1983 TAME 737-200 crash

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1983 TAME 737 plane crash
AeroSvit Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737-200 Adv UR-BVY KBP 2008-8-2.png
A Boeing 737-200 Adv similar to the accident aircraft
Date11 July 1983 [1]
Summary CFIT by pilot error
Site Cuenca, Ecuador
2°51′55.3″S78°56′59.5″W / 2.865361°S 78.949861°W / -2.865361; -78.949861 Coordinates: 2°51′55.3″S78°56′59.5″W / 2.865361°S 78.949861°W / -2.865361; -78.949861
Aircraft type Boeing 737-2V2 Advanced
Aircraft nameCiudad de Loja
Operator TAME
Registration HC-BIG
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. [1]

Boeing 737 Single aisle airliner family by Boeing

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 flag-carrier airline of Ecuador

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.

Old Mariscal Sucre International Airport international airport serving Quito, Ecuador, starting operations 1960

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. [2] [3]

Ecuador Republic in South America

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.

Controlled flight into terrain accident in which an airworthy aircraft, under pilot control, is unintentionally flown into the ground

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. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Pratt & Whitney Aircraft engine manufacturer

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.

Flight history

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. [4] [7]

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. [9]

Ravine Small valley, which is often the product of streamcutting erosion

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 A public service provided for the purpose of maintaining the safe and orderly flow of air traffic

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 authorities [10] [11] after a radio station reported witnesses to a mid-air explosion. [12] 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.

See also

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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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  1. 1 2 Flight International : 286. 28 January 1984.CS1 maint: Untitled periodical (link)
  2. Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-2V2 HC-BIG Cuenca". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  3. TIEMPO, EL (11 July 2012). "Hace 29 años terminó un periodo trágico para la aviación en Cuenca" [29 years ago a tragic period for aviation in Cuenca ended]. EL TIEMPO (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  4. 1 2 Ap (12 July 1983). "119 Die in Ecuador Airline Crash". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  5. "Estalla en el aire un avión militar ecuatoriano con 119 personas a bordo" [An Ecuadorian military plane with 119 people on board explodes in the air]. El País (in Spanish). Ediciones El País. 12 July 1983. ISSN   1134-6582 . Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  7. 1 2 Sandro, El (10 April 2017). "Ecuador Aviation Photography: El 737 cumple 50 años" [The 737 turns 50 years old.]. ecuadoraviationphotography.blogspot.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  8. País, Ediciones El (15 July 1983). "El avión ecuatoriano en el que murieron 118 personas no estalló, sino que se estrelló" [The Ecuadorian plane that killed 118 people did not explode, but crashed]. El País (in Spanish). ISSN   1134-6582 . Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  9. "Una tragedia aérea hace treinta años" [An aerial tragedy thirty years ago]. web.revistavance.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  10. "'Saboteurs' may have downed jet". Montreal Journal. 13 July 1983.
  11. "Five Americans among victims of Ecuadorean airline crash". The Deseret News. 12 July 1983.
  12. "119 die in crash of Ecuadorean jet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 12 July 1983.