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  • Landed short, Boeing 747, N732PA, Renton Airport, Renton, Washington,December 13, 1969

    Micro-summary: This Boeing 747 struck an embankment 20' short of the runway atRenton.

    Event Date: 1969-12-13 at 1111 PST

    Investigative Body: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), USA

    Investigative Body's Web Site: http://www.ntsb.gov/

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  • -

    SA-None File No. 5-0046

    AIRCRAFT INCIDENT REPORT BOEING 747, N732PA RENTON AIRPORT

    RENTON, WASHINGTON DECEMBER 13,1969

    Adopted: AUGUST 26,1970

    NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD Bureau of Aviat ion Safety Washington, D. C. 20591

  • BOEING 747. N732PA RENTON AIRPORT

    RENTON. WASHINGTON DECEMBER 13. 1969

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Synopsis ...................................................... 1 Probable Cause ............................................... 1 Investigation ............................................... 2 History of Flight ........................................... 2 Injuries to Persons ......................................... 7 Damage to Aircraft .......................................... 7 Other Damage ................................................ 8 Crew Information ............................................ 8 Aircraft Information ........................................ 8 Meteorological Information .................................. 9 Aids to Navigation ........................................... 10 Communications .............................................. 10 Aerodrome and Ground Facilities ............................. 10 Flight Recorders ............................................ 10 Wreckage .................................................... 11 . Fire ........................................................ 12 Survival Aspects ............................................ 12 Tests and Research .......................................... 12 Analysis and Conclusions .................................... 15 Analysis .................................................... 15 Conclusions ................................................. 22

    a . Findings ............................................. 22 b . Probable Cause ....................................... 23

    Recommendations ............................................. 23 Attachments

  • F i l e No. 5-0046

    NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

    AIRCRAFT INCIDENT REPORT

    Adopted: August 26. 1970

    BOEING 747, N732PA RENTON AIRPORT

    RENTON, WASHINGTON DECEMBER 13, 1969

    SYNOPSIS

    N732PA was being operated on December 13, by the Boeing Company, S e a t t l e , Washington, f o r the purpose of fer ry ing the a i r c r a f t from Boeing Fie ld , S e a t t l e , Washington, t o the Renton Airport . During an approach t o a landing a t Renton, the a i r c r a f t s t ruck an embankment approximately 20 f e e t shor t of the threshold of Runway 15. The ground contact point was approximately 30 inches below the top of the bank and the runway l e v e l . The a i r c r a f t came t o a stop on the cen te r l ine of Runway 15, approximately 3,500 f e e t beyond the threshold. The incident occurred a t 1111 P . s . t . . l / on December 13, 1969. Eleven persons were on board, including the crew. None was injured. Small f i r e s broke out i n the No. 3 engine wing s t r u t and the No. 4 engine forward of the t a i l cone. These were immediately extinguished. S t ruc tu ra l damage was confined t o the r i g h t wing landing gear, r i g h t f l a p assemblies, and the Nos. 3 and 4 engines and t h e i r cowlings.

    The s ign i f i can t weather reported a t 1112 fo r the Renton Airport was sca t t e red clouds a t 4,500 f e e t and broken clouds a t 6,500 f e e t . The v i s i b i l i t y w a s 13 miles and the wind v e l o c i t y was 20 knots from 120 true.

    The Board determines tha t the probable cause of t h i s inc ident was the premature touchdown of the a i r c r a f t during a v i sua l approach t o a r e l a t i v e l y shor t runway, induced by the p i l o t ' s not e s tab l i sh ing a gl ide- path which would assure runway'threshold passage with an adequate sa fe ty margin, under somewhat unusual environmental and psychological condit ions.

    I/ Except as noted, a l l times here in a r e Pac i f i c standard, based on - the 24-hour clock.

