CF-TJM LHR 28R overrun 06/11/63

On the evening of 6 November 1963 Trans Canada Airlines DC-8 CF-TJM was scheduled to operate LHR to Montreal (YUL/CYUL). The weather was poor, with fog banks swirling round the airport, resulting in varying runway visual range (RVR).

Following a failed attempt to takeoff from runway 28L, the captain decided to taxi to 28R because the runway visual range (RVR) was reported as 500 yards, whereas the RVR at 28L was 150 yards. While speeding through 132 knots on the take-off run the captain moved the control column back, but felt no response. Because the controls felt as though they were not connected, he decided to abort the takeoff. The DC-8 overran the runway at high speed and came to rest in a cabbage field, 800 yards past the end of the runway. It was later determined that the captain was mistaken in his belief that the elevator control system was defective. It is possible that crew fatigue was a contributory factor, resulting from the prolonged mental concentration required for extensive taxiing around the airport in very poor visibility.

The damaged DC-8 was guarded by a solitary police officer and the day after the incident it was possible for members of the public (and plane spotters) to wander round and take photos. The aircraft was repaired and returned to service but was subsequently (1967) destroyed in a training accident with the loss of the three flight deck crew.