List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1945–49)

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This is a list of notable accidents and incidents involving military aircraft grouped by the year in which the accident or incident occurred. Not all of the aircraft were in operation at the time. For more exhaustive lists, see the Aircraft Crash Record Office or the Air Safety Network or the Dutch Scramble Website Brush and Dustpan Database. Combat losses are not included except for a very few cases denoted by singular circumstances.

Aircraft terminology[edit]

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 callsign in italics, and operating units.


1 January
Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9, 'Black 12', of 10./JG. 54, flown by Leutnant Theo Nibel of the Grimbergen force, is downed during Unternehmen Bodenplatte when he strikes a partridge which holes his coolant radiator, makes forced gear-up landing near Brussels.[1]
A Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 of 10./JG54 (Leutnant Theo Nibel), downed by a partridge which flew into the radiator near Brussels on 1 January 1945.
1 January
Lockheed P-38G-10-LO Lightning, 42-13400, c/n 222-7834,[2] suffers crash landing on Attu Island in the Aleutians, 2,000 miles W of Anchorage, Alaska, whilst on a training mission, pilot 2nd Lt. Robert Nesmith unhurt. Airframe suffers propellers torn off, broken horizontal stabilizer, buckled left nacelle. After simple parts salvage, it is abandoned in place. Recovered June 1999, it is transported by helicopter to the U.S. Coast Guard station at Attu, then flown to Anchorage in an Alaska Air National Guard Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Registered as N55929 but not taken up.[2] Restored at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, it is placed on display at McCloud Memorial Park, Elmendorf AFB, in April 2000.[3]
10 January
Northrop P-61B-1-NO Black Widow, 42-39445, c/n 964,[4] of the 550th Night Fighter Squadron, based at Hollandia, New Guinea, on a supposed proficiency flight (but pilot took along three passengers, including a 20-year-old WAAC nurse), ends badly with aircraft coming down largely intact at the 5,000 foot level (1,500 m) of Mount Cyclops just a few miles from its airfield. All aboard survive with only minor injuries. Airframe recovered in 1989 by helicopter and is undergoing restoration at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.[5]
19 January
RAF Group Captain J. F. X. McKenna AFC, elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1944, and appointed commandant of the Empire Test Pilots' School of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment in March of that year, is killed this date during a familiarisation flight on a Mustang Mk IV, KH648,[6] which crashes when the ammunition box cover detaches at high speed and the aircraft sheds a wing, crashing on the perimeter of Old Sarum Airfield (ICAO: EGLS), located 2 NM (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) NNE of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.[7]
30 January
Consolidated B-24L-1-FO Liberator, 44-49180, crashes west of Helendale, California. The crew consisted of 1st Lt. James G. Wright, pilot, 2nd Lt. Norbert J. Vehr, copilot, 2nd Lt. Carl F. Hansen radar instructor, 2nd Lt. John R. Palin radar student, 2nd Lt. Herbert A. Perry, radar student, and T/Sgt. Harvey L. Cook, flight engineer. Perry, Vehr and Cook died during the crash, while the remaining crew members successfully bailed out.[8] Wreckage recovered to Victorville Army Airfield, California, in February 1945 with reclamation complete on 9 February.[9]
The Akutan Zero is destroyed during a training accident at Naval Air Station San Diego, California. While Cmdr. Richard G. Crommelin is taxiing the Mitsubishi A6M for a take-off, a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver loses control and rams into it. The Helldiver's propeller slices the A6M to pieces. From the wreckage, Rear Adm. William N. Leonard salvages the manifold pressure gauge, the air-speed indicator, and the folding panel of the port wingtip, which he donates to the National Museum of the United States Navy.[10] The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum has two manufacturer's plates, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum also has small pieces of the A6M.[11]
9 February [12] or 11 February [13]
A Lockheed P-38L-1-LO Lightning, 44-24838, of the 432d Base Unit, Portland Army Air Base,[12] crashes in the Oregon desert ~25 miles SE of Christmas Valley, Oregon, while conducting a gunnery training flight. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Max J. Clark, 25, is KWF. On 14 June 2007, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officially declares the crash scene a historic Federal government site at a Flag Day ceremony. An interpretive plaque is unveiled during this event reflecting this designation and depicting the historical significance of the location.[13]
13 February
A Douglas R4D-6, BuNo 50765, c/n 14848/26293, of Air Transport Squadron 3 of the US Navy crashes into the sea near Alameda, California, while on approach for landing at Naval Air Station Oakland,[14] killing all twenty-one passengers and three crew.[15]
13 February
During a high-speed taxi run at Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, in Boeing XF8B-1, BuNo 57984, pilot Bob Lamsen experiences an unexpected undercarriage retraction at 1630 hours, with him unaware of the condition until it is too late, the airframe coming to rest near the middle of the main runway after sliding ~1,000 feet. The fire department and other emergency crews arrive on scene immediately but no fire occurs and no emergency measures are required. Reports of smoke and fire were apparently due to friction with the runway. To aid in the investigation, three cranes attempt to lift the large fighter onto a flatbed truck with the gear still retracted but they are unable to gain sufficient height and the decision is made to manually extend the gear so the airframe may be moved with no further damage.[16]
17 February
Luftwaffe experten (ace) Jürgen Harder (13 June 1918 – 17 February 1945), recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, (64 claimed victories), is killed in the crash of a Messerschmitt Bf 109G-14, Werk. Nr. 784 738, near Strausberg, Germany, following engine failure. Technical experts that analysed the wreckage came to the conclusion that the piston of cylinder 12 had penetrated the engine block. Escaping toxic fumes thus intoxicated Harder who then lost control of the aircraft.[17]
18 February
Luftwaffe pilot Leutnant Erwin Ziller runs into problems 45 minutes into the third flight of Horten H.IX V2 when he suffers a failure of one of the jet engines, aircraft spins to starboard and crashes just outside the airfield perimeter. The pilot dies in hospital a fortnight later. This second prototype was the only powered Horten IX to fly. The incomplete V3 prototype was shipped to the United States and is now in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.[18]
19 February 
Two Lockheed P-38L Lightnings, of the 433d Base Unit,[19] out of Chico Army Airfield, California,[20] suffer a mid-air collision 28 miles NW of Barstow, California, during a routine training and gunnery practice flight, coming down near Superior Dry Lake. "When the planes collided, one exploded in the air, and the other crashed to the ground."[21] 2d Lt. Earl A. Morgan, Jr. in P-38L-1-LO, 44-23861, and 2d Lt. Walter E. Mogensen in P-38L-5-LO, 44-25637, are both KWF.[22][23] Morgan's mother, Mrs. Ruth E. Morgan, lives in Camp Rowio, Texas; Mogensen's father, Carl G. Mogensen, lives in Modesto, California.[24] "Col. Robert A. Nagle, commanding officer, permitted the identity of the two officers to become known last night (19 February) after notification had been given to next of kin."[21]
26 February
Brigadier General James Roy Andersen (1904–1945), is lost with the Consolidated C-87A-CO Liberator Express, 41-24174,[25] he was travelling on between Kwajalein and Johnston Island while en route to Hawaii. General Andersen graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1926, served at various Army installations, and obtained his wings at Kelly Field, Texas, in 1936. During 1943–1944 he served on the War Department General Staff. In January 1945, General Andersen was assigned to HQ AAF, Pacific Ocean Area. Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, is subsequently named in his honor. Pilot of the aircraft was F. E. Savage.[26]
1 March
First manned flight test, launched from the Lager Heuberg military training area near Stetten am kalten Markt, of Bachem Ba 349 Natter, 'M23', a vertically launched bomber interceptor, fails when Oberleutnant Lothar Sieber, 22, a volunteer, is killed as rocket-powered aircraft reaches ~1,650 feet, cockpit canopy detaches, Ba 349 noses over onto back, then falls from ~4,800 feet, killing pilot. No cause for crash determined but it was thought that improperly latched canopy may have knocked Siebert unconscious. Three successful manned flights subsequently flown and a group of the fighters readied for intercept mission, but advancing U.S. 8th Army armoured units overrun launch site before Natters can be used.[27]
1 March
Two Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomets of the 29th Fighter Squadron, 412th Fighter Group, at Muroc Army Air Field, California,[28] collide in mid-air over the Mojave Desert near Grey Butte Army Airfield during an anti-aircraft tracking exercise. 2nd Lt. Robert W. Murdock, pilot of 44-22620, and 2nd Lt. Howard L. Wilson, in 44-22626, are killed in the collision.[29]
4 March
At precisely 0151 hrs., Junkers Ju 88G-6, Werknummer 620028, D5+AX, piloted by Hauptman J. Dreher, with a crew of three from night fighter unit 13./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, becomes the last Axis aircraft to crash on British soil during World War II. Confused by auto headlights, fighter hits tree while attacking the airfield at RAF Elvington, crashing at Sutton upon Derwent, Yorkshire, all four KWF. Two other Ju 88s had crashed in separate incidents at 0137 and 0145 hrs.[30]
14 March
The first prototype of two of the experimental Cornelius XFG-1-CR fuel glider, 44-28059, crashes 3 miles W of Wilmington, Ohio during spin testing out of Clinton County Army Air Field, Ohio, killing test pilot Alfred Reitherman of the Spartan Aircraft Company which constructed the design. The fuel glider concept (to be towed behind bombers) is abandoned at the end of the war.[31]
17 March
Following an afternoon attack by two Arado Ar 234B Blitzs of 6./KG76 on the U.S. Army forces crossing the Rhine at Remagen, Uffw. Pohlmann is killed when his Arado, WNr.140180, is destroyed in a crash-landing at Burg following an engine failure.[32]
20 March
Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier is forced to bail out of third Lockheed XP-80 prototype, 44-83021, c.n. 141-1002, named "Gray Ghost", of the 4144th AAF Base Unit, Muroc Army Air Field, California,[31] after catastrophic turbine blade failure slices off tail, pilot coming down on Highway 99 near Rosamond, California, breaking his back and side-lining him for six months.[33]
27 March
RAF Consolidated LB-30 Liberator II, AL504, first Mk. II accepted by the British, converted to VIP transport for the Prime Minister, named "Commando". It had received a single PB4Y-style fin and rudder modification. Lost over the Atlantic Ocean between the Azores and Ottawa, Canada. The Prime Minister was not on board.[34] Lost with the crew was Air Marshal Sir Peter Roy Maxwell Drummond, the RAF's Air Member for Training.
