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Delta 9570

By Patrick Mondout

A little before 7:30 a.m. on May 30, 1972, a Delta Airlines DC-9 crashed while attempting a planned go-around following a landing approach to Runway 13 at Greater Southwest International Airport, Ft. Worth, Texas. Three Delta pilots and a Federal Aviation Administration air carrier operations inspector, the only occupants, were killed. The aircraft was destroyed by impact and fire.

The landing approach was conducted following a American Airlines DC-10 - also on a training flight - which made a "touch and go" landing ahead of the DC-9.

The final approach phase of the DC-9 flight appeared normal until the aircraft passed the runway threshold. It then began to oscillate about the roll axis and, after several reversals, rolled rapidly to the right and slammed into the runway in an extreme right-wing-low attitude. The DC-9 burst into flames shortly thereafter.

The DC-9 was on a training flight scheduled for the purpose of qualifying two captain trainees for type ratings in the DC-9.


Another Delta DC-9-32 as seen in Atlanta in November, 1981.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at


The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the accident was an encounter with a trailing vortex generated by a preceding "heavy" jet which resulted in an involuntary loss of control of the airplane during the final approach. Although cautioned to expect turbulence the crew did not have sufficient information to evaluate accurately the hazard or the possible location of the vortex.

A number of changes were implemented by the FAA after NTSB recommendations regarding "wake turbulence" including an increase in the amount of space between these type of "heavy" jets and those that follow them. By 1994 following another accident (the USAir accident near Pittsburgh), the separation between 757s and other aircraft was increased from three miles to four.

A picture of this DC-9 appears here.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report NTSB-AAR-73-3.

Delta 9570 at a Glance
DateMay 30, 1972
Flight number9570
Registration NumberN3305L
Crew Fatalities3 of 3
Passenger Fatalities1 of 1
Total Fatalities4 of 4

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: Delta

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Aircraft: DC-9

Date: May 30, 1972

Total Fatalities: 4 of 4

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