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A Boeing 737-200 Adv similar to the accident aircraft
|Date||11 July 1983|
|Summary||CFIT by pilot error|
|Site|| Cuenca, Ecuador |
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-2V2 Advanced|
|Aircraft name||Ciudad de Loja|
|Flight origin||Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito, Ecuador|
|Destination||Mariscal Lamar International Airport, Cuenca, Ecuador|
The 1983 TAME Boeing 737-200 crash was an aviation incident in which a Boeing 737-2V2 Advanced, operated by the Ecuadorian national airline TAME, which was flying on a domestic route from the now-closed Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito to Mariscal Lamar Airport in Cuenca, crashed into a hill during final approach just 1 mile (1.6 km; 0.87 nmi) from its final destination, killing all 119 people on board.
The Boeing 737 is an American short- to medium-range twinjet narrow-body airliner developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from the 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of several passenger models with capacities from 85 to 215 passengers. The 737 is Boeing's only narrow-body airliner in production, with the 737 Next Generation and the re-engined and updated 737 MAX variants.
TAME or TAME EP Linea Aerea del Ecuador is an airline founded in 1962. TAME is the flag carrier and the largest airline of Ecuador. TAME headquarters are in Quito, Pichincha Province and the main hub is Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito. The airline was formed by the Air Force of Ecuador. In 2011, it became a commercial entity and now provides domestic, international and charter flights.
Mariscal Sucre International Airport was the main international airport serving Quito, Pichincha Province, Ecuador. It was the busiest airport in Ecuador by passenger traffic, by aircraft movement and by cargo movement, and one of the busiest airports in South America. It was named after Venezuelan-born Antonio José de Sucre, a hero of Ecuadorian and Latin American independence. It began operations in 1960, and during its last years of operation, handled about 6.2 million passengers and 164,000 metric tons of freight per year. The airport, one of the highest in the world was located in the northern part of the city, in the Chaupicruz parish, within 5 minutes of Quito's financial center; the terminals were located at the intersection of Amazonas and La Prensa avenues. Mariscal Sucre International was the largest hub for TAME with an average of 50 daily departures.
The crash was the first and deadliest crash in the history of TAME, and it remains as the deadliest plane crash in the history of Ecuador. An investigation later determined that the flight crashed due to the flight crew's lack of experience on the aircraft type, which caused a controlled flight into terrain.
Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also the largest city.
A controlled flight into terrain is an accident in which an airworthy aircraft, under pilot control, is unintentionally flown into the ground, a mountain, a body of water or an obstacle. In a typical CFIT scenario, the crew is unaware of the impending disaster until it is too late. The term was coined by engineers at Boeing in the late 1970s.
The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 737-2V2 Advanced, with Pratt & Whitney type JT8D-17 engines. When Boeing delivered it, it was registered as N8283V, but when it arrived in the TAME fleet in 1981, its registration and livery changed to HC-BIG. TAME named it "Ciudad de Loja". The plane was piloted by captain Jorge Peña and an unnamed first officer. 103 people (95 passengers and all eight crew) came from Ecuador, 11 came from Colombia, and five from the United States.
Pratt & Whitney is an American aerospace manufacturer with global service operations. It is a subsidiary of United Technologies (UTC). Pratt & Whitney's aircraft engines are widely used in both civil aviation and military aviation. Its headquarters are in East Hartford, Connecticut. As one of the "big three" aero-engine manufacturers, it competes with General Electric and Rolls-Royce, although it has also formed joint ventures with both of these companies. In addition to aircraft engines, Pratt & Whitney manufactures gas turbines for industrial and power generation, and marine turbines. As of 2017, the company reported having 38,737 employees supporting more than 11,000 customers in 180 countries around the world. In 2013, Pratt & Whitney's revenue totaled $14.5 billion.
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On the morning of 11 July 1983, the aircraft took off from Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito for a domestic flight to Mariscal Lamar Airport in Cuenca with 111 passengers and eight crew members. The aircraft encountered foggy conditions during the final approach to Mariscal Lamar Airport, but the weather conditions of that day were reported as clear. The crew contacted the Cuenca control tower for permission to land the plane, which was granted.
During the final few minutes of the flight, the pilots were distracted during a conversation and didn't know that the plane was flying dangerously low towards a mountain. Also, at the same time, they were experimenting with some of the aircraft's controls and systems.
Seconds before the plane hit the mountain and 1 mile (1.6 km; 0.87 nmi) from the airport, the Ground Proximity Warning System activated, announcing an imminent terrain collision and sounding an alarm. The captain and first officer attempted to climb clear of the mountain by applying full power on the engines and making a steep climb, but it was too late. The jetliner scraped a mountain peak, exploded, and slid down into a ravine; there were no survivors.
A ravine is a landform that is narrower than a canyon and is often the product of streamcutting erosion. Ravines are typically classified as larger in scale than gullies, although smaller than valleys.
Two minutes after the plane signal was lost from the radar screen, Cuenca air traffic control declared an emergency. The following day, search aircraft and rescue teams arrived the plane's last known position. Because of the remoteness and the difficulty of access to the crash site, it took rescue personnel several hours to reach the site itself.
Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and through controlled airspace, and can provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace. The primary purpose of ATC worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots. In some countries, ATC plays a security or defensive role, or is operated by the military.
After initial fears of a possible sabotage were advanced by the civil aviation authoritiesafter a radio station reported witnesses to a mid-air explosion. During the investigation, this was discarded due to lack of evidence. The "civil authorities" of aviation initiated an investigation, with cooperation of Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and the United States National Transportation Safety Board.
The investigation results were presented several months later and concluded that human error was a direct cause the crash, several factor were identified: training of the pilots was not properly delivered by TAME for the Boeing 737-2V2 Advanced, the crew was not fully familiar with the controls of the aircraft, and the crew was distracted while trying to locate the runway in heavy fog, as a consequence, the plane went below the minimum safe altitude in a mountainous region with the flight crew ignoring the voice commands of the proximity radar until seconds before impact.
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Mariscal Lamar International Airport is a high elevation airport serving Cuenca, the capital of the Azuay Province in Ecuador. It is named after the Peruvian military leader and politician José de la Mar, a native of Cuenca.
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