Bonanza Air Lines Flight 114

Bonanza Air Lines Flight 114 was a Fairchild F-27 turboprop airliner flying out of Phoenix, Arizona, to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the evening of November 15, 1964.[1]

Bonanza Air Lines Flight 114
Bonanza Air Lines Fairchild F-27A Proctor-1.jpg
The crash aircraft in January 1959 (old registration)
DateNovember 15, 1964
SummaryControlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
SiteClark County, 2.7 miles (4.3 km) W of Sloan, Nevada
35°56′26″N 115°15′53″W / 35.9405°N 115.2647°W / 35.9405; -115.2647Coordinates: 35°56′26″N 115°15′53″W / 35.9405°N 115.2647°W / 35.9405; -115.2647
Aircraft typeFairchild F-27
OperatorBonanza Air Lines
RegistrationN745L (formerly N145L)
Flight originPhoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
DestinationMcCarran International Airport

At 8:25 p.m., during a landing approach in poor weather conditions, it crashed into the top of a hill in open desert country about 8 miles (13 km) SSW of Las Vegas. All 29 aboard -- 26 passengers and a crew of three -- died instantly when the plane exploded on impact, no more than 10 feet (3 m) below a ridge crest.[2] Although this was not the only incident involving a Bonanza Air Lines airplane, it is the only crash with fatalities during the airline's 23-year history.[3]

Media reports initially stated that 28 had died,[4] but these were corrected when the body of a very young girl was found amid the debris.[5] The rugged terrain and snowdrifts surrounding the crash site initially prevented ground vehicles from reaching the wreckage, so four helicopters assisted in the recovery efforts.[5] Eventually a narrow, unimproved road one mile long that climbs up a ridge and terminates at the hilltop crash site was built to assist in salvage operations; it can still be seen in current aerial photos.[6]

Pilot Henry "Hank" Fitzpatrick, a veteran with over 11,000 hours experience, was initially blamed for flying too low due to misreading the approach chart for McCarran International, but an investigation years later showed that the chart was marked in a non-standard, and possibly confusing, manner.[2][7] Some heirs of the crash victims sued the publisher of the chart, but before a verdict was reached in the wrongful death lawsuit the chart company, Jeppesen, agreed to pay the plaintiffs US$490,000.[8]


  1. ^ Incident summary at Archived June 29, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Bates, Warren (November 15, 1999). "Hunt for Lost F-27". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on 2003-05-08. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  3. ^ Bonanza Air Lines accidents and incidents at the Aviation Safety Network
  4. ^ "Place Crash Takes Lives Of 28 People". The Free-Lance Star. Associated Press. November 16, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  5. ^ a b "Bodies Recovered At Air Crash Site". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. November 17, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  6. ^ "ACME Mapper aerial view of crash site". Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  7. ^ "Aetna v. Jeppesen lawsuit, appeal ruling". April 20, 1981. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  8. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network

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