Air France Flight 117 Crashes

The aircraft, named "Chateau de Chantilly", was on a flight from Paris to Santiago via Lisbon, Azores and Guadeloupe.

The VOR at Le Raizet Airport was unserviceable when the flight approached Guadeloupe at night. Weather conditions were poor; a violent thunderstorm existed in the area and visibility was 10km and a ceiling of 1000 feet within the squall. The crew reported over the NDB at 5000 feet and carried out a turn back towards the east to begin its final approach. Incorrect ADF indications, as a result of the thunderstorm, caused the plane to stray 15 km off the procedural let-down track. The Boeing 707 then crashed into a forest on a hill at an altitude of about 1400 feet.

PROBABLE CAUSE: 1) Breakdown of the VOR; 2) insufficient meteorological information given to the crew; 3) the atmospheric effects on the ADF indicator.

On this day in 1962, an Air France Boeing 707 crashes on the island of Guadeloupe, killing all 113 passengers and crew members aboard. This crash was only one of five major accidents involving Boeing 707s during the year. Altogether, the five crashes killed 457 people.

The Boeing 707 was built as a modification of the KC-135 military tanker and bomber. The design was altered so that it could carry passengers and it proved to be very popular with the exploding commercial-aviation industry. Although it burned more fuel, the 707 was faster than other commercial jets of the time.

The Air France flight 117 was a multi-leg international scheduled flight from Paris-Orly Airport via Lisbon,The Azores and Guadeloupe to Santiago, Chile. The plane - Boeing 707 was a brand new aircraft - 4 months old.
The flight was uneventful until approaching Pointe-à-Pitre.The airport is surrounded by mountains and requires a steep descent. The weather was poor - violent thunderstorm and low ceiling. The VOR was not serviceable. The crew reported over the NDB at 5000 feet and turned east to begin the final approach. Due to incorrect ADF caused by the thunderstorm, the plane strayed 15 km west from the procedural let-down track. The plane crashed in a forest on a hill called Dos D’Ane (The Donkey's Back in English) and exploded. There were no survivors.