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YU-ANA, the aircraft involved in the accident in 1981
|Date||1 December 1981|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to pilot error and ATC error|
|Site||Mont San-Pietro, near Ajaccio, Corsica, France |
|Aircraft type||McDonnell Douglas MD-81|
|Flight origin||Brnik Airport|
|Destination||Ajaccio - Campo dell'Oro Airport|
Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 1308 was a McDonnell Douglas MD-81 aircraft operating a Yugoslavian charter flight to the French island of Corsica. On 1 December, 1981, the flight crashed on Corsica's Mont San-Pietro, killing all 180 people on board. The crash was the deadliest and first major aviation accident involving a McDonnell Douglas MD-80.
On October 22, 1981, Inex-Adria sent a request to authorize the charter flight, which received the number JP-1308, from Ljubljana to Ajaccio and back, on 1 December of the same year. The flight was chartered by the Slovenian travel agency Kompas, based in Ljubljana. The application terms stated that flight 1308 would use a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 aircraft with a seating capacity of 115 to 135. The permit was issued by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation on 16 November. However, the airline decided to not use the DC-9 and instead decided to use the McDonnell Douglas MD-81 as it was a newer and larger aircraft. The application originally indicated the flight would carry 130 passengers, however, there were an additional 43 passengers on board who were Inex-Adria employees, Kompas tourists, and/or their families which totaled up to 173 passengers. As the crew consisted of seven people, there were a total of 180 people on board.
The aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas MD-81 registered in Yugoslavia as YU-ANA (manufacturers serial number 48047). The aircraft's first flight was 15 May 1981. The aircraft was delivered to Inex-Adria on 11 August. The aircraft only had 683 flying hours at the time of the accident. The last A-check on the aircraft was performed on 7 November 1981. The last maintenance test of the aircraft took place four days before the accident, on 27 November. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217 turbofan engines (numbers P708403D and P708404D), each developing 20,850 pounds of thrust and having a total operating time of 683 hours, recorded since check A-47.:7
The captain was 55-year-old Ivan Kunovic. He received his pilot license for the jets on 16 April 1968 at the Yugoslav Academy of the Air Force in Zadar and was qualified to fly the F-84, T-33 and F-86. Kunovic was left JRV in rank of Capitan soon after that was hired by Inex-Adria in 1970 and became a first officer on the DC-9 the same year. He then became a captain of the DC-9 (32 and 50 series) on 4 April 1972 and then an MD-80 captain on 13 August 1981 after spent 3 months on cpt.course in USA . At the time of the disaster, Kunovic had a total of 12,123 flight hours, including 5,675 hours on the DC-9 and 188 hours on the MD-81.:7
The co-pilot was 40-year-old M. Franc Terglav. He was initially qualified to pilot flights in the JRV school for the reserve pilots (?RVO 14 kl.in 1962) He was flying on the Aero 3, Soko 522 and later civilian Piper PA-31, PA-34 and Cessna Citation. He was pilot for the Slovenian company Gorenje. Soon after he has got job for the pilot in the Inex adria he starts fling DC-9 (32 and 50 srs) On 21 June 1981, he graduated to first officer on the MD-81 and he received his commercial pilots license on 11 November 1981. Terglav had a total of 4,213 flight hours, including 746 hours on the DC-9 (which were accumulated during 529 flights), and 288 hours on the MD-81.:7
Flight 1308 took off from Brnik Airport on a chartered flight from SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia to Corsica's capital city of Ajaccio with 173 Slovenian tourists and 7 crew members.:3 At 08:08, the airliner was in Italian airspace when the controller in Padua contacted a colleague in Ajaccio and requested the actual weather report. The southwest (240°) moderate wind was blowing at the airport at that time 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), and the sky was covered with separate clouds. When the crew received weather reports, it decided to land on runway 03, while the captain clarified that if the wind increased, they would fly around for inspection. At 07:28 the plane entered the zone of the control center in Rome and the flight was cleared to descend to flight level FL 270 (27,000 feet (8,200 m). The crew clarified whether or not they were cleared to descend. The controller told the crew that they were not cleared, and the crew acknowledged the transmission, thanking the controller.:4
At 08:31, the controller again cleared flight 1308 to descend to FL 270, to which this time the crew confirmed, and reporting that they were leaving FL 330 and beginning to descend. The controller also clarified that the flight would be cleared to descend to FL 190 (19,000 feet (5,800 m)) after passing Elbe. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded a sound similar to the activation of the "Fasten seat belt" sign and captain Kunovic instructed first officer Terglav to calculate the landing parameters. A flight attendant entered the cockpit and asked to reduce the temperature in the cabin, which the first officer did. At 08:33, the controller cleared flight 1308 to descend to tier 190 at Bastia. After re-checking the calculations, the commander and co-pilot, based on the adjusted mass and pressure, determined the approach speeds as 221, 170, 148 and 124 knots (409, 315, 274 and 230 km/h; 254, 195, 170, and 142 mph). At some point, first officer Terglav let his young son enter the cockpit, as a child's voice was heard asking when the aircraft would descend.:18
