World Air Blogs

Copenhagen Ilyushin IL-14P Crash, 1957

The IL-14 operated on an international Aeroflot passenger service from Moscow-Vnukovo (VKO) to Copenhagen (CPH), Denmark with an en route stop at Riga (RIX).The airplane impacted a smoke stack at the Ørsted Værket power plant and crashed into the southern harbour of Copenhagen.

Ilyushin 14P

Ilyushin 14P same type as the crashed aircraft

A Soviet Ilyushin Aeroflot is via a stopover in Riga on the way from Moscow to Copenhagen Airport. It is early morning, windy, fog is closing in on Kastrup Airport. There is a visibility just 5100ft, but the cloud base is satisfactory. In the control tower at Copenhagen sits a flight controller translator talking with the Soviet pilot. The pilot report no anything unusual. He has flown over the airport and have been instructed to carry out the landing with a turning point at Bella lighthouse, located at Damhussøen / Brønshøj. The plane contacts kontrotårnet when he is at Bella lighthouse. This keeps the pilot an altitude of 300 meters.

The machine flying in over the western part of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Carlsberg and Vesterbro at 107 – 161 knots per hour. The pilot is flying too low. Usually aircraft en route to Kastrup must keep an altitude of approximately 1000ft, but the Soviet aircraft was flying at a height of 240ft.

Quote “Just as I turned, I saw the plane come out of control as a winged giant bird. I think the aircraft was only 10-15 feet from me when it came down and crashed in the water just off the power plant”. Electrician Carl Henry Bach, Politiken Newspaper August 16, 1957.

The plane hits the new Ørsted Power Station that has five smoke stacks, completely shrouded in fog. The right wing is ripped off when the plane hits the chimney 255ft up. The chimney 0.28in. thick pressed sheet metal is, a personnel staircase is torn, mangled pieces of metal are scattered everywhere, and a gas tank is torn off the plane and falls onto a roof. The whole area stinks of gasoline. The plane continues 550 yards and crashes into Tømmergraven in Copenhagen harbor around Enghave Brygge.


Recovery of the tail section of the IL14P in Copenhagen Harbour

Why the pilot has gone so low is not known, but there are indications, however, that he tried to find a hole in the cloud cover to make a visual landing where he could perform a visual landing instead of flying by instruments.

There were no Danes on the plane, which had 23 passengers and 5 crew members on board. All perished.

I remember that the Russians was trying to blame the crash on Denmark which in the cold war days was quite scary.

The final accident report from the Danish authorities is not available anymore. If you should happen to know something about it, please let us know.

Location: Copenhagen Airport
Date: August 15, 1957
Time: Kl. 6.21
Aircraft: Ilyushin 14P
Registration: CCCP-L1874
Production year: 1956
Company: Aeroflot

Manufacturer Ilyushin
First flight 1 October 1950
1954 (Aeroflot)
Number built 1,348



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