VT-DPP Indian Airlines – 15. February 1966

Date  15.   February 1966
Location New Delhi, India
C/N 130
Model  Caravelle   VIN
Airline Indian   Airlines
Registration VT-DPP
Occupants  0/7 + 2/73
Aircraft history VT-DPP c/n 130 was first flown on January 6th 1964.   The plane was originally ordered by TWA but not delivered as TWA got not   financial problems. So the plane was ferried to India on January 17th 1964   and baptised “Akashdoot”.
Accident description The scheduled evening flight from Calcutta to New   Delhi was uneventful. This was certainly not the case in New Delhi where the   visibility suddenly became less than 400 feet. Two fireman were send out to   inspect the visibility on the runway. The driver could not even see the   asphalt in front of him and skipped of the runway with his Jeep. He told his   dispatcher that the visibility on the runway was far less than 400ft. However   the dispatcher did not inform the tower about these weather conditions (the   reason for this could not be determined). When VT-DPP approached New Delhi   the tower informed the crew of DPP that the visibility was 6 miles. The   flight from Calcutta was cleared for an ILS approach to runway 28. When passing FL100 the crew could see the runway through the ground mist. The crew advised the tower that the runway lights were not working correctly. However this was not the case but the tower did not inform the crew about the ground mist. The crew was busy preparing the   Caravelle for landing. The Captain noticed that he did not set his altimeter yet so he leaned forward to do this. As he leaned back the Caravelle entered the ground mist. Suddenly the atmosphere in the cockpit became tensed as all runway lights were no longer visible. The landing lights of the Caravelle reflected in the fog, confusing the pilots. The optical illusion made the captain think he was flying way too low but he noticed this when it was  already too late. The rear part of the Caravelle struck the ground damaging   the engines and fuel tanks – the aircraft caught fire and skipped several   hundred meters through land posts of the runway. Shortly after that the undercarriage collapsed. 600 meters after impact the Caravelle came to rest.  The entire rear part of the cabin was already burning and the pilots tried to  extinguish the fire by using the engine extinguisher. Thanks to the  professional reaction of the crew all occupants left the plane. 2 passengers  died some days later in hospital. The Indian Aviation Administration found   out that neither the captain nor the copilot were in possession of valid type   certificates. But both were well experienced and had almost 15.000 flying   hours but the F/O had only 200, the cpt only 450 hours on the Caravelle jet.   Both had no type rating on the Caravelle but on the DC3 and Vickers Viscount.