Date: April 15th, 1948
Type: Lockheed L-49
Registration: NC88858
Operator: Pan American Airways
Where: Shannon, Eire
Report No.SA-169/File No. 1-0034
Report Date: June 24, 1948
Pages: 10

Accident Investigation Report summary.

Pan American airways Locheed Constellation, NC88858, Flight 1-10, en route from London, England, to Shannon, Eire, crashed near the Shannon Airport at 0231 hrs GMT, April 15th 1948. Twenty passengers, including one infant, and 10 crew members were fatally injured. One passenger escaped withe minor injuries. The aircraft was destroyed by impact and fire.


On the basis of all available evidence, the Board finds that:

1. The aircraft, the carrier, and the crew were properly certificated.

2. The aircraft, at the time of its departure from London, England, to Shannon, Eire, had a known defective fluorescent light which illuminated the pilot's instrument panel.

3. The flight departed from London at 0035, April 15, 1948, when available weather information at London indicated that a night instrument approach would be required for the landing at Shannon.

4. Weather conditions encountered en route were substantially as forecast, though ceiling and visibility conditions over the Shannon Airport were lower than had been expected. At the time of the flight's instrument approach, a ceiling of 400 feet was reported over the Shannon Airport with scattered clouds underneath; visibility was reported to be 2-1/2 miles, with fog patches.

5. Except for the possible failure of the defective fluorescent light described above, there is no evidence to indicated theat any mechanical difficulty was experienced in the operation of the aircraft before the time of impact.

6. The ILS at Shannon Airport and all navigational radio aids in the vicinity of the Shannon Airport were operating normally at the time of the accident. The aircraft made a practice approach, using the ILS, flew over the field at approximatedly 500 feet, and proceeded in the accomplishment of its second and attempted final approach without reporting any difficulty.

7. The aircraft, while executing a second instrument approach, using the ILS, struck the ground 2,380 feet from the approach end of the intended runway, and was immediatedly enveloped in flames.

Probable Cause

The Board determines that athe probable cause of thei accident was the continuation of an instrument approach to an altitude insufficient of clear the terrian. A contributing factor may have been the failure of the pilot's instrument fluorescent light.

Flight Personnel

Captain F.C. Jakel
First Officer C.M. Henson
Co-Pilot/Navigator E.G. Wallace
Third Officer H.R. LeBlanc

The Aircraft

NC88858, Lockheed Constellation Model 49, had a total of 3,861 flying hours, 2,207 of which had been accumulated since overhaul. The aircraft was powered by four Wright 745C18BA3 engines with Hamilton standard 33E-60-79 propellers.


Many thanks to John Wible for providing the Accident Investigation Report from which this summary was taken. The full report can be obtained from

Refurbishment and Transcription of Airliner accident reports - Contributor:  John Wible (Editor)