BOAC Flight 911

Boeing 707 BOAC at London Heathrow, 1964

BOAC Flight 911 was a British Overseas Airways Corporation of Erdumrundungsflug ( BOAC ). The Boeing 707 that served as flight 911 traveling on 5 March 1966 was led by Captain Bernard Dobson, 45, from Dorset, who was experienced in the type of aircraft and flew him since November 1960.

The aircraft broke up and crashed near the Mount Fuji, Japan, shortly after it took off from Tokyo International Airport to complete the flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. All 113 passengers and eleven crew members were killed in the accident, including a group of 75 Americans who were on a 14 day trip at the invitation of Thermo King Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota through Japan and Southeast Asia. In the group were 26 couples that left a total of 63 children as orphans.

Result of the investigations

The accident aircraft was at 12:40 clock day of the accident in Tokyo from Fukuoka Airport to here, where it had been diverted on the previous day because of the weather conditions on the ground. The weather had improved since then, as a cold front with dry cool air from the Asian mainland from west-northwest towards her had created clear visibility conditions. During the ground stop, the crew received a weather briefing and filed a flight plan an instrument flight rules (IFR ), who suggested a south-facing airports on the island of Izu Ōshima and then over the airway JG6 to Hong Kong on flight level 310 (that is, 31,000 feet altitude should lead ).

At 13:42 clock the crew contacted air traffic control in order to obtain permission to take off and the flight schedule on visual flight (VMC ) to change with a climb of the Mount Fuji - Rebel - Kushimoto route. This brought the plane closer to the Fuji; Possibly this was done to allow the passengers a better view of the summit. The Boeing 707 rolled at 13:50 clock on the airfield and took off at 13:58 in the wind from. After starting the aircraft climbed steadily over the Bay of Tokyo and turned to a south-westerly course, the past led north to Odawara. Then the machine turned to the right, flew over Gotemba and held a course of 298 ° at a speed of 320-370 knots and an altitude of about 4900 meters ( 16,000 feet ), that is sufficiently above the 3775 meter ( 12,388 foot ) high peak of the mountain.

The flight into the wind, the aircraft approached the Fuji on the downwind side and fell into a heavy, lee waves - induced clear air turbulence, which provoked a sudden structural failure, which opened the breakup of the machine in the air. At the time of the accident, wind speeds were measured between 60 and 70 knots from the northwest to the summit of Mount Fuji. 30 minutes before the accident lenticular clouds were observed in association with lee waves on satellite photographs about 240 kilometers to the south. These warning signs are, however, not been visible in the area around the crash site.

An A -4 Skyhawk of the United States Navy, which had risen shortly after the crash to search the wreck, also fell in the area around the crash in heavy turbulence. The accelerometer of this machine showed values ​​between 9 and -4 g g that caused the short-term loss of control. The pilot believed that his machine will break apart by the turbulence. However, he gained control again and landed safely on its base. The A -4 was, however, subject to a thorough safety inspection. Some other aircraft that were flown on the day near the Fuji, had also reported moderate to severe air turbulence.

The accident was photographed by staff of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces of a close neighborhood of Frankfurt base, and 8mm film footage of a passenger survived the crash. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the airplane spin and that white smoke before the breakup was seen. This white cloud was, it was later found leaking from the tanks, atomized fuel. The film, which was taken on board, unveiled after its development investigators that the plane was actually fall into severe turbulence shortly before the breakup. From the flight recorder, no information could be obtained, since it was destroyed by fire when the nose of the aircraft bounced. The aircraft was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder and the air traffic control, no emergency call was received.

The plane left a 16 -kilometer debris field. Analyzes of the distribution of the debris allowed investigators to establish that the tail of the fuselage failed first. There were left traces of color, who pointed out that demolition on the port side of the elevator and broke away to the left. Shortly thereafter, a portion of the starboard wing turned up and broke off. The four engines and the front portion of the fuselage also held the overuse of the material was not, and each of these parts flew off at the break in the air.

Although some fractures have been found in the bolt holes of the rudder, provided subsequent tests that they had not contributed to the accident. However, these have been identified as a potential threat to flight safety, and subsequent investigations of other Boeing 707 and the Boeing 720 similar revealed that this was a common problem, so that ultimately followed improvements to the fleets.

The investigation report concluded that the probable cause of the crash sudden unusually severe turbulence over Gotemba were whose strength exceeded the material design of the aircraft.

More information

This accident was one of five serious accidents in commercial aviation in Japan in 1966 and less than 24 hours occurred after the accident at Canadian Pacific Airlines Flight 402, which had risen during the landing at the international airport of Tokyo in flames. Flight 911 had the still smoldering wreckage of that Douglas DC-8 in fact happens on the runway about to take off.


  • Job, Macarthur (1995). "When the sky is blue, Fuji is angry ' ,' Air Disaster. Weston Creek: Aerospace Publications, pp. 44-52, ISBN 1-875671-11-0.
  • Aviation Safety Network: BOAC 911 database entry
  • AirDisaster.Com: Accident photos: BOAC 911
  • The Worst Single Day, Time, March 11, 1966. " Ironically, the doomed 707 had just taxied out for its takeoff past the wreckage of Canadian Pacific 's Hong Kong -to -Tokyo flight. "
  • Time: Middle-Age Spread, April 29, 1966 " Examining the wreckage of the BOAC airliner crashed near Mount Fuji did in March, U.S. and Japanese experts detected hairline cracks in the Boeing 707 's shorn -off tail assembly. ".
  • BOAC 911
  • Press-Telegram, Long Beach: 124 The second in Japan air disaster (title page ) (PDF)
  • Press-Telegram, Long Beach: 124 in second air disaster Japan, Part 2 ( PDF)
  • BBC News archive On this day, 5 March 1966: Passenger jet crashes into Mount Fuji, March 5, 1966 ( accessed on 5 June 2007). "Captain Bernard Dobson, 45, from Poole in Dorset, which airliner in command of the. He Has been Described as a very experienced pilot and had been flying 707 aircraft synthesis since November 1960 ".
  • United Press International:. "Fuji Jetliner Crash Left 63 Orphans in U.S. ," Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 8, 1966. " At least 63 American children learned Saturday, or want to learn someday, did Their parents died in a plane crash halfway around the world. "
  • Aircraft Accident
  • Air Transport (Japan)
  • Post-war period (Japanese history )
  • Traffic accident in 1966