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Accident Report Detail

North Central Airlines, Inc., Convair 580, N2045

Executive Summary

North Central Airlines, Flight 458, a Convair 580, crashed while it was on an instrument approach at O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, at approximately 2022 c.s.t., on December 27, 1968.

The aircraft struck the side of a hangar, located adjacent to the approach end of the runway, in a near-inverted attitude, and was destroyed by impact and resultant ground fire. Twenty-seven of the 45 persons on board the aircraft, including the pilot, copilot, and an additional crewmember who was occupying the observer's seat, were fatally injured, One person in the hangar also received fatal injuries as a result of the accident.

At the time of the approach, the reported weather conditions were 2OO-foot ceiling, sky obscured in light rain and fog, with the recorded runway visibility (RVR) 2,800 feet variable to 4,500 feet.

According to information obtained from surviving passengers, and the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, the approach was normal until the aircraft had descended to approximately 2lO feet above the elevation of the airport about 4,500 feet from the threshold of Runway 14R. At this point, the aircraft entered a sustained climb for approximately 11 seconds, at which point go-around procedures were initiated by the captain. However, the climb continued and the airspeed dropped off to the point where aerodynamic control of the aircraft was lost. Recovery was not effected and the aircraft impacted the hangar.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was spacial disorientation of the captain precipitated by atmospheric refraction of either the approach lights or landing lights at a critical point in the approach wherein the crew was transitioning between flying by reference to flight instruments and by visual reference to the ground.

Accident Location: Chicago , IL    
Accident Date: 12/27/1968
Accident ID: DCA69A0010

Date Adopted: 11/12/1970
NTSB Number: AAR-70-27
NTIS Number: PB-197323

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