24 whilst the captain dealt with the problem of now restarting the starboard engine by switching the right engine booster pump on and selecting the right-hand side fuel tank selector from the right main tank to the right auxiliary tank and the left engine recovered. According to the crew the left engine then failed again and so too did the right engine. At this stage the crew saw that they were not going to reach runway 24 and carried out a wheels-up forced landing on an open field. During the process of going into the forced landing on the field the captain continued with his attempts to restart the engines by going through the selection of the different fuel tanks. After the aircraft came to a standstill the crew and the supernumerary pilot evacuated the aircraft.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "1. The engines failed due to fuel starvation. 2. Contributory to the fuel starvation was the incorrect selection of fuel tanks and also because the crew did not know which tanks had the most fuel."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 6 months
Accident number: Ref: 7731
Download report: Final report

Fuel starvation
All engine powerloss
Forced landing outside airport

» CAA S.A. Accident Report Ref: 7731


photo of Douglas-C-47A-ZS-BXF
accident date: 21-11-2003
type: Douglas C-47A (DC-3)
registration: ZS-BXF

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 Lanseria Airport to Swartkop Air Force Base as the crow flies is 28 km (17 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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