At 08:35, the crew entered the air traffic control space in Marseille and subsequently established radio contact at 08:35:50, reporting the passage of flight level (FL) 210 and descending to 190 in the direction of Ajaccio, after which he requested permission for a further reduction. In response, the controller instructed them to maintain FL 190 to Bastia and to "squawk" 5200 on its transponder, since the direct route to Ajaccio slightly went through the closed LFR 65 airspace, and this maneuver would bypass it. At 08:40:35, the crew reported on staying at FL 190 50 miles from Ajaccio and again requested permission to descend, to which the controller cleared them to descend to FL 110 (11 thousand feet or 3,350 meters). Giving permission to descend, the controller used non-standard terminology, "cleared down 110", to which the crew later discussed in the cockpit. Then the crew studied the approach procedure for the course-glide system on runway 03. In this process, during the preparatory preparation, the child intervened twice, who spoke about observing a mountain similar to Servin; according to the investigation, it was of the Monte Chinto array.:4-5
Focusing on the level of the airport, which is 52 feet (16 m), the crew set the decision height to 643 feet (196 m). At 08:43:57 the captain reported reaching FL 110 at a distance of 28 miles and on a VOR Ajaccio. Further, at 08:47:10, the commander contacted the Ajaccio approach controller, who reported that flight 1308 would be landing on runway 21, instructed to keep 110 on the VOR Ajaccio and passed the weather report: atmospheric pressure 1009, airfield pressure 1008, wind 280° at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). When at 08:49:31 captain Kunovic reported on the VOR flight at an altitude of 110, and was instructed to change the heading to 247°, and at 08:49:52 - to descend to FL 33 3,300 feet (1,000 m), although due to interference the crew heard the height as 3,000 feet (910 m). Due to the fact that there was no radar at the airport at that time, the controller determined the location of the aircraft only according to reports from the crew. At 08:50:05 the crew reported on the beginning of the decline. By that time, the instrument speed was reduced from 285 to 224 knots, when the airliner began to descend with a vertical speed of 2,200 feet (670 m), and the instrumental speed increased to 256 knots (474 km/h; 295 mph). At 08:52:15 the crew reported passing FL 60 (6,000 feet (1,800 m)) and asked to turn on the radio beacon, which would be the flight's last transmission. At 08:53:08, the controller instructed the crew to correct the heading, but received no response. At 08:53:21, a four-second whistle sounded in the control room. The crew did not respond.:3-5
Starting from 08:52:43, the flight recorders recorded the aircraft flying above mountain peaks that were 1000 and 2500 feet tall, and from 08:52:26 turbulent flows also began to appear and increased. Further, at 08:53:08, the aircraft's Ground Proximity Warning System gave off several audio warnings, which the crew did not react to for approximately ten seconds.:18 Three seconds before impact, the crew increased engine power and attempted to climb, but were unable to clear the terrain. Left aircraft's wing collided with the summit of Mont San-Pietro and 6m broke off. The aircraft then went into an uncontrolled dive and violently crashed on the other side of the mountain eight seconds later, killing everyone on board. The time of the accident was 8:53 a.m. local time (07:53 UTC).:3,6
At 9 am, seven minutes after losing contact with flight 1308, an emergency search began. the controller mistakenly believed that flight 1308 crashed at sea. Finally, at 12:40, a wing fragment was found on the top of Mount San Pietro, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi; 8.1 nmi) from the coast. The next day the rescuers reached the crash site, only to find that there were no survivors.:3
The subsequent investigation into the disaster revealed that control mistakenly believed that Flight 1308 was out of its holding pattern, believing it was already located over the sea, while in reality it was located 15 km (9 mi) inland, over the mountainous terrain of Corsica. The crew, apparently surprised at the instruction to descend, repeated several times that they were still in the holding pattern, which the control acknowledged. The crew was unfamiliar with the airport and its vicinity, as this was the first flight of Inex-Adria Aviopromet to Corsica. The investigation determined that the imprecise language used by the crew of the MD-81 and the air traffic controller played a significant role in the accident. Air traffic control in Ajaccio was cleared of all charges.[clarification needed] The air traffic controller in charge of Flight 1308 was transferred to another airport in France.
At the time of the accident, the Ajaccio airport had no radar system. As a direct result of the accident, the equipment was upgraded and the approach pattern changed.
Some debris and human bodies were removed from the crash site after the accident in 1981. In 2007, POP TV (a TV station in Slovenia) did a news report on the accident. They visited the crash site in Corsica and found many of the airplane's parts still scattered on Mont San-Pietro, in rugged and inaccessible terrain. Subsequently, the Government of Slovenia, Adria Airways and Kompas (the Slovenian travel agency that organized the fatal trip in 1981) organized and funded a clean-up operation. A Slovenian team of about 60 soldiers, mountain rescuers, civil protection and rescue service members, medical personnel, and other volunteers removed about 27 tons of aircraft remains in May 2008. The removed debris included one aircraft engine and large wing parts. Some of the parts were so large they needed to be machine cut before transporting them from the mountain by a helicopter. Several human remains were also found, and were either sent for further identification tests, or were properly disposed. A commemorative plaque was installed at the site of the initial wing impact.