Airplane Crash - Off Los Angeles, California 01/18/1969

Details of airplane crash/ shootdown - Off Los Angeles, California

LocationOff Los Angeles, California
OperatorUnited Air Lines
Flight #266
RouteLos Angeles - Denver - Milwaukee
TypeBoeing B-727-22QC
SummaryThe aircraft crashed into Santa Monica Bay shortly after a night takeoff in poor weather and visibility. The crew reported a fire warning in the No. 1 engine and shut it down. After initiating a turn, the aircraft crashed into the water at high speed. The aircraft was dispatched with one generator inoperative. While this was legal, United was required to repair the generator at the first airport where there were repair facilities. The aircraft flew for a total of 41 hours with the inoperative generator passing through airports that had the facilities to repair the generator. Shutting down the engine took the second generator offline leaving just one generator which became overloaded causing it to trip, resulting in the loss of all electrical power in the aircraft. For reasons undetermined, the battery standby switch was not turned on. At night, in rain, with no lights or instruments, the captain became disoriented and crashed into the PacifiOcean, 11.5 miles west of Los Angeles International Airport, four minutes after its initial takeoff roll. Battery backup for instruments was not required at the time. This crash prompted the FAA to require all transport category aircraft to have a standby attitude indicator which is powered by an independent source. False fire warning which prompted the shutting down of the No. 1 engine. Failure of the crew to unpower the heavy electrical loads before shutting down the No. 1 engine. Failure of UAL to repair the No. 3 generator in a timely manner.

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