Spanair plane crashes since 1988

The following are either fatal events involving at least one passenger death or significant safety occurrences involving the airline. Excluded would be events where the only passengers killed were stowaways, hijackers, or saboteurs. The passenger fatalities in the numbered events may be due to accidents, hijackings, sabotage, or military action.

  1. 20 August 2008; Spanair MD82; Flight 5022; Madrid, Spain: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled domestic flight from Madrid to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Early reports indicated that the left engine experienced a major malfunction during the takeoff. The aircraft was able to get airborne, but the crew set the aircraft down in a area to the right of the departure runway. The aircraft broke up and there was a severe post-crash fire.

    All six crew members and 148 of the 166 passengers were killed. Among the passengers were 20 children and two infants. Both infants reportedly survived. Many of the survivors suffered burns, some of them serious.

    This was also a code share flight with Lufthansa, and that airline reported that seven of their passengers had transferred to the Spanair flight from a previous Lufthansa flight. , and that airline reported that seven of their passengers were checked in for the flight.

    About Spanair
    This was the first fatal event for Spanair, the second largest of the five airlines in the SAS Group. The airline began operations in 1988. At the end of June 2008, there were 65 aircraft in the Spanair fleet, averaging 13 years old. The fatal event aircraft was built in 1993.

    About the MD80
    This was the 15th fatal event involving the MD80 series aircraft. Four fatal events have been in Europe, and four in the US. The aircraft began commercial operations in 1980, with the first fatal event in 1981. This latest crash was the eighth fatal MD80 event since 2000.

Updates for the 20 August 2008 Crash
of Spanair Flight 5022

Preliminary Report from the Spanish Authorities (CIAIAC)

Two Veteran Airline Captains Discuss the Crash of a Spanair MD82

Date: 23 September 2008; Length: 26:17

On August 23rd, 2008, three days after the crash of the Spanair MD82, the podcast featured the insights of two veteran airline captains, Capt. Tom Bunn of the SOAR fear of flying organization, and Capt. Steve Fisher, a pilot who has flown for a major US airline for over two decades.

The two captains provided insights into the mechanics of flying a large jet transport, especially the MD82, and to give the audience an idea of the kind of training and preparation pilots go through to prepare for emergencies during takeoff.

Podcast Link
Audio: MP3

Preliminary Findings: Crash of Spanair MD82

Date: 19 September 2008; Length: 2:17

Dr. Todd Curtis reviews the preliminary findings in the investigation of the 20 August 2008 crash of a Spanair MD82 in Madrid. Spanish investigators reportedly found that the flaps were not properly configured for takeoff and that the crew flap configuration alarm was not activated. A video taken by the Spanish airport authorities also show that there was no indication of a fire or explosion while the aircraft was airborne.

For more videos, visit the YouTube Channel.

Additional Podcast Links
Audio: MP3

VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

Crash of Spanair MD82: Comments from Capt. Patrick Smith

Date: 30 August 2008; Length: 20:30

Two days after the crash of a Spanair MD82 on 20 August 2008, Dr. Todd Curtis of interviewed Patrick Smith, an airline captain with a major US carrier and the author of the book "Ask the Pilot." They discussed several crash-related issues, including the quality of media coverage of the event, and provided some insights into what areas may be important in the ongoing investigation.

Podcast Link
Audio: MP3

Crash of Spanair MD82 on 20 August 2008

Date: 20 August 2008; Length: 2:10

Dr. Todd Curtis discusses the fatal event involving a Spanair MD82 which crashed in Madrid, Spain on 20 August 2008 shortly after taking off on a scheduled domestic flight to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. All six crew members and 148 of the 166 passengers were killed.

Additional Podcast Links
Audio: MP3

VideoWMV |  iPod/MP4 |  YouTube Audio and Video Podcasts About this Event
Audio: Initial Report 20 August 2008

VideoiPod/MP4 |  YouTube

Transcript of audio and video podcasts

Initial Report on this Fatal Event

For more videos, visit the YouTube channel.

Related Resources
Fatal Events of Selected European Airlines
Fatal Events involving the MD80 series aircraft
Fatal Events by Model
Fatal Event Rates by Model
U.S. Accidents by Aircraft Model
Wikipedia Entry About this Crash

BBC Illustration of Crash Location

BBC graphic illustrating the location of the crash

Spanair plane crashes since 1988 -- Revised: 4 October 2014