The aircraft was named ‘Flagship District of Columbia’ and was only the 12th Boeing 707 ever made. It was delivered to American Airlines in February 1959 so at the time America was taking its first steps into the void of outer space it was a mere 3 years old. It hadn’t long been out of it’s periodic inspection and with less than 8,000 hours on the airframe N7506A was expected to have a long and productive life ahead… a wish that would be dashed in a few short minutes.

The New York skyline


An American Airlines Boeing 707 at LAX


Changes in apparent span and the effects of sideslip on a swept wing when yawed


The 707 rudder control system


Wreckage from American Airlines flight 514


The Calverton crash still smoking


A New York ticker tape parade


The flight recorder trace from the American One’s final moments


A reconstruction of the track of Flight One


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Jon Proctor, San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives, the Civil Aeronautics Board and Ted Quackenbush.