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Capitol C2C3/26

By Patrick Mondout

At just after 5:00 p.m. on November 27, 1970, a Capitol International Airways Douglas DC-8 carrying military personnel and some of their dependents to South Vietnam crashed and burned following an unsuccessful takeoff attempt from at the Anchorage International Airport.

The flight was being operated as a Military Airlift Command (MAC) contract flight from McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, to Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam, with en route refueling stops at Anchorage and Yokota, Japan.

The investigation disclosed that the DC-8 failed to become airborne during the takeoff run and overran the end of the runway. It continued along the ground and struck a low wooden barrier, the instrument landing system (ILS) structure, and a 12-foot deep drainage ditch before coming to a stop approximately 3,400 feet beyond the end of the runway.

Capitol Capitol DC-8-63CF

Here is another Capitol DC-8-63CF - virtually identical to flight C2C3/26 - seen in Las Vegas in June 1978.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at Airliners.net


The DC-8 was destroyed in the intense ground fire which developed subsequent to the crash. There were 219 military passengers (including six dependents) and a crew of 10 aboard the aircraft. Forty-six passengers and one flight attendant were killed as a result of the post-crash fire.

At the time of takeoff, the airport was experiencing a very light freezing drizzle. The runway used by this flight (6R) was covered with ice with braking action reported as fair to poor.

Following the accident, tire skid-marks, degraded rubber and shredded tire casings were found over most of the length of the runway.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the aircraft to attain the necessary airspeed to effect lift-off during the attempted takeoff. The lack of acceleration, undetected by the crew until after the DC-8 reached V1 speed (the point which the pilot must decide whether or not to abort the takeoff), was the result of a high frictional drag which was caused by a failure of all main landing gear wheels to rotate. Although it was determined that a braking pressure sufficient to lock all of the wheels was imparted to the brake system, the source of this pressure could not be determined. Possible sources of the unwanted braking pressure were either hydraulic/brake system malfunction or an inadvertently engaged parking brake.

Source: Adapted from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report NTSB-AAR-72-12.

Capitol C2C3/26 at a Glance
AirlineCapitol
DateNovember 27, 1970, 5:05pm
Flight numberC2C3/26
Registration NumberN4909C
Crew Fatalities1 of 10
Passenger Fatalities46 of 219
Total Fatalities47 of 229

Air Safety References:
Bartelski, Jan. Disasters in the Air: Mysterious Air Disasters Explained. Airlife Publishing: England, 2001.
Beaty, David. The Naked Pilot: The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents. Airlife Publishing: England, 1996.
Cushing, Steven. Fatal Words: Communication Clashes and Aircraft Crashes University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1997.
Faith, Nicholas. Black Box: The Air-Crash Detectives-Why Air Safety Is No Accident. Motorbooks International, 1997.
Gero, David. Aviation Disasters: The World's Major Civil Airliner Crashes Since 1950. Sutton, 2003.
Job, Macarthur. Air Disaster (Volume 1). Aerospace Publications: Fyshwick, Australia, 1995.
Job, Macarthur. Air Disaster (Volume 2). Aerospace Publications: Fyshwick, Australia, 1996.
Job, Macarthur. Air Disaster (Volume 3). Aerospace Publications: Fyshwick, Australia, 1999.
Krause, Shari Stamford. Aircraft Safety: Accident Investigations, Analyses & Applications. McGraw Hill, New York, 1996.
Macpherson, Malcolm. The Black Box : All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts Of In-flight Accidents. New York: William Morrow, 1998.
Macpherson, Malcolm. On a Wing and a Prayer: Interviews with Airline Disaster Survivors. Perennial, 2002.
Owen, David. Air Accident Investigation, 2nd Edition. Motorbooks International, 2002.
Stewart, Stanley. Emergency! - Crisis on the Flight Deck, 2nd Edition. Airlife Publishing, England, 2003.
Walters, James M. Aircraft Accident Analysis: Final Reports. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000.
Wells, Alexander T. Commercial Aviation Safety, 3rd Edition. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001.

 

Share Your Memories!

What do you remember about this crash? Were you a witness? Have you any compelling stories to share? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I was the 12th worst injured surviver of this crash. I was a 23 year old light weapons infantryman headed for Vietnam. I spent one month in the burn center at Fort Sam Houston getting out just in time for Christmas. I eventually spent the remainder of my tour of duty at Fort Ord, California. I was released three months early to attend graduate school and eventually completed a PhD. "

--Anonymous

"I was at Anchorage International the night of this crash waining to catch my flight to SEA TAC.

I remember watching the plane crash, and within minutes everyone in uniform was grabbed to help remove people from the plane. All the victims , and most of us, were drenched in jet fuel, the smell of it was so strong it burned your eyes. We helped to get as many people out of the plane as possible before the fire erupted. The planes tanks were loaded with fuel for the long flight. The fire spread fast and burned very hot. After they brought us all clean clothes, I remember sitting at the bar with friends getting very drunk, this was the only way any of us were going to get on a plane."

--V. LaRosa


 

DISASTER DETAILS

Airline: Capitol

Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Aircraft: Douglas DC-8-63CF

Date: November 27, 1970, 5:05pm

Total Fatalities: 47 of 229



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