Date: October 08, 1947
Time: 07:55
Location: Near El Paso, Texas
Operator: American Airlines
Flight #: 311
Route: New York City - Dallas - Los Angeles
AC Type: Douglas DC-4
Registration: NC90432
cn / ln: 10314/DC45
Aboard: 54   (passengers:49  crew:5)
Fatalities: 0   (passengers:0  crew:0)
Ground: 0
Summary: While cruising at 8,000 ft. in clear weather, the aircraft went into steep dive which the co-pilot was able to pull out of at 350 feet from the ground. As a prank, a captain riding in the jump seat, engaged the gust lock in flight. The command pilot, not knowing the gust lock was engaged, rolled the elevator trim tab with no response. When the jump seat captain disengaged the gust lock,the aircraft went into a steep dive, executed part of an outside roll and become inverted. Neither the command nor jump seat captain had seat belts on and they accidentally feathered No. 1, 2 and 4 engines when they hit the controls with their heads. No one realized it at the time but the feathering reduced power and allowed the co-pilot, who was strapped in, to pull out of the dive.

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