On March 16, 1995, at 1435 eastern standard time, a Boeing 727-200, N295AW, operated as Delta Airlines Flight 1269, encountered severe clear air turbulence at 37,000 feet, while enroute to Atlanta, Georgia, from Nassau, Bahamas. The scheduled, domestic passenger flight operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 121 with an instrument flight plan filed and activated. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The aircraft was not damaged. Four flight crew members and 132 passengers were not injured; 7 passengers and one flight attendant received minor or serious injuries. The flight departed Nassau at 1334 hours. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the flight crew, they had completed two previous flights that day without incident. They departed Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) enroute to Atlanta, Georgia (ATL). They had experienced light "chop" at FL330 throughout the arrival into NAS, and had requested a higher altitude of 37,000 feet for this flight. The first officer stated that they had experienced steady turbulence until reaching an altitude of 35,000 feet. After passing this altitude the turbulence subsided to "light chop". The fasten seat belt light was on, due to the turbulence they had previously experienced.
Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center informed the crew of a pilot report from a Boeing 737 that had experienced severe turbulence at FL330 well south west of their position. The first officer was flying the aircraft. He stated that they were in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) at FL370. The undercast below the aircraft was a fairly uniform composition. No towering cumulus clouds, or other build ups were noted. The weather radar on board the aircraft did not indicate any possible hazards for their route into ATL.
Between 1435:31.42 and 1435:31.45, without warning, the airplane rolled 52.2 degrees right and 58.9 degrees left. The vertical acceleration reached a maximum of 1.93 "g" and a minimum vertical acceleration of -0.80 "g" within the same time interval. The captain retarded the throttles and the first officer grasped the yoke with both hands, as the aircraft descended into a haze layer. Heavy buffeting continued until the aircraft descended below the haze layer. The wings were then near level attitude. The captain advanced the throttles as the first officer brought the nose of the aircraft back up level with the horizon and disengaged the autopilot. During the entire sequence, the aircraft lost approximately 1,500 feet of altitude.
After the flight crew regained control of the airplane, the cabin crew reported that several passengers and one flight attendant were injured. The medical examinations disclosed that the passenger in seat number 32B was seriously injured, and did not have his seat belt fastened when the aircraft encountered the turbulence.