Boeing 737 crash

From: (Francis Cox)
Date:         03 Jan 95 01:40:38 
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The WWW site I quoted in a previous post to r.t.a appears to be down for the
holiday break; also, the pages on it will have been replaced on a daily
basis in any case. Hence, I am posting here an excerpt from the London
newspaper, 'The Daily Telegraph', Thursday 22nd December 1994; non-aviation
material has been cut.

[excerpt begins]

Five Killed as Plane Plunges into Woodland

by David Graves, Colin Randall and Michael Smith

The altimeter of a Boeing 737 that crashed yesterday near Coventry airport,
killing all five people on board and narrowly missing a housing estate,
could have been wrongly set.

The 21-year-old plane was so low on its approach to the airport at Baginton,
south of the city, that it hit two rooftops before crashing 200 yards away
in woodland.


The 737-200 was chartered from Air Algerie by Phoenix Aviation, of Coventry,
to take live calves to Holland, but no livestock was aboard.

Department of Transport investigators were examining the altimeter to see
whether it was a cause of the crash. It should have been adjusted for a
landing at Coventry, which is 265 ft above sea level, after an earlier
landing at Amsterdam, which is at sea level.

The investigators were also examining reports that air traffic controllers
at Coventry had complained about the standard of English used by Algerian
pilots during radio communications during previous flights taking calves to
the Continent. They said it had been difficult to communicate with them
properly during landings and take-offs.

Another line of enquiry was whether the aircraft's instrument landing system
was compatible with the airport's directional landing system, which would
have aided the pilot in poor visibility - which was down to about 500 yards
because of fog.

Officials said it was likely that the pilot was using only the airport's
landing radar system, which would not have indicated the Boeing's height.


The accident happened as the plane neared the end of a short hop from East
Midlands airport. It had been diverted there on a flight from Amsterdam
because of the fog.

Sixteen-year-old Lee Tubman was sitting in a friend's house when he heard a
terrifying bang. "I saw this huge plane clip the top of the pylons and send
them crashing into the garden," he said, "I thought it was going to crash
into the house. Then I looked over and saw the plane clip the houses across
the road and nosedive into the ground. There was a huge explosion and it
turned into a raging fireball." Some people spoke of hearing an engine
"coughing and spluttering" moments before impact.


The Civil Aviation Authority said last night a 737 flying from Algiers to
Coventry was involved in a near miss with a Boeing 747 jumbo jet on its way
from Brussels to New York at 28,000ft above Chigwell, Essex, at noon on
Monday. A spokesman at the London offices of Air Algerie said that if the
reported near-miss did occur, the aircraft involved would have been the one
that crashed yesterday. The official thought it probable that a different
crew would have been flying it. A CAA spokesman said that a report would be
published on the near-miss. There was no indication yet which, if either, of
the planes was to blame.

[excerpt ends]

Francis Cox .............