Photo of United Airlines 727
Photo of United Boeing Model 727
Accident Perspectives:
Airplane Life Cycle
  • Operational
Accident Threat CategoriesGroupings
  • Crew Resource Management
  • Incorrect Piloting Technique
  • Uncontrolled Fire / Smoke
  • Cabin Safety / Hazardous Cargo
  • Landing / Takeoff Excursions
  • Approach and Landing
  • Loss of Control
Accident Common Themes
  • Organizational Lapses
  • Human Error
  • Flawed Assumptions

United Airlines Flight 227, Boeing Model 727-22, N7030U

Location: Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah

Date: November 11, 1965

United Airlines Flight 227, a Boeing 727, crashed during an attempted landing at Salt Lake City Airport. The captain failed to recognize and arrest an excessive sink rate on final approach, resulting in a touchdown 335 feet short of the runway. The main landing gear sheared off, causing a breach in the fuselage, and the airplane caught fire while sliding down and off the right side of the runway. Failure of the main landing gear ruptured fuel lines and generator leads, causing the fire. The entire roof and cabin area forward of the fuselage breach was consumed by fire. Of the 85 passengers aboard, there were 43 fatalities. All six crew members survived. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) determined that the accident was survivable - none of the passengers sustained any traumatic injuries that would have precluded their escape. The 43 fatalities were attributed to the fire caused by the broken fuel line. The CAB also established that similar future events could not be ruled out, and that the airplane should be designed to have a higher degree of survivability in these types of events.