5 April
Prototype Ryan XFR-1 Fireball, BuNo 48234, piloted by Ryan test pilot Dean Lake, on test flight over Lindbergh Field, San Diego, California, loses skin between the front and rear spars of the starboard wing, interrupted airflow over the wing causes it to disintegrate. Pilot bails out, airframe breaks up, wreckage strikes brand new Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, BuNo 59836, just accepted by the Navy and preparing to depart for the modification center at Litchfield Park, Arizona. Bomber burns, Navy crew of pilot Lt. D. W. Rietz, Lt. J. E. Creed, and Aviation Machinists Mates G. R. Brown and J. H. Randall, evacuate burning PB4Y, only Randall suffering injuries, first, second, and third degree burns and minor lacerations.[35]
5 April
Boeing B-17G-50-VE Flying Fortress, 44-8152, c/n 7552, "Miss Ida", of the 748th Bomb Squadron (H), 457th Bomb Group (H), is lost on take off from RAF Glatton.[36] The target this date was the Ordinance Depot at Ingolstadt, Germany. The commanding officer of the 748th, Major Edward B. Dozier, was designated Air Commander. As the lead aircraft containing Major Dozier and Lt. Donald B. Snow, lifts off the runway, the number 2 (port inner) engine catches fire, with the airframe crashing just past the end of the runway, the bomb load explosion heard throughout the airfield creating an eight foot crater. Nine killed but one crew miraculously survives. The mission was delayed and was out of position in the bomber stream because of the accident. The group bombed in trail at 14,000 feet because of heavy clouds at the briefed altitude. Bomb results were unknown.[37]
8 April
First prototype Rikugun Ki-93, '1', twin-engine fighter makes only flight from Tachikawa airfield, a successful 20 minute test of its low-speed handling characteristics, piloted by Lt. Moriya of the Koku Shinsa-bu (Air Examination Department) with 2nd Lt. Ikebayashi in the second seat. Unfortunately, pilot undershot the runway and touched down in soft soil, ground-looping airframe and tearing off port undercarriage leg, engine mount, and bending six-blade propeller. Repairs completed in four weeks, but the night before the scheduled second test flight, a B-29 bombing raid on Tachikawa destroyed the hangar housing the airframe.[38]
8 April
United States Navy Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, BuNo 59442, Zebra 442, of VPB-108, based at Tinian, Northern Marianas Islands, is lost on aircrew search mission over the Pacific Ocean, crew becomes disoriented, ditches at 1800 hrs. Spotted by two PB4Ys on 11 April, crew is rescued from rafts by submarine USS Queenfish on 12 April.[39]
11 April
Second of two Northrop XP-61E Black Widows, 42-39557, modified from P-61B with cut-down fuselage and bubble canopy, is written off when over-eager pilot tries P-38 Lightning trick of retracting landing gear on take-off while still on runway, but heavier Widow settles onto runway, hollow steel props shatter, airframe strikes tool shack on side of runway, airframe written-off, pilot survives. First XP-61E, 42-39549, is modified into sole XF-15 photo-reconnaissance prototype, 36 of which will be built as Northrop F-15A Reporter.[40]
13 April
On 5 April, a B-24H-15-DT Liberator, 41-28779, of the 564th Bomb Squadron, 389th Bomb Group (Heavy), captured by the Luftwaffe on 20 June 1944 (MACR 6533),[41] and operated as KO+XA by KG 200, departs Wackersleben to avoid the Soviet advance with 29 KG 200 personnel aboard for a flight to Bavaria via Braunschweig. About 25 minutes into the flight, a German flak battery fires on the Liberator, damaging the fuselage, wings and number 4 (starboard outer) engine and cutting the rudder cables. Pilot Oberfeldwebel Rauchfuss manages to maintain control, however. Two passengers, injured by the gunfire, require immediate medical attention (one later dies), and the pilot lands in a meadow near Quedlinburg, but a powerline forces him to apply power to clear it and the bomber breaks its nosewheel strut when it overruns into a freshly ploughed field. The strut is removed and sent to the Junkers Component Factory at Eilsleben for repair. The oil leak on the engine and the rudder cables are also repaired. Returned on 12 April, the strut is reinstalled and an attempt is made to take off on 13 April, after all excess equipment is removed to lighten the plane, but the clearing proves too short, the B-24 bogs down in sodden soil, and the nose strut again breaks. Reluctantly, the crew destroys the airframe by punching holes in the fuel tanks and setting it alight with a flare pistol.[42]
18 April
Luftwaffe experten (ace), (six victories), Oberst Johannes Steinhoff, of the jet experten Jagdverband 44, suffers tire blow-out on take-off from Flughafen München Riem when his Messerschmitt Me 262 hits a bomb crater. He lifts off, but without sufficient flying speed, he crashes, suffering severe burns, spending two years in hospital.[43]
19 April
During an Eighth Air Force raid on a rail marshaling yard at Aussig, Czechoslovakia, Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 262s shoot down five Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses. The fifth, Boeing B-17G-5-BO Flying Fortress, 42-31188, named "Dead Man's Hand", of the 709th Bomb Squadron, 447th Bomb Group,[44] piloted by Lt. Robert F. Glazener, on its 111th combat mission, becomes the last heavy bomber of the 8th Air Force lost to enemy fighters in the European theatre. Seven of eight crew escape the falling bomber, although no chutes were reported being seen (by this point, the two waist gunners were not being carried.)[45]
21 April
As the Russians close in on Berlin, Hitler's private secretary, Martin Bormann, puts into action Operation Seraglio, a plan to evacuate the key and favoured members of Hitler's entourage from the Berlin bunker. Junkers Ju 352, c/n 100003, 'KT+VC', loaded with Adolf Hitler's personal property departs Berlin at ~0500 hours for Ainring, near Salzburg, piloted by Major Friedrich Gundlfinger. Among 16 passengers were Hitler Valet SS Sgt Wilhelm Ardnt and Hitler's bodyguard Max Fiebes. Plane flying low over the Heidenholz Forest clips treetops, tearing loose one of its three engines. The plane impacts and burns fiercely near Börnersdorf south of Dresden. Of two reported survivors one died of injuries.[46] "A farmer from nearby Bernersdorf [sic], supervising Russian and French forced-labourers, heard screams and hammering from the Junkers, but was able to help only the tailgunner who was able to crawl clear. On hearing of the disaster Hitler was devastated by the loss of Arndt, rather than of his archives. It was from this event that the idea was later born of producing forged documents, published as Hitler's Diaries in 1983."[47]
21 April
Deutsche Luft Hansa Focke-Wulf Fw 200B-2, D-ASHH, c/n 0009,[48] "Hessen", hastily loaded with baggage of the Berlin Headquarters Staff as part of Operation Seraglio, a plan to evacuate the key and favoured members of Hitler's entourage from the capital, departs from Berlin Tempelhof Airport for Barcelona, Spain via Munich, piloted by Flugkapitän August Karl Künstle, with five crew and 16 passengers. Condor reaches Munich safely, but never appears in Spain. Extensive inquiries in Germany, Switzerland and Spain turn up no clues to fate. In 1954, evidence finally is discovered that the overloaded transport crashed and burned with no survivors near Piesenkofen Kreis Mühlberg, Bavaria.[49] A German source gives 1952 as the year of confirmation of Hessen's demise.[50]
21 April
Consolidated B-24J-1-FO Liberator, 42-95592, "Black Cat", of the 784th Bomb Squadron, 466th Bomb Group, based at RAF Attlebridge (USAAF Station 120), returning from a mission to bomb a rail bridge at Salzburg, Austria, aborted due to bad weather over the target, receives a flak burst in the port wing near Regensburg, becoming the last heavy bomber of the 8th Air Force lost over Germany during World War II.[51] It was the only loss of this mission. Only the bombardier and the tail gunner escape from the aircraft to become prisoners of war, all ten other crew KIA. (MACR 14182)[52]
23 April
A United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Boeing B-17G-90-BO Flying Fortress 43-38856, coded 'GD-M', of the 534th Bombardment Squadron, 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy), crashes on the east facing slope of North Barrule in the Isle of Man killing 31 US service personnel (including ground crew) en route from RAF Ridgewell (USAAF Station 167) to RAF Nutts Corner, Belfast, for memorial service for President Roosevelt.[53]
26 April
During a training exercise, a Boeing B-17G-90-BO Flying Fortress, 43-38859, collided in mid-air with another Fortress, B-17G-75-VE, 44-8687. #859 crash-landed and was repaired. #687 was destroyed, with only 2 crew escaping and surviving the incident.[54][55]
28 April
Douglas A-26C-25-DT Invader, 43-22644, assigned to the 611 Base Unit at Wright Field, Ohio,[56] crashes into the Choctawhatchee Bay, 3 Miles NE of Fort Walton, Florida after being struck by a test Speedee (Highball) bouncing bomb which tears off tail unit, bomber instantly nosing over into the water. It had taken off from Eglin Field, Florida, on a low level bombing exercise at AAF water range Number 60, immediately S of Lake Lorraine.[57] All 3 occupants killed[58]
29 April
A North American AT-6D-NT trainer, 42-84963, c.n. 88-16744,[59] of the 2002d Base Unit, piloted by West Point Cadet Robert B. Clark, crashes into Bramley Mountain 3 miles SE of the Town of Bovina, Delaware County, New York, (in the Catskill Mountains) due to weather.[56] The Binghamton Press of 1 May 1945 reports that "the young flier was on a routine night cross-country training flight." He was flying to Stewart Field in Newburgh, New York and apparently was lost when he crashed.[60]
30 April
Just before midnight this date, first production Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, BuNo 59359, is being prepared on the ramp at Lindbergh Field, San Diego, California, for a flight to NAS Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, a mechanic attempts to remove the port battery solenoid, located 14 inches below the cockpit floor, but does so without disconnecting the battery. Ratchet wrench accidentally punctures hydraulic line three inches above the battery and fluid ignites, setting entire aircraft alight, mechanic suffering severe burns. Only number four (starboard outer) engine deemed salvageable. Cause was unqualified mechanic attempting task that only a qualified electrician should undertake.[61]
6 May
1st Lt. Vincent J. Rudnick, on local training and acrobatics flight out of King's Cliffe, Great Britain, in North American P-51D-5-NA Mustang, 44-13720,[28] coded 'MC-X' and named "Mine 3 Express", of the 20th Fighter Group, loses control at top of a loop at ~1445 hrs. near Stoke Ferry, aircraft goes into irrecoverable spin, pilot bails out, airframe impacting near cottage of Springside. In June 1985, crash site excavated and some wreckage located.[62]
8 May
First prototype (of three) Curtiss XF15C-1, BuNo 01213, crashes on a landing approach to Buffalo, New York due to fuel starvation, killing test pilot Charles Cox. Two other prototypes modified with a T-tail to correct problems, but this last Curtiss design for the United States Navy never enters production. Second prototype was scrapped but the third and final airframe is preserved at the New England Air Museum in Connecticut.
