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Air Inter Flight 148 was a scheduled passenger flight from Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport to Strasbourg Airport in France. On 20 January 1992, the aircraft operating the flight, an Airbus A320, crashed in the Vosges Mountains, France, near Mont Sainte-Odile, while circling to land at Strasbourg Airport. 87 of the 96 people on board were killed, while the remaining nine were all injured.[1]

Air Inter Flight 148
Air Inter Airbus A320-111 Gilliand-1.jpg
F-GGED, the aircraft involved in the accident
Date20 January 1992 (1992-01-20)
SummaryControlled flight into terrain due to ATC error and incorrect descent angle input by captain
SiteBarr, near Strasbourg Airport, Strasbourg, France[1]
48°25′38.5″N 007°24′18.5″E / 48.427361°N 7.405139°E / 48.427361; 7.405139Coordinates: 48°25′38.5″N 007°24′18.5″E / 48.427361°N 7.405139°E / 48.427361; 7.405139
Aircraft typeAirbus A320-111
OperatorAir Inter
Flight originLyon Satolas Airport
DestinationStrasbourg Airport
Fatalities87 (82 passengers, 5 crew members)
Injuries9 (5 serious, 4 minor)
Survivors9 (8 passengers, 1 crew member)



The aircraft, an Airbus A320-111, registration F-GGED, serial number 15, first flew on 4 November 1988, and was delivered to Air Inter on 22 December 1988. At the time of the accident the aircraft had accumulated a total of 6,316 airframe hours.[2][3]


Flight 148, commanded by 42-year-old Captain Christian Hecquet and 37-year-old First Officer Joël Cherubin,[4] departed Satolas Airport in Lyon, France. While being vectored for a VOR/DME approach to runway 05 at Strasbourg, it crashed at 19:20:33 CET in the mountains at an altitude of 2,620 feet (800 m).[1]

The Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA) found that Flight 148 crashed because the pilots left the autopilot set in Vertical Speed Mode instead of Flight Path Angle Mode and then set "33" for "3.3° descent angle", resulting in a high descent rate of 3,300 feet (1,000 m) per minute into terrain.[1]

The pilots had no warning of the imminent impact because Air Inter had not equipped its aircraft with a ground proximity warning system (GPWS). It is speculated that this was because Air Inter – facing ferocious competition from France's TGV high-speed trains – may have encouraged its pilots to fly fast at low level (up to 350 knots below 10,000 feet, while other airlines generally do not exceed 250 knots), and GPWS systems gave too many nuisance warnings.[5][citation needed]

The accident occurred at night, under low cloud and with light snow. Emergency response was slow and journalists were the first to find the crash site over four hours later.[6][circular reference]


The crash site of Flight 148 with a memorial plaque

Accident investigators recommended 35 changes in their report. Airbus modified the interface of the autopilot so that a vertical speed setting would be displayed as a four-digit number, preventing confusion with the Flight Path Angle mode.[7][8] The flight data recorder was upgraded so that it was able to withstand higher temperatures and for longer.[5][citation needed] The report also recommended that pilot training for the A320 should be enhanced and that GPWS systems should be installed on them.


The story of the disaster was featured on the ninth season of Cineflix television show Mayday in the episode entitled "The Final Blow" (also known as Air Crash Investigation as episode entitled "Crashed and Missing" or "Doomed to Fail" (S09E07)).[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Rapport de la commission d'enquête sur l'accident survenu le 20 janvier 1992 près du Mont Sainte-Odile (Bas Rhin) à l'Airbus A 320 immatriculé F-GGED exploité par la compagnie Air Inter" (in French). Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Quatorze ans après, les causes de la catastrophe du mont Sainte-Odile restent incertaines" (in French). Le Monde. 2 May 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "The Final Blow". Mayday. Season 9. 2010. Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic Channel.
  6. ^ List of Mayday episodes#Season 9 (2009)
  7. ^ [1] Archived 21 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "DSpace@MIT: Experimental Study of Vertical Flight Path Mode Awareness". Retrieved 8 February 2014.

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