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 Introduction

Eastern Air Lines Flight 21 was a Douglas DC-3 that flew into terrain while preparing to land at Candler Field (now Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport).

Eight out of the 16 on board were killed.

Flight Synopsis

Eastern Air Lines Flight 21 departed out of LaGuardia Airport on the evening of February 26, stopping at Washington Hoover Airport before departing at 9:05 PM EST for Atlanta.

The flight was scheduled to stop at New Orleans, Houston and Brownsville on the morning of the 27th.

At 11:38 CST, the aircraft called the Eastern Air Lines operator in Atlanta, Georgia to advise that it had passed over the Stone Mountain reporting point and was descending. The operator provided the pilots with the altimeter setting.

Eastern Air Lines Flight 21 then contacted Atlanta control tower twice, to advise that it was making in approach and then to advise the aircraft was over the Atlanta range station.

Eastern Air Line's company operator then contacted Eastern Air Lines Flight 21 to suggest a straight-in approach, the aircraft acknowledging the transmission a few moments later.

The wreckage of Flight 21 was found in a pine grove 26,400 feet away from the Atlanta Range station just after 6:30 AM the next day.

Investigation

The Civil Aeronautics Board issued a statement defining the probable cause as:

On the basis of the foregoing findings and the entire record available to us at this time, we find that the probable cause of the accident to NC 28394 (Eastern Air Lines Trip 21) on February 26, 1941, was the failure of the captain in charge of the flight to exercise the proper degree of care by not checking his altimeters to determine whether both were correctly set and properly functioning before commencing his landing approach. A substantial contributing factor was the absence of an established uniform cockpit procedure on Eastern Air Lines by which both the captain and pilot are required to make a complete check of the controls and instruments during landing operations

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