10 May
Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Lewiston-based Howard GH-2 Nightingale ambulance, BuNo 32360, overloaded for runway length, crashes on takeoff from Rangeley, Maine airstrip, killing Lt. Eugene B. Slocum, AMM3C Louis F. Ceurvorst, Pfc. James V. Haney of the USMC and one more unidentified.[63][64]
17 May
Former Our Gang actor Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins (Robert E. Hutchins) is killed in a mid-air collision while trying to land a North American AT-6D Texan, serial number 42-86536, of the 3026th Base Unit, when it strikes North American AT-6C Texan, 42-49068, of the same unit, at Merced Army Air Field in Merced, California, during a training exercise. The other pilot, Edward F. Hamel, survives.[65]
27 May
The third prototype Curtiss XP-55 Ascender, 42-78847, is destroyed in a crash during an air show at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, killing pilot Capt. William C. Glasgow and two civilians on the ground. Pilot attempted a slow roll after a low pass in formation with a P-38 and a North American P-51 Mustang on each wing, impacted at end of runway and plowed through line of cars on Alternate State Route 4. Dick Bong was flying the Lightning and Don Gentile was the Mustang pilot.[66] Bong will die in a P-80 crash on 6 August. Gentile will be killed in a Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star air crash on 28 January 1951.
28 May
A Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver, BuNo 19866, suffers from a stalled engine during a target run and crashes into Lower Otay Reservoir near San Diego, California. Navy pilot E. D. Frazar, of Richmond, Texas, and United States Army gunner Joseph Metz, of Youngstown, Ohio, survive, swim ashore, and hitchhike back to Ream Field. The plane is raised from the reservoir on 20 August 2010.[67] The dive bomber will be transported to Pensacola, Florida for restoration by the National Museum of Naval Aviation.
4 June
Aichi E13A "Jake" floatplane, c/n 41116, of 634 Kōkūtai-Teisatsu, 302 Hikōtai, crashed into the sea during night time search mission. Salvaged from waters off Kaseda city, Kagoshima prefecture on 22 August 1992, it is displayed in unrestored condition at the Kasedo Peace Museum, Kyūshū, Japan.[68]
6 June
The Boeing B-29-40-BW Superfortress[28] that led the first B-29 raid on Tokyo on 24 November 1944, 42-24592, named Dauntless Dotty, of the 869th Bomb Squadron, 497th Bomb Group, 73rd Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force, departs Kwajalein at 0306 hrs. for the second leg of a ferry flight back to the United States, commanded by Capt. William A. Kelley, of Tifton, Georgia. Forty seconds after takeoff, the aircraft strikes the Pacific Ocean and sinks, killing 10 of 13 on board instantly. Co-pilot 1st Lt. John Neville, of Bradley, Illinois, tailgunner S/Sgt. Glenn F. Gregory, of Waldron, Illinois, and left gunner S/Sgt. Charles McMurray (also spelt McMurry in one source), of Memphis, Tennessee, are thrown from the wreckage and are recovered by a rescue boat after some 45 minutes in the water.[69] A search for the lost airframe by the National Underwater and Marine Agency Australia has been proposed.[70]
13 June
A USAAF Consolidated B-24H-25-FO Liberator, 42-95095,[71] of the 66th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, returning home to the USA from Prestwick Airfield crashes at Shieldaig, in the remote Fairy Lochs in Wester Ross, Scotland, killing its entire crew of nine from 66th Bombardment Squadron; also on board were six crewmen from Air Transport Command. Pilot was Jack B. Ketcham.[72] A memorial has been erected at the site.
19 June
Five men were killed when their army plane crashed near Crestview, Florida, Tuesday (this date), the Associated Press reported on 21 June. The plane, en route from Eglin Field, Florida, to Myrtle Beach Army Airfield, South Carolina, came down in a storm, stated officials at Marianna Army Airfield, Florida. "First Lt. Joseph A. McGinnis, 24, the pilot, was from the Marianna base. He was the son of Joseph A. McGinnis of Philadelphia. The others, all stationed at Myrtle Beach were:" First Lt. Lawrence F. Schirmer, 25, Sacramento, California; T-Sgt. William J. Koger, 25, husband of Mary G. Koger of Louisville, Georgia; T-Sgt. William H. Epperson, 25, Evanston, Illinois; and S-Sgt. George L. Simmons, 26, Lakeland, Florida. "McGinnis was an instructor pilot with more than 1,200 hours of flying time and combat experience with the Canadian air force before U. S. entrance in the war, and with the American air corps in North Africa, Sicily and Italy."[73] The Aviation Archeological Investigation and Research site lists Douglas A-26C Invader, 44-35024, of the 137th Base Unit, as crashing on this date, but that serial ties up to an A-26B Invader.[74] Further, the site lists the pilot as Joseph A. McGlens, Jr., and the crash location as Myrtle Beach,[75] in direct contradiction to the Associated Press account.
Circa 29 June
Messerschmitt test pilot Ludwig "Willie" Hofman ("Hoffman" in American source) attempts to ferry captured Messerschmitt Me 262A1a/U4, Werke Nummer 170083, originally coded V-083, named Happy Hunter/Wilma Jeanne II, from Lagerlechfeld, near Augsburg, Germany, to Airfield A-55 near Cherbourg, France on behalf of the USAAF Air Technical Intelligence ("Watson's Whizzers") for loading aboard the HMS Reaper, suffers catastrophic failure of starboard engine at ~9,000 feet altitude and is forced to bail out over Normandy, suffering massive bruising as he deploys parachute at high speed. Aircraft was one of two conversions carrying Rheinmetall BK-5 50 mm anti-tank gun in nose for bomber attack, although it was never used operationally. American sergeant admits a year later that he had failed to inspect this aircraft's engines before the flight.[76][77] The BK-5 from this airframe is now displayed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio.
5 July
First prototype Mikoyan-Gurevich I-250, completed 26 February 1945, suffers failure of port tailplane at low altitude, killing test pilot Alexandr Deyev, when his parachute fails to open in time. Post-crash analysis revealed that he had exceeded the airframe's G limit while maneuvering.[78]
7 July
On the first flight of the prototype Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui, Japanese derivative of the Me 163B, aircraft reaches 1,300 feet in a steep climb, then the rocket motor cut out, airframe crashing at Yokosuka Naval Aeronautical Engineering Arsenal. Cause believed either hydrogen peroxide shifting to rear of partially empty tank, or air leak in fuel line causing blockage. Pilot Lt. Cdr. Toyohiko Inuzuka dies in hospital the next day. A redesign of the fuel system follows, but no additional flights made before Japanese capitulation in August.[79]
12 July
A United States Army Air Forces Douglas A-26C-35-DT Invader, 44-35553, on a training flight has mid-air collision with Eastern Airlines Flight 45 from Washington, D.C. to Columbia, South Carolina, a Douglas DC-3-201C, NC25647, at ~3100 feet, 11.9 miles WNW of Florence, South Carolina at 1436 hrs. A-26 vertical fin strikes port wing of airliner, displaces engine of DC-3 which cuts into fuselage; A-26 tail sheared off, two crew parachute, one KWF. DC-3 pilot belly lands in cornfield, one passenger of 24 total on board killed.[80]
13 July
Consolidated B-24H-20-FO Liberator, 42-94956, c/n 1721,[71] of the 2135th Base Unit, Tyndall Field, Florida, piloted by Paul R. Snyder, crashes due to bad weather 12 miles NW of Southport, Florida, with fatal results for the crew.[81] Amongst the dead are gunner Cpl. Eddie L. Keefe, 19, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, "the only son of O. L. Keefe and Alice Youmans Keefe, of this city." He is also survived by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Youmans, of Luray, South Carolina. Keefe "graduated from Orangeburg high school in 1943 and attended one term at Clemson college. [sic] He entered service 22 May 1944. He was a member of Tabernacle Baptist church. [sic] The message of Corporal Keefe's death was received by his parents Saturday morning."[82]
15 July
A Boeing B-29A-45-BN Superfortress, 44-61721, c/n 11198,[9] of the 236th Army Air Forces Base Unit (Combat Crew Training School), Pyote Field, Texas,[81] piloted by Lieutenant Edward J. Szycher, of Bayonne, New Jersey, goes missing after the crew bails out at 9,500 feet over northern Minnesota, 180 miles NNW of St. Paul, Minnesota, after the bomber became filled with gasoline fumes that threatened to asphyxiate the crew. All ten crew descend safely, although one lands in Napoleon Lake in Itasca County, and has to swim ashore.[83] Airframe has never been discovered.
