1948 Waycross B-29 crash

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1948 B-29 Waycross crash
Accident summary
Date 6 October 1948[1]
Summary Faulty maintenance[2]
Crew 13
Survivors 4 (3 military, 1 civilian)
Aircraft type Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Operator United States Air Force
Registration 45-21866

The 1948 Waycross B-29 crash occurred on 6 October 1948[1] when an engine fire caused the crash in Waycross, Georgia of a Boeing B-29-100-BW Superfortress bomber, 45-21866, of the 3150th Electronics Squadron,[3] United States Air Force, shortly after take off from Robins Air Force Base, killing 9 of 13 men aboard, including 3 RCA engineers.[1] Four parachuted to safety. Because the flight was a secret test of the "sunseeker" (a heat-seeking device later used in the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile), the Federal government asserted the state secrets privilege to avoid having to answer a subsequent suit for damages by victims of the crash and their heirs, despite the secret device playing no role in the crash itself.

United States v. Reynolds[edit]

A $225,000 summary judgment against the Government and for the contractor's widows was directed when the Government claimed the accident report, as well as documents with surviving crewmember statements, could not be furnished "without seriously hampering national security". However, the Supreme Court overturned the judgment under state secrets privilege. Nevertheless, the Air Force agreed to pay an out-of-court settlement of $170,000, and decades later the declassified accident report indicated the cause to have been a fire and drop in manifold pressure in the number 1 engine, as well as an inadvertent feathering of the number 4 engine, which was not successfully unfeathered prior to the crash. The report indicated the cause of the fire in engine 1 could not be positively determined, but was likely to have been the result of breaks in the right exhaust collector ring. The report further stated that "the fire may have been aggravated by non-compliance with Technical Orders 01-20EJ-117 and 01-20EJ-178." It concluded that the aircraft was "not considered safe for flight" due to non-compliance with these orders.[4] A consequent lawsuit to reopen the case[1] claimed that the report's information about the cause was not secret and alleged a government coverup, but the case was not reopened.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Herring, et al. v. United States, 424 F.3d 384, paragraph 13 (2005).
  2. ^ Persons, John W. "Report of Special Investigation of Aircraft Accident Involving TB-29-100XX no. 45-21866," in Appendix to Civil Action No. 9793: Phyllis Brauner and Elizabeth Palya v. The United States of America. 3 January 1949. pp 10a-24a Web. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  3. ^ http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1945.html
  4. ^ Persons, John W. "Report of Special Investigation of Aircraft Accident Involving TB-29-100XX no. 45-21866," in Appendix to Civil Action No. 9793: Phyllis Brauner and Elizabeth Palya v. The United States of America. 3 January 1949. pp 10a-24a Web. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  5. ^ Willig, Spencer (27 June 2003). "High Court Declines to Reopen Bomber Crash Case" (Premium subscription required). law.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-11.