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Last updated: 2 December 2021
Date:Sunday 7 December 1952
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation
Operator:Trans World Airlines - TWA
Registration: N6904C
MSN: 4016
First flight: 1952
Total airframe hrs:699
Engines: 4 Wright R-3350 (975C18CB1)
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 35
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 40
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Fallon NAS, NV (NFL) (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Chicago-Midway Airport, IL (MDW/KMDW), United States of America
Destination airport:San Francisco Municipal Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO), United States of America
TWA Flight 35 was a scheduled domestic U.S. service from New York-Idlewild Airport to San Francisco with an en route stop at Chicago.
Departure from Chicago was at 10:20. The flight was routine until near Lovelock, Nevada, when, at about 17:40 and at an altitude of 16000 feet MSL, a complete power loss was experienced from engine no.3.
During a restart attempt, the engine overspeeded and the propeller was subsequently feathered.
About 25 minutes after the failure of 3 no.3 engine, engine no.4 failed. Power could not be restored, and at 18:29 the propeller was feathered and an emergency was declared.
The flight then turned back towards Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Fallon, Nevada, where weather was good.
Flaps and gear were manually lowered. After touchdown neither nose wheel steering nor brakes were working. Engines no.1 and 2 were placed in reverse pitch and the aircraft veered off the left side of the runway. Reverse pitch was cancelled.
The aircraft continued to the left of the runway, into soft dirt, through a ditch two and one-half feet deep and through several piles of gravel. The right wing with the right landing gear was torn from the fuselage at the wing fillet. The aircraft then swerved to the right and stopped.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause:
Improper use of the emergency braking system during the course of an emergency landing. This landing was necessitated by complete loss of power from the Nos. 3 and 4 engines due to the failure of their cam drive gears.
A contributing factor was inadequacy of the company's Lockheed 1049 transition training program from the former model aircraft concerning the difference in emergency procedures.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 218 days (7 months)
Accident number: File 1-0104
Download report: Final report


Emergency landing


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Chicago-Midway Airport, IL to San Francisco Municipal Airport, CA as the crow flies is 2957 km (1848 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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