Crash in Benin

90 people were killed today off the coast of Benin in West Africa when their UTA (Union Transport Africaines) Boeing 727 crashed after its landing gear failed to retract after take off. This is the third African plane that has crashed this year after takeoff.

If you’re interested in learning more about airplane crashes, has an incredibly thorough database of news reports, transcripts and FAA reports for every commercial airline crash. The transcripts are harrowing, and it’s painful to imagine what’s going through the minds of the pilots as they realize what’s happening. expired domains I’m also struck by how many of the transcripts show how incredibly calm the pilots remain while a disaster is taking place. I actually feel better about flying after reading them.

Living in New York, I’ve been fascinated by the 1960 crash of a United Airlines and a TWA jet in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Following a midair collision, the United jet dropped onto the streets of Park Slope killing several people on the ground. The photos are unreal, and can be viewed here.


  1. The comments in the article relating to the cause of the crash of the 727 at Benin airport, the failure of the landing gear to retract,is probably wrong and certainly conjecture. Landing gear retraction on aircraft is not, under most all conditions,required for a successfull takeoff. Flight dispatch personnel along with crews, if operating under International Standards, insure the aircraft total weight for takeoff allows a successfull liftoff and departure considering many factors that include aircraft weight and computed thrust calculations, runway elevation and temperature, runway surface covering and length,slope and
    departure obstacles. The fact that the landing gear didn’t retract in this case could be for other reasons such as crew distraction, other failures taking priority or the airplane was not in a sufficient climb mode at the time for the Captain to call for the landing gear to be raised. If I were to guess the cause of this crash it would be engine thrust inadeqete due to poor engine maintance and overloading of the aircraft based on inadequete runway length for aircraft weight and aircraft technical condition.

  2. An excellent point…I should’ve caught on to that—initial conjecture as to the cause of a crash is often wrong, and I can only imagine that the scene in the sea of Benin did not lend itself to an educated guess.