18 July
Consolidated TBY-2 Seawolf, BuNo 30414, overshoots runway while landing at Convair Field, Fort Worth, Texas. Two KWF.[84]
28 July
A US Army Air Forces North American B-25D-20 Mitchell bomber, 41-30577, named "Old John Feather Merchant", crashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building in fog at 0949 hrs., killing 3 on aircraft plus 11 on ground and causing over US$1 million in damage.[85]
28 July
A Ford CG-4A-FO glider,[86] 45-16072,[87] of the 809th Base Unit, Camp Atterbury, Indiana,[81] crashes at Paducah-McCracken County Airport, Paducah, Kentucky, killing the two crew. "Airport officials said that the plane towing the glider was forced down in a rain storm and that the pilot, seeing that the glider could not clear a clump of trees, cut it loose from the plane." KWF are pilot Major George S. Branson, 33, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Sergeant Maurice J. Aucoin, 21, of Houston, Texas. "Next of kin have been notified, and an investigation by a board of officers has been called to determine the cause of the crash."[88]
1 August
A USAAF Canadian Vickers OA-10A Catalina, 44-34096, en route from Hunter Field, Georgia, to Mather Field, California, crashes in the Cibola National Forest, 25 miles SW of Grants, New Mexico, after apparent engine failure, killing the seven crew, Lt. Wilson Parker, Lt. William Bartlett, Lt. James Garland, Sgt. Irwin Marcus, Sgt. Robert Crook, Sgt. Harold Post and Sgt. John Jackson. The airframe was so heavily damaged that no determination of the cause could be made.[89][90]
2 August
Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star, 44-83029, c/n 080-1008, of the 1st Fighter Group, as of April 1945,[91] crashes near Brandenburg, Kentucky, killing pilot Major Ira Boyd Jones, 25, of Lancaster, South Carolina. The plane left Wright Field, Ohio, shortly after 1400 hours, on a routine test flight to an unspecified army air field in Texas, said Brig. Gen. Joseph T. Morris, commanding general of Wright Field. "Eight-year-old Chester and Martha Smedley, 14, of near Brandenburg, said they saw a 'big explosion' in the sky. Their father, Sheriff Alex Smedley of Meade county [sic], added that the explosion blew the wings loose from the fuselage, landing 200 or 300 feet apart. Maj. Jones' body, the sheriff said, was found about a quarter of a mile from the wreckage."[92] Maj. Jones, a fighter pilot with 11 months service in the China-Burma-India theatre, was attached to the fighter test branch at Wright Field. He was the son of Mrs. Mary C. Jones, of Lancaster, South Carolina, and was a graduate of the University of South Carolina.[93] This airframe was one the test P-80s shipped to Foggia, Italy, in December 1944, for tests by Wright Field personnel under combat conditions.[94]
3 August
Four USAAF crewmen are killed as two Douglas A-26 Invaders collide and crash in a field three miles NE of Bennettsville, South Carolina. "The planes were flying formation with 10 others en route to the Florence army air base when the accident occurred, Police Chief John L. Watson reported."[95] A-26B-10-DL, 41-39130, piloted by 2d Lt. William D. Napier, of Sultana, California, and A-26B-20-DT, 43-22432, flown by 1st Lt. Julian A. Benson, of 728 Wynewood Road, Philadelphia, both of the 127th Base Unit, Florence Army Airfield,[96] are also described as coming down five miles NE of Bennettsville.[97][98] Also killed are Sgt. James Collins, Jr., son of James J. Collins, Sr., of 827 6th Avenue, N., Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Sgt. Robert L. MacNeil, son of Mrs. Margaret MacNeil, 111 Smith Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts. Lt. Benson is survived by his widow, Mrs. Hope L. Benson. Lt. Napier is survived by his widow, Vera E. Napier. It is unclear from news accounts which enlisted man was in which plane. "The accident was the second mid-air collision in South Carolina within a month. An Eastern Airlines Transport and an army plane crashed 80 miles from Columbia on July 12, killing three persons." [99]
5 August
First production Martin JRM-1 Mars flying boat, BuNo 76819, "christened "Hawaii Mars"", finished in overall dark blue,[100] crashes on test flight in the Chesapeake Bay near Rock Hall, Maryland,[101] after porpoising during landing – never delivered to the United States Navy.[102][103] "Launched only two weeks ago, the Hawaii Mars was on a routine test flight over the bay when, a crewman said, the upper section of the plane's vertical fin broke away at an altitude of 6,000 feet. 'The ship began to flutter immediately and went out of control,' the crew member added, asking that his name not be used. 'The pilot cried out 'prepare to abandon ship.' But pilot William E. Coney, a navy flyer on loan to the Martin firm, regained partial control of the giant craft and some ten minutes later ordered 'stand by for crash.' The plane struck the water about 500 yards off shore. The impact of the 125-mile-an-hour blow ripped open the metal hull, and the plane sank until only part of its tail and left wing remained visible. Two crew members trapped in the flight deck were rescued by companions who ignored the danger of a gasoline explosion. Small boats that sped to the crash scene took the ten to shore. R. S. Noble, flight test engineer, was taken to South Baltimore hospital with cuts, bruises and possible internal injuries. A navy announcement in Washington said the plane would be taken to the Martin plant." Noble was the only injury amongst the ten man crew.[104] "Witnesses said the plane, apparently having trouble with one of her four engines, came down 500 yards off shore, parts of it remaining above water."[101]
5 August
A Boeing TB-17G Flying Fortress, built as a B-17G-70-BO, 43-37700,[105] of the 325th Combat Crew Training Squadron,[96] Avon Park Army Airfield, Florida, crashes six miles S of Ridgeland, South Carolina, after the number 2 (port inner) engine catches fire at 10,000 feet during a flight from Stewart Field, New York, to its home base in Florida. Pilot Lieutenant Dewey O. Jones orders the crew to abandon ship. An announcement released by the Hunter Field, Georgia, public relations office states that five parachuted safely, three were killed, and that two other men were missing. Listed as fatalities are Flight Officer Alfred Ponessa, of Newburgh, New York, a passenger, Sergeant Leo B. Bucharia, of Long Island, New York, and Technical Sergeant Edwin S. Salas, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, both members of the crew. The missing were listed as Lieutenant William Cherry and Corporal Sidney Podhoretz (addresses not available). The names of the other four survivors were not given.[106]
6 August
All-time highest-scoring American flying ace (40 credited kills) Richard Bong is killed trying to bail out of a Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star jet fighter, 44-85048, after a fuel pump failure during a test flight at Burbank Airport, Burbank, California, USA. News of Bong's death is overshadowed by the dropping of the first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima the same day. The never completed Richard I. Bong Air Force Base in Wisconsin was named for him.
8 August
While operating off the coast of Cuba, light cruiser USS Little Rock loses Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk seaplane, BuNo 35555, during an aircraft launch and recovery operation. The aircraft noses over while taxiing towards the recovery sled, throwing pilot Ens. W. R. Merryman clear of the cockpit, and capsizes. Pilot rescued by the ship's whaleboat. Airframe sinks.[107]
8 August
Flying over Milton, Florida, a B-29 Superfortress suffered a mechanical failure and crashed into swampland. Eleven of the twelve crew members safely parachuted out, including the co-pilot, whom the pilot freed from the bomb hatch. The pilot, Robert A. Lane, could not escape and went down with the plane.[108]
11 August
First of only two Nakajima Kikka twin-jet fighters, completed on 25 June, first flown 7 August for eleven minutes by Lt. Cdr. Sasumu Tanaoka out of Kisarazu Naval Air Base, crashes on second flight this date. Second unflown Kikka is shipped to the United States after the Japanese capitulation.[109]
17 August
During Operation Dodge, the RAF airlift of troops home from Italian deployment, Avro Lancaster, ME834, coded 'K-OG', of 115 Squadron, based at RAF Graveley, struck HK798, coded 'K-OH', of the same squadron, and PB754, coded 'TL-A', of Graveley-based 35 Squadron when it swerves off runway while taking off from Bari, Italy.[110]
17 August
Two Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers collide over Weatherford, Texas during a bomber training exercise. Eight crew members were killed, 2 managed to escape from the falling wreckage and parachute to safety. Boeing B-29A-10-BN Superfortress, 42-93895, of the 234th Combat Crew Training Squadron, Clovis Army Air Field, New Mexico, and Boeing B-29B-40-MO Superfortress, 44-86276, (the last Block 40-MO airframe)[111] of the 231st Combat Crew Training Squadron, Alamagordo Army Air Field, New Mexico, involved.[112]
18 August
Last U.S. air combat casualty of World War II occurs during mission 230 A-8, when two Consolidated B-32 Dominators of the 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, launch from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, for a photo reconnaissance run over Tokyo, Japan. Both bombers are attacked by several Japanese fighters of both the 302nd Air Group at Atsugi and the Yokosuka Air Group that make 10 gunnery passes. Japanese aces Sadamu Komachi and Saburō Sakai are part of this attack. B-32 piloted by 1st Lt. John R. Anderson, is hit at 20,000 feet, cannon fire knocks out number two (port inner) engine, and three crew are injured, including Sgt. Anthony J. Marchione, 19, of the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron, who takes 20 mm hit to the chest, dying 30 minutes later. Tail gunner Sgt. John Houston destroys one attacker. Lead bomber, Consolidated B-32-20-CF Dominator, 42-108532, "Hobo Queen II", piloted by 1st Lt. James Klein, is not seriously damaged but second Consolidated B-32-35-CF Dominator, 42-108578, loses engine, has upper turret knocked out of action, and loses partial rudder control. Both bombers land at Yontan Airfield just past ~1800 hrs. after surviving the last air combat of the Pacific war. The following day, propellers are removed from Japanese aircraft as part of surrender agreement. Marchione is buried on Okinawa on 19 August, his body being returned to his Pottstown, Pennsylvania home on 18 March 1949. He is interred in St. Aloysius Old Cemetery with full military honors.[113] B-32, 42-108578, will be scrapped at Kingman, Arizona after the war.[114]
19 August
Pilot 1st Lt. James K. Holt ferries captured Messerschmitt Me 262A, 500098, "Cookie VII", FE-4011, from Newark Army Air Base, New Jersey to Freeman Field, Indiana, with a refuelling stop at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at ~ 1600 hrs, as one of two Messerschmitts being sent for testing after arriving in the U.S. aboard the HMS Reaper. Upon landing at Pittsburgh, he experiences complete brake failure, overruns the runway, goes down steep incline, hits opposite side of ditch, tearing engines and undercarriage off of the jet and breaking the fuselage in half. Pilot is unhurt but airframe is a total loss.[115]
24 August
Second (of two prototypes) McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, BuNo 48236, is damaged in a belly landing.[116]
28 August
Consolidated Consolidated B-32-20-CF Dominator, 42-108528, of the 386th BS, 312th BG, crashed east of Amaro-O-Shima in the Ryukyu Islands after engine failure. 11 of 13 aboard survived. One of the last operational missions of World War II. Also, this date, Consolidated B-32-20-CF Dominator, 42-108544, written off when it lost an engine on takeoff from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa. Skidded off runway, exploded, and burned. 13 KIA.[117]
9 September
Consolidated B-32-20-CF Dominator, 42-108532, "Hobo Queen II", is damaged when the nose wheel accidentally retracts on the ground at Yontan Airfield, Okinawa. Two days later, a hoist lifting the B-32 drops it twice. Since the war has ended, it is not repaired but is disassembled at the airfield.[118]
12 September
On first flight of Northrop XP-79B, 43-52437, out of Muroc Army Air Base, California, aircraft behaves normally for ~15 minutes, then at an altitude of ~7,000 feet begins a slow roll from which it fails to recover. Pilot Harry Crosby bails out at 2,000 feet but is struck by revolving aircraft and his chute does not deploy. Largely magnesium airframe is totally consumed by fire after impact on desert floor.[119]
12 September
Pilot 1st Lt. Robert J. Anspach attempts to ferry captured Focke Wulf Fw 190F, FE-113, coded '10', from Newark Army Air Base, New Jersey, where it had been offloaded from the HMS Reaper, to Freeman Field, Indiana for testing. While letting down for refuelling stop at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a faulty electrical horizontal trim adjustment switch goes to full-up position, cannot be manually overridden. Pilot spots small dirt strip, the Hollidaysburg Airport, S of Altoona, Pennsylvania, and makes emergency landing. Upon applying brakes, right one fails immediately, fighter pivots left, landing gear collapses, propeller rips away. Pilot uninjured, but Fw 190 is hauled to Middletown Air Depot, Pennsylvania, and scrapped. Prop ends up on wall of local flying club. The press never gets wind of the accident, nor of the 19 August Messerschmitt Me 262 crash landing at Pittsburgh.[120]
14 September
Hurricane destroys three wooden blimp hangars at NAS Richmond, Florida, southwest of Miami, with 140 mph winds. Roofs collapse, ruptured fuel tanks are ignited by shorted electrical lines, fire consumes twenty-five blimps (eleven deflated), 31 non-Navy U.S. government aircraft, 125 privately owned aircraft, and 212 Navy aircraft. Thirty-eight Navy personnel injured, civilian fire chief killed.[121] Air operations are reduced to a minimum following this storm, and NAS Richmond is closed two months later.[122]
18 September
A USAAF Lockheed C-69-5-LO Constellation, 42-94551,[123] belly lands at Topeka Army Air Field, Kansas, after suffering engine problems.[124]
22 September
On first day of planned two-day exhibition of captured German aircraft at Freeman Field, Indiana, pilot Lt. William V. Haynes, 20, completes his flying routine in one of the eight remaining Focke Wulf Fw 190s at the base, (this being the same Fw 190D-9, Werke Nummer 211016, coded FE-119,[125] that he had ferried from Newark, New Jersey to Freeman on 13 September),[126] when, as he prepares to land, at ~300 feet AGL, the aircraft pitches up and rolls over, bellying into the ground nose up. Aircraft destroyed, pilot killed. Although investigation cites "pilot error" (it was thought he may have attempted a wing-over at too low an altitude for recovery), this may well have been another example of the faulty electrical horizontal trim switch problem that caused the loss of the Fw 190 at Hollidaysburg Airport, Pennsylvania on 12 September.[127] Recent excavations at the former Freeman Field have uncovered various aircraft components that were apparently buried to dispose of them when the base was being shut down in 1947–1948.
