Information on aircraft gives the type, and if available, the serial number of the operator in italics, the constructors number, also known as the manufacturer's serial number (c/n), exterior codes in apostrophes, nicknames (if any) in quotation marks, flight call sign in italics, and operating units.
On its 205th flight, the first prototype Cessna XT-37-CE, 54-716, c/n 40001, first flown 12 October 1954, becomes uncontrollable during spin tests and crashes in Kansas, Cessna test pilot Robert S. "Bob" Hagan  ejecting successfully.
Fifth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19311, c/n 5, on X-10 flight number 13, out of Edwards AFB, California, has supersonic flight aborted when afterburners fail. Automated landing fails when chute deploys during radio controlled approach, causing the vehicle to plunge into the desert and be destroyed.
Third of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19309, c/n 3, on X-10 flight number 14, out of Edwards AFB, California, first flight of refitted c/n 3, the static test article. Vehicle exploded on gear retraction two seconds after lift-off - it was found that the destruct package was wired to the gear circuit instead of the engine circuit.
The first significant Nike Ajax missile accident occurs at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, on a rainy afternoon this date, when, at 1235 hrs., Battery C, 36th AAA Missile Battalion, located south of Maryland 602 (now Route 198), was "practicing Nike procedures" when the rocket booster on an Ajax which was being elevated on its launcher suddenly ignites and the missile takes off. Crewman Sgt. 1st Cl. Stanley C. Kozak, standing seven feet away, is caught in the flareback from booster ignition and suffers minor burns. Initial reports stated that the missile exploded about three miles away, "several thousand feet in the air." Later accounts state that the missile, which was not in the fully upright launch position when it unexpectedly left the rail, suffered structural damage as it took off, "coupled with rapid initial acceleration, rendered the missile aerodynamically unsound and led to the break up. The fact the crew had not removed the propulsion safety pin during the drill contributed to the failure of the sustainer motor to start. And, since the launch was unintended, the missile was not under radar control. Neither the missile nor the booster exploded in flight. The booster separated and fell onto Barber's Trailer Court more than a mile from the launch site. Fuel tank fragments fell on the Baltimore-Washington Expressway where the fuel and oxidizer caused a fire but little or no damage. The missile nose section was found 500 yards from the launcher with the guidance assembly still attached." The Army board of inquiry isolated the cause as an electrical short caused by rain water in the junction box on the outside rear of the launcher control trailer. This condition defeated the crew's pre-launch safety checks.
Second prototype Lockheed XF-104A Starfighter, 53-7787, c/n 083-0002, is lost when airframe sheds the bottom ejection seat hatch fairing during 20 mm gun firing causing an explosive decompression. Test pilot Herman R. "Fish" Salmon ejected as aircraft broke up, injured landing in rough country.Joe Baugher cites date of 14 April for this accident.
Ten crew are KWF when a Boeing B-29A-40-BN, 44-61677, piloted by Victor C. Marston, of the 581st Air Resupply Group, 20th Air Force, on a routine low-level training mission, strikes a hill on the south end of Okinawa, three miles from Naha Airport, as it gropes through overcast. This was the 581st's first major accident. Sp3C Lee L. Bean, Artillery, U.S. Army, on duty with the First Composite Service Unit, is awarded the Soldier's Medal for his attempts to rescue any survivors when he voluntarily enters the fiercely burning wreckage in which oxygen bottles are exploding and removes several victims with no regard for his own safety before abandoning his efforts when it becomes clear that there are none alive.
Four U.S. Army personnel are killed in a nighttime crash of a helicopter on main post at Fort Benning, Georgia. A Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw crashed and burned in a heavily wooded area ~.5 miles from a housing development while on a routine training flight at Fort Benning. Killed were: Capt. Earl J. Scott, pilot; Capt. Robert F. Carter, pilot; SFC. Herman W. Punke; and Sgt. Horace G. Connor.
An Ohio Air National Guard pilot, Maj. Charles C. Cook, 30, of Dayton, stays with his ship in order to give other crew a chance to bail out of their Douglas C-47A-10-DK, 42-108869, c/n 12538, when it develops engine trouble en route from Friendship Airport, S of Baltimore, Maryland, to Columbus. Of the 15 aboard, 11 elect to parachute. Three others stay with the pilot or do not have time to jump, all of whom survive the crash landing with relatively minor or no injuies when the plane comes down in the Belmont County Hills near St. Clairsville. One of the men who took to the chute was killed. He is identified as Sgt. Thurl Warren Starcher, 46, New Philadelphia. Five others are admitted to the Barnesville, Ohio, General Hospital, one with serious injuries. The plane was carrying 11 members of the all-Ohio National Guard rifle team on a return flight from Friendship Airport, Air National Guard officials said.
"PORTSMOUTH, England AP - A navy fighter plane crashed into the funnel of the 36,000-ton British aircraft carrier Eagle today during deck landing exercises in the English Channel. The pilot was seriously injured. The admiralty said the plane was given a signal to make another circuit as it came into land. The pilot increased speed but the engine stalled and the plane plowed into the rear of the funnel, burying the engine in the steam pipes." First cruise for full-scale training exercises without operational restrictions for the Westland Wyvern S Mk. 4, deployed aboard HMS Eagle with Nos. 813 and 827 Squadrons, begins inauspiciously when Wyvern, VZ785, '135/J', of 827 Naval Air Squadron, attempting a go-around after misjudged approach, strikes ship's funnel, forcing the carrier to return to Portsmouth to have Armstrong Siddeley Python turboprop engine extracted from funnel "in which it was stuck like a dart." Repairs delay cruise by a fortnight. An article published in the 1976 debut issue of Air Enthusiast Quarterly, by William Green and Gordon Swanborough, with Harald Penrose, incorrectly gives the accident date as 30 September 1955.
McDonnell Aircraft Corporation engineering test pilot Robert H. Strange is killed in the crash of an F3H-1N Demon naval fighter, BuNo 133495, after the J40 engine flamed out. He had just completed a dive from 40,000 feet, above Mach, to test dynamic pressure in the radar compartment under these conditions. The engine died above 25,000 feet. The pilot tried repeated restarts with no luck until he had descended to 5,000 feet, at which point he radioed that he was abandoning the plane and attempted to eject. The McDonnell-designed seat failed and Strange was killed as the jet impacted in a cornfield near Carrollton, Illinois, about 55 miles NE of St. Louis, barely missing a farm home "as it plowed a 15-foot furrow in the earth. Strange's body was about 100 feet from the wreckage." Strange was born in Sumter, South Carolina, in 1922. He joined the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet in June 1942, and ended up flying with Marine air, 1943-1946. He was awarded the Air Medal, with two gold stars, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He graduated from Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1948, and did engineering work for Curtiss-Wright and Frigidaire for three years. He then served with the Marines again from 1951 to 1953. Strange joined the McDonnell Corporation as a design engineer in November 1953, becoming a test pilot in October 1954. He is survived by his wife Shirley, and four children, David, Douglas, Susan and Jeffrey.
Convair B-36J-5-CF Peacemaker, 52-2818A, c/n 374, of the 6th Bomb Wing, call sign Abbott 27, on a routine training flight, crashes at ~2305 hrs. CST, in the SW corner of Glasscock County, Texas, on the Drannon Ranch, ~18.5 miles (29.8 km) SW of Sterling City, Texas. The aircraft had apparently disintegrated due to thunderstorm or tornadic activity, losing its outer wing panels and all tail control surfaces, and impacted in a flat attitude with little forward motion. Aircraft wreckage was found in a 25 X 3-mile (4.8 km) path on a heading of 66 degrees true. None of the 15 members of crew L-22 were able to escape the damaged bomber and all hatches and ports were found still in place. The wings and forward fuselage burned on impact, with only the rear fuselage remaining. The aircraft had been preparing to land at Walker AFB, New Mexico, when it was lost. Due to the extended period that the crash site was kept secured while crew remains were recovered and identified, and wreckage from the disintegration was searched for (almost a week), there was some question as to whether the B-36 was armed with a nuclear weapon, but there is no evidence to support this.
A Boeing B-47E-10-DT Stratojet, 52-054, returning from a night navigation training mission after slightly more than two hours aloft crashes on the runway at Lincoln AFB, Nebraska, at 0254 hrs. while landing. Brake parachute failed and it overran the runway - no injuries. Joe Baugher cites date of 24 May. John Kodsi, aircraft commander, and Sgt. Edward Seagraves, plus two other crew survive.
The General de Brigada Aérea (Chief of Staff) of the Fuerza Aérea Boliviana, Mayor Jorge Jordán Mercado, is killed when his aircraft crashes in Tapacari in eastern Bolivia. An air force sergeant also dies in the accident. The two-sentence Associated Press item announcing Mercado's death, widely printed, does not identify the type of aircraft involved. The major was one of the first graduates of the Escuela Militar de Aviación (EMA) (Military Aviation School), founded in 1916, and became its first commander in 1931. "He was a military aviator [of] outstanding performance. He commanded the Bolivian aviation as First Commander of the Air Force campaign during the Chaco War (1932-1935). The vast escalation during the Chaco War forced the school and most of the Bolivian air force to settle at Villamontes...". "He participated in operations in support of Corrales and Toledo forts He received the Military Merit in the grade of "Comendador". He later served as Director of Aviation at the Ministry of Defence. He was member of the Supreme Court of Military Justice and Chief of Aviation until his death in the plane crash in the Quebrada of Patani, Cochabamba," this date.Grupo Aéreo de Caza 31 - "Gral. Jorge Jordán Mercado", Bolivian Aerial Fighter Group "31" (GAC-31) is named for the late officer.
Sole prototype Supermarine Type 529, VX136, crashes while flying out of Boscombe Down, this date. Aircraft entered a spin at 10,000 ft which deteriorated into a flat spin from which the pilot, Lt. Cdr. Rickell, could not recover. Late ejection due to problems with jettisoning the canopy and operating the ejector seat - the seat did not have time to separate, nor did the parachute have time to fully deploy - Pilot killed on impact with the ground. The aircraft was completely destroyed.
Ramp strike of a VF-124 F7U-3 on the USS Hancock on 14 July 1955 resulting in the deaths of the pilot, two boatswain's mates and a photographers mate. LSO Ted Reilly manages to sprint across fantail and gets clear. Photo by PH2 James Binkley.
Vought F7U-3 Cutlass, BuNo 129595, 'D 412', of VF-124, suffers ramp strike on landing aboard USS Hancock during carrier qualifications off of the California coast, disintegrating airframe spins off portside; pilot LCDR Jay Alkire, USNR, executive officer of VF-124, killed when airframe sinks, still strapped into ejection seat; also killed are two boatswain's mates, one photographers mate, in port catwalk by burning fuel. Dramatic footage shot from port catwalk exists showing burning fighter going over the side. Footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CT670dAzfo
Avro AshtonWB492 is damaged beyond repair at RAF Pershore, Worcestershire, United Kingdom, when a fire in the undercarriage causes severe damage to a main spar in one of the wings. The aircraft is Struck Off Charge on 30 November.
Sixth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19312, c/n 6, on Navaho X-10 flight number 16, out of Edwards AFB, California, demonstrates planned automated landing on first AFMTC flight, but drag chute does not deploy after landing. The vehicle overruns the skid strip, the nosewheel collapses in the sand in the overrun, the tanks rupture, and the vehicle burns.
Vought F7U-3 Cutlass, BuNo 129592, of VF-124, misses all the wires during a landing aboard USS Hancock, operating off of Hawaii, and hits the barrier. "Although reported to have suffered only slight damage, it was struck off charge and never flew again."
Six people were killed when a North American B-25 suffered engine failure on takeoff from Mitchel AFB, New York, and crashed into Greenfield Cemetery, Hempstead, New York, five minutes after departure. Three of the victims were crew members, and three were passengers. The names of the dead were withheld pending notification of next of kin.
McDonnell Aircraft company test pilot George Shirley Mills bails out of McDonnell F3H-2N Demon, BuNo 133549, over Carrollton, Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri after what appears to be a massive systems failure, including the J40 engine. Instead of crashing, fighter circles over two states for more than an hour sans canopy, ejection seat and pilot. It eventually impacts in cornfield near Monticello, Iowa, 250 miles (400 km) from ejection. Mills will pass away on 25 May 2007. The whole J40 project, upon which Westinghouse had staked their engine division's future, suffered developmental delays and never lived up to the performance expectations anticipated, and the engine was considered unusable due to reliability problems, especially in the development of a functional afterburner. The J40 project was cancelled entirely in 1955, and aircraft designed to use it were either cancelled outright, like the Grumman XF10F Jaguar, downgraded in performance expectations like the F3H Demon (six airframes and four pilots lost out of the initial production run), with Time Magazine calling the Navy's grounding of all Westinghouse-powered F3H-1 Demons a "fiasco", with 21 unflyable planes that could be used only for Navy ground training at a loss of $200 million. The A3D Skywarrior and F4D Skyray had been designed to permit replacement powerplants of a larger diameter and length and were subsequently fitted with the Pratt & Whitney J57 in lieu of the troubled J40, but the F3H required an enlarged fuselage and revised wing to accommodate an Allison J71, the only viable substitute, but even this combination was underpowered. The Westinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division would shut down shortly thereafter.
A Boeing B-47B-40-BW Stratojet, 51-2231, of the 320th Bombardment Wing, crashes while taking off from March Air Force Base, California, coming down in what is now the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, NW of the base. Capt. Edward Anthony O'Brien Jr., pilot, Capt. David James Clare, co-pilot, Major Thomas Francis Mulligan, navigator, and Capt. Joseph M. Graeber, chaplain, are all killed. Crew chief Albert Meyer, of Westchester, California, was not flying with his aircraft that day because he had already exceeded his flight hours. In the accident report, Col. Frederic Huish, investigation board president, concluded the primary cause of the accident was unknown, due to lack of positive evidence.
A Lockheed T-33A-1-LO Shooting Star trainer, 51-9227, crashes into Santa Monica Bay. Pilot Richard Martin Theiler, 28, and co-pilot Paul Dale Smith departed Los Angeles International Airport at 0215 PST aboard the T-33A, bound for Yuma, Arizona. This was an IFR departure, with instructions to report 2,000 feet (610 m) on top of overcast. The Los Angeles weather at the time was 1,200 feet (370 m) overcast, 4 miles (6.4 km) visibility, in haze and smoke. After they were given clearance for takeoff they were never seen nor heard from again. Plane was found in 2009  by aviation archaeologist G. Pat Macha and a group of volunteers, in 100 feet of water.
Eleventh of 13 North American X-10s, GM-52-4, c/n 11, on Navaho X-10 flight number 17, out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, an engine problem results in a mission abort. After autolanding the nose wheel develops a shimmy, the vehicle runs off the skid strip, catches fire, and is destroyed.
