On December 1, 1974, a TWA 727-200 jetliner plunged into a fog-shrouded ridge just outside Washington, DC while on approach to Dulles International Airport. All 92 people aboard were killed instantly. The flight was enroute from Indianapolis to Washington National Airport, with an intermediate stop in Columbus, Ohio, but had been routed to the larger and more advanced Dulles Airport because of the bad weather in the area. The flight crew, misreading the poorly labeled approach plate, descended too low on approach and clipped the top of the ridge just 50 feet short of its apex at about 200 knots. The aircraft was destroyed by impact and the subsequent fireball.
Earlier this year, I visited the crash site, which lies just off a winding mountain road in the sprawling rural county of Loudoun, less than 45 minutes from downtown DC. Because the crash happened so close to my home, visiting the site was a very personal experience for me, and even more so because I had recently re-read Adam Shaw's book "Sound of Impact", which was written about the crash's victims, shortly after the accident happened. Being there really hit home how much of a tragedy a plane crash can be, and just how much life was lost on a virtually unmarked spot on a lonely mountain ridge.
Awhile back, I posted a log on another web site telling a little about my experience in visiting the crash site, as well as some photos I took while there. Even though some time has passed, I figured some of the users of A.net might want to see this information, too, and now I've finally gotten around to posting.
My log: http://www.planesafe.org/cgis/robboard.cgi?action=display&num=277
The photos: http://photos.yahoo.com/twa514
Please note that I present these items not to be ghoulish or macabre, or to be some sort of aviation tourist, but to honor those lives lost in this senseless tragedy. Someone should remember them, even now. As Shaw said in his book, "They were somebody to somebody." I know the photos don't show too much, but they're all I could get without entering onto the actual crash site. Just a few months shy of the 30th anniversary of this crash, I hope this post will mean something to some of you, particularly those in the DC area. Thanks.
[Edited 2004-05-24 03:43:47]
[Edited 2004-05-24 03:44:32]