29 September
Silverplate Boeing B-29B-35-MO Superfortress, 44-27303, named "Jabit III", of the 509th Composite Group, Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, on cross-country training mission, strikes several objects on landing at Chicago Municipal Airport, Illinois, never flies again. Assigned to the 4200th Base Unit at the airport pending disposition decision, it is salvaged there in April 1946.
2 October
A U.S. Navy Martin PBM-5E Mariner flying boat, BuNo 59336,[128] of VPB-205, carrying Rear Admiral William Sample, commander of Carrier Division 22, and eight others disappears near Wakayama, Japan while on a familiarization flight. The wreckage and their bodies will not be discovered until 19 November 1948.[129]
3 October
Captured Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 V14, which on 6 September 1945 became the first helicopter to fly across the English Channel when it was moved from Cherbourg to RAF Beaulieu, crashes on third test flight at RAF Beaulieu, when a driveshaft failed. The accident was thought to be due to a failure to correctly tension the steel cables which secured the engine, despite warnings from Luftwaffe helicopter pilot Helmut Gerstenhauer.[130]
12 October
USAAF Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando, 44-78591, was on approach to Nanyuan Airport, China, en route from Hankou when it struck a radio antenna and crashed near Beijing, killing all 59 passengers and crew on board. The crash is the worst-ever involving the C-46.
1 November
First prototype McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, BuNo 48235 crashes as a result of aileron failure[116] killing McDonnell's chief test pilot Woodward Burke.[131][132]
6 November
Ensign J. C. West takes off from the USS Wake Island in a Ryan FR-1 Fireball, of VF-41, a combination prop-jet design, and soon experiences problems with the Wright R-1820-72W Cyclone radial piston engine. Before the reciprocating powerplant fails completely, he starts the General Electric I-16 jet engine and returns to the ship, thus making the first ever landing by jet power alone on a carrier.[133] The escort carrier was operating off of San Diego, California, for pilot qualifications in the FR-1.
9 November
Disregarding advice from Eric "Winkle" Brown of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), to treat the rudder of the Heinkel He 162 with suspicion due to a number of in-flight failures, RAF pilot, Flt. Lt. R. A. Marks, starts a low-level roll during the Farnborough Air Show, one of the fin and rudder assemblies breaks off, the aircraft crashes in Aldershot before the ejection seat could be employed, killing Marks.
11 November
A Short Stirling C.5 operated by No. 158 Squadron RAF was departing for the United Kingdom when it crashed on take off from RAF Castel Benito in Libya after the wing caught fire, 21 soldiers and five crew were killed, one person survived.[134]
17 November
A USAAF Republic P-47N-15-RE Thunderbolt,[111] 44-88938,[135] crashes between two houses on Windsor Parkway in Hempstead, New York shortly after take-off from Mitchel Field, setting both structures on fire. Morning accident kills pilot, 1st Lt. Daniel D. A. Duncan, 24, of New Iberia, Louisiana.[136]
27 November
Douglas C-47B-1-DL Skytrain, 43-16261, c/n 20727,[105] of Air Transport Command, piloted by 1st Lt. William H. Myers, disappears during flight from Singapore to Butterworth, British Malaya. Wreckage found on mountain slope in the forest reserve area of Bukit Bubu, near Beruas, Perak, Malaysia. Crew remains never recovered.
5 December
Flight 19, a training flight of 5 Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, manned by 14 US Navy and Marine personnel from Ft Lauderdale Naval Air Station, Florida, USA, vanishes over the Bermuda Triangle under mysterious circumstances. Avengers were four TBM-1Cs, BuNo 45714, 'FT3', BuNo 46094, 'FT36', BuNo 46325, 'FT81', BuNo 73209, 'FT117', and TBM-3, BuNo 23307, 'FT28'. A US Navy Martin PBM-5 Mariner, BuNo 59225, carrying 13 sailors departs NAS Banana River, Florida, to search for the missing planes, also disappears after a large mid-air explosion is seen near its last reported position.[137]
13 December 
Captured Dornier Do 335A-12 Pfiel, coded 121, werke nummer 240121, taken to England, is written off this date.[138]
16 December
Second of two prototypes of the Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster, 43-50225, on routine flight out of Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., suffers in short order, a landing gear extension problem, failure of the port engine, and as coolant temperatures rose, failure of starboard engine. Maj. Hayduck bails out at 1,200 feet, Lt. Col. Haney at 800 feet, and pilot Lt. Col. (later Major General) Fred J. Ascani, after crawling aft to jettison pusher propellers, at 400 feet – all three survive. Aircraft impacts at Oxen Hill, Maryland. Secret jettisonable props caused a problem for authorities in explaining what witnesses on ground thought was the aircraft exploding. Possible fuel management problem speculated, but no proof.[139]


1 January
Budd RB-1 Conestoga, NC45347, c/n 003, ex-BuNo 39294, one of twelve purchased from the War Assets Administration by National Skyway Freight Corp., former AVG members, for $28,642 each at a time when new C-47s go for ~$100,000, belly-lands this date on a golf course at Bluefield, Virginia during an attempted forced landing after running low on fuel.[140] The new company, immediately sold four RB-1 aircraft to other buyers, which paid for the entire WAA contract.[141]
10 January
First prototype Douglas XSB2D-1, BuNo 03551, suffers an engine fire 1000 feet over Sunnyvale, California. The aircraft crashes into an orchard and is severely damaged, but the crew of two are uninjured.[142]
18 January
A Dornier Do 335A-12 Pfeil (Arrow), AM223, ex-DP+UB, wrk nr 240112, a twin piston engined "push-pull" aircraft, out of RAE Farnborough, suffers a rear-engine fire whilst in flight which severs the control runs and crashes into Cove School, Cove, Hampshire, killing 2 people, according to one source,[143] and injuring six persons on the ground, with the pilot, Group Captain A. F. Hards DSO, KWF according another.[144]
28 January
First prototype Short Shetland I, DX166, the largest British-built flying boat, burns out at its mooring from fire in galley before flight testing can be completed.[145]
1 March
Two Silverplate Boeing B-29 Superfortresses written off in taxi accident at Kirtland Army Air Field, New Mexico. Pilot of Boeing B-29-60-MO Superfortress, 44-86473, of the 509th Composite Group, assigned to Roswell AAF, New Mexico, attempts to taxi without energizing the hydraulic brake system, cannot stop bomber which collides with Boeing B-29-36-MO, 44-27296, "Some Punkins", also of the 509th. "Some Punkins" stricken in August 1946 and destroyed in fire-fighting training. 44-86473 dropped from inventory, April 1946, after salvage.