  • 1. INVESTIGATION

    1.1 History of F l igh t

    The Boeing Company had planned f o r several months t o t r a n s f e r c e r t a i n a i r c r a f t , which had been used during f l i g h t t e s t i n g and c e r t i f i c a t i o n phases of Model 747 development, t o t h e i r manufacturing f a c i l i t y a t Renton, Washington. There, a l l applicable production modifications t o airframe and engines were t o be incorporated and the a i r c r a f t extensively refurbished fo r customer delivery. I n preparat ion fo r these f l i g h t s , e spec ia l ly because of the r e l a t i v e l y shor t runway a t Renton, the company F l i g h t Operations Department prepared a "Flight Test Analysis Coordination Performance Report" fo r the Renton 747 f e r r y

    f l i g h t s . The study was predicated on a i r c r a f t gross weights from 390,000 t o 440,000 pounds, without reverse t h r u s t , and i n zero wind conditions. It had been published about November 7, 1969. P r io r t o the f l i g h t , the p i l o t reviewed the repor t t o determine the runway dis tances fo r the spec i f i c loading of the f l i g h t t o Renton. The dis tances deter- mined were a s follows:

    Actual Distance t o Stop Takeoff Distance t o 55 Feet

    Dry Runway Wet Runway

    3,100 Feet 4,080 Feet (u = ,161 2J

    20' Flaps

    4,800 Feet

    The p i l o t s t a t e d tha t the wet runway value of 4,080 f e e t obviously provided unacceptable stopping dis tance margins fo r a runway of 5,300 fee t . "However," he sa id , "the ca lcu la t ions u = .16 corresponds t o a very wet pavement."

    The t e s t summary form, prepared by the t e s t engineer p r i o r t o takeoff , revealed t h a t the computed takeoff weight a t Boeing Fie ld was 400,623 pounds. The landing weight a t Renton was 391,000 pounds. The center of g rav i ty was 25.2 percent of the mean aerodynamic chord. The maximum landing weight of the a i r c r a f t i s 564,000 pounds and the maximum takeoff weight i s 710,000 pounds. The cen te r of g rav i ty l imi ta t ions a re from 15 t o 33 percent of the mean aerodynamic chord wi th the landing gear and f l aps down.

    The Boeing Company provided a graph of the Boeing 747 depict ing the approach speeds and runway lengths versus gross weight fo r the Renton Airport. From t h i s graph i t was determined t h a t a t 400,000 pounds gross weight wi th landing f l a p s a t 30 the ac tua l landing dis tance i s 3,125 fee t . The Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) dis tance i s 5,208 f e e t .

    The proposed plan fo r fer ry ing the a i r c r a f t was presented i n wr i t ing t o the Federal Aviation Administration. Methods and procedures were

    21 Wet runway f r i c t i o n coef f i c ien t . -

  • developed and the i n i t i a t i o n of the p ro jec t was planned fo r mid-December. A s of December 11, 1969, FAA offered no s p e c i f i c l i m i t a t i o n s on the proposed operat ion other than the operat ing l i m i t a t i o n s then i n force on the 747.

    The p i l o t o r i g i n a l l y assigned t o N732PA w a s not avai lable f o r f ly ing du t i es a t t h a t time. A Senior Experimental Test P i l o t was se lec ted t o f l y the f e r r y f l i g h t . On December 12, 1969, he had flown N732PA f o r 5 hours and 16 minutes on i t s l a s t scheduled t e s t f l i g h t p r io r t o refurbish- ment.

    The company had assigned a f l i g h t engineer, but no copi lo t . The p i l o t se lec ted a s cop i lo t an i n s t r u c t o r wi th whom he had flown numerous times before.

    After a b r i e f ing , t h e p i l o t , cop i lo t , and a lead operat ions t e s t engineer drove t o the Renton Airport. The two p i l o t s , f l i g h t engineer, and the FAA control tower chief of the Renton Tower drove over the e n t i r e runway. The p i l o t s t a t e d tha t the southern 1,000 f e e t of runway w

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