Eastern Air Lines Flight 375
Eastern Air Lines
Eastern Air Lines
Eastern Air Lines was a major United States airline that existed from 1926 to 1991. Before its dissolution it was headquartered at Miami International Airport in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.-History:...

 Flight 375
, registration N5533, was a Lockheed L-188 Electra
Lockheed L-188 Electra
The Lockheed Model 188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. First flying in 1957, it was the first large turboprop airliner produced in the United States. Initial sales were good, but after two fatal crashes which prompted an expensive modification program to fix a design...

 aircraft that crashed on takeoff from Logan International Airport
Logan International Airport
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is located in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts . It covers , has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people. It is the 19th busiest airport in the United States.Boston serves as a focus city for JetBlue Airways...

 in Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 1960. 62 of 72 on board were killed in the accident; ten survived, nine with serious injuries.

N5533 and its crew came into Logan that day as Flight 444 from New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is an airport located in the northern part of Queens County on Long Island in the City of New York. The airport is located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. The airport was originally...

. The plane and crew turned around in Boston as Flight 375, which was scheduled to travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

, Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

 and Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

. The pilots had filed an IFR
Instrument flight rules
Instrument flight rules are one of two sets of regulations governing all aspects of civil aviation aircraft operations; the other are visual flight rules ....

 flight plan that would have had the aircraft cruising to Philadelphia at 10,000 feet. At 5:35 PM, the aircraft pulled away from the terminal and taxied to the threshold of Runway 09 for an easterly departure; the tower cleared it for takeoff at 5:39 PM.

The takeoff was normal until approximately six seconds after liftoff. At that point the aircraft encountered a large flock of starlings. The aircraft veered to the left for a moment then resumed the runway heading. At a height of 200 feet the airplane veered left again and sank nose-up to about 100 feet in altitude. It then rolled to the left, the nose dropped, and the aircraft crashed into Winthrop Bay
Boston Harbor
Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeast.-History:...


The fuselage broke into two pieces; eight passengers and two flight attendants in the rear section were thrown out of their seats and were quickly picked up by boats already in the bay. The front section sank to the bottom of the bay, taking the majority of the passengers and the flight crew with it. The entire accident sequence from the beginning of takeoff to the impact in the water took less than one minute.
Investigators with the Civil Aeronautics Board (the predecessor of the NTSB) determined that engines Nos. 1, 2, and 4 had each ingested at least one bird, and that engine No. 1 had ingested at least eight. The bird damage caused the No. 1 propeller
Propeller (aircraft)
Aircraft propellers or airscrews convert rotary motion from piston engines or turboprops to provide propulsive force. They may be fixed or variable pitch. Early aircraft propellers were carved by hand from solid or laminated wood with later propellers being constructed from metal...

 to autofeather
Autofeather is a feature of the engines on some turboprop or piston engine aircraft. When the power being produced by the engine drops to the point where it is not contributing to thrust, the propeller will go into a feathered mode to reduce drag....

 and the engine to shut down at the same time that damage to the No. 2 and No. 4 engines prevented those engines from developing full power at a critical stage of flight. The aircraft, unable to climb, went into a mush. The power interruption to the port engines probably caused the left wing to stall; the wing dropped and the aircraft crashed into the water. There was also evidence that birds had crashed into the windscreen, reducing the pilots' visibility; in addition, bird remains had clogged the Pitot tube
Pitot tube
A pitot tube is a pressure measurement instrument used to measure fluid flow velocity. The pitot tube was invented by the French engineer Henri Pitot Ulo in the early 18th century and was modified to its modern form in the mid-19th century by French scientist Henry Darcy...

s, making the pilots' airspeed indicator
Airspeed indicator
The airspeed indicator or airspeed gauge is an instrument used in an aircraft to display the craft's airspeed, typically in knots, to the pilot.- Use :...

s unreliable.

It was eventually determined that turboprop engines such as those on the Electra were highly sensitive to damage from bird strikes. The CAB recommended to the CAA, the predecessor of the FAA, that steps be taken to reduce the damage caused by bird strikes to turbine engines, and that ways be found to reduce the populations of birds around airports.

External links and references

  • Aircraft Accident Report on Flight 375 from the Department of Transport's Special Collections
  • Air Disaster, Vol. 4: The Propeller Era, by Macarthur Job
    Macarthur Job
    Macarthur Job is an Australian aviation writer and air safety consultant. He has published nine books on aviation safety...

    , Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd. (Australia), 2001 ISBN 1-875671-48-X
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