7 March
Silverplate Boeing B-29-30-MO Superfortress, 42-65387, from Kirtland Army Air Field, New Mexico, on practice mission to Los Lunas bombing range, releases 10,150 pound Fat Man shape, and then disintegrates for unknown reasons and spins in from 32,000 feet. Ten crew die, wreckage strewn up to 16 miles from main portion. B-29 that drops the weapon in Operation Crossroads test Able on 1 July 1946, is named "Dave's Dream" for bombardier Dave Semple, killed in this accident.[146]
19 March
Col. George Vernon Holloman, (1902–1946), a native of Rich Square, North Carolina, aviation instrument inventor and early experimenter with guided missiles, is killed in a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress accident on Formosa, while en route from China to the Philippines. Holloman had received the DFC for conducting the first instrument-only landing of an aircraft. Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico, renamed Holloman AFB, 13 January 1948.[147]
8 April
A Beechcraft C-45F Expeditor, 44-87062, of the United States Army Air Forces crashes into Mount Diablo, California, killing both crew members.[148]
First of three Mikoyan-Gurevich I-300 prototypes (I for Istrebitel, or interceptor), F-1, a twin-engined tricycle-geared jet-powered design first flown 24 April 1946, develops uncontrollable pitch during high-speed run and dives into ground, killing pilot Alexei Grinchik. Replacement test pilot Mark Gallai subsequently has two close calls in I-300, with tailplane and elevator suffering distortion, probably the same condition that killed Grinchik.[149]
16 May
A B-17G-95-VE Flying Fortress, 44-85510,[150] crashes into White's Hill near Fairfax, California, while en route to Hamilton Field in Marin County, California, after running out of fuel. Two crew members are killed.[151]
20 May
In an accident very similar to the B-25 Mitchell that struck the Empire State Building in 1945, a USAAF Beech C-45F Expeditor, 44-47570, of the 4108th AAF Base Unit, Air Material Command, piloted by Manuel R. Campbell,[152] on a navigation training flight from Lake Charles Army Air Field, Louisiana,[153] crashes in fog at ~2010 hrs. into the 58th floor of the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building at 40 Wall Street, Manhattan, New York City, whilst attempting to land at Newark Army Airfield, New Jersey. Four crew KWF, no injuries on the ground.[154]
20 May
Grumman J4F-2 Widgeon amphibian out of NAS Brunswick, Maine, makes forced landing on Sebago Lake due to engine trouble and suffers moderate damage. Crew uninjured.[63][64]
4 July
Pacific Theatre ace Lt. Col. John C. "Pappy" Herbst (18 credited victories) is mortally injured at the age of 36 in front of 30,000 people at the San Diego County Fair when his Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star, 44-85083,[155] of the 445th Fighter Squadron, 412th Fighter Group, March Field, California,[156] crashes after failing to pull up in a dive just west of the Del Mar Fairgrounds while flying with an early jet demonstration team. Herbst crashed in a dry riverbed near the Del Mar Racetrack after his aircraft stalled during an encore of their routine finale in which the pair of P-80s did a loop while configured to land. Herbst had married his second wife less than 24 hours before. Herbst's wingman, Major Robin Olds narrowly avoided the same fate while flying in formation.[157]
7 July
Eccentric, iconoclastic millionaire and aviator Howard Hughes is gravely injured when he mishandles a propeller pitch control failure and crashes his controversial Hughes XF-11 reconnaissance plane, 44-70155, during its maiden flight. Aircraft impacts homes in the Beverly Hills neighborhood near the Los Angeles Country Club golf course where Hughes was attempting an emergency landing.
8 July
First of two Vought XF4U-5 Corsairs, created by mating Vought F4U-4 Corsair BuNo 97296 with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-32W radial engine, first flown 3 July 1946, lost during routine test flight when pilot Bill Horan attempts dead-stick landing at Stratford, Connecticut. Airframe destroyed, pilot killed.[158]
9 July 
Eight USAAF crew, 16 U.S. Coast Guardsmen, returning from duty in Greenland, and one civilian are killed when B-17G-105-BO Flying Fortress, 43-39136, c/n 10114, they are flying in crashes into Mount Tom, Massachusetts, at ~2220 hrs. while attempting to land at Westover Field, Massachusetts.[159][160] A monument to the victims was dedicated on the crash site on 6 July 1996.[161]
12 July
Unarmed second prototype of the Mikoyan-Gurevich I-250, with strengthened tailplane after crash of first prototype on 5 July 1945, continues flight testing until this date when an engine fire forces an emergency landing and it is damaged beyond repair.[78]
26 July
The crash of a Stinson L-5E Sentinel, 44-17844, during a routine flight out of Eglin Field, Florida, kills Capt. Russell H. Rothman, originally of Chicago, Illinois, when the liaison aircraft crashes 17 miles NW of Valparaiso, Florida.[162] Rothman, who entered the service 16 September 1941 and had flown 800 hours in C-46 Commando and C-47 Skytrain transports in the European Theatre of Operations, had only recently been appointed to a regular commission in the Regular Army. He held the Unit Citation, the Air Medal with three clusters, the European and Middle East Theatre of Operations Ribbon, the American Defense Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Eleanor E. Rothman, of 26 Shalimar Court, Shalimar, Florida, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Rothman of Chicago.[163]
29 July
First Swedish pilot to use an ejection seat to escape a crippled aircraft, Lt. Bengt Johansson (who later changes it to Järkenstedt), saves himself this date when the Saab J 21A-1, of 2 Divisionen, F9 Wing, out of Säve, collides with FFVS J 22 of another F9 Divisionen while engaged in naval gunnery attack practice. While climbing out from a gunnery pass, the J 21 is struck by the pursuing J 22, shearing off one of the J 21's twin tails. With control lost, Johansson jettisons canopy and ejects, other pilot also bails out of crippled J 22, both parachute into the sea where they are rescued by a Swedish navy destroyer. At the time the Swedish press describes the incident as a "first", the 13 January 1942 ejection by German Helmut Schenk from a Heinkel He 280 being little known at this point.[164]
5 August
Second (of only 14 built) Douglas C-74 Globemaster, 42-65403, c/n 13914, crashes at Torrance, California when it loses a wing during an overload dive test. All four crew bail out successfully.[165]
16 August
Captain Elmer Lee Belcher Jr. from Roanoke Alabama crashed to his death near Salinas Ecuador (Julio Moreno). He was stationed at France Field Canal Zone with the 20th Fighter Squadron of the Sixth Air Force. Flying a P-47D serial # 44-40191. He was flying by instruments in bad weather when he crashed.[166]

Me 262A, Wrknr. 111711, the first of the type to come into Allied hands, lost near Xenia, Ohio, 20 August 1946.
20 August
A captured Messerschmitt Me 262A, Wrknr. 111711, FE-0107, 711, crashed Tuesday afternoon ~two miles S of Xenia, Ohio near Route 68, test pilot Walter J. McAuley, Jr., of the Flight Performance Section, Flight Test Division, Wright Field, Ohio, successfully parachuting to safety.[167] This brand new airframe had been surrendered on 31 March 1945 by Messerschmitt test pilot Hans Fay who defected during a functional check flight rather than fly it to an operational unit, landing at Rhein-Main, Frankfurt, the first Me 262 to fall into Allied hands.[168]
4 September
First prototype Bell XP-83, 44-84990, bailed back to Bell Aircraft Company by the USAAF as a ramjet testbed, and modified with an engineer's station in the fuselage in lieu of the rear fuel tank and pylon for test ramjet under starboard wing, suffers fire in ramjet on flight out of Niagara Falls Airport, New York. Flames spread to wing, forcing Bell test pilot "Slick" Goodlin and engineer Charles Fay to bail out, twin-jet fighter impacting at ~1020 hrs. on farm in Amhurst, New York, ~13 miles from Niagara Airport, creating ~25 foot crater.[169]
6 September
First prototype of the Avia S-92.1 Turbina, a Czechoslovakian version of the Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a, (essentially standard Me 262s built from already extant parts) crash lands on its sixth test flight out of a former Luftwaffe base north east of Prague. During high-speed runs at 13,125 feet (4000 meters), the port engine flames out, pilot Antonin Kraus is unable to get a relight, and he opts for a wheels-up landing in a field. The aircraft breaks in two on landing, and although Kraus is uninjured, it is a total write-off. For reasons of propaganda, the second prototype, S-92.2, is alleged to be the first true prototype, the first one having been an experimental ship, and the first two-seater, the Avia CS-92.3, is declared the first series production aircraft.[170]
13 September
Major General Paul Bernard Wurtsmith (9 August 1906 – 13 September 1946), of Strategic Air Command, is killed when his North American TB-25J-27-NC Mitchell, 44-30227, of the 326th Base Unit, MacDill Field, Florida,[171] crashes at ~1130 hrs. into Cold Mountain near Asheville, North Carolina. In February 1953, the United States Air Force named Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda Township, Michigan, in his honor.
27 September
Geoffrey de Havilland, Jr., is killed when de Havilland DH 108, TG306, second prototype, breaks up in flight, coming down in the Thames near Egypt Bay.
29 September
Blue Angels pilot Lt. (JG) Ros "Robby" Robinson is killed in Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat, BuNo 95986, Blue Angels No. 4, at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, when he fails to pull out of a dive during a Cuban Eight manoeuvre – wingtip broke off his fighter.[172]
1 October
RAF Bristol Brigand TF.1, RH744, failed to develop sufficient power on takeoff from RAE Farnborough, overran into soft ground and flipped over, without injuries to crew. This was the first Brigand written off.[173]
The prototype Tupolev Tu-70 passenger variant of the Tupolev Tu-4 "Bull" bomber, completed September 1946 and first flown 27 November, crash lands on its fourth flight with an engine fire caused by a design defect in its supercharger control system. Although the design met all of its design goals, it was not accepted for production as all factories were already committed to building designs of higher priority and Aeroflot had no requirement for the type. It was scrapped in 1954 after military evaluation and testing by the NII VVS (Russian: Научно-Исследовательский Институт Военно-Воздушник Сил Naoochno-Issledovatel'skiy Institoot Voyenno-Vozdooshnykh Seel – Air Force Scientific Test Institute).[citation needed]
30 November
An Argentine Air Force Vickers VC.1 Viking T-1 crashed at El Palomar, Argentina.[174]
10 December
A Curtiss R5C-1 Commando military transport plane, BuNo 39528, c/n 26715/CU355, (ex-USAAF 42-3582), of VMR-152, crashed into Mount Rainier's South Tahoma Glacier, killing 32 U.S. Marines.[175] Wreckage not found until July 1947.[176]
30 December 
A U.S. Navy Martin PBM-5 Mariner flying boat supporting Operation Highjump crashes during a blizzard in Antarctica. Three crew members are killed and six others were stranded 13 days before being rescued. The three who died, Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez, ARM1 Wendell K. Henderson, and ARM1 Frederick W. Williams,[177] were buried at the crash site and their remains have not been recovered.


27 January
United States Army Air Forces Silverplate Boeing B-29-36-MO Superfortress, 44-65385, of the 428th Base Unit, Kirtland Army Air Field, New Mexico, for Los Alamos bomb development testing, crashed immediately after take-off from Kirtland on routine maintenance test flight. No specific cause is documented – a fire in one engine and the pilot's failure to compensate for loss of power is believed to have caused the accident. Twelve crew KWF.
Second prototype Curtiss XBTC-2, BuNo 31402, of only two built, crashes at NATC Patuxent River, Maryland, during testing of full-span Duplex wingflaps and dual rotation propellers.[178]
18 February
The USS Cusk becomes the world's first submarine to launch a guided missile when it fires a Republic-Ford JB-2, which then crashes after flying only 6,000 yards, due to an apparent control malfunction.[179]
Kee Bird down on the ice, taken February 1947
21 February
United States Army Air Forces Boeing B-29-95-BW Superfortress, 45-21768, "Kee Bird", modified to F-13 reconnaissance role, of the 46th/72d Reconnaissance Squadrons, on mission out of Ladd Field, Alaska, runs out of fuel due to a navigational error and is forced to land in a remote area of northern Greenland. The aircrew is rescued unharmed 3 days later, but the plane is abandoned in place. The accident achieves continuing notability for the exceptionally fortuitous rescue and later for a well-publicized and ultimately disastrous 1994 recovery attempt.
