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Eastern 576 Crashes in Windshear in Raleigh

By Patrick Mondout

At 8:02 pm on November 12, 1975, Eastern Air Lines Flight 576 struck the ground about 282 feet short of runway 23 at the Raleigh-Durham Airport, Raleigh, North Carolina, bounced up onto the runway and slid to a stop 4,150 feet past the runway threshold. Of the 139 persons aboard the aircraft, 8 were injured; one of the injuries was serious.

The accident occurred during an instrument landing system approach in heavy rain showers. The 727 was damaged substantially.

The NTSB originally pinned the blame on the pilots in their May 19, 1976 report:

"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to execute a missed approach when he lost sight of the runway environment in heavy rain below decision height."

Eastern 727-225

A Boeing 727-225 similar to the one involved in this crash, as seen at National Airport in November, 1977.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at

On October 3, 1978, the Air Line Pilots Association submitted a petition for reconsideration of probable cause of the probable cause that was adopted in the original accident report. As a result of the Air Line Pilots Association's petition, the accident report and the probable cause were revised. Here's the modified wording from the revised report, which was finally released on September 7, 1983:

"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was an encounter with heavy rain and associated downdrafts and wind shear during the final stages of landing when the airplane was less than 100 feet above the ground. The sudden onset of the meteorological conditions did not allow sufficient time for the captain to perceive and react to the effect of the downdraft and wind shear on the airplane's performance to stop the airplane's increased rate of descent and for the airplane to respond before striking the ground short of the runway."

A picture of the actual aircraft after it was repaired and put back in service is here.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report.

Eastern 576 at a Glance
DateNovember 12, 1975
Flight number576
Registration NumberN8838E
Crew Fatalities0 of 8
Passenger Fatalities0 of 131
Total Fatalities0 of 139

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: Eastern

Location: Raleigh, North Carlina

Aircraft: Boing 727-225

Date: November 12, 1975

Total Fatalities: 0 of 139

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