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TWA 800: two accidents with the same flight number


The legendary North American airline Trans World Airlines had the unfortunate coincidence of having two accidents with the same flight number, in this case the TW800. Everyone undoubtedly remembers the accident of the Boeing 747-100 that exploded over the Atlantic shortly after taking off from New York Kennedy Airport (JFK) en route to Paris (CDG) in 1996, which was initially suspected of an attack with explosives. The investigations showed that it was an unfortunate accident when an electrical cable exploded the fuel gases from the central tank, so that the plane broke in two and fell into the sea. But there was another accident in 1964 that just on November 23 has one more anniversary and that at the time also gave something to talk about, since it happened just as it was taking off from Rome's Fiumicino Airport. In that year, flight TW800 had multiple legs, as was normal then, it started in Kansas City and had Cairo, in Egypt, as its final destination, with stops in Chicago, New York, Paris, Milan, Rome and Athens before arriving in your ultimate destination. The flight was operated by a Boeing 707-320 with registration N769TW, it had barely been in service for 4 and a half years when the unfortunate accident occurred, Trans World received it new from Boeing in May 1960. At the time of leaving Rome, the plane had only 62 passengers and 11 crew members, it was a relatively short flight, so it was very light in total weight, especially considering that the plane had capacity for 151 passengers in two classes, according to to the configuration that TWA had then, with 16 First class and 135 Economy class.


According to information from the Aviation Safety Network, shortly after 2:00 p.m. LT in Rome, flight TWA 800 began its takeoff run to Athens, via runway 25 at Fiumicino Airport, which is 3.8 km long. The aircraft had already reached a speed of 80 knots (148 kph) when the instruments showed that engine 4 was not producing thrust; as the speed was still below V1, the pilots decided to abort the takeoff. The pilots applied the reverse of the 4 engines, but the plane did not respond as expected and also began to have steering problems, so it veered slightly to the right and they could not avoid hitting a maintenance vehicle that was outside the plane. clue. It still took the plane another 260 meters to come to a complete stop. Once this was done, the evacuation process began, but just as it was taking place there was a strong explosion that engulfed the entire plane in flames, causing 45 passengers and 5 crew members to die on the spot. The investigations found that despite the fact that engine 4 indicated that it had no power, the problem that caused the accident was in the reverse of engine 2, which did not work and therefore the thrust of the engine was normal, which caused the little deceleration and power imbalance that caused the aircraft to slide to the right and hit the maintenance vehicle, ultimately destroying the aircraft. This reverse malfunction was not reflected on the cockpit instruments, so the pilots did not know what was going on. Curious that two accidents separated by 28 years, have had the same flight number in an airline. Almost always after an accident they remove the flight number so that passengers do not remember it and are not afraid to travel. Who was going to tell them that with the same number they would have another accident. Today TWA no longer exists, it ended up merging with American Airlines in 2001 and its name disappeared, like other airlines that also ended up forming the current American Airlines. In case anyone is curious, American Flight 800 is currently between Saint Louis Lambert Airport (STL) and Philadelphia (PHL), and is operated by Airbus A319 aircraft.


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