26 March
Prototype Convair XB-36 Peacemaker, 42-13570, on test flight out of Fort Worth Army Air Field, Texas, with two test pilots, seven Convair flight test crew, three US Army Air Force observers, and two employees of Curtiss-Wright to run electronic tests on troubling propeller vibrations on board, suffers explosion of hydraulic retracting strut as the starboard main gear comes up. Huge 9 foot, 2 inch main tire swings back down as dead weight, smashes rear of number 4 engine nacelle, rupturing fuel and hydraulic lines. Twelve on board bail out, suffering various injuries from gusting wind conditions, but after six hours of flight to burn off fuel, pilots Beryl A. Erickson and Gus S. Green successfully land the bomber at Fort Worth with no additional damage, although they have no hydraulics. Repaired, with a redesigned strut, the prototype returns to flight testing two months later.[180]
19 April
A Boeing B-29A-85-BW Superfortress, 44-87638,[181] of the 30th Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group, 20th Air Force,[182] crashes and explodes one mile off shore at Kwajalein Island after take-off. Sixteen KWF, no bodies are recovered. One of the dead is Capt. Quitman B. Jackson, 24, of Columbia, South Carolina, a 1944 graduate of West Point. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Charlotte R. Jackson, and their child, Susan, of Kansas City, Missouri, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Q. B. Jackson, of 1523 Lady Street, Columbia, South Carolina[183]
8 May
A North American P-51D-30-NA Mustang, 44-74652, of the 77th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, based at Shaw Field, South Carolina, crashes at ~noon near Cassatt, South Carolina in Kershaw County. Col. W. M. Turner, executive officer at Shaw Field, said that ambulances and firefighting equipment went to the scene but that his information was that the pilot, Max J. Christensen,[184] was not injured. He said that he was awaiting a full report on the crash.[185]
18 May
A U.S. Navy pilot and two school boys are killed when a Vought F4U Corsair fighter crashes onto a school playground in Burlington, Iowa, during an airshow at the Municipal Airport. The fighter, one of 35 aircraft from Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri, performing a mock formation raid in front of 3,500 spectators to signal the start of National Naval Reserve week, went into a series of barrel rolls, then appeared to go out of control before it crashed onto the playground at the Perkins School where 14 youngsters were playing ball. At least five others were injured, and several homes were struck by debris from the crash.[186]
19 May
The crash of a Beechcraft C-45F Expeditor, 44-87142, of the 4000th AAF Base Unit,[181] two miles S of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, kills three officers and two enlisted men of the 4140th Base Unit, Wright Field, Ohio, who had departed that base at 1805 hrs. on a flight to Selfridge Field, Michigan, to make advance preparations for air shows throughout the country. The twin-prop, twin-tailed aircraft came down in an open area during a driving rainstorm at ~2105 hrs. and broke into six major pieces. One crew attempted to parachute but was unsuccessful. The plane impacted within 500 yards of St. Mary's academy girls' school on the outskirts of Windsor.[187]
22 May
The third prototype of three Boeing XC-97 Stratofreighters, 43-27472, c/n 8483, on a flight out of Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, comes down in a wheat stubble field 5 miles E of Dayton, Ohio[105] and bursts into flames, killing 5 of 7 on board.[188]
29 May
A captured, modified V-2 rocket, launched from White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, at 2030 hrs. CST, fails to reach its maximum altitude, and comes down ~three minutes later, impacting in Tepeyac cemetery, ~six miles S of Juarez, Mexico. Unburnt fuel explodes, with the blast being felt in both Juarez and El Paso, Texas. Lt. Col. Harold R. Turner, commander at White Sands, confirmed by telephone the launch of the rocket, but refused any further comment.[189]
29 May
An Army Douglas C-54D-5-DC Skymaster courier plane, 42-72553, c/n 10658,[190] of the 6th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group, 5th Air Force,[184] with 33 passengers and eight crew on board crashes into a mountain SW of Tokyo, Japan. An Army announcement said that it had not been determined whether or not there were any survivors.[191] A revised count reported that there were 40 aboard the C-54, 28 enlisted, eight officers, and four civilians, all killed in the crash. They were reported to be burned beyond recognition. The flight, inbound from Korea, had apparently exploded as it approached Tachikawa Airfield for a landing.[192]
29 May
A Boeing F-13A Superfortress, 45-21848, c/n 13742,[193] of the 46th Reconnaissance Squadron, crashes shortly after take off from Ladd Field, Alaska, coming down 3 miles E of Fairbanks, Alaska.[184] Three crew were reported missing while nine others were injured.[191][192]
29 May or 30 May
Twelve members of the Colombian National Army Aviation are injured in the crash landing of their transport at Bogotá, Colombia, after it collided in mid-air with a buzzard.[192]
4 June
A U.S. Marine Corps Vought F4U-4 Corsair crashes in the surf at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina during a VFW airshow, and pilot Lt. Gene Dial, of MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, walks some 15 feet to shore unhurt. The pilot, with four and a half years of service, said that he crashed once before during a carrier take-off.[194]
14 June
A Boeing B-29A-70-BN Superfortress, 44-62228, of the 64th Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bombardment Group,[195] off-course in stormy weather, slammed into the granite face of Hawks Mountain a few hundred feet below its 2,300 foot crest, near Springfield, Vermont just before midnight, killing all eleven crew. The bomber, based at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, had refueled at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was bound for Bedford, Massachusetts when it apparently became lost. Local residents reported hearing it circle over Springfield and nearby Perkinsville shortly before impact and seeing it blinking its lights at an altitude of 1,000 feet or less.[196][197]
18 June
World War II ace Pierce W. "Mac" McKennon (12 aerial victories and 9.83 ground victories) is killed in a training accident[198] with a student pilot in AT-6D-NT, 44-81417, of the 2532d AAF Base Unit, Randolph Field, Texas, when the trainer crashes 2 mile W of Marion, Texas.[199]
22 June
Martin XB-48, 45-59585, makes first flight, a 37-minute, 73-mile hop from Martin's Baltimore, Maryland plant to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, but blows all four tires on its fore-and-aft mounted undercarriage on landing when pilot O. E. "Pat" Tibbs, Director of Flight for Martin, applies heavy pressure to specially designed, but very slow to respond, insensitive air-braking lever. Tibbs and co-pilot E. R. "Dutch" Gelvin are uninjured.[200]
Post July
First prototype Gloster E.1/44, SM809, final assembly completed July 1947 at Bentham Experimental Department, taken by road to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), Boscombe Down, never makes it. En route, vehicle carrying it apparently jack-knives while descending hill, crashes into stone wall, airframe damaged beyond repair. It was news of this accident that alerted the British public to the existence of a new Gloster fighter design.[201]
3 July 
USAF Douglas C-54G-1-DO Skymaster, 45–519, c/n 35972/DO366,[202] en route from Bermuda to Morrison Field, Florida, crashed in the Atlantic, 294 mi NE of Florida after a loss of control caused by turbulence from a storm, killing the six crew.[203] Morrison Field had been placed in reserve status on 1 July 1947, with most equipment and personnel transferred to Brookley Army Airfield, Alabama, by 1 August 1947.
19 July
RAF Bristol Brigand TF.1, RH742, assigned to the A&AEE, piloted by F/L T. Morren, failed to pull out of firing pass during exercise in the Lyme Bay area off the Dorset coast, entered slow roll and lost speed while inverted, into spiral dive into sea, killing both crew. It was thought that one of the dive brakes may have failed. This was the first fatal accident in the type.[204]
25 July
First (of two) North American XP-82 Twin Mustangs, 44-83886, c/n 120-43742, of the 611 AAF Base Unit, crash lands at Eglin Field, Florida.[205]
29 July
Nine crew are killed and two injured in a failed take-off attempt by B-29-45-MO Superfortress, 44-86307,[206] from Eglin Field, Florida at 0813 hrs., the bomber coming down ~300 yards N of the main base near Valparaiso, Florida and burning. Killed were instructor pilot Capt. Gordon W. Barrett, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a West Point graduate who was awarded the DFC while flying Boeing B-29 Superfortresses in World War II; pilot 1st Lt. Huddie C. Bagley of Braufield, Texas; co-pilot Capt. Robert M. Seldomridge of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; navigator 1st Lt. Joseph A. Anderson, Shalimar, Florida; navigator 1st Lt. Milton Rose, Fort Walton, Florida; engineer Master Sgt. Michele Aulicino, Mary Esther, Florida; scanner Staff Sgt. Hugh T. Mulholland of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; scanner Cpl. Ashley W. Odom, McBee, South Carolina; and scanner Pfc. Donald D. Crawford from Fort Worth, Texas. Injured were scanner S/Sgt. Jeremiah W. Conlon of Worthington, Kentucky, admitted to the Eglin hospital with abrasions of the face and head, and ankle injuries; and radio operator S/Sgt. Lloyd D. Farris of Pensacola, Florida, with minor injuries but admitted for observation. The Superfortress apparently failed to gain much altitude before coming down, said Capt. Robert Gaughan, base public relations officer.[207]
First prototype Curtiss XBTC-2, BuNo 31401, of only two built, crashes at NATC Patuxent River, Maryland, during testing of full-span Duplex wingflaps and dual rotation propellers.[178] This design was the last Curtiss aircraft built for the U.S. Navy.
