Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Flying Tiger Line Flight 66

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit



Injuries (nonfatal)

Total fatalities
4 (all)


Aircraft type
Boeing 747-249F

19 February 1989

Flying Tiger Line


Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Crashed in Puchong on 19 February 1989

12 km (6.5 nmi) from Kuala Lumpur

Controlled flight into terrain

Olympic Aviation Flight 545, Independent Air Flight 1851, United Express Flight 2415, Cubana de Aviación Flight 9646, Korean Air Flight 803

Last words flying tiger line flight 66 airplane crash

On February 19, 1989, a FedEx-owned Boeing 747-249F operating as Flying Tiger Flight 66, was flying an international cargo flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The aircraft impacted terrain 12 miles from the airport, resulting in four fatalities.


Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Nahas Kapal Terbang Di Puchong Yang Dilupakan Flying Tiger Flight

The aircraft was assigned a non-directional beacon (NDB) approach to Runway 33 at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Kuala Lumpur, after having flown 30 minutes from Singapore Changi Airport. In descent, the flight was cleared to "Kayell" with a morse code of "KL" of which four separate points on the ground were commonly called by Malaysian ATC albeit with different frequencies. Two separate radio beacons were identically coded "KL" as well as the VOR abbreviation (Kuala Lumpur shortened to "KL") and the airport was also sometimes referred to as "KL" by local ATC (instead of the full "Kuala Lumpur"). The crew was unsure to which point they were cleared, and the cockpit voice recorder revealed that the crew argued about which radios should be set to which frequencies and which approach was actually going to be conducted. (Even in the last few moments of the flight, the captain referenced the ILS approach for runway 33 which was named as inop on the flight release and the ATIS, additionally the crew was told by ATC that the ILS approach was not available.)

Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 AccidentEastern Air Lines 66

ATC radioed to the flight, "Tiger 66, descend two four zero zero [2,400 ft]. Cleared for NDB approach runway three three." The captain of Tiger 66, who heard "descend to four zero zero" replied with, "Okay, four zero zero" (meaning 400 ft above sea level, which was 2,000 ft too low). The proper radio call from ATC, instead of "descend two four zero zero", should have been "descend and maintain two thousand four hundred feet". The captain read back "okay, four zero zero" where the proper read back should have been "Roger, descend and maintain four-hundred feet". The Cockpit voice recorder also revealed several communication errors made by the flight crew prior to this miscommunication and a general casual nature of the Captain, who was the pilot-not-flying on this particular leg of the trip.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Crashed in Puchong on 19 February 1989

Numerous clear warnings were given by the on-board Ground Proximity Warning System which were all ignored entirely by the crew, and the aircraft impacted a hillside 437 ft above sea level, killing all four people on board; two pilots, a flight engineer and an aircraft mechanic. The subsequent fire burned for two days.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 httpsiytimgcomviXtAPRWwnHAomaxresdefaultjpg

The First Officer had complained that he did not have an approach plate in front of him and hadn't seen the approach. From a pilot's perspective, this alone would be considered the cause of the crash because the approach plate (chart) provides the pilot with the courses and minimum altitudes necessary to execute the approach without impacting terrain. The chart would have indicated the minimum descent altitude of 2,400 feet, preventing the accident. Flying an approach without referring to the approach plate is gross negligence.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Last Words Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Airplane Crash YouTube

Additionally, the FO, who was the pilot flying at the time, expressed concern about conducting the NDB approach and indicated a preference for the ILS for runway 15. However, the FO was not assertive and no further action was taken. The Captain dismissed his concern saying he was familiar with the airport and the approaches.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 FULL VIDEO Flying Tiger Line 747 Flight 66 Crashed in Puchong YouTube

The second officer was 70 years old and used a magnifying glass to see. A contributing factor to this accident was the non-ICAO phraseology used by Kuala Lumpur air traffic control and the Captain of the aircraft. This breakdown of communication contributed to the crew misinterpreting the instructions given. However, this notorious controlled-flight-into-terrain accident ultimately resulted from a crew failure to adhere to the instrument approach procedure, poor crew resource management and poor situational awareness.

The incident led to the development of the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) escape maneuver, which is now universally employed by airlines. It underscored the importance of enhancing crew resource management techniques and adherence to standard operating procedures. Flight training organizations, including FlightSafety International, use this accident as a cautionary example of improper practices. A video produced by the FAA, based on the original Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) transcript, continues to serve as a valuable educational tool for analyzing the events and refining existing flight safety techniques. The information discussed here is largely sourced from that video.

Flying tiger line flight 66 top 25 facts


Flying Tiger Line Flight 66 Wikipedia

Similar Topics