JAL Cargo Flight 8054

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JAL Cargo Flight 8054
Douglas DC-8-62AF (Japan Air Lines Cargo) AN1108405.jpg
A JAL Cargo DC-8, similar to the one involved in the crash
Date13 January 1977 (1977-01-13)
Summary Stall on takeoff due to pilot intoxication aggravated by airframe icing
Site Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, United States
61°10′N150°2′W / 61.167°N 150.033°W / 61.167; -150.033 Coordinates: 61°10′N150°2′W / 61.167°N 150.033°W / 61.167; -150.033
Aircraft type Douglas DC-8-62AF
OperatorJAL Cargo (Japan Airlines)
Registration JA8054
Flight origin Grant County International Airport, Grant County, Washington, United States
Stopover Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Destination Haneda Airport, Tokyo, Japan

JAL Cargo Flight 8054 was a charter flight on January 13, 1977, from Grant County, Washington, United States to Tokyo, Japan with a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska, United States. The flight crashed during the initial climb phase, shortly after takeoff from Anchorage due to pilot intoxication. [1] [2] [3]



The aircraft involved in the accident was a Douglas DC-8-62AF, equipped with four Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines; registered JA8054 to JAL Cargo, a subsidiary of Japan Airlines. The aircraft had a total of 19,744 flight hours, of which 8,708 were since that last major inspection and 45 since the last check. Records showed the aircraft had been maintained within Japanese, American, and ICAO recommendations. [2]

Ice on the aircraft

Mechanics reported ice present on the inlet guide vanes, engine cowlings and engine bullet noses, but no ice was found on the aircraft surfaces. A mechanic recommended that the engine anti-icing system be used, but no maintenance was performed on the aircraft in Anchorage. Investigators suspected that ice on the airfoil or transducer may have caused the stall warning to fail. The ice present on the surface of the wings and leading edges could have reduced the angle of attack needed to produce a stall. [2]


On board the aircraft were three flight crew members, two cattle handlers, and live cattle being shipped to Japan as cargo. [1] [4]

The cockpit crew consisted of: [2] :22

Captain Hugh L. Marsh, age 53, hired by Japan Airlines on June 24, 1969. He was certified to serve as the pilot-in command of the DC-8 on February 9, 1970; and on October 30, 1969 issued a JCAB airline transport rating, No. 001168, as well as type rated for the DC-8. Due to minor vision impairment he was required to wear corrective glasses for near vision as needed in flight. On September 10, 1970 he was certified as second class navigator. Marsh had logged a total of 23,252 flight hours, including 4,040 hours on the DC-8.

First officer Kunihika Akitani, age 31, hired by Japan Airlines on May 6, 1970 and certified as a copilot on the DC-8 on August 1, 1976. Akitani had 1,603 flight hours, with 1,208 of them on the DC-8.

Flight engineer Nobumasa Yokokawa, age 35, hired by Japan Airlines on April 1, 1960. On November 20, 1960 he received his flight engineer DC-8 type rating. Yokokawa was also certified to serve as flight engineer on Convair 880 and Boeing 747 aircraft. Yokokawa had 4,920 flight hours, including 2,757 hours on the DC-8.

Pilot intoxication

The taxi driver who drove Captain Marsh to the airport told investigators that he seemed disoriented. At 04:50 local time a taxi dispatcher phoned JAL and warned of an intoxicated pilot. JAL responded by saying there seemed nothing unusual about the flight crew. Autopsies after the crash showed that the captain was heavily intoxicated, with the initial blood alcohol level 298 mg per 100 ml and a vitreous alcohol level of 310 mg per 100 ml taken twelve hours after the crash; the state of Alaska considers 100 mg per 100 ml legally unacceptable for driving. Of the thirteen people questioned who had spoken with Marsh before the flight, six stated he had been drinking or appeared to be drunk. [2]

Flight synopsis

The aftermath of the crash. Japan Air Lines Flight 8054.jpg
The aftermath of the crash.

At 05:15 the crew boarded the aircraft; the driver of the crew car stated: "...he was in good condition as far as ways I've seen him sometimes and I made that statement before I ever heard any rumors that he was supposedly drunk or had been partying or whatever." as to whether the pilot appeared intoxicated. Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data showed that the crew began the prestart checklists at 06:09; CVR data showed the takeoff was normal until the aircraft slowed acceleration from VR to V2 speed; the aircraft stalled almost immediately after reaching V2 speed. At 0635:39 AST, JAL Cargo Flight 8054 crashed at Anchorage International Airport shortly after takeoff from runway 24L. A witness reportedly saw the flight climb to approximately 100 feet above the ground, veer to the left, and then slide out of the air. All five people on board the aircraft perished in the crash. [1] [2]


According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), flight 8054 crashed due to erroneous inputs to the flight controls, factors for such inputs being pilot intoxication and airframe icing. The NTSB noted that the two other flight crew members should have corrected the intoxicated pilot, Hugh L. Marsh, but did not.

"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was a stall that resulted from the pilot's control inputs aggravated by airframe icing while the pilot was under the influence of alcohol. Contributing to the cause of this accident was the failure of the other flightcrew members to prevent the captain from attempting the flight." [2]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62AF JA8054 Anchorage International Airport, AK (ANC)". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network . Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Japan Airlines, Company, Ltd., McDonnel-Douglas DC-8-62F, JA 8054, Anchorage, Alaska, January 13, 1977" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. January 16, 1979. NTSB-AAR-78-7. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  3. Hagen, Jan U. (August 13, 2013). Confronting Mistakes: Lessons from the Aviation Industry when Dealing with Error. Springer. ISBN   9781137276186.
  4. "Registration Details For JA8054 (Japan Airlines) DC-8-62AF". www.planelogger.com. PlaneLogger. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
External image
Searchtool.svg Pre-accident picture of aircraft at Airliners.net