Gloster E.1/44, TX145, experiences extreme nose-wheel shimmy at 140 mph (225 km/h) during taxi tests at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), Boscombe Down, suffers severe damage to front end, returned to workshops for repair. Taxi trials not resumed until late February 1948.[201]
16 September
A pilot assigned to Eglin Field, Florida, is KWF during an attempted emergency landing in a Lockheed P-80 at that base on Tuesday afternoon. Capt. Lawson L. Lipscomb of Houston, Texas, radioed that he was having difficulty with the jet and was returning to the Eglin main base where emergency preparations had been made on the runways, but the fighter came down just west of the airfield.[208]
22 September
First (of four) Saab J 21R jet conversions from Saab J 21A-1, 21119, first flown 10 March 1947 after modification, is destroyed this date in a mid-air explosion.[209]
15 October
Second prototype Westland Wyvern TF Mk. 1, (N.11/44), TS375, powered by Rolls-Royce Eagle, crashes during attempted forced landing at RAE Farnborough after its propeller stopped, killing Westland test pilot Squadron Leader Peter J. Garner, late of the RAF. Aircraft was to rendezvous for air-to-air photography for Flight's renowned photographer John Yoxall, but before photo shoot can take place, a bearing fails and both contra-props stop, pilot unable to round-off properly from steep dive due to immense drag of eight stopped blades, drops heavily into the intended field, breaks into pieces, pilot unconscious, airframe burns almost completely.[210]
3 November
English Electric test pilot Johnny W.C. Squier takes off from Salmesbury, Lancs. in English Electric-built de Havilland Vampire F.3, VP732, intended for the RCAF as 17043, experiences engine failure, force lands on a farm, narrowly missing trees. Fighter is wrecked but pilot survives.[211]
19 November
Only accident of the Martin XB-48 test programme occurs when pilot E. R. "Dutch" Gelvin tries to abort takeoff in first prototype, 45-59585, from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, when fire warning light comes on as engines reach full power. He retards throttle and applies brakes but bomber does not slow. As he runs out of runway and as the brake pressure bleeds off, he has a choice of running into the Chesapeake Bay or heading for the mudflats – he opts for the latter. He turns off the runway, tries to retract the undercarriage, runs across a ditch, a road, another ditch, left outrigger gear collapses and jet slides to stop leaning to port, just 50 feet short of a Navy doctor's home. Damage is minimal, limited to gear doors, outrigger, and flaps. Cause was the emergency fuel system, designed to maintain engine power at 94 percent, regardless of throttle position. This will be eliminated in second prototype.[212]
28 November
A USAF Douglas C-47B-6-DK, 43-48736, c/n 14552/25997, of the 15th Troop Carrier Squadron, 61st Troop Carrier Group, piloted by Wesley B. Fleming,[213] en route from Pisa to Frankfurt-Rhein-Main AFB, thirty miles off-course, crashes in the Italian Alps near Trappa, Italy. All five crew and 15 passengers KWF. Wreckage discovered eight months later.[214]


10 January 
The trouble-prone program of the double-engined French Arsenal VB 10 stumbles when the second prototype, VB 10-02, catches fire over southern Paris. An uncommanded propeller pitch change over-revs the rear engine, destroying it and starting the fire. The pilot, Pierre Decroo, bails out, surviving, but with burns.[215]
28 February
Two Army Air Force crew are killed in the crash of a North American T-6C-NT Texan, 41-32589, near Cowan, Tennessee when their aircraft impacts in mountainous terrain while flying from Hot Springs, Arkansas to Murphy, North Carolina. A search was begun when they were reported overdue on Sunday, 29 February. Rescuers labored for several hours to reach the wreckage which had been spotted earlier by a search plane. Capt. R. M. Howard of the Air Forces rescue service identified the victims as Frank Dreher, of West Columbia, South Carolina, a February 1948 Pre-med graduate of Clemson College; and Hubert Wells, of Murphy, North Carolina.[216]
17 March
Lt. Roger L. Miller, flying a Marine Corps Vought F4U Corsair, crashes into the sea during dive bombing practice. His body was not recovered. He was the father of Roger L. Miller Jr. and his second son was born the following day. His name was Stephen. He was the husband of Genevieve (Slattery) Miller.
Superfortresses tossed about like toys at Tinker Air Force Base by the 20 March tornado.
Damage to airplanes and cars from the 25 March tornado at Tinker Air Force Base.
20, 25 March
Two large tornadoes strike Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, damaging or destroying a large number of aircraft including at least two Douglas C-54 Skymasters, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and many Boeing B-29 Superfortresses stored from World War II. In the first storm, "54 aircraft were destroyed, including 17 C-54 transports valued at $500,000 apiece. Also destroyed were 15 P-47 fighters and two B-29 bombers. About 50 other planes were damaged and about 100 vehicles were damaged or destroyed." In the second tornado, "84 planes were hit, 35 of which were destroyed. These included 18 B-29s, 8 P-47s, 20 B-17s, and 3 C-47s. Hangars and other buildings were destroyed."[217] Other types destroyed included Beechcraft AT-11s and Fairchild PT-19s and PT-26 Cornells. Damage from the second tornado was estimated at $6,100,000. Total damages for both storms was estimated at $16,350,000.[218] See 1948 Tinker Air Force Base tornadoes.
31 March
One of two Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldivers, BuNo 83414, en route from Naval Air Station Tillamook, Oregon, to San Diego, California, crashes in woods near Rockaway Beach, Oregon, killing pilot Robert W. Smedley. Wreckage rediscovered by loggers on 10 March 2010.[219]
5 April
A Soviet Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter buzzes a British European Airways Vickers VC.1B Viking, G-AIVP, c/n 229, while it is on a scheduled flight to Berlin, Germany, then collides with the wing of the airliner, killing the pilots of both aircraft and ten passengers on the Viking. Total fatalities is 15.[220] See 1948 Gatow air disaster.
9 April
A six-month fatality-free period at Eglin AFB, Florida, (the longest since the base opened) ends when Capt. William Robbins, 26, is killed in the crash of a North American P-51D-30-NA Mustang, 44-74913, in a wooded area N of Crestview, Florida. The pilot in the Friday morning accident was father of three and was well known for his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. A resident of Cinco Bayou, Florida, Robbins is buried in his hometown of Tampa, Florida on 11 April.[221]
10 April
Eglin AFB, Florida, suffers second accident in two days when Douglas A-26 Invader from Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas, goes down in the Gulf of Mexico S of Destin, Florida. Two of three crew survive by parachuting from stricken bomber, TDY here for firing exercises over the Gulf. First Lieutenant John Kubo and T/Sgt. Joseph A. Riley (ages, hometowns not given) are rescued by Eglin crash boats. KWF is T/Sgt. John E. Brizendine, officially listed as missing.[221]
25 April 
As Royal Canadian Air Force No. 400 Squadron, based at Toronto, transitions from North American Harvards to de Havilland Vampires, on this date Flight Lieutenant Duncan Bell-Irving, a regular force officer attached to the squadron, carries out a successful forced landing on the airfield after his engine fails at 1,000 feet, just after takeoff.[222][223]
3 May
Second Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak, BuNo 37971, NACA 141,[224] crashes on takeoff on 20th flight for NACA (46th total take-off) at Edwards AFB, California, due to compressor disintegration that cut control runs in fuselage, killing NACA pilot Howard C. Lilly. Lilly is the first NACA pilot to die while on duty, and the first pilot who had flown at supersonic speed to be killed.[225]
11 May
Maj. Simon H. Johnson, deputy commanding officer of the Eglin AFB, Florida, fighter section, is killed when his Republic F-84 Thunderjet disintegrates during an air demonstration on the Eglin reservation, in front of some 600 witnesses. The public information officer at Eglin stated that the pilot was "engaged in operational tests on the plane" when the accident occurred. Maj. Johnson, a resident of Shalimar, Florida, was originally from Houston, Texas. He had served a year in Italy flying 50 missions in North American P-51 Mustangs with the 31st Fighter Group, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the air medal with five clusters. He had attended the University of Texas and graduated from the U.S. Army flying school in 1940.[226]
23 May
In the early evening, ex-RAF Handley Page Halifax C.MK 8, registered G-AIZO, ex-PP293, and operated by Bond Air Services Ltd. carrying a cargo of apricots from Valencia, Spain, crashes at Studham, Bedfordshire while on a Standard Beam Approach (SBA) to RAF Bovingdon in bad weather. After a steep turn to port and losing height rapidly, the Halifax sideslips towards the ground until, seeming to recover and flying straight and level and with engines at full power, the aircraft strikes the ground flat and disintegrates, breaking into its component sections. Miraculously, the crew escape alive. After initial suspicions that the cargo may have shifted in flight, the subsequent AAIB report blames loss of control by the pilot while the aircraft was too close to the ground for recovery.[227]
The second Supermarine E.10/44, TS413, is lost while undergoing trials with a 270 gallon ventral fuel tank, A&AEE pilot Lt. T. J. A. Joyce-King, Royal Navy, killed. Loss was thought to be probably caused by rudder lock-over, sometimes experienced in a sideslip while carrying the large ventral tank. This was cured by adding a long dorsal fin on all production Attackers.[228]
5 June
Northrop YB-49-NO, 42-102368, c/n 1488, crashes in desert near Muroc Air Force Base, California after both outer wings become detached from center section during spin recovery, killing pilot Maj. Daniel Forbes, co-pilot Capt. Glen Edwards, and three crew. Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, is named for the pilot, and Muroc is renamed Edwards Air Force Base for the co-pilot on 5 December 1949. Flying wing bomber design will be revived in the 1980s as the B-2 Spirit.[229][230]
8 July
A USAF Douglas C-47A-30-DK Skytrain, 43-48256[231] crashes near Wiesbaden, Germany, killing three crew. This was the first accident during the Berlin Airlift. KWF were 1st Lt. George B. Smith, 1st Lt. Leland V. Williams, and Karl v. Hagen of the Department of the Army. (One source incorrectly lists this crash as involving a C-54 Skymaster.)[232]
21 July
– A United States Air Force Boeing B-29-100-BW Superfortress, 45-21847, modified into a Boeing F-13 Superfortress reconnaissance platform, crashes into Lake Mead, Nevada, during a classified cosmic ray research mission out of Armitage Field, Naval Air Facility, NOTS, Inyokern, California. Five crew escape unharmed before bomber sinks.[233]
25 July
A Douglas C-47B-15-DK Skytrain, 43-49534, c/n 15350/26795, participating in the Berlin Airlift, departs Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, strikes apartment building on approach to Berlin and crashes in the street, killing both crew, 1st Lt. Charles H. King, and 1st Lt. Robert W. Stuber.[220][234]
20 August
A Boeing B-29-15-BA Superfortress, 42-63442, crashes near Rapid City, South Dakota shortly after take off from Rapid City AFB, killing all 17 on board.[235]
23 August
On first flight test of the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter, 45–524, (the second of two prototypes), McDonnell test pilot Edwin F. Schoch successfully detaches from trapeze carried on Boeing EB-29B Superfortress, 44-84111, named "Monstro", but when he tries to hook up after free flight, the small fighter, buffeted in turbulence from the bomber, swings violently forward, smashes canopy against the trapeze, knocking the pilot's helmet off. Schoch successfully belly lands on dry lakebed at Muroc Air Force Base, California, suffering little damage.[236][237]
24 August
Two separate accidents kill 13 U.S. airