The Crash of Piedmont Airlines Flight 22

Completing the Record of the 1967 Midair Collision Near Hendersonville, North Carolina


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About the Book

Against a backdrop of inadequate funding, misplaced priorities and a lack of manpower, American commercial aviation in the 1960s was in a perilous state. In July 1967, when a Piedmont Airlines Boeing 727 collided with a Cessna 310 over Hendersonville, North Carolina, killing 82 people, the industry was in crisis. Congress called hearings on aviation safety and government and union officials pressured President Lyndon Johnson to request increased funding for aviation safety. But the National Transportation Safety Board’s probe into the crash was flawed from the start. The investigative team was made up of individuals whose companies had certain interests in the outcome. The lead investigator was the brother of the vice president of Piedmont Airlines. In an effort to shift blame from the government and Piedmont, critical conversations recorded on tape never made it into the NTSB’s report. Maintenance and training records, as well as industry warnings of the 727’s operational limitations, were also omitted. This book reveals the true story of the investigation: what was left out and why.

About the Author(s)

Paul D. Houle is a former traffic accident investigator with the United States Army. His work in the field of transportation has spanned a couple of decades. He lives in Chesnee, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Paul D. Houle

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6224-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2252-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. “I have a flight plan for you” 7
2. Passenger List 17
3. “Twenty-two is ready to go” 21
4. “Twenty-two rolling” 31
5. “Somebody got an ashtray on fire?” 45
6. “A large ball of smoke and flame” 50
7. “We think it might be a big one” 58
8. “Deliberate, continuous leaks” 68
9. “This process is conducted entirely in the open” 80
10. “There is nothing in the budget request for radar systems” 87
11. “I really think you have been derelict in your duty” 102
12. “A compromise of aviation safety” 110
13. Reaching a “Breakdown” Point 115
14. “Every major FAA air traffic control facility is short of personnel” 122
15. “A family affair” 132
16. “Erratic speed control during enroute climb” 136
17. “That’s just the cigarette that’s on fire” 145
18. “We’ll turn off, go direct to the VOR” 152
19. “I did not participate in the NTSB’s investigation” 156
20. “Since we are in a real budget squeeze, aviation must take its lumps” 162
21. “We, the public, prefer simple answers” 166
22. “Poor cockpit discipline” 179
23. “At the very least, the controller should have requested a ­read-back” 182
Chapter Notes 187
Bibliography 203
Index 209