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Avianca Flight 011, registration HK-2910X,[1] was a Boeing 747-200B on an international scheduled passenger flight from Frankfurt via Paris, Madrid, and Caracas to Bogotá that crashed on 27 November 1983. It took off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 22:25 on 26 November 1983 for Madrid Barajas Airport; take-off was delayed to wait for additional passengers from a Lufthansa flight due to a cancellation of the segment Paris-Frankfurt by Avianca for operational reasons.[2] The jet had been cleared to land at Barajas Airport, the first of two scheduled en route stops originating at Paris, with a final destination of Bogota, Colombia.[3]

Avianca Flight 011
Boeing 747-283BM, Avianca AN1396439.jpg
HK-2910X, the aircraft involved, photographed in August 1983
Date27 November 1983
SummaryControlled flight into terrain due to pilot error and navigational error
SiteMejorada del Campo, Madrid, Spain
Aircraft typeBoeing 747-283B
Aircraft nameOlafo
Flight originFrankfurt Airport
West Germany
1st stopoverCharles de Gaulle Airport
Paris, France
2nd stopoverMadrid Barajas International Airport
Last stopoverSimón Bolívar Int'l Airport
Caracas, Venezuela
DestinationEl Dorado International Airport
Bogotá, Colombia

During the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 33, the 747 crashed on a hill approximately 7.5 miles south east of the airport, killing 181 people, including 19 on-duty and four off-duty crew members. The 11 surviving passengers were seriously injured.[4] The cause of the accident was judged to be pilot error, having incorrectly determined the position of the plane.[1] As of 2019, Avianca Flight 011 remains the second-deadliest aviation accident in Spanish territory behind the Tenerife airport disaster.[5] and the worst accident in the history of Avianca.



The flight originated in Frankfurt and stopped in Paris before heading to Madrid. It took off from Paris at 22:25 on 26 November 1983. It was dark at the time of the accident, the meteorological conditions just before the crash consisted of a visibility of 5 miles, and the wind was calm.[3] About 20 minutes prior to the impact the aircraft had obtained meteorological information on the weather conditions at Barajas from Avianca. The first contact with Spanish air traffic controllers took place at 23:31.[2] At 00:03 the aircraft contacted Barajas again and was cleared to land on runway 33; this was the air traffic controller's last contact with the aircraft.[2] The accident took place in the township of Mejorada del Campo, approximately 7.5 miles southeast of the Madrid Airport. The time of the accident was approximately 00:06 on 27 November 1983. The plane hit three different hills on its way down during the crash, with the third hill being the final impact. The debris of the airplane was widely scattered as a consequence of the three impacts. The crash killed 158 passengers, 19 crew members and 4 off-duty crew members. 11 were seriously injured. Of the injured people, nine were ejected out of the airplane, a few of them with their seats still attached, and two claimed to have exited the aircraft by themselves.[2] The aircraft was completely destroyed by the impact and ensuing fire.[2] The aircraft was equipped with a digital flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder, both of which were recovered on the day of the accident in good condition.[2]


The crash was investigated by the Spanish Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC).[1]

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot-in-command, without having any precise knowledge of his position, set out to intercept the instrument landing system (ILS) on an incorrect track without initiating the published instrument approach maneuver; in so doing he descended below the sector minima until he collided with the ground. Contributory factors were:

  • a) Inaccurate navigation by the crew, which placed them in an incorrect position for initiating the approach maneuver;
  • b) Failure of the crew to take corrective action in accordance with the operating instructions of the ground proximity warning system;
  • c) Deficient teamwork on the flight deck;
  • d) Imprecise position information supplied to the aircraft by APP;
  • e) The APP controller, in failing to inform the aircraft that radar service had terminated, did not maintain a proper watch on the radar scope."
    — (CIAIAC)

There was no evidence of any anomalies in Paris prior to this flight. The crew had stayed in the city 72 hours after arriving on flight AVO10 on the first day, 24 November 1983.[2] The investigation also determined that the pilot-in-command and crew were properly licensed and qualified, as were the air traffic controllers. The aircraft carried a valid certificate of airworthiness and a registration and maintenance certificate. The airplane was maintained in accordance with the prescribed maintenance program, and the navigation and approach aids were checked and found to be functioning correctly. In addition, there was no record of malfunctions in the controllers communications or radar equipment, and no evidence was discovered of defects in the aircraft engines or systems.[2]


As of 2019, Avianca still operates Flight 011, a daily non-stop flight from Madrid to Bogota, using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Notable people killedEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "ICAO Circular (196-AN/119)". Aircraft Accident Digest 1983. 30: 105–141. 1983.
  3. ^ a b Gero, David (29 May 2009). Aviation Disasters: The World’s Major Civil Airliner Crashes Since 1950. History Press. pp. 251–. ISBN 978-0-7524-9992-5.
  4. ^ "176 Are Believed Killed in Crash Of 747 Jet Near Madrid's Airport: Airliner Crashes Near Madrid". The New York Times (Vol. 133, No. 45, 875). NYTimesCo. Reuters. November 27, 1983. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Death Toll in the Crash of 747 Jet Near Madrid Airport Rises to 183". The New York Times (Vol. 133, No. 45, 876). NYTimesCo. Associated Press. November 28, 1983. Retrieved 23 December 2016.

External linksEdit