Northwest Orient Flight 705 CAB Aircraft Accident Report (AAR): A Cautionary Tale For BEA Investigators Regarding Air France Flight 447 and The Inherent Dangers of Severe Weather to Commercial Aviation

Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 720-B Image: NWO/Boeing


’Northwest Airlines, Inc., Boeing 720B, N724US, operating as Flight 705, crashed in an unpopulated area of the Everglades National Park, 37 miles west-southwest of Miami International Airport at approximately 1350 e.s.t, on February 12, 1963. All 35 passengers and the crew of eight were fatally injured.

’Flight 705 departed Miami at 1335 e.s.t. Circuitous routing was utilized during the climbout in an effort to avoid areas of anticipated turbulence associated with thunderstorm activity. At 1347 e.s.t, in response to a request for their position and altitude, the flight advised, ’We’re just out of seventeen five (17,500 feet) and stand by on the DME one.’

This was the last known transmission from the flight. Shortly thereafter the aircraft entered a steep dive, during which the design limits were exceeded and the aircraft disintegrated in flight.

’The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the unfavorable interaction of severe vertical air drafts and large longitudinal control displacements resulting in a longitudinal upset from Which a successful recovery was not made.’

From eMOTION! Publisher’s Blog

Paris – eMOTION! REPORTS com meteorological and aircraft structures professionals are advising that the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) or ’Black Box’ data will reveal the Air France 447 Airbus A330-203 was subjected to extreme aerodynamic forces consistent with downburst induced windshear coupled with multiple vortex activity within the powerful storm system the crew unfortunately, if not foolishly, chose to penetrate.

’This aircraft flew into an environment completely permeated by wet and dry downburst induced windshear, clear air vortices and opposite flow vortices back-to-back, therein creating the equivalent of aircraft structure blunt force trauma,’ noted one of our people. ’The A330 experienced negative lift at one instant as airflow across either the starboard or port wing, depending on the direction of multiple side (lateral) bursts of high velocity wind possibly exceeding 200 knots, was interrupted, then followed by updraft and downdraft induced uncontrolled climb and descent in the next.

‘No aircraft, not even an A380, could have survived as the aerodynamic loads imposed on the airframe led to catastrophic structural failure. Anyone believing that large, modern aircraft cannot be brought down by severe meteorological events are naive at best, and irresponsible at worst. And, given the enormity and obvious power of this storm system, the captain should have reversed course.

’We nevertheless grieve for the victims and their families.’

Myron D. Stokes, Publisher
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The Destruction of Northwest Orient 705 (Boeing 720, 1963) – US Department of Transportation (DOT) Library

BEA Concorde findings –