Airplane wreckage
Airplane wreckage
CAB, Aviation Safety Network - Source
License: Public Domain

Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710 Crashes, Killing 63

The Chicago, IL to Miami, FL Lockheed Electra carrying 57 passengers and a crew of six plunged into the earth killing all on board. The plane fell apart in mid-air as engine, wing, and plane parts were strewn over a two mile area in Perry County. The plane's cruising speed was 406 mph and it is estimated that the plane was traveling nearly 600 mph as it's fuselage plunged nose first into a bean field at Millstone, burying it 50 ft. into the earth.

After extensive research at Lockheed, it was revealed that a weakness in the Electra's outer engine supports caused the crash. This weakness, when circumstances were right, started a series of vibrations, in effect the engine began bouncing and this vibration soon transferred its force to the wing itself, which hopelessly stressed it and broke it off. Clear air turbulence was reported over Perry County the day of the crash. After the crash, Lockheed acted forthrightly and recalled all Electras for modifications.

Electra N121US was operating on Northwest Flight 710 from Minneapolis (MSP) to Chicago (MDW) and Miami (MIA). The flight departed Minneapolis at 12:51 and arrived at Midway at 13:55. During the short time the aircraft was on the ground at Chicago, approximately 30 minutes, it was refueled and prepared for continuation of the flight to Miami. The flight departed Chicago at 14:38. At 14:45, the flight reported to the Indianapolis, Indiana, ARTC Center over Milford at 18,000 feet and estimating Scotland, Indiana, at 15:12. At 15:13, Flight 710 reported over Scotland maintaining 18,000 feet and estimating Bowling Green, Kentucky, at 15:35. This was the last radio contact with the flight.

At 15:25 the the outboard engines and engine support structures, the complete right wing, and the outer portions of the left wing and ailerons separated in flight. The aircraft crashed out of control.

Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710, a Lockheed L-188 Electra, crashed near Cannelton, Indiana (10 miles east of Tell City, Indiana) on March 17, 1960. The flight carried 57 passengers and 6 crew members. There were no survivors.