50 years after La Coruña air crash killed 85 and changed rules

Cover of the newspaper La Voz de Galicia after the Monterov plane crash in A Coruña in 1973.

On a day like today, but from 1973 Galicia suffers worst air crashThe accident, caused by pilot error, killed 85 people and changed some aviation regulations in Spain.On that fateful day of August 13, an aircraft flew from Aviaco Airlines The plane, bound for A Coruña from Barajas airport, crashed when it tried to land in heavy fog before reaching its destination.

Instead of diverting to another nearby airport due to poor visibility, the pilot tried to land at all costs until the plane crashed to the ground on the fourth attempt, eventually crashing in the town of Monterov (A Coruña). on a high ground. Overgrown with trees.they lost their lives 79 passengers and 6 crew members.

“The accident was not a mechanical failure, but was due to Commander’s stubbornness Try landing up to four times instead of diverting to another airport.In a flight plan it is always expected that you will not be able to land at the destination airport for whatever reason and in this case it was the airport in San Diego that was fixed,” he told Spanish Information Network Airplane pilot and popularizer of aviation issues, Pedro Carvalho.

However, as of today, this operation will proceed without problem, as most airports “already have a system called ILS Category III, for automatic landing in low visibility conditions, But with the technology at the time, it was crazy to try to do that.”

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Experts recalled that the aviation industry in Spain in the 1970s, “It’s utter nonsense” Rules were much looser than they are today. Especially for this incident, the official does not even have a complete accident report, only some fragments. At the time, even under the Franco dictatorship, which lacked transparency, “there were no commissions to investigate aviation accidents, everything was up to the Ministry of the Air Force, the equivalent of the Ministry of Defense,” so little-known details were scarce, Carvalho said.

In fact, in 1973, pilots who landed in bad weather were given financial incentives so airlines could save passengers the cost of traveling to other airports. Experts clarified, however, that some rules changed as a result of the Monterov plane crash, as airlines “stopped rewarding pilots so as not to encourage landings that endanger the safety of passengers”.

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Although Galicia’s worst air crash saw airlines stop offering pilots these “incentives” so as not to encourage dangerous landings, it wasn’t until a few years later that Spain’s aviation regulations actually changed.

Marking the two major air disasters in aviation history was the 1977 one in Los Rodios, Tenerife, when two planes collided on the runway 583 people died, An incident at Madrid’s Barajas airport in 1983, when an Iberia and an Aviaco plane also collided on the runway, 93 people were killed.

Los Rodeo accidentChanged almost every program in the world Because the aviation authorities realize that aviation regulations cannot continue in the same way”, and the Barajas incident means that, especially in Spain, airports and airfields “start to take the problem of low visibility seriously”, Carvalho added, “Installation Ground-based radar systems have been installed so that air traffic controllers can keep track of where aircraft are. “

“The 1970s and 1980s were a period of frequent aviation accidents around the world. Aviation safety only started to improve after investigations into these incidents started to gain traction. Flying is now much safer”, concludes the expert.

In fact, Spain hasn’t had a fatal air crash since a 2008 Iberia airliner crashed in Barajas with 154 people on board and 18 others rescued.

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