Douglas MC-54M Skymaster, 44-9068A, c/n 27294/DO240, tail number O-49068, built as a C-54E-5-DO and later converted to an MC-54M, attached to the 57th Air Transport Squadron, 1700th Air Transport Group, of the Military Air Transport Service, at Kelly AFB, Texas, piloted by 1st Lt. George Manuel Pappas, Jr., 27, and co-piloted by 2d Lt. Paul E. Winham, 24, crashes into Mount Charleston, ~20 miles WNW of Las Vegas, Nevada, at~0819 hours, while on a routine flight with technical personnel from the Lockheed "Skunk Works" at Burbank, California where it had picked up passengers after departing Norton Air Force Base, California. Aboard were a mixture of military staffers and civilian subcontractors, engineers and technicians. It was en route to Groom Lake, Nevada, the secret Area 51, when it was blown off course by a severe storm, killing all 14 on board, nine civilians and five military. A 60-knot crosswind had pushed the C-54 into a canyon towards the mountain. The aircraft was climbing, using rated military power, with 10-15 degrees of flaps to get on top of the overcast, when it impacted, skipped about 60 feet, and slid another 20 feet before partially burning, coming to rest almost at the crest of the ridge. Because of the secrecy involved with the Lockheed U-2 project, the C-54 crew was never in contact with Air Traffic Control, and, off course and lost in clouds, an error in plotting the position of the Skymaster in relation to the Spring Mountains range resulted in the crash only 50 feet below the crest of an 11,300-foot ridge leading to the peak of Mount Charleston. Military guards prevented newsmen from approaching the crash area, and a cover story was issued that this was a business flight to the Atomic Energy Commission's Nevada Test Site. Lockheed subsequently assumes responsibility for the flights to "Watertown", using a company-owned C-47. Pappas had logged 1,383 hours flying C-54s, and co-pilot Paul Winham, 682 hours. Pappas was posthumously promoted to the grade of Captain, USAF, effective 15 September 1955, as announced in Department of the Air Force Letter Orders dated 2 December 1955. Also KWF were Flight Engineer Tech S/Sgt. Clayton D. Farris, 26; and Flight Attendant Guy R. Fasolas, and ten others: S/Sgt. John Hamilton Gaines, USAF, 1007th Air Intelligence Service Group, 23; Harold Silent, 59, of the Hycon Manufacturing Company that produced the U-2 camera; Fred Hanks, USAF, 35, of Hycon Mfg. Co.; Rodney Kreimendahl, 38, Lockheed Company; Richard Hruda, 37, Lockheed; James Francis Bray, 48, of the Central Intelligence Agency; Terence O’Donnell, 22, CIA Security Officer; James William Brown, 23, CIA Security Officer; Edwin Urolatis, 27, CIA Security Officer; and William Henderson "Bill" Marr, 37, CIA Security Officer.
First prototype Martin XP6M-1 Seamaster, BuNo 138821, c/n XP-1, first flown July 14, 1955, disintegrates in flight at 5,000 feet (1,500 m) due to horizontal tail going to full up in control malfunction, subjecting airframe to 9 G stress as it began an outside loop, crashing into Potomac River near junction of St. Mary's River, killing four crew, pilot Navy Lieutenant Commander Utgoff, and Martin employees, Morris Bernhard, assistant pilot, Herbert Scudder, flight engineer, and H.B. Coulon, flight test engineer.
An RAF Bristol Sycamore helicopter, XG501, crewed by Flight Sergeant P. A. Beart and Sergeant E. F. Hall, departed from RAF Leuchars, Scotland at 09:35 to perform a sea winching exercise at the Bell Rock lighthouse. At approximately 10:00, the helicopter's tail rotor struck the anemometer on the top of the lighthouse, and as a result the aircraft crashed into the sea. The incident was witnessed by a second helicopter which immediately transmitted a distress call and flew to the scene of the crash. In response to the distress signal, four aircraft, a further two Sycamore helicopters, an RAF rescue launch and three lifeboats searched the area, recovering the body of XG501's navigator. The body of the pilot was not recovered. The lighthouse was damaged, including the loss of its light, but its keepers remained uninjured. Due to bad weather, the lighthouse could not be repaired until after 20 December, when conditions permitted delivery of supplies.
Republic YF-105A-1-RE Thunderchief, 54-0098, the first prototype, crash lands at Edwards AFB, California. Republic test pilot Russell M. "Rusty" Roth was forced to make an emergency landing after the right main landing gear had been torn away after having been inadvertently extended during high speed flight. Pilot uninjured. Although the airframe was returned to the factory, it was deemed too costly to repair.
Sole Piasecki YH-16A Turbo Transporter helicopter prototype, 50-1270, breaks up in flight at ~1555 hrs. and crashes near Swedesboro, New Jersey, near the Delaware River, while returning to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from a test flight over New Jersey. The cause of the crash was later determined to be the aft slip ring, which carried flight data from the instrumented rotor blades to the data recorders in the cabin. The slip ring bearings seized, and the resultant torque load severed the instrumentation standpipe inside the aft rotor shaft. A segment of this steel standpipe tilted over and came into contact with the interior of the aluminum rotor shaft, scribing a deepening groove into it. The rotor shaft eventually failed in flight, which in turn led to the aft blades and forward blades desynchronizing and colliding. The aircraft was a total loss, the two test pilots, Harold Peterson and George Callaghan, were killed. This led to the cancellation not only of the YH-16, but also the planned sixty-nine-passenger YH-16B version.
The most notorious incident of aircraft pitch-up known as the "Sabre dance" was the loss of brand new North American F-100C-20-NA Super Sabre, 54-1907, flown by Lt. Barty R. Brooks, a native of Martha, Oklahoma, and a Texas A&M graduate, of the 1708th Ferrying Wing, Detachment 12, Kelly AFB, Texas, during an attempted emergency landing at Edwards AFB, California which was caught by film cameras set up for an unrelated test. The aircraft was one of three being delivered from North American's Palmdale plant to George AFB, California, but the nose gear pivot pin worked loose, allowing the wheel to swivel at random, so he diverted to Edwards which had a longer runway. The pilot fought to retain control as he rode the edge of the flight envelope, but fell off on one wing, hit the ground, and exploded with fatal results. These scenes were inserted in the movie The Hunters, starring Robert Mitchum and Robert Wagner. The incident was also commemorated in the fighter pilot song "Give Me Operations" (set to the tune of the California Gold Rush song "What Was Your Name in the States?"):
Reports that the pilot was asphyxiated by throwing up into his mask are untrue. His helmet and oxygen mask were not on his head when rescuers found him. Both were found in the wreckage. Lt. Brooks was interred in Round Grove Cemetery, Lewisville, Texas. Film of this accident has been used as a training aid by both the Air Force and the Navy. Footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZL0x-gEDM8
First crash of a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress when B-52, 53-0384, of the 93rd Bomb Wing, Castle Air Force Base, suffered an explosion of an electrical power panel located on the alternator deck blowing off the cover and causing a fire. The cover jammed the regulator valve of the left hand forward alternator disabling the over speed protection and resulting in an over speed failure. Wreckage comes down near Sacramento, California. Four crew eject, four killed. The failure mode was determined later when another B-52 experienced a similar incident that blew off the rear right hand electrical power shield cover but did not cause a fire and Boeing pilot, Ed Hartz, landed safely at Boeing Field in Seattle.
USAF Douglas C-124C Globemaster II, 53-021, en route from Goose Bay, Labrador to Upper Heyford in the United Kingdom, lost power in number one and four engines (port and starboard outer). Restricted data cargo was jettisoned over the North Atlantic, including nuclear weapon firing and maintenance sets from an altitude of 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,700 m). The Air Force assumed that the cargo packaging ruptured and sank after impact with the sea. Impact area searched, nothing recovered. On its return flight to Robins AFB, Warner Robins, Georgia, in the U.S. on 2 March, the aircraft crashed in the Atlantic ~225 nmi (417 km). SW of Keflavik, Iceland. The aircraft and 17 crew were lost in 3,000 feet (910 m) of water. "The plane ran into difficulty on the northbound trip when two motors failed and it was thought that the ship would have to be ditched. However, it was shepherded into a safe landing with the assistance of the air-sea rescue planes from Keflavik base in Iceland. The two motors were replaced and the ship thoroughly inspected before starting the return trip. Just after midnight of Friday the plane radioed three of its four engines were dead and it was losing altitude rapidly. Then the radio went dead. Later Saturday morning [3 March] search planes found only two bits of wreckage - a flame-scarred oxygen bottle and a shattered piece of plywood - picked up near the position from which the final message had been radioed." One of the victims was T/Sgt. Joseph Kaltner, 32, of Crestview, Florida, a 14-year veteran of the Air Force who had seen action as a gunner in WW II and in the Korean campaign. He was assigned at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He is survived by his widow, the former Roslyn Clary, of Crestview; one child, Keitha, 1; his mother, Mrs. Anna Kaltner, and two sisters, Mrs. Theresa Lampman and Mrs. Anna Sapp, all of Trenton, New Jersey, Sgt. Kaltner's home prior to his marriage.
Two F-89D Scorpions, 53-2641 and 53-2647, of the 321st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 326th Fighter Group, 25th Air Division, out of Paine AFB, Washington, crash into Sheer Rock-Granite Spires on Whitehorse Mountain, near Darrington in an attempt to 'thread the needle' while flying advanced maneuvers in mountainous terrain. All four airmen perish high on a rocky cliff and deep in the wilderness. Killed in 53-2641, the last of fifty block D-65-NO Scorpions built, is 1st Lt. Hal Nathan Williams, although no second crewman is listed in the accident report. Killed in 53-2647, the sixth of 25 block D-70-NO Scorpions built, are 1st Lts. Wilford H. Taylor and Norman Dean Petersen.
"TACOMA, Wash., March 3 (AP) - A huge, crippled refueling aerial tanker was nursed in to a safe landing by its pilot today after 10 other members of the crew parachuted to safety. The plane was a KC96 [sic] Boeing Stratocruiser converted to feed fuel aloft to big jet bombers. The tanker was flying near McChord Air Force Base south of here when the crew leaped to safety. McChord officials said all 10 men had been accounted for."
"HALSINGBORD, Sweden, March 4, (AP) - Four Swedish jet fighters flying in close formation crashed on a fog-shrouded hill near here today and exploded. The air force said all four pilots perished. A spokesman said the three trailing jets in the formation apparently followed the leader into the 600-foot hill. The spokesman blamed a failure of instruments in the leading plane. The four (J 28) Vampire jets were engaged in a local maneuver." The J28B aircraft, all of F14, on a local flight out of Halmstad, departing there at 0723 hrs. local time, were flying over the waters of Skälderviken in foggy conditions when, due to an incorrect scale in reading maps, they struck the north side of Kullabergsvägen, near Kullaberg, scattering wreckage and body parts over a 300 X 500 meter area. Some parts hung from trees and one engine was found on the other side of the mountain, having been thrown more than a kilometer. The flight impacted Gregers hill, a high point of Eastern Kullaberg with three peaks of which the northernmost is the highest. With its 174.8 meters above sea level, it is also Kullaberg's second highest point after Håkull. Post-crash fires were extinguished by the snow cover. "The last radio contact with the planes was when they passed Bjärehalvön, they reported an altitude of about 130 meters when they announced that the weather had cleared up slightly." Captain Nils Ahlqvist left a widow and two daughters, but the other three pilots (identities not yet found in the archives) were younger and unmarried. The original mission plan called for 12 Svenska Flygvapnet J28s from Halstad to participate in this exercise in southern Sweden but the foggy conditions caused that to be cut back to just the four Vampires lost in this accident, considered to be one of Swedish aviation history's worst tragedies.
First prototype Martin XB-51, 46-0685, crashes in sand dunes near Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas, killing both crew. Pilot was Maj. James O. Rudolph, 36, who was dragged from the crash site with severe burns and conveyed to Brook Army Hospital at San Antonio where he succumbed to his injuries 16 April 1956. The flight engineer was S/Sgt. Wilbur R. Savage, 28, of Rte. 3, Dawsonville, Georgia. The aircraft was staging to Eglin AFB, Florida at the time of its crash for filming of scenes for the motion picture Toward the Unknown. After stopping for refuelling, the bomber began its take-off run at 1030 hrs., but smashed through the fence at the end of the southwest runway and then began to disintegrate, spreading wreckage along a 250-yard trail. There was some initial confusion about the aircraft type as rescuers found the "Gilbert XF-120" name applied to the airframe for the film on the wreckage.
A Boeing B-47B-35-BW Stratojet, 51-2175, of the 3520th FTW, McConnell AFB, Kansas, suffers explosion in bomb bay fuel tank and sheds its wings over East Wichita, Kansas, crashing four miles (6 km) NE of the city, killing three crew. The office of information services at McConnell Air Force Base, said the explosion occurred after takeoff, probably at about 2,000 feet (610 m) altitude. Lt. Maurice Boyack, pilot of a Navy Lockheed P2V Neptune bomber, out of Naval Air Station Hutchinson, Kansas, said the explosion occurred in a climbing turn. He flew his bomber to a point where he could see the wings rip off the B-47. He said it appeared there was a fire in the midsection, followed by the explosion. Fire fighters battled the blaze at the crash scene for more than an hour. The plane crashed within 1,000 feet (300 m) of two large suburban houses. Officials at McConnell AFB identified the pilot and instructor as Capt. William C. Craggs of Wichita. He is survived by his widow and two sons. The students were Lt. Col. William H. Dames, 39, of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin whose wife and two sons are reported to be living in Milwaukee; and 1st Lt. John C. Leysath, 24, of North, South Carolina.
A USAF Douglas C-124C-DL Globemaster II, 52-1078, c/n 43987, of the 1501st Air Transport Wing, crashes just after takeoff from Travis AFB, California, killing three of the seven crew on board. Aircraft stalled at 100 feet, dropped one wing and plunged to the ground just SW of the base. Airframe splits into three sections, burns. The cause is attributed to incorrect assembly of the elevator and aileron control cables.
A USAF Martin B-57C-MA Canberra, 53-3858, crashes on the Ship Shole island bombing range near Langley AFB, Virginia, killing both crew. From the accident report: "Cause of accident - Undetermined: The aircraft was observed to be flying in a northeasterly direction at an estimated 500 feet altitude and traveling at a high rate of speed. It was probable that the speed was 425 knots indicated, because this was the prebriefed airspeed since the aircraft was on the run-in route on the LABS bombing range. Witnesses observing the aircraft reported that everything appeared to be normal. The aircraft was then seen to abruptly dive and disappear; this was followed by an immediate explosion. The instructor pilot and the pilot of this dual control B-57C received fatal injuries."
Fifth Lockheed U-2A, Article 345, 56-6678, delivered to the CIA on 16 December 1955, crashes at Groom Lake, Nevada, killing Agency pilot Wilburn S. "Billy" Rose. Aircraft had just departed Groom with a full fuel load, but an underwing pogo hung up. Pilot attempted to return to try to shake it loose, but let angle of bank increase too much and fully fuelled starboard wing kept dropping.
A Grumman F9F-4 Panther, BuNo 125945, of VMF-213, flown by a USMC Reserve pilot crashes into a row of houses near Wold-Chamberlain Field, striking the home at 5820 46th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. In addition to killing the pilot, Maj. George E. Armstrong, the crash kills five and injures twelve on the ground, most of whom are young children. This is the second time in five days that a military jet operating from this airport crashes and kills multiple civilians on the ground.
Shorts chief test pilot, New Zealand-born, ex-RNZAF, RAF, and ETPS-trained Squadron Leader Walter J. "Wally" Runciman, flying Short SB.6 Seamew, XE175, the fourth Seamew prototype, in a demonstration at the Sydenham Air Display, Sydenham Airport, Belfast, Northern Ireland, is killed when the exhibition "went wrong" and the aircraft crashed. The aircraft entered a slow roll. The nose fell and the pilot seemed to be trying to finish with a half loop, but with insufficient height, the aircraft struck the runway nose first, with fatal result. This airframe had been flown by Runciman for a series of sales tours in 1956 to Italy (March), Yugoslavia (April) and West Germany (May).
A USAF MATSDouglas C-124A Globemaster II, 51-5183, inbound to Enewetak Atoll, Pacific Ocean, carrying nuclear test device components (possibly for the EGG device fired during the Operation RedwingMohawk test) crashed 421 feet (128 m) short of, and eight feet below, the runway at Enewetak Island, shearing off its landing gear and coming to rest 2,000 feet (610 m) from the southeast end of the runway. Fire ensued, extinguished within three hours. No loss of life – most of the cargo, although damaged by water and foam, was recovered. The runway was cleared of wreckage and reopened to normal traffic before noon on 17 June:. Salvage of certain aircraft components was accomplished by a team from Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
A USAF Boeing B-47E-130-BW Stratojet, 53-4230, of the 307th Bomb Wing from Lincoln AFB, Nebraska, crashes while making touch-and-goes at RAF Lakenheath, skidding off runway and into nuclear weapons storage igloo holding three Mark 6nuclear bombs, burns. No weapons in the facility go off and all are later repaired. Stratojet was unarmed. One of the most common myths about this accident is that the weapons, if they had detonated, would have "turned southeast England into a desert." The three Mark 6 bombs were in storage, and therefore no nuclear capsules were installed, nor stored in the building (the nuclear capsule was manually installed in the Mk 6, and only when airborne and just prior to strike). Each Mk 6 did contain at least 5,000 pounds of high explosives, and depleted uranium. Even if the weapons detonated due to fire, there would not have been a nuclear reaction (U-238 is not fissionable through high explosive compression or fire).
Eighth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-52-1, c/n 8, on Navaho X-10 flight number 24, out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, a full-range test with final dive maneuver. Final flight of vehicle eight after three successful recovered missions. During takeoff the vehicle goes aloft, then settles back to the runway with its brakes locked. The tires burst, the gear fails, the gear doors come in contact with the runway, carving grooves in the pavement as they retract. Then, astonishingly, the vehicle rises from the runway, completes a successful full-range supersonic flight with terminal dive into the waters off Grand Bahamas.
During first flight of North American F-107A at Edwards AFB, California, prototype, 55-5118, experiences problem with engine gear box differential pressure during a dive, North American test pilot Bob Baker lands on dry lakebed at just under 200 knots (370 km/h), after rolling about a mile, aircraft hits a depression in the lakebed, nose gear collapses. Jet slides ~ three-tenths of a mile on its nose, but suffers limited damage, no fire. Total landing roll was 22,000 feet (6,700 m). Airframe repaired in under two weeks.
Sixth Lockheed U-2A, Article 346, 56-6679, delivered to the CIA on 13 January 1956, crashes during climb-out from Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, when the aircraft of Detachment A, stalls at 35,000 feet (11,000 m), killing Agency pilot Howard Carey. Cause of accident never satisfactorily determined.
Grumman company test pilot Tom Attridge shoots himself down in a Grumman F11F Tiger, BuNo 138260, during a Mach 1.0 20 degree dive from 22,000 feet (6,700 m) to 7,000 feet (2,100 m). He fires two bursts from the fighter's 20 mm cannon during the descent and as he reaches 7,000 feet (2,100 m) the jet is struck multiple times, including one shell that is ingested by the engine, shredding the compressor blades. He limps the airframe back towards the Grumman airfield but comes down at almost the same spot where the first prototype impacted on 19 October: 1954. Pilot gets clear before jet burns, suffers only minor injuries – investigation shows that he had overtaken and passed through his own gunfire.
Test pilot Mel Apt is killed on the 17th flight of the Bell X-2, 46-674, out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, when he attempts a turn at Mach 3.2 (nearly 2,100 mph), and the airframe goes into a vicious case of inertia coupling. Apt jettisons the escape capsule but runs out of height before he can bail out of the falling nose section.
Two U.S. Air Force F86 Sabre Jets collided over Lake Michigan. The Lake freighter S/S Ernest T. Weir, Captain Ray R. Redecker, rescued one of the pilots (Lt. Kenneth R. Hughes) after he spent three hours in the water. Several other ships in the area participated in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the second pilot.
Midair collision involving USAF T-33A and civil Cessna 170.Occurred over Midland, Tx.. Seven fatalities. Accident occurred over a Southwest Midland neighborhood, one house burned, seven others damaged. No fatalities or injuries on ground. Dead included 2 USAF aircrew, 5 civilian- all from 1 family. 1 aircrewman ejected from the USAF trainer, based out of Webb AFB, Texas, but his parachute failed to open.
First (of two) Bell XV-3s, 54-147, first flown 11 August 1955, crashes this date when pilot Dick Stansbury blacks out due to extremely high cockpit vibrations when the rotor shafts are moved 17 degrees forward from vertical. Pilot is seriously injured and airframe is damaged beyond repair. Cause was dynamic instability, also known as air resonance. Design was initially designated XH-33.
A USAF Fairchild C-119G-FA Flying Boxcar, 51-8026A, c/n 10769, of the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron, 314th Troop Carrier Wing, Tactical Air Command, Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee, on a cargo airlift mission to Olmsted Air Force Base, Pennsylvania, crashes 7 miles N of Newport, Perry County, Pennsylvania at ~1515 hrs. ET, killing four crew. The weather at Olmsted was fluctuating rapidly with rain and fog, and at 1400 hrs. the pilot reported a missed approach to the field. After being cleared to altitude over the Lancaster beacon the conditions at Olmsted improved to above minimums and the pilot requested another approach. At 1506 Eastern he was cleared for a straight-in approach from New Kingston Fan Marker to Olmsted. At 1509 he reported leaving the New Kingston Fan Marker inbound and at 1511 he reported leaving 3,000 feet. The aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain 22.5 nm W of the Kingston Fan Marker. KWF are 1st Lt. Robert Siegfried Hantsch, pilot, Walter Beverly Gordon, Jr., co-pilot, T/Sgt. Marvin W. Seigler, engineer, and 1st Lt. Gracye E. Young, of the 4457th USAF Hospital, Sewart AFB. The Perry County Times reported that the aircraft struck the side of the mountain in Toboyne Township in the Three Square Hollow of the Tuscarora State Forest, "one of the most desolate in Central Pennsylvania." Some 150 rescuers had to battle heavy underbrush as well as fog and rain to get to the crash site and did not reach the scene until about 2100 hrs.  In 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources erected a plaque near the site in memory of those killed.
A Boeing B-47E-60-BW Stratojet, 51-2421, c/n 450474, of the 96th Bombardment Wing, Altus AFB, Oklahoma, suffers engine trouble while on a routine training mission late Tuesday, crashing on a farm near Hobart, Oklahoma, killing four crew. According to Ranson Hancock, publisher of the Hobart Democrat Chief, the bomber hit the ground about 320 yards W of a barn owned by Charles C. Harris, skidded into the barn and exploded. Officials identified the victims as Maj. Joseph E. Wilford, aircraft commander, Capt. Francis P. Bouschard, pilot, Capt. Lee D. Ellis, Jr., instructor-aircraft observer, all having families at Altus, and 1st Lt. Andrew J. Toalson, observer, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Second prototype Martin XP6M-1 Seamaster, BuNo 138822, c/n XP-2, first flown 18 May 1956, crashes at 1536 hrs. near Odessa, Delaware due to faulty elevator jack. As seaplane noses up at ~21,000 feet (6,400 m) and fails to respond to control inputs, crew of 4 ejects, pilot Robert S. Turner, co-pilot William Cunningham, and two crew all parachuting to safety. Airframe breaks up after falling to 6,000 feet (1,800 m) before impact.
Seventeenth Lockheed U-2A, 56-6690, Article 357, delivered to the Central Intelligence Agency 21 September 1956, crashes in Arizona this date, Detachment C pilot Bob Ericson successfully bailing out after losing control due to hypoxia caused by a faulty oxygen feed.
A United States Air Force Lockheed C-121C, 54-165, of the 1608th Transport Wing, based at Charleston AFB, South Carolina, crashes on approach to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, while flying UN troops into the Suez Canal zone. It was also slated to carry Hungarian refugees back to Charleston AFB, South Carolina. 12 of 38 onboard killed. Air Force headquarters at Wiesbaden, Germany, said that a manifest showed 38 persons - 27 passengers and only 11 crewmen - were aboard the aircraft. Amongst the fatalities were Major Clyde W. Ellis, aircraft commander; Master Sergeant Frank A. Lorch, flight engineer; 1st Lieutenant La Verne W. Alitz, first pilot; and Sergeant Frank A. Rodgers, flight engineer. All three were residents of North Charleston, South Carolina. As of 1 January, the names of three others reported dead on arrival at the Dharan hospital had not been released. "Seven crew members are listed among the survivors. Their conditions and that of a foreign observer are:" 1st Lieutenant Robert F. Wearley, of Charleston Heights, South Carolina, co-pilot, critical; 1st Lieutenant Peter Goch, of Jersey City, New Jersey, navigator, critical; 1st Lieutenant Thomas W. Heenan, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, navigator, critical. "The condition of the following was listed as fair to good:" 2d Lieutenant Robert L. Saylors, of Ninety Six, South Carolina, navigator; Airman 2d Class (WAF) Florence A. Hogan, of Stanford, Connecticut, flight attendant; Staff Sergeant Robert D. Proctor, of Charleston, flight attendant; Staff Sergeant Robert J. Sanders, of Charleston, flight attendant; and Lieutenant Colonel Ali A. Raft, a transportation observer of MATS operations, from Iran. "The Charleston Air Base public information officer said the aircraft was on a regular transport mission to the U.S. Air Force Base at Dhahran, which is leased from Saudi Arabia and is one of the global chain of strategic bases." It was one of three flying into Dhahran from Tripoli, Libya, an eleven-hour flight. The other two aircraft landed at Muharraq Airport on Bahrain Island, in the Persian Gulf, a short distance from the crash site. The C-121 "is reported to have crashed into sand and burned about 1,000 yards from the runway while attempting to land during heavy fog." Captain Irving H. Breslauer, the public information officer at Charleston AFB, said that the aircraft left Charleston on Thursday 27 December with 12 crew members for Dhahran, by way of McGuire AFB, New Jersey, Lajes Field in the Azores, and Tripoli. Colonel Clinton C. Wasem, commander of the 1608th Transport Wing, left Charleston for Dhahran on 31 December to conduct an investigation into the cause of the crash.
A Boeing B-52D Stratofortress, 55-0082, of the 70th Bomb Squadron, 42d Bomb Wing, crashes near Loring AFB, Maine, during a training flight. The Instructor Pilot (IP) directed the co-pilot to close his eyes while he put the aircraft into an unusual attitude, and then instructed him to recover. The co-pilot misread the data from the flight instruments and took the wrong corrective action, causing the airframe to disintegrate. There were nine men aboard - the crew plus the IP, and two instructors. The co-pilot survived. It was his third time in a crash, and his third time as the sole survivor. This was the fourth B-52 lost, and the first D-model attrited.
The first launch attempt of an Douglas XSM-75 ThorIRBM, 56-6751, vehicle number 101, delivered in October: 1956, fails. As vehicle lifts off from Pad LC-17, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, it reaches an apogee of 6 inches (150 mm) whereupon contamination destroys a LOX supply valve causing the engine to lose thrust. The Thor slides backwards through the launch ring and explodes on contact with the thrust deflector. Vehicle destroyed by low-order detonation. Serious pad damage occurs.
Mid-air collision between Douglas Aircraft Company non-commercial test flight of DC-7B airliner, N8210H, c/n 45192/764, out of Santa Monica Municipal Airport (intended customer – Continental Airlines), struck by NorthropNorthrop F-89J Scorpion, 52-1870A, c/n 4447, out of Palmdale, California with companion "target" F-89J, 53-2516A too far ahead to witness incident, all at 25,000 feet (7,600 m). Scorpion, coming out of 90-degree turn, struck the DC-7B almost head-on at 1118 hrs., ~1–2 miles NE of the Hansen Dam spillway, severing ~8 1/2 feet of the transport's port wing outboard of station 613. The DC-7B continues on a westward heading for ~4 miles before coming down. The aircraft broke up, 500 feet (150 m) – 1,000 feet (300 m) above the ground, and seconds later the wreckage impacted in the courtyard of the Pacoima Congregational Church near the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Terra Bella Street, near Sunland, California, killing all four crew. The CAB accident report states that "At 1118 activity in the Douglas radio room was interrupted by an emergency transmission from N 8210H. The voices were recognized by radio personnel familiar with the crew members. Pilot Cart first transmitted, 'Uncontrollable,' Copilot Twitchell then said, 'We're a midair collision - midair collision, 10 How (aircraft identification using phonetic How for H) we are going in - uncontrollable - uncontrollable - we are . . . we've had it boy - poor jet too - told you we should take chutes - say goodbye to everybody.' Radio Operator Nakazawas voice was recognized and he concluded the tragic message with, "We are spinning in the valley.' This final transmission from the flight is presented because it contained important information relative to the accident investigation. It not only establishes the midair collision but also indicates the DC-7 was rendered uncontrollable. It further indicates that Mr. Twitchell at least recognized the aircraft with which they collided as a jet. Further, the DC-7 spun during its descent to the ground." Airliner impacted across the street from Pacoima Junior High School – debris killed three students and injured some 74 others. Following collision, Curtiss A. Adams, 27, radarman aboard the e.b. F-89J, ejected, despite incurring serious burns, and parachuted, landing in Burbank. Pilot Roland E. Owen, 36, died in the burning fighter which impacted into La Tuna Canyon in the Verdugo Mountains. All four Scorpion crew were Northrop employees. Co-pilot on the DC-7, veteran flier Archie R. Twitchell, 50, enjoyed a secondary career as an actor between flying stints and appeared in over 100 films, including Union Pacific, I Wanted Wings, Among the Living, Out of the Past, Fort Apache, I Shot Billy The Kid and Sunset Boulevard, among others. The other DC-7B crew were pilot William G. Carr, 36; flight engineer Waldo B. Adams, 42; and radio operator Roy T. Nakazawa, 28. Collision was blamed on pilot error: Failure of both aircraft crews to exercise proper "see and avoid" procedures regarding other aircraft while operating under visual flight rules (VFR). The catastrophe prompted the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to set restrictions on all aircraft test flights, both military and civilian, requiring that they be made over open water or specifically approved sparsely populated areas.
First Fiat G.91 prototype, NC.1, suffers serious problem was the elimination of aeroelastic vibrations, leads to its destruction on this date in a high-speed run at low altitude over Cavour, near Turin, Italy. Test pilot Riccardo Bignamini ejected successfully in a Martin-Baker seat. Although NC.1 was completely destroyed, all the recording equipment which Fiat had installed was salvaged from the crash site. The re-engineering work to cure the problem was very extensive and resulted in the second prototype being fitted with a larger tail, a 6 cm (2 in) higher canopy, a ventral fin and some other modifications.
CIALockheed U-2, Article 341, (no military serial), the first U-2, is lost in a crash N of the Nevada Test Range during a Project Rainbow test flight, killing test pilot Bob Sieker. Engine fails at 65,000 feet (20,000 m). As pilot's pressure suit inflates, the faceplate clasp fails, pilot suffers hypoxia, loses consciousness. Aircraft goes into descending flat spin. Pilot recovers somewhat at lower altitude and bails out, but too late - parachute does not have time to fully deploy. Airframe hits flat with only small fire. Crashsite, 40 miles (64 km) N of the Ranch, takes four days to find by air. Pilot and aircraft are only 200 feet (61 m) apart. Kelly Johnson calls for new faceplate design, a dual oxygen regulator, and an ejection seat that can be used interchangeably with existing design.
The left-hand wing of a Royal Air ForceVickers Valetta C.1, VW832, fails during flight 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Aqaba, Jordan at an estimated altitude of 5,000 feet (1,500 m); the transport's 24 passengers and 3 crew, all British servicemen, perish in the ensuing crash. The accident is attributed to structural failure caused by the imposition of loads in excess of the wing's design strength; the suspected cause is the pilot's attempt to recover from a loss of control in severe clear-air turbulence.
1st Lt. David Steeves departs Hamilton AFB, California for Craig AFB, Alabama, in T-33A-1-LO Shooting Star, 52-9232, and disappears without a trace. Declared dead by the Air Force, he emerges from the Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains 54 days later, having ejected from the jet after an in-flight emergency. He stumbled on a ranger cabin during his ordeal where he found fish hooks, a canned ham and a can of beans. Unable to locate the downed trainer, officials eye him with suspicion and rumors that he traded to jet to the Russians, or flew it to Mexico, dog the pilot and ruin his military career. He returns to civilian life and eventually dies in an aircraft accident in 1965. Finally, in 1977, Boy Scouts hiking in the national park discover the canopy of his T-33, too late to vindicate the pilot's story and reputation.
First Sud-Aviation (Sud-Ouest) SO.9050 Trident II -001, rocket-powered short-range interceptor, is destroyed during a test-flight out of Centre d'Essais en Vol (Flight Test Center) when its highly volatile fuels, Furaline and nitric acid, accidentally mix and explode, killing test pilot Charles Goujon. Project is discontinued following this accident.
A Royal Canadian NavyMcDonnell F2H-3 Banshee fighter jet, BuNo 126313, Sqn. No. 104 of VF-870, spirals out of control after its right wing breaks in half during a high-speed flyby at naval air station HMCS Shearwater, Nova Scotia, Canada. The canopy is observed to separate from the aircraft, but the pilot, Lt. Derek Prout, fails to eject and is killed when the plane slams into McNabs Island. The crash is attributed to improperly manufactured fittings in the folding wing mechanism, and most RCN and US Navy Banshees are grounded until improved fittings can be installed.
World War II Japanese ace Maj. Teruhiko Kobayashi (1920–1957), flying with the reconstituted Japanese Self-Defense Air Force, is killed in the crash of a Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star during a training flight when he crashes in bad weather on approach to Hamamatsu Air Base. He ordered his back-seater to eject when the aircraft developed problems. He had shot down three Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers and two Grumman F6F Hellcats with the 244th Sentai, although his widow claimed he had twice the number of Superfortress kills, a claim discounted by historian Takashi Sakurai.
Chance Vought Aircraft pilot James P. Buckner is killed while performing a high-speed flyby of CVA's tower at Hensley Field, Dallas, Texas, while demonstrating an Vought F8U-1 Crusader for a graduating class from the Navy Post Graduate School there. Executing a zoom climb after his low-altitude pass, he apparently overstresses the fighter and it disintegrates before he can eject. The aircraft's wreckage violently explodes at low altitude over Main Street in adjacent Grand Prairie, Texas, causing minor injuries to several bystanders, and pieces of the fighter are scattered throughout the floodplain of the nearby Trinity River; Buckner's body is recovered a few hours after the crash.
In two separate accidents, two newly delivered Lockheed U-2s of the SAC's 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron based at Laughlin Air Force Base, Del Rio, Texas, are lost on the same day. At 08:55 Lt. Ford Lowcock is killed when his aircraft, U-2A 56-6699, Article 366, crashes while on the approach to Laughlin. Less than two hours later, Lt. Leo Smith is also killed when his aircraft, U-2C 56-6702, Article 369, crashes in the New Mexico desert. At this time U-2s are not equipped with ejection seats to save weight, but at around this point this policy is reversed. Three months later on 26 September, the squadron's Commanding Officer, Col. Jack Nole climbs out of his disabled U-2A, 56-6694, Article 361, the first airframe of the initial USAF order, (wing flaps deployed in flight) near Del Rio, Texas, making the highest ever parachute escape to date, from 53,000 feet.
First Lockheed F-104 Starfighter prototype, XF-104-LO, 53-7786, c/n 1001, with Lockheed test pilot Bill Park flying chase on an F-104A flown by Bob Matye during a tail flutter test, loses empennage in high speed, low altitude flight, successfully ejects using downward ejection seat. The XF-104 had a lower limit Mach than the F-104A and apparently reached the flutter limit sooner than A-model.
After missing a scheduled 11 June launch date due to defective engines in the missile's central section, a Russian R-7 Semyorka (Russian: Р-7 «Семёрка»), (GRAU index 8K71) lifts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, but loses its in-flight stability in the 33rd second of flight and starts to deviate from its preset trajectory. "This particular malfunction was caused by a short-circuited integrator responsible for the missile’s revolution."
Two Mark 5 nuclear bombs without nuclear capsules installed were jettisoned from a Douglas C-124 Globemaster II in the Atlantic Ocean ~100 miles (160 km) SE of Naval Air Station Pomona, New Jersey, just outside Delaware Bay E of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and S of Wildwood and Cape May, New Jersey. The aircraft was carrying three weapons and one nuclear capsule; the weapons were in Complete Assembly for Ferry (CAF) condition. Nuclear components were not installed; power supplies were installed but not connected. The C-124 was en route from Dover AFB, Delaware, to Europe via the Azores islands when its two port engines lost power. Maximum power was applied to the two starboard engines, however, level flight could not be maintained. The crew decided to jettison one weapon at an altitude of 4,500 feet (1,400 m) ~75 miles (121 km) off the coast of New Jersey. The second weapon was jettisoned soon afterwards at an altitude of 2,500 feet (760 m) at a distance of 50 miles (80 km) from the New Jersey coast. No detonation was seen to occur from either weapon, and both bombs were presumed to have been damaged or destroyed on impact with the sea and to have sunk almost instantly. The C-124 landed at an airfield in the vicinity of Atlantic City, New Jersey (probably Naval Air Station Atlantic City), with the remaining weapon and the nuclear capsule aboard. After a three-month long search, neither the weapons nor any debris were located. By November 1957, the AEC was taking action to issue replacement weapons to the DOD. No public announcement of this incident was made at the time it happened.
Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-50, a swept-wing, experimental high-altitude interceptor, the Ye-2 airframe modified to fit Dushkin S-155 rocket motor, with design work started in 1954, first flight in 1956. Programme terminated after crash of Ye-50/3 on this date. Test pilot N. A. Korovin, of GK NII VVS, is killed when the engine explodes, escape system fails.
U. S. Air Force Major James Melancon, 36, of Dallas, Texas, is killed when the Douglas B-26 Invader he was piloting crashes in a residential area near Dayton, Ohio, at 1659 hrs. Coming down at 1843 Tuttle Avenue, the flight, out of Wright Field, strikes a home, killing the pilot, co-pilot Capt. Wilho R. Heikkinen, 31, and two on the ground, and injuring others. Mildred VanZant, 44, an assistant director of nursing at St. Elizabeth Hospital, was killed when the plane impacted her house. Her brother Walter Geisler, 53, was mowing the lawn behind the house when he was killed. Four houses were struck by wreckage and two were set alight. An investigation determined that a loose engine cowling moved forward into the propeller. The pilot's son, Mark E. Melancon, will die in the Thunderbirds demonstration team Diamond Crash in Nevada in 1982.
US NavyDouglas A3D-1 Skywarrior, BuNo135417, 'AB 7', of Heavy Attack Squadron VAH-1 crashes on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59) during Operation Strikeback in the Norwegian Sea. It was a day landing, second approach, CCA (first approach mode one without); 1.6 km visibility, low, ragged ceiling, intermittent rain showers. After a low approach the aircraft settled at the ramp and the mainmounts and fuselage struck the ramp. The aircraft continued up deck in flames crashing off angle. Parts of the plane struck a parked Douglas AD-5N Skyraider. Only two helmets and one boot were later recovered. It was estimated that one possible contributing factor was that the rain caused the optical illusion of "high ball" (on the landing mirror), and low airspeed. The crew died: CDR Paul Wilson (71 total carrier landings); LTJS Joseph R. Juricic 8/N; and ADC Percy Schafer, third crew member. As a high altitude bomber, the A3D was not equipped with ejection seats.
Aborted takeoff at Homestead AFB, Florida, causes write-off of Boeing B-47B-50-BW Stratojet, 51-2317, of the 379th Bomb Wing. Gear collapses, aircraft burns, but base fire department is able to quench flames such that crew escapes - pilots blow canopy to get out, navigator egresses through his escape hatch.
A Royal Canadian NavyMcDonnell F2H-3 Banshee, BuNo 126403 of VF-870, suffers flight control problems during carrier qualifications on HMCS Bonaventure (CVL 22) off southeast coast of Nova Scotia. Commanders order pilot Lt. Howard Cooper to return to naval air station HMCS Shearwater, Nova Scotia 30 mi (48 km) north for repairs, but Cooper flies out to sea and runs out of fuel; a second Banshee pilot had determined the errant aircraft's approximate heading by tracking Cooper's radio signals, but the missing aircraft and pilot are not found after 4 days of intensive searching. On 2 June 1964, Canadian fishing trawlerBarbara Dawn snags a wrecked jet in her nets 70 mi (113 km) southwest of Sable Island; fishermen briefly observe entire aircraft before forward half breaks off and sinks, tail section is recovered, and RCN investigators are able to identify wreckage as 126403 based on serial-numbered parts.
Boeing DB-47B-35-BW Stratojet, 51-2177A, of the 447th Bomb Squadron, 321st Bomb Wing, taking part in a practice demonstration at Pinecastle Air Force Base suffers wing-failure during the annual Strategic Air Command Bombing Navigation and Reconnaissance Competition. The aircraft comes down north of downtown Orlando killing pilot Colonel Michael N. W. McCoy, commander of the 321st Bombardment Wing, Group Captain John Woodroffe of the Royal Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Joyce, and Major Vernon Stuff. Pinecastle AFB is renamed McCoy Air Force Base in McCoy's honor on 7 May 1958. Details of the accident remained classified for five decades, presumably because they would reveal flaws in the aircraft, but an FOIA request resulted in the release that showed that the investigation laid the blame on pilot McCoy.
On takeoff shortly after 0000 hrs. from Homestead AFB, Florida, a Boeing B-47B-35-BW Stratojet, 51-2139, c/n 450192, of the 379th Bomb Wing, participating in exercise Dark Night, suffers port-rear wheel casing failure at 30 kts. The bomber's tail hits the runway and a fuel tank ruptures, crashing in an uninhabited area approximately 3,800 feet from the end of the runway, four crew KWF. The aircraft burns for seven hours after the firecrew evacuates the area, ten minutes after the crash. The aircraft was carrying an unarmed nuclear weapon in the bomb bay and fuel capsule in a carrying case in the cabin. "Two low order detonations occurred during the burning." The nuclear capsule and its carrying case were recovered intact and only slightly damaged by heat. Approximately one-half of the weapon remained. All major components were damaged but were identifiable and accounted for.
USAFBoeing TB-29-75-BW Superfortress, 44-70039, c/n 10871, of the 5040th Radar Evaluation Flight, 5040th Consolidation Maintenance Group, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, crashed 39 miles (63 km) SE of Talkeetna, Alaska at ~1822 hrs. Mission departed Elmendorf on a ground radar calibration mission at 0954 under instrument flight rules on flight path to the Aircraft Control and Warning radar stations at Campion near Galena and then Murphy Dome, N of Fairbanks. Flight covered 1,800 nmi (3,300 km). with ~ten hours in the air. Superfortress had fourteen hours' fuel and a crew of eight plus an instructor pilot. On final leg of approach to Elmendorf, bomber came down on glacier now known as "Bomber Glacier", three crew with major injuries and one with a minor injury later upgraded to major, others KWF. Due to remoteness of crashsite, wreckage is still there.
Lockheed U-2A, 56-6704, Article 371, eleventh airframe of first USAF order, delivered April 1957, moved to 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Laughlin AFB, Texas, June: 1957, crashes at night this date. Capt. Benny Lacombe killed when he unsuccessfully attempts to bail out of crippled aircraft 13 miles SE of Laughlin. Ejection seats had not yet been fitted to U-2s at this point.
The first launch attempt of the first all-up three-stageVanguard rocket, Vanguard TV3, developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 18, Florida, fails as the vehicle reaches an apogee of ~four feet (1.2 meters), then suffers a loss of thrust, fails back onto the pad, the fuel tanks rupture and explode, destroying the rocket and severely damaging the launchpad. The 1.36 kilogram satellite is thrown clear, landing near the pad, whereupon it begins transmitting a signal. No exact cause for the failure is determined, but the commonly accepted explanation is that low fuel tank pressure during the start procedure allowed some of the burning fuel in the combustion chamber to leak into the fuel system through the injector head before full propellant pressure was obtained from the turbopump. The press dubs the failed attempt "Kaputnik". The satellite is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
A U.S. Air ForceBoeing B-52D Stratofortress, 56-0597 of the 92d Bomb Wing, crashes at either ~1602 hrs. PDT or 1700 hrs. on takeoff at Fairchild AFB near Spokane, Washington. All crew members are killed except the tail gunner. The incident is caused by trim motors that were hooked up backwards. The aircraft climbed straight up, stalled, fell over backwards and nosed straight down. Among the dead crewmen was the commanding officer of the SAC 92d Bomb Wing to which the aircraft was assigned, Col. Clarence Arthur Neely, 42, of Rockford, Illinois. The tail section broke away in the crash and the gunner, T/Sgt. Gene I. Graye, 25, Augusta, Kansas, survived a low-level ejection, relatively unscathed. All eight others on board perished, although four attempted ejection. Wreckage was strewn over a radius of more than 1,000 feet (300 m) in a stubble field about a mile west of the airbase. One source states that the crash site was "in a field between the runway (05) and the hospital". Although the Air Force has never indicated whether or not nuclear weapons were aboard the aircraft, this crash was cited in a February 1991 EPA report as having involved nuclear materials This was the seventh B-52 to be lost, and the first that was not serving with a training wing. Also KWF were: Maj. Ralph Romaine Alworth, 38, Oilton, Oklahoma; Capt. Douglas Earl Gray, 33, Guthrie, Kentucky; 1st Lt. James Dennis Mann, 33, Mountain View, California; Capt. Thomas N. Peebles, 33, Carson, Virginia; Capt. Douglas Franklin Schwartz, 37, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Capt. Herbert Henry Spiller, Jr., 32, Lowell, Arkansas; and 1st Lt. Jack Joseph Vainisi, 26, of Oakhill, Illinois.
A U.S. Navy Martin P4M-1Q Mercator, BuNo 124373, of JQ-3, JQ tailcode, with 12 aboard, loses power in its port reciprocating engine while on final approach to NAS Norfolk, Virginia, comes down at 22nd Bay Street and East Ocean View Avenue in Ocean View, "demolishing three small houses and damaging three others. The plane and the last house it struck burned. Four of the airmen were unaccounted for. The eight survivors, of whom only one was seriously injured, were hospitalized. All were suffering from shock. Three civilians - occupants of three of the houses that were struck - were injured, none critically," stated the Associated Press. The aircraft was on a ferry flight from its base at Port Lyautey, French Morocco, via Bermuda, to NAS Norfolk, and had entered the landing pattern when the port engine failed, the pilot, Cmdr. Clyde Curley, 41, reported to Navy officials.
A U.S. Navy Lockheed R7V-1 Super Constellation, BuNo 128437, c/n 1049B-4104, of VW-11, NS Argentia, Newfoundland, practicing instrument landings at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, is waved off during an 0830 hrs. approach in what the Associated Press terms "murky weather", crashes into a wooded area and explodes, killing all nine aboard. The pilot "had tried to land once before but was waved off because [his] approach to the end of the runway was too low. Visibility was reduced to about a half mile by fog and mist. On the second run, the plane also came in too low and to the left. The tower again waved it off. The pilot gunned his ship as it started over the 'Cinder Block,' the station's name for a housing area for married enlisted personnel. Mrs. Howard Snyder, in one of the one-story, two family buildings, said, 'I looked out the window and all I saw was wings.' The plane cleared the housing area, but clipped treetops as the engines roared. The impact with the trees threw the plane out of control, and it seared a strip through the thin woods a quarter-mile long. Then it struck the ground and erupted into a huge ball of fire. Eight bodies were thrown clear of the wreckage by the exploding gasoline. A ninth was pulled out of the mangled cockpit section while it still smouldered. Of the nine killed, three were officers and six were seamen. A Patuxent spokesman said Cdr. William W. Lamer, Jr., of Charleston, S. C., was the plane commander, while Cdr. Richard H. Hart of Natchitoches, La., and Lt. (j.g.) Harry G. Morgan, Jr., of Little Ferry N.J., were pilots in training. The spokesman said it was not known which man was at the controls at the time of the crash." Victims included:
Cmdr. Lamar, Jr., husband of Mrs. Eva C. Lamar, now living at Patuxent, and son of Capt. and Mrs. William W. Lamar, Charleston, S.C.
Cmdr. Hart, husband of Mrs. Thelma E. Hart, now living at Patuxent, and son of Simon M. Hart, Natchitoches, La.
Seaman Floyd O. Taylor, husband of Mrs. Kathleen Henrickson Taylor, Lexington Md., and son of Mrs. Velma Dowdy, Los Angeles.
Seaman William C. Thurau, husband of Mrs. Mary Lee Seward Thurau, South Hill Va., and son of Mrs. William S. Thurau, Flint Mich.
A U.S. Air Force Boeing WB-50D Superfortress weather reconnaissance plane, 49-295, c/n 16071, (built as a B-50D-115-BO Superfortress), of the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, stationed on Guam, with ten crew on board (some sources incorrectly state that there were nine crew), vanishes as it penetrates the eye of Typhoon Ophelia. The bomber was last heard from as it headed towards the typhoon, 600 miles N of Guam. Rescue efforts continued on 18 January after reports of flares, faint radio signals, and mirror flashes. The ammunition ship USS Firedrake reported sighting flares in the search area. "The navy destroyer escort USS Moore and an air rescue squadron plane both reported hearing a radio distress call, possibly from a hand-operated radio such as those carried by the missing craft. In Honolulu a Navy officer told of seeing a series of flashes on the water yesterday. He was a passenger on a MATS plane 200 miles west of Guam. Lt. Comdr. Wendell K. Howard said he thought they were mirror flashes but did not report them at the time because he hadn't known the plane was down." No additional evidence of the WB-50 was reported during the following week, when a Military Air Transport ServiceBoeing C-97 Stratofreighter disappeared SW of Oahu on a flight to Kwajalein on 19 January, adding to the search complexities for those seeking evidence of the missing weather plane. The search for survivors of the C-97 is abandoned on Wednesday night, 22 January, when a half-ton of aircraft debris is returned to Pearl Harbor, much of it damaged by fire. However, the Navy continued to search for survivors of the lost WB-50 after faint radio signals of a type that could have come from a hand-cranked radio on a raft were again heard on 22 January. The following crew were switched from "missing" to "dead" on 20 February:
Aircraft Commander- Captain Albert J Lauer AO 2095765
Pilot- Captain Clyde W Tefertiller AO 751488
Weather Observer- Captain Marcus G Miller AO 751488
Navigator- First Lieutenant Courtland Beeler III AO 2210728
Navigator- First Lieutenant Paul J Buerkle Jr AO3053321
Flight Engineer- Technical Sergeant De1ivan L Gordon AF 57625218
Flight Engineer- Staff Sergeant Kenneth L Tetzloff AFl7336278
Radio Operator- Staff Sergeant Kenneth L Houseman AF 17319484
Radio Operator- Airman First Class Randolph C Watts AF 14382160
Weather Technician- Airman First Class Bernard G Tullgren
A U.S. Navy Douglas R6D-1 Liftmaster crashes and burns, moments after take off from Kadena Air Base, Naha, Okinawa, but all 35 on board survive. Two were burned, and were taken to Ryukyus Army Hospital. Their names were withheld. As the transport departed Kadena it suffered a failed engine. "The plane faltered, headed down, and struck a hillside, a mile from the runway."
A U.S. Air Force Boeing C-97A-BO, 49-2597, c/n 16219, probably assigned to the 47th Air Transport Squadron, of the Military Air Transport Service, disappears over the Pacific during a flight from Honolulu to Kwajalein. Pieces of wood and foam rubber were found on Monday night, 20 January, pinpointing where the cargo plane vanished Sunday with seven aboard. The plane was last heard from 385 miles southwest of Oahu Island. The carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) messaged Navy headquarters at Pearl Harbor that it had found the wreckage and believed it came from the cargo plane. "Hope of finding any survivors in the crash of a C95 [sic] Military Air Transport Stratocruiser [sic] waned today (22 January 1958) and the Navy withdrew most of the ships searching the area southwest of Hawaii. Seven men were aboard the four-engine plane, Col. Darlene Bailey of the 1501st Air Transport Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., said here last night chances of finding any of them were 'pretty hopeless.' The navy confirmed that debris found 277 miles to the southwest was wreckage of the plane. It apparently crashed Sunday on a flight to Kwajalein." The search for survivors of the C-97 is abandoned on Wednesday night, 22 January, when a half-ton of aircraft debris is returned to Pearl Harbor, much of damaged by fire. The flight had originated at Travis AFB, California, bound for Tokyo, with fuel stops at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Wake Island.
The last of the seven Finnish Fokker C.Xs that survived World War II crashes in 1958. The airframe, FK-111, served as a target-towing craft in the Finnish Air Force. The plane crashed into a forest this date, killing the pilot, Second Lieutenant Aimo Allinen, and the winch-operator 2d Ltn. Antti Kukkonen.
"FUCHU, Japan (AP) - Three U.S. Air Force F84G jet trainers [sic] crashed into the sea tonight after takeoff from Iwakuni air base,[sic] western Japan. The bodies of the three pilots, whose names were withheld, had not been located five hours later, the Air Force said. The planes, from the 418th Fighter Training Squadron, Misawa Air Base, were on a training flight. 'Engines of all three aircraft appeared to flame out almost simultaneously on takeoff. The planes hit the water about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway,' the Air Force said." According to Joe Baugher, F-84G-20-RE, 51-1237, had a mid-air collision with flight mates F-84G-25-RE, 51-1300 and F-84G-25-RE, 51-1312, during the takeoff sequence.
A U.S. Navy Convair R3Y-1 Tradewind, BuNo 128446, "Indian Ocean Tradewind", assigned to VR-2, claims a new Honolulu-Alameda speed record for seaplanes, despite the loss of one engine en route. The Navy said that the Tradewind's 5 hours and 54 minutes bettered an old record for a seaplane, also set by a Tradewind, at 6 hours and 54 minutes. After departing from Keehi Lagoon, Hawaii, the Tradewind suffered the loss of the number one propeller (port outer) when it tore loose about 350 miles from the mainland, slashing a six to eight foot hole in the hull below the waterline, and damaging electrical control lines. None of the 17 on board were injured, either, when the R3Y slammed into the breakwater after landing in San Francisco Bay, California, due to a runaway turboprop engine that would not respond to control inputs due to the electrical system damage from the propeller strike. Lt. Cdr. Homer C. Ragsdale was the pilot on this flight. The Navy announces on 30 January that all three R3Y Tradewinds will remain grounded until a five-man accident board can determine what caused the crash of a fourth when it struck a seawall at Naval Air Station Alameda, California, after also losing a propeller in flight. Ultimately, this was the last straw for the troubled P5Y and R3Y programme. Four of the design had crashed, including one of two XP5Y-1 prototypes, all attributed to on-going issues with the problematic Allison T-40 turboprop powerplants and their associated gearboxes. The Navy abandoned further interest in the engine and all aircraft using it. VR-2 was disestablished 16 April 1958, and all P5Y and R3Y airframes broken up.
"GEORGE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Jan. 31 (AP) - Two propeller-driven B-26 medium bombers collided over the Southern California desert today. The Air Force said one crashed, killing its two-man crew. The other plane limped 75 miles with one of its two engines feathered and made a belly landing here on a foam-covered runway. Base officials said the crew escaped injury. Names of the dead were withheld pending notification of relatives." Douglas TB-26B Invader, 41-39310, c/n 7023, built as an A-26B-25-DL, crashed 14 miles NNE of Bagdad, California, killing pilot 1st Lt. Alexander Aros and A/1C Patrick Hughes.
A USAF Douglas C-118A Liftmaster military transport, 53-3277, c/n 44648/602, of the 1611th ATW, based at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, and a United States Navy Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune patrol bomber, BuNo 127723, '7L 203', collided over Norwalk, California (a suburb of Los Angeles) at 1913 hrs. The C-118 had departed Long Beach Municipal Airport for a flight to McGuire AFB, while the P2V had just departed Naval Air Reserve Station Los Alamitos on a training flight with eight Reservists on board. The C-118 disintegrated and the tail section crashed through the roof of a service station, while wreckage fell into the parking lot of the Norwalk Sheriff's Station, setting a gasoline supply dump alight. The Neptune crashed into an excavated clay pit on Norwalk Boulevard. 47 servicemen were killed (35 passengers and six crew aboard the transport, six of eight on the P2V - one more survived the impact but died later) as well as a 23-year-old civilian woman on the ground who was hit by falling debris. A plaque commemorating the disaster was erected by American Legion Post 359 in 1961 at the location of the accident, the corner of Firestone Boulevard and Pioneer Boulevard.
Two North American F-86 Sabres engaged in a mock attack maneuver collide near Andrews, South Carolina, killing one pilot and forcing the second, First Lieutenant Raymond G. Bronk, to parachute to safety. Capt. E. R. Breslauer, base public information officer at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, stated that the dead pilot, First Lieutenant John William Calvert, 29, of Abbeville, South Carolina, in an F-86D, of the 515th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron,[N 1] was practicing a maneuver in which his aircraft was bearing down on a pair of F-86L Sabres of the 444th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in a collision course with the intent of zeroing in his guns as if to fire, then pulls away. "Capt. Breslauer said the interceptor apparently misjudged the distance or took too long to zero in. He started to pull away at the same time Lt. Bronk did, and the two jets, each doing at least 500 miles an hour, crashed belly to belly." Bronk's wingman, First Lieutenant Delbert T. Grumbach, flew through the scattered debris from the two disintegrating jets, but was able to land safely at Charleston AFB, where he was treated and released from the hospital. "Observers said Grumbach's plane lost its canopy and had 50 or 75 holes in its body resembling flak hits." Lt. Bronk reportedly telephoned his own location near Andrews to authorities, and a helicopter was dispatched to pick him up. He suffered a cut chin. Capt. Breslauer said that the body of the dead pilot was found near the wreckage of his plane, between the towns of Andrews and Lane, South Carolina. Lt. Calvert was the son of Mrs. Harriet Coan Calvert and the late John W. Calvert, Sr., of Abbeville. He was a 1953 graduate of West Point. He was a member of the Abbeville Presbyterian Church. He was also survived by one sister, Mrs. Jerry E. Dempsey, of Atlanta, Georgia. Bronk's mother, Mrs. Mary Martha Bronk, lives at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Grumbach's mother is Mrs. Esther E. Larson, of Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
"PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) - A jet fighter plane crashed into the front yard of a home today just after taking off from the airport of this city 35 miles north of Los Angeles. The sheriff's substation said it had no report on casualties. The house itself was not damaged by the diving plane, according to first reports."Lockheed F‑104A-20-LO Starfighter, 56‑0792, c/n 183-1080, suffered engine failure shortly after take-off, coming down one mile W of the airport. Lockheed test pilot Henry C. Bosserman attempts ejection but is killed.
While on a flight from Fort Gordon, Georgia, to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a Piasecki H-21C Shawnee of the 8th Transport Helicopter Company, Fort Bragg, crashes in a swampy area 10 miles NW of Hartsville, South Carolina, killing the commander of the 8th, Capt. John H. Asbury, and seriously injuring two others. "The H21 helicopter attached to the outfit commanded by Capt. Asbury was reported missing last night after reporting its position at 6:33 p.m. near Columbia. Forty military aircraft searched a 10-mile wide strip between Ft. Bragg and Columbia today before two Negroes came on the wrecked helicopter and notified authorities. The dead man and the two survivors were carried out on litters by members of a rescue party who had to tramp through almost two miles of underbrush and swamp to U.S. Highway 15." The rescue party had to cut the three crewmen out of the wreckage. Capt. Asbury, 35, of Ft. Bragg, and Cape Elizabeth, Maine, C.W.O. Alva William Kepner, 27, of Burbank, California, and Sp.2C. Kenneth R. Struchen, 25, of Garvin, Minnesota, lay trapped in the downed ship "through a night of bitter cold weather. The temperature got down to 32 degrees this morning at Columbia, 50 miles from the crash scene." Kepner was treated at Byerly Hospital at Hartsville for a broken leg, shock, and exposure. Struchen, also hospitalized at Hartsville, was treated for a broken shoulder, shock, and exposure. "Officials said the cause of the crash was not determined, and a board would investigate."
A nuclear weapon was inadvertently dropped from a Boeing B-52D Stratofortress bomber parked at a pad and ready to be unloaded at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. Preliminary reports indicated that an airman erred and pulled the manual release handle which released the weapon from the bomb bay and through the unopened bomb bay doors. Damage to the weapon included a dented afterbody, two smashed fins, and a displaced secondary. There was no capsule aboard the aircraft. The bomb was loaded aboard a trailer and removed to the Q Area weapons maintenance depot (Site F) at Rushmore Air Force Station, South Dakota, adjacent to Ellsworth AFB. The damaged weapon was later exchanged for an operational weapon from stockpile.
"THOMASTON, Ga., Feb. 8 AP - One Army officer was injured fatally and another hurt seriously tonight in a crash of their plane near this west central Georgia town. One was pronounced dead upon arrival at a Thomaston hospital. The hospital declined to give the names of either of the officers. It was reported that their plane crashed en route from Ft. Bragg, N.C. to Ft. Benning, Ga." On 9 February, the public information office at Ft. Benning released the identities of the officers involved. Killed was 1st Lt. Marshall E. Stephenson, 23, whose parents live in Macon. He was a 1955 graduate of Mercer University, and was en route from his unit at Ft. Bragg to Ft. Benning, when the small plane suffered an power failure. "A companion on the flight, Capt. Bernard Towsed II, 29, (hometown unavailable) was injured in the crackup. He was brought to Upson County Hospital here (Thomaston) with a broken leg and facial cuts."
In the third accident for the unit in nine days, pilot Lt. Joseph O. Sweeney, 24, of Orleans Road, St. Andrews Parish, Charleston, South Carolina, is killed in the 1404 hours takeoff crash of an North American F-86L Sabre of the 444th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron ~two miles off the end of the main instrument runway at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, the plane coming down in a wooded area in the vicinity of Midland Park Road and exploding on impact. He had taken off on a practice intercept mission. Base spokesmen on 13 February said that Lt. Sweeney's fighter was fully loaded with rockets but that none exploded and all were accounted for by that morning. "Squadron spokesmen today (13 February) said the cause of the plane's trouble was materiel failure due to fire. The plane's engine was reported to have sputtered and caught fire immediately after lifting from the end of the runway. The crash occurred on civilian-owned property near the Midland Park Road."
A Douglas VC-47A Skytrain, 42-93817, c/n 13771, built as a C-47A-25-DK and upgraded, en route from its home base, Ramstein-Landstuhl Air Base, Germany, to Istanbul, departs Capodichino Airport, Naples, for a flight to Athens, with 16 servicemen aboard. Following a radio call 30 minutes after departure when the crew reported en route at 6500 feet and switching to the Rome ATC, nothing further is heard from the flight, which never contacts Rome, nor arrives in Greece. Dense fog over the Ionian Sea and mountainous southern Italy on 17 February greatly impeded search efforts for the missing aircraft. "U.S. authorities did not exclude the possibility the plane might have been forced down in Communist Albania." The burned and scattered wreckage is found 19 February high on the rugged slope of Mount Vesuvius at the 3,800 foot level, about 200 feet below the top of the cone of the volcano which overlooks Naples Bay. A search plane first spotted the wreckage following "four days of fruitless ground, sea and air search impeded by fog, rain and snow." Patrols of U.S. servicemen, Italian soldiers and carabinieri reached the crash site four hours after it was found, battling though heavy snow, but reported no survivors amongst the 16 on board. They stated that all had been identified. "A surgeon said death apparently was instantaneous." There were 15 Air Force officers and men from Ramstein-Landstuhl Air Base, and one seaman of the USS Tripoli on board. "Officials declined to venture a theory on the cause of the crash except that the weather was bad and the pilot, Capt. Martin S. Schwartz of Ashland, Kentucky, had not previously flown from Capodichino field." The bodies of the victims were brought to Capodichino Airport and on Friday 21 February, they were flown to Germany.
A Republic F-84F Thunderstreak from Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, crashed in flames ~5 miles S of Barnwell, South Carolina, "narrowly missing a church and striking a power line in its plunge to the ground." The pilot, identified only as having the last name of Morrell, rank and first name not included in the initial press account, safely ejected from the jet and parachuted to safety. "He was taken to the Barnwell airport where an Air Force plane returned him to Dobbins. Police listed his last name as Morrell and said he was not injured. His first name and rank were not immediately available here. Officers said no single piece of the airplane more than four feet long could be found at the crash site." Additional Associated Press accounts identified the pilot as Lt. Billy Morrell, 24, of the 128th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Georgia Air National Guard. Morrell, of Marrietta, Georgia, and a native of Greer, South Carolina, was on a "normal scramble" flight, according to a Dobbins spokesman, when his jet flamed out at 10,000 feet.
"OCEANA, Va., Feb. 18 - A Navy jet pilot, making practice carrier landings at the Fentress Auxiliary Air Station near here, was killed early today when his plane apparently lost power and he rode it down through a crash landing. The pilot was identified as Lt.(j.g.) Ralph Walker Anderson, 24, of Orlando, Florida."
"SAN DIEGO, Calif. AP - The deaths of three Navy men and injury to two others in a plane crash and explosion on the aircraft carrier Shangri-la off the California coast was disclosed by the Navy last night. One of those killed was the pilot of an F11-F Grumman Tiger Jet coming in for a landing on the carrier. The other victims were working on the flight deck when the accident occurred Thursday afternoon, the Navy reported. The dead were: Lt. David Oscar Gudal, the pilot, whose wife, Maureen, lives at Sunnyvale, Calif.; Ronald G. Payne, Airman 3.c., whose wife, Myrle, lives at San Jose, Calif., and Clandell N. Hardeman, airman, of Smithville, Tex. The injured were identified only as: Richard Leon Davis, airman, and S. N. Brown, an airman. The Navy said the accident occurred when the plane attempted a landing and failed to engage the arresting gear on the flight deck." F11F-1, BuNo 141734, was assigned to VA-156, coded 'NH-xxx', the first Tiger squadron to complete carrier qualifications.
During joint exercises with the U.S. Navy at Naval Station Mayport, Duval County, Florida, a flight of four Royal Canadian NavyMcDonnell F2H-3 Banshee fighters performs a formation takeoff but immediately flies into a dense fog bank; the rearmost aircraft, BuNo 126428 of VF-871, drops out of formation and vanishes. The airplane's nosewheel and pilot Lt. Barry Troy's helmet are later found floating in the ocean nearby, but no other signs of the missing aircraft or pilot are ever found.
North American XSM-64 Navaho (G-26), 54-3097, comprising missile 8 and booster 12, the final launch from LC-9, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, of this early attempt at a supersonic cruise missile design, under Project RISE (Research In the Supersonic Environment) to gather data for the X-15 and XB-70 programs for NASA, ends abruptly when the booster cuts off at T+20s. The vehicle "arched over and plunged toward the Atlantic Ocean. Just above the water it burst into orange flame and black smoke." Of 12 vehicles built, eleven were launched but no flight reached a successful conclusion. The whole project had been cancelled in July 1957 as ICBM developments had overtaken this piggy-back design. The many failed launch attempts earned the project the uncomplimentary appellation, "Never go, Navaho."
A Boeing RB-47E-25-BW Stratojet, 52-0720, c/n 450941, of the 26th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, crashes on approach at Sugar Grove, Ohio, six miles S of Lancaster. The aircraft hit the ground at an angle of 50 degrees, narrowly missing an Ohio Fuel natural gas pumping facility by a few hundred feet. It was determined that the aircraft was allowed to get into an unusual attitude and/or high speed, through disorientation, from which there was no recovery. In actuality a wheel door had broken away and prevented the control surfaces to be fully active. KWF were 1st Lt. Theodore L. Jenner, 26, of Evanston, Illinois, aircraft commander; 1st Lt. George M. Reiley, 25, Hyattsville, Maryland, pilot; 1st Lt. Earl N. Fogle, 27, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, navigator; and 1st Lt. Alvin B. Storey, 25, of Charlotte, North Carolina, an additional pilot aboard for training.
A Douglas-Tulsa B-47E-30-DT Stratojet, 52-0181, c/n 44035, of the 40th Bombardment Wing (Medium), based at Schilling Air Force Base, Kansas, crashes short of the runway due to fuel exhaustion during a landing at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, killing one member of the four crew on board. Navigator Lt. Samuel G. Hardin, of Salina, Kansas, died as the bomber came down on short final, scattering wreckage over a half-mile area. Three other crew members walked away from the wrecked airframe, with minor injuries. They were Lt. Col. Hilding L. Jacobson, Jr., instructor pilot; Capt. Gerald Weimar, plane commander; and Lt. Donald Maisel, copilot; all of Salina, Kansas. Lt. Hardin is survived by his wife, Lucia Hardin, of Salina.
A Royal Canadian NavyMcDonnell F2H-3 Banshee, BuNo 126333, Sqn. No. 142 of VF-871, suffers an apparent brake failure while taxiing aboard HMCS Bonaventure (CVL 22) and rolls off the carrier's deck. Pilot LCDR Brian Bell-Irving ejects as airplane falls, but partially opened canopy does not jettison, and Bell-Irving is knocked unconscious and severely injured as ejection seat smashes through canopy and slams into ocean surface. The damaged fighter jet catches fire and sinks; Bell-Irving is subsequently hauled aboard escort destroyerHMCS Haida (DDE 215) but dies from his injuries. This is the only operational ejection from a RCN Banshee.
A USMCFairchild R4Q-1 Packet transport, BuNo 128741, c/n 10570, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off Naha, Okinawa while returning from Naval Air Station Cubi Point to Atsugi, Japan. The R4Q was being accompanied by a Douglas AD-6 Skyraider, BuNo 135350, both aircraft an instrument approach into Naha AFB. Apparently the AD-6 had communication or navigation problems and elected to fly wing on the R4Q during the approach. Both planes collided and crashed in the Pacific Ocean, 5 km. from the base. Seven crew and 19 passengers on the transport were KWF, as was the Skyraider pilot. Nine of the victims were members of VMA-323.
A Boeing B-47B-30-BW Stratojet, 51-2104, of the 379th Bombardment Wing, from Homestead AFB, Florida, crashes shortly after take-off, breaking into four parts while making a shallow turn at 1,500 feet (460 m), coming down 10 nm SW of Homestead. Four crew killed: Maj. Leon F. Hatcher Jr., aircraft commander; Maj. Frank H. Whyte Jr., instructor pilot; 1st Lt. Paul J. Pennington, Co-Pilot; Capt. George Reid, Navigator. On the same date, a TB-47B-10-BW Stratojet, 50‑0013, c/n 450028, of the 3520th Combat Crew Training Wing, out of McConnell AFB breaks up in flight over Tulsa, Oklahoma. Student pilot, instructor eject, parachute to safety, but crewman occupying the navigator's position does not eject and is killed. Both accidents are due to unexpected fatigue issues in the B-47 fleet.
Test pilot Leo J. "Pete" Colapietro bails out of Douglas F4D Skyray during routine test flight over the Pacific Ocean which goes out of control, ejects at ~650 mph (1,050 km/h), suffers right arm broken in two places, fractured pelvis, two cracked vertebrae, and a dislocated shoulder. Parachute deploys automatically, however, and pilot is rescued from the water after 45 minutes by a helicopter and a rescue launch. He remains in hospital for over six weeks.
A United States Air Force Douglas C-124C Globemaster II, 52-0981, collides in midair with a USAF Fairchild C-119C Flying Boxcar, 49-0195, over farmland near Bridgeport, Texas, United States, killing all 15 on the Globemaster and all 3 on the Flying Boxcar. The two transports crossed paths over a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) navigational radio beacon during cruise flight under instrument flight rules; conditions were overcast with zero visibility within the clouds, and haze and fog were observed in the area. The C-124 was on a north-northeasterly heading flying at its properly assigned altitude of 7,000 ft (2,100 m); the C-119 was on a southeasterly heading, and the crew had been instructed to fly at 6,000 ft (1,800 m), but their aircraft was not flying at this altitude when the collision occurred.
A USAFDouglas RB-66B-DL Destroyer, 54-422, c/n 44722, of the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, crashes in an open field four miles (6 km) from RAF Sculthorpe, UK, while making a blind landing as part of a routine training flight. All three crew KWF. The aircraft was receiving flight instructions from the radar control tower at Sculthorpe. Although the weather was good, the jet was operating under simulated blackout conditions.
A Tupolev Tu-16 is forced down on an ice runway at Soviet North Pole drift station Severnyy Polyus-6, (North Pole) NP-6, where it is discovered and photographed by a RCAFAvro Lancaster of No. 408 Squadron on an Apex Rocket reconnaissance sortie, the first detailed images of the design to be made by the West. Additional photo missions find the Soviets dismantling the bomber, that its starboard main gear was missing, and that an engine had visible damage.
A Nike Ajax missile of Battery B, 526th AAA Missile Battalion, exploded accidentally at a battery at Site NY-53 near Leonardo, New Jersey at 1315 hrs. on this date, setting off six other missiles of A Section, killing 6 soldiers and 4 civilians. The nearest missile in B Section had its booster ignited by flying shrapnel and it flew into a nearby hill, but the warhead fortunately failed to explode. This was the first fatal Nike Ajax accident. A memorial can be found at Fort Hancock in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.
A USAFBoeing KC-135A-BN Stratotanker, 56-3599, c/n 17348, call sign Cocoa, of the 4050th Air Refueling Wing, Strategic Air Command, crashes on takeoff from Westover AFB, Chicopee, Massachusetts, attempting to set a world speed record from New York-London. 7 crew and 8 passenger fatalities. Departing Westover's Runway 23 just after midnight, with a take off weight of over 289,000 pounds, the aircraft failed to climb, and after 45 seconds of flight, dragged the port wingtip, the right wing struck powerlines, and the plane came down across the Massachusetts Turnpike, exploding in the backyard of a family farm adjacent to the highway. Amongst those killed were aircraft commander Lt. Col. George Broutsas, commanding officer of the 99th Air Refueling Squadron, 39, of Brattleboro, Vermont; 1st Lt. Joe C. Sweet, 26, of Chandler, Arizona, co-pilot; Capt, James E. Shipman, 35, of Kansas City, navigator; M/Sgt. Donald H. Gabbord, 38, of Los Gatos, California, boom operator; Capt. John B. Gordon, third pilot and aide to 8th Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Walter C. Sweeny, Jr.; and T/Sgt. Joseph G. Hutter, crew chief. Also aboard was Brig. Gen. Donald W. Saunders, 45, commander of the 57th Air Division at Westover, and commander of the four plane record attempt, of which Cocoa was the third to depart. Eight civilians also died: William J. Cochran, 36, and William R. Enyart, 57, representatives of the National Aeronautic Association as official observers; and six journalists covering the flight, retired Brig. Gen. A. Robert Ginsburgh, 63, and Glen A. Williams, 41, of U.S. News and World Report; Time-Life's Washington bureau chief James L. McConaughy, Jr., 42; the Boston Herald Traveler's veteran aviation writer, Robert B. Sibley, 57; United Press International's foreign affairs writer Norman J. Montellier, 37; and Daniel J. Coughlin, Jr., 31, of the Associated Press. The first two tankers to depart, call signs Alpha and Bravo, completed the speed run over 3,442 miles in 5 hours, 27 minutes, 42.8 seconds, and 5 hours, 29 minutes, 37.4 seconds, respectively. The fourth KC-135 did not depart. This was the first loss of the type since in entered service nearly two years before. Maj. Gen. Walter Sweeney, after a lengthy and exhaustive investigation, explained the possibility of a peculiar combination of circumstances. As the ground dropped away at the edge of the runway, a wind-shear may have occurred at a crucial moment, interfering with the lift of the plane. In 1960, the USAF established the “Saunders Trophy,” to be awarded to the Air Refueling Squadron compiling the highest score in combined refueling and navigation. The inscription reads, "Saunders Perpetual Trophy, SAC Combat Competition."
A HO4S from Boxer during rescue operations for the crew of a crashed USAF C-124, 4 July 1958.
Two Armee de l'AirSud Aviation Vautour IIBs, 617 and 618, are lost in crash landings, on one day, due to a failure in the hydraulic system of the "Monoblock" tail.
A Lockheed U-2A, 56-6697, Article 364, the fourth airframe of the initial USAF order, delivered January 1957 to USAF at Groom Lake, then to 4080th SRW, Laughlin AFB, Texas, in June: 1957, crashes this date killing trainee Lt. Paul Haughland. Despite Cessna L-27 chase plane to radio instructions, Haughland's U-2 rolled rapidly to starboard at 200 feet during landing approach and struck ground in a near-vertical attitude. Accident report notes that the flight manual did not sufficiently highlight the unusual stall characteristics.
A Boeing B-52D Stratofortress, 55-065, crashes in the August Kahl farmyard at Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, near St. Paul, after losing its tail section in flight. Only the co-pilot, Capt. Jack D. Craft, 29, of Sturgis, Massachusetts, survived of the eight crew. Air Force officials said that he was in shock and unable to answer questions. The jet tore a hole 300 feet long by 15 feet deep in the farmyard. The plane exploded as it hit, setting fire to the farm buildings. Eight members of the Kahl family were injured, and three remain hospitalized. They lost all their possessions in the explosion and fire.
A Rolls-Royce test pilot, Mr. K. R. Sturt, flying the prototype Avro VulcanVX770 in an airshow at RAF Syerston pulls up too hard after a high-speed flyby and exceeds the airframe's structural limits, collapsing the plane's right wing. The craft spirals out of control and crashes, killing the entire aircrew and 3 people on the ground.VX770 was known to have had a weaker wing structure then production aircraft. The aircraft had been testing the Rolls-Royce Conway installation and was returning from a test flight via-Syerston.
Twelfth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-52-5, c/n 12, on X-10 Drone BOMARC target mission 1, out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The remaining X-10s are expended as targets for Bomarc and Nike antiaircraft missiles. The X-10 flies out over the ocean, then accelerates toward the Cape at supersonic speed. A Bomarc A missile comes within lethal miss distance. The X-10 then autolands on the Skid Strip, but both the drag chute and landing barrier fail. The vehicle runs off the runway and explodes.
Thunderbirds support aircraft, Fairchild C-123B Provider, 55-4521, en route from Hill AFB, Utah to McChord AFB, Washington, with five flight crew and 14 maintenance personnel, flies through a flock of birds, crashes into a hillside six miles (10 km) E of Payette, Idaho, just before 1830 hrs., killing all on board. This remains the worst accident in Thunderbirds team history.
A USAF Fairchild C-123B-6-FA Provider, 54-0614, c/n 20063, en route from Dobbins AFB, Georgia, to Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, runs out of fuel, comes down on the Southern State Parkway on Long Island while attempting emergency landing at Zahn's Airport at North Amityville, one-half mile short, injuring five, and killing one motorist. The transport skids several hundred feet, passes through an underpass, and strikes three cars. Harold J. Schneider, West Islip, New York, dies of head injuries shortly after the accident. Three Air Force men and two women motorists suffer minor injuries. They are identified as Mrs. Mary Rehm, Islip Terrace, and Mrs. Frank Calabrese, West Islip. The injured Air Force men are identified as Capt. John Florio, Sgt. Wallett A. Carman and Sgt. Edgar H. Williamson. The pilot was Lt. Gary L. Moolson. The aircraft, with a 119 foot wingspan, passed through a 50-foot wide underpass, shearing both outer wings, the port engine, and the vertical fin, before coming to a stop on fire.
NAVY SQUADRON AEWRON FIFTEEN (VW-15) AIRCRAFT: Lockheed WV-2 Warning Star, BuNo 141294, LOCATION: NAS Argentia, Newfoundland. EVENT: Crashed into Placentia Bay 1000 feet short of runway during CGA landing trying to get under weather; flight from Pax to Arg. U.S. Naval Aviation Safety Center, Accident Brief No. 10, May 1960: "The ceiling was reported indefinite 200 feet, visibility 2 miles in drizzle and fog. A precision approach was commenced to the duty runway. The approach was within tolerances and normal until after passing through GCA minimums, at which time the aircraft went below glide path and the pilot was instructed to take a waveoff. The waveoff was not executed until after the aircraft had actually made contact with the runway. After climbout, GCA was contacted and a second approach was requested to commence with no delay. The pilot advised GCA that the runway was in sight just before GCA gave him a waveoff on the first approach. The second approach was again normal until the final controller gave the instructions, "Approaching GCA minimums." The aircraft immediately commenced dropping below glide path. An emergency pullup was given, but the aircraft collided with the water [Placentia Bay] and came to rest 2050 feet east of the approach end of the runway. It sank in 26 feet of water and 11 persons lost their lives." LOSS: 11 of 29-man crew & passengers killed: CREW: LT Donald A. Becker, PPC, CDR Raymond L. Klassy, VW-13, ENS Donald E. Mulligan, Lyle W. Foster, American Red Cross, A. S. Corrado, Robert N. Elliot, AN, R. J. Emerson, Clarence J. Shea, J. E. Strange, William Jerome Taylor, AD3 (body never recovered), and D. D. Wilson.
RAF Avro Vulcan B.1XA908 of 83 Squadron crashed into the residential neighbourhood of Grosse Pointe Park on the East side of Detroit, Michigan, USA after a complete electrical systems failure. The failure occurred at around 30,000 ft (9,100 m) and the backup system should have provided 20 minutes of emergency power to allow the aircraft to divert to Kellogg Airfield, Battle Creek, MI. Due to a short circuit in the service busbar, backup power only lasted three minutes before expiring and locking the aircraft controls. XA908 then went into a dive of between 60–70° before it crashed, leaving a 40 foot (13 m) crater in the ground, which was later excavated to 70 ft (21 m) deep in an unsuccessful attempt to find the cockpit of the aircraft. All six crew members were killed, including the co-pilot, who had ejected. The co-pilot’s ejector seat was found in Lake St Clair but his body was never found. Conflicting sources claim his body was found the following spring in the lake without a life vest. There were no reports of casualties on the ground.
A United States Air Force Boeing B-47E-56-BW Stratojet, 51-2391, of the 12th Bomb Squadron, 341st Bomb Wing (M), catches fire during take-off from Dyess AFB, Texas, crashes from 1,500 feet (460 m) altitude. Three crew eject, okay: Capt. Don E. Youngmark, 37, aircraft commander; Capt. John M. Gerding, 27, pilot; and Capt. John M. Dowling, 30, observer and navigator. The crew chief was killed - no bail out attempted. Fire sets off single bomb casing on board, creating crater 35X6 feet. Some tritium contamination at crash site.
Seventh of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19313, c/n 7, on X-10 Drone BOMARC target mission 2, out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The X-10 flies out over the ocean, then accelerates toward the Cape. However the Bomarc A fails to launch. Autoland is successful, but again the drag chute and landing barrier both fail, and the vehicle burns after overrunning the runway.
A United States Air Force Boeing B-47 Stratojet on Alert Status at Chennault AFB, Louisiana, accidentally ignites RATO assisted take-off bottles, is pushed off runway into tow vehicle, catches fire, completely destroying single nuclear weapon on board. Contamination limited to area within aircraft wreckage.
U.S. Army Major General Bogardus Snowden "Bugs" Cairns, a key proponent of the concept of armed helicopters, was killed instantly when his Bell H-13 Sioux helicopter crashed minutes after take off in dense woods northwest of Fort Rucker, Alabama headquarters. He was en route to Matteson Range to observe a firepower rehearsal in preparation for a full-scale armed helicopter display. He was commander of the Aviation Center and Commandant of the Aviation School. Ozark Army Airfield at Fort Rucker was subsequently renamed Cairns Army Airfield in his honor in January 1959. H-13 was taking off from field site when it hit a wire extended between two tents causing pilot to lose control and fly into trees.
Boeing B-52E Stratofortress, 56-0633, of the 11th Bomb Wing, crashes near Altus AFB, Oklahoma, due to improper use of stabilizer trim during an overshoot. Returning from a routine night training mission, aircraft makes a GCA approach, requests climb to altitude for another penetration, experiences stab trim problems, crashes ~four miles from base at 2345 hrs. Pilot Major Byard F. Baker, 39, of Azle, Texas, ejects; eight other crew die.
Convair RB-58A Hustler, 58-1008 accepted and delivered to the 6592nd Test Squadron, 43rd Bomb Wing, for pod and suitability testing during October: 1958. Crashed this date, the first B-58 accident, 38 nautical miles (70 km) NNE of Cannon AFB, New Mexico, due to loss of control during normal flight when auto trim and ratio changer were rendered inoperative due to an electrical system failure. Air Force pilot Maj. Richard Smith killed; AF Nav/bombardier Lt. Col. George Gradel, AF DSO Capt. Daniel Holland, both survive.
During its final approach to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, a Royal Canadian NavyMcDonnell F2H-3 Banshee, BuNo 126488, Sqn. No. 105 of VF-870, suffers a double engine flameout and crash-lands in a nearby lagoon, shearing off the landing gear and starboard wing. Pilot SubLt. Jean Veronneau only suffers minor injuries, but the fighter is written off. The crash is attributed to fuel starvation caused by the pilot's failure to transfer fuel from the auxiliary wingtip fuel tanks to the main fuselage tank earlier in the flight.
Tenth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-52-3, c/n 10, on Navaho X-10 Drone BOMARC target mission 3, out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The X-10 is launched with only one electrical generator due to a lack of any remaining spares. As it headed out over the ocean, that generator fails. It loses all electrical power, and crashes into the ocean 105 km downrange. This is the final X-10 mission, the Navaho program having been cancelled on 13 July 1957.
A USAFDouglas C-124A-DL Globemaster II, 49-254A, c/n 43183, Jumbo 14, of the 3d Strategic Support Squadron, Strategic Air Command, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, is involved in a Broken Arrow when it crashes on takeoff from that base at 1411 hrs. CST, two minutes after the start of the takeoff roll, coming down 3,300 feet (1,000 m) S and slightly to the right of runway 14. The cargo load of an unspecified number and type of nuclear weapons was to be transported to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. One weapon was destroyed by the post-crash fire which also burned out the airframe. No nuclear or high explosive detonation occurred, and contamination was limited to a confined area directly below the weapon. Six flight crew of crew R-41, and one substitution, all survived the crash. Although they denied any knowledge of engine malfunctions during the takeoff roll, witnesses stated that one or more engines were after firing or backfired from the beginning of the roll throughout the entire flight. After approximately 6,000 feet (1,800 m) of ground roll, the airframe assumed a nose high attitude as it climbed to between 50 and 100 feet (30 m), with one or more engines after firing excessively during the climb. The aircraft leveled off briefly before again assuming a nose high attitude when it then settled back to earth amidst smoke and dust. An intense fire then broke out (the aircraft was carrying ~5,000 gallons of fuel). After firefighters extinguished the blaze, weapons were removed using a M246 wrecker and a 40-foot (12 m) trailer.
A USAFLockheed F-104C-5-LO Starfighter, 56-0905, of the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George Air Force Base, California, suffers a right main tire failure on take off from that base. The pilot aborted and engaged the barrier dead center. The aircraft decelerated and came to rest off the right side of the overrun in the dirt. There was no fire. The pilot, Lt. Morris Ballard Larson, of the, 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 479th Tactical Fighter Wing, was not injured. Taking-off in formation as number 2/Wing, Lt. Larson felt the right main gear tire blow at 4,200 ft. down the runway and at ~150 knots. He started to veer towards Lead and corrected with left break and reduction of power to avoid collision. The pilot then aborted t/o, reducing throttle and engaging nose wheel steering and deploying drag chute. The pilot was able to keep the F-104C centered and radioed that he was taking the barrier. Aimed at the center of the barrier the pilot moved throttle to OFF. A successful barrier engagement was made and the aircraft decelerated, then veered right into the dirt just off the hard overrun surface. The pilot engaged the fuel shut off switch, opened the canopy and evacuated without injury.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Louis Blériot's flight across the English Channel, the Daily Mail announces a Paris-London, or London-Paris race, on 25 May 1959. On this date, an Armee de l'AirSud Aviation Vautour, with noted French Resistance heroine Colette Duval aboard as a passenger, touches down not at RAF Biggin Hill, but at the disused Battle of Britain airfield at RAF Kenley seven miles (11 km) away. With only an 800-yard (730 m) runway, the twin-jet bomber overruns and is damaged although both occupants escape injury.
An Vought F8U-1 Crusader, BuNo 143696, from VMF-122, MAG-32, MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, was passing through 47,000 feet (14,000 m) when the engine seized. The ram air turbine did not deploy and the pilot lost control of the aircraft causing him to eject from that altitude. Lt. Col. William H. Rankin, then commanding officer of the squadron earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records by surviving the longest recorded parachute descent in history. He had ejected into a violent thunderstorm over Virginia which caused his descent to last 40 minutes vice the expected 11 minutes, finally coming down in North Carolina.
In what was intended to be a routine NACA flight but turns out to be the final flight ever of a North American F-107A, the second accident involving the type occurs when pilot Scott Crossfield cannot get 55-5120 to lift off of the dry lakebed at Edwards AFB, California due to improperly set stabilizer trim. Nosewheel tires blow, pilot aborts take-off, tries to taxi airframe into the wind when the left main gear catches fire, airframe suffers fire damage, F-107 flight program ends. Airframe of 55-5120 cut up at Edwards, fuselage shipped to Sheppard AFB, Texas, for use as fire training aid.
Martin XSM-68-1-MA Titan I missile B-5, 57-2692, explodes on launchpad at Launch Complex 19 during sub-orbital flight, Cape Canaveral, Florida, when its tie-down bolts explode prematurely as the vehicle builds up thrust. An umbilical generates a "no-go" signal prompting an engine-kill signal from the flight controls and the Titan loses all thrust, falls back through the launcher ring and explodes. The umbilical tower is damaged in the ensuing fire.
A Lockheed U-2C, 56-6693, Article 360, of the SAC's 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS), Detachment C, out of Atsugi Air Force Base, Japan, and clandestinely operated by the CIA, runs out of fuel and pilot Tom Crull makes an emergency landing at the civilian airfield at Fujisawa, damaging belly. The black-painted aircraft with no identity markings attracts curious locals, and officials and military police are quickly dispatched to cordon off the area. This they do at gunpoint, which attracts even more attention and pictures of the highly secret U-2C soon appear in the Japanese press. Factory repaired and assigned to Det. B, this is the airframe that pilot Francis Gary Powers will be shot down in on 1 May 1960. The 20th U-2 built, it was delivered to the CIA on 5 November 1956. Used for test and development work from 1957 to May 1959. Converted to U-2C by 18 August 1959.
English Electric test pilot Johnny W.C. Squier, flying prototype two-seat English Electric Lightning T.4, XL628, suffers structural failure, ejects at Mach 1.7, becoming first UK pilot to eject above the speed of sound. Radar tracks the descending fighter, but not the pilot as he landed in the Irish Sea, and despite an extensive search, Squier has to make his way ashore by himself after 28 hours in a dinghy. Squier passes away 30 January 2006, aged 85.
The combination of a blizzard and a blocked runway at Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Montana leads to the loss of three Northrop F-89 Scorpion aircraft. During a blizzard the runway was unusable due to a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star which had sheared its landing gear on touch down. The Scorpions and an undisclosed number of other aircraft were returning to the base low on fuel and in near zero visibility. Four were lost in two of the crashed planes while the two man crew of the third parachuted to safety. No one was injured in the T-33 incident.
A USAF Douglas VC-47D Skytrain, 43-49024, c/n 14840/26285, built as C-47B-10-DK, crashes and burns in woods 10 miles (16 km) N of Oslo, Norway, killing all four on board. There was fog in the area at the time of the accident.
On Friday, December 4, 1959, Ensign Albert Joe Hickman was practising aircraft carrier landings as part of a training mission conducted from Naval Air Station Miramar, California. When his McDonnell F3H Demon suddenly stalled, Hickman was still 2,000 feet (610 m) above ground. He could easily have ejected from the cockpit in time to save his own life. Below him, however, and directly in the path of the crippled plane was Hawthorne Elementary School, where more than 700 children were playing in the schoolyard. Hickman chose to remain in the cockpit. He somehow maneuvered the descending plane away from the school, assuring the safety – and probably saving the lives – of several hundred people. Now at an altitude of only 60 feet (18 m), he no longer had the option to eject. The plane crashed into a nearby canyon, exploding on impact, and Albert J. Hickman was killed. A school in the San Diego community of Mira Mesa was later named after him. American Legion Post 460 in San Diego, Department of California, is named the Albert J. Hickman Post.
Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter, 53-0231, of the 384th Air Refueling Squadron, out of Westover AFB, Massachusetts, collides with a B-52 during a refueling mission at an altitude of ~15,000 feet. The aircraft loses the whole left horizontal stabilizer and elevator, the rudder, and the upper quarter of the vertical stabilizer. Crew makes a no-flap, electrical power off landing at night at Dow AFB, Maine, seven crew okay. "Spokesmen at Dow Air Force, Bangor, said the B52 [sic] apparently 'crowded too close' and rammed a fuel boom into the tail of a 4 engined KC95 [sic] tanker plane."  Aircraft stricken as beyond economical repair. Two crew on the B-52 eject, parachute safely, and are recovered by helicopters in a snow-covered wilderness area. The bomber and remaining eight crew members continue to Westover AFB, where a safe landing is made.
Two prototypes of the Tupolev Tu-105 (Samolët 105) were built with the first flying on 21 June: 1958. The second modified prototype was designated the Tu-105A (Samolët 105A), first flown 7 September 1959. On its seventh test flight, this date, Samolët 105A was lost, the radio operator successfully ejecting, the pilot Yuri Alasheev and the navigator being killed. The 105A was accepted for production as the Tupolev Tu-22B.
^Charleston, South Carolina, "Plane Crash Fatal To S.C. Test Pilot", The Charleston Evening Post, Thursday 19 May 1955, Volume 61, Number 197, page 7-B
^Maggelet, Michael H., and Oskins, James C., "Broken Arrow: The Declassified History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents", Lulu Publishing, www.lulu.com, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4357-0361-2, chapter 29, pages 279-287.
^Associated Press, "Six Men Killed In B25 Crash At Mitchel Field", Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Tuesday 13 September 1955, Volume XCV, page 2.
^Stoff, Joshua, "Long Island Aircraft Crashes 1909 - 1959", Arcadia Publications, an imprint of Tempus Publishing, Inc., Portsmouth, NH, Charleston, SC, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, 2004, LCCN2003-116337, ISBN 978-0-7385-3516-6. page 105.
^Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich, "Picture Coverage of the World: Pulitzer Prize Winning Photos", Transaction Publishers, Rutgers University, New Jersey, 2011, ISBN 978-3-643-10844-9, page 35.
^Jacobsen, Annie M., "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base", Back Bay Books, Little, Brown and Company, New York, Boston, London, 2011, Library of Congress card number 2011925205, ISBN 978-0-316-13294-7 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0-316-20230-5 (trade paperback), pages 59-60.
^Associated Press, "41 Dead in Two U.S. Air Crashes: 14 Dead in Nevada Smashup", The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, Friday 18 November 1955, Volume 71, Number 319, page 1.
^Stoff, Joshua, "Long Island Aircraft Crashes 1909 - 1959", Arcadia Publications, an imprint of Tempus Publishing, Inc., Portsmouth, NH, Charleston, SC, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, 2004, LCCN2003-116337, ISBN 978-0-7385-3516-6. page 107.
^Pocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, LCCN2005-927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, pages 51, 406.
^ abCharleston, South Carolina, "Plane Crash Death Toll Rises To 7", Charleston Evening Post, Tuesday 1 January 1957, Volume 63, Number 79, page 2-A.
^Charleston, South Carolina, "Charleston-Based Plane Crashes: 26 Survive Crack-up In Saudi Arabia - 3 Dead, 12 Missing As MATS Aircraft Plunges To Earth", Charleston Evening Post, Monday 31 December 1956, Volume 63, Number 78, page 1-A.
^Charleston, South Carolina, "Plane Crash Death Toll Rises To 7", Charleston Evening Post, Tuesday 1 January 1957, Volume 63, Number 79, pages 1-A, 2-A.
^Chincoteague, Virginia, "Naval Station Bomber Crashes", Chincoteague Beacon, Wednesday 3 April 1957, page 1.
^Pocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, LCCN2005-927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, pages 50-51, 406.
^Gero, David B. "Military Aviation Disasters: Significant Losses Since 1908". Sparkford, Yoevil, Somerset, UK: Haynes Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84425-645-7, p. 75.
^Werrell, Kenneth P., "The Evolution of the Cruise Missile", Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, first printing 1995, second printing 1998, LCCN85-8131, ISBN 3-581-74097-3, page 102.
^Maggelet, Michael H. and Oskins, James C., "Broken Arrow: The Declassified History of U. S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents", www.lulu.com, 2007, Chapter 10, page 94.
^Hansen, Chuck, "The Swords of Armageddon, Version 2: Volume VII-The Development of U.S. Nuclear Weapons", Accident Report summary received on 30 April 1992 from Vincent P. Murone, Chief, Reports Division, Directorate of Reports & Analysis, HQ Air Force Safety Agency, Norton AFB, California; letter dated 1 August 1957 to Honorable Carl T. Durham, Chairman, JCAE, from Herbert B. Loper, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy); letter dated 1 November 1957 to Carl T. Durham, Chairman, JCAE, from W. Libby, Acting Chairman, USAEC; letter dated 22 April 1966 to Honorable Chet Holifield, Chairman, JCAE, from W. J. Howard, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy).
^Huffman, Dale, "Do you remember the bomber crash in '57?", Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, 21 September 2007.
^Huffman, Dale, "Dozens recall 1957 crash of B-26 bomber - Beavercreek woman lost her dad, who was piloting the plane that crashed in a Dayton neighborhood", Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, 25 September 2007.
^ abPocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, LCCN2005-927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, pages 342, 407.
^Richardson, Colonel Howard, USAF (Ret.), "B-47 and F-86 Mid-Air Collision", published in "Boeing B-47 Stratojet: True Stories of the Cold War in the Air", Natola, Mark, editor, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, 2007, Library of Congress Control Number 2007932937, ISBN 978-0-7643-2779-7, page 79.
^Hansen, Chuck, The Swords of Armageddon, Version 2: Volume VII-The Development of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Letter dated 13 February 1958 to Honorable Carl T. Durham, Chairman, JCAE, from Herbert B. Loper, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy); letter dated 25 March 1958 to Honorable Carl T. Durham, Chairman, JCAE, from Herbert B. Loper, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy); Minutes of 1332nd AEC Meeting, 11 February 1958; Memorandum dated 12 February 1958, from W. B. McCool, Secretary, to Brig. Gen. A. D. Starbird, Director, Division of Military Application, Subject: Recent Weapon Accident; Memorandum dated February 12, 1958, from James E. Ammons, Office of the Secretary, to Files, Subject: Recent Weapon Accident. Since many internal components of nuclear weapons are supported only by plastic foam of varying densities, it is not unusual that weapon components might be dislocated when the foam is crushed by the movement of the components incurred during a sudden impact.
^Associated Press, "Officer Killed In Plane Crash", The Charleston Evening Post, Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday 9 February 1958, Number 24,281, page 9-B.
^Anderson, South Carolina, "Ga. Soldier Dies In Crash At Benning", The Anderson Independent, Monday 10 February 1958, Volume 41, Number 233, page 2.
^Charleston, South Carolina, "In Wooded Area: Jet Crashes, Burns Near Air Base Here", The Charleston Evening Post, Wednesday 12 February 1958, Volume 64, Number 115, page 1-A.
^Charleston, South Carolina, "Following Crash: 444th Jet Planes Under Inspection", The Charleston Evening Post, Thursday 13 February 1958, Volume 64, Number 116, page 1-A, 2-A.
^ひまわり [Himawari] (in Japanese). "Himawari Okinawa wa Wasurenai Ano hi no sora o" Seisaku Iinkai. 2012. Retrieved Dec 18, 2012.
^Buttler, Tony, "Triumph and Tragedy", Aeroplane, London, UK, Number 408, April 2007, page 58.
^Maggelet, Michael H., and Oskins, James C., "Broken Arrow: The Declassified History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents", Lulu Publishing, www.lulu.com, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4357-0361-2, chapter 18, pages 123-127.
^Leggett, Dick, "Don't You Know There's A War On", Flypast, Stamford, Lincs., UK, Number 216, July 1999, pages 39-41.
^Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945-1973. Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 978-0-16-002260-9, page 386.
^Pocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, LCCN2005-927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, page 407.
^Howard, W. J., Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy), Letter to Holifield, Chet, Chairman, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 22 April 1966.
^Thus far, this editor has been unable to correlate this unit, as reported in the press, with any active USAF squadron of that era. The 515th Air Defense Group was active at Duluth Municipal Airport, Minnesota, 16 February 1953 - 18 August 1955, flying D-model Sabres, but it reequipped with F-89 Scorpions before inactivating, and was out of the picture by the time of this event.
Martin, Bernard. The Viking, Valetta and Varsity. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1975. ISBN 978-0-85130-038-2.