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Alaska Airlines 1866


On September 4, 1971 just after noon, Alaska Airlines Flight 1866, a Boeing 727, crashed during an instrument approach to Juneau Municipal Airport.

The flight had been cleared for a Localizer Directional Aid (LDA) approach to Runway 8 and had reported passing the final approach fix (Barlow Intersection). This intersection is located 10.2 miles west of the airport. No further communications were heard from the flight.

The aircraft struck a slope in the Chilkat Mountain range at about the 2,500 foot level, 18.5 miles west of the airport and approximately on the inbound localizer course. All 104 passengers and the seven crewmembers were killed. The aircraft was destroyed by impact and isolated post-crash fires.

Boeing 727-193

This is the actual Boeing 727 that crashed, seen here in Air West livery at San Francisco International Airport (SFO in December, 1968.

Image courtesy of John Stewart. Find more of his photos at


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of the accident was a display of misleading navigational information concerning the flight's progress along the localizer course which resulted in premature descent below obstacle clearance altitude. The origin or nature of the misleading navigational information could not be determined.

The board further concluded that the crew did not use all available navigational aids to check their progress nor were these aids required to be used. The crew also did not perform the required audio identification of the pertinent navigational facilities.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report NTSB-AAR-72-28

Alaska Airlines 1866 at a Glance
AirlineAlaska Airlines
DateSeptember 4, 1971
Flight number1866
Registration NumberN2969G
Crew Fatalities7 of 7
Passenger Fatalities104 of 104
Total Fatalities111 of 111

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.


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Airline: Alaska Airlines

Location: Juneau, Alaska

Aircraft: Boeing 727-193

Date: September 4, 1971

Total Fatalities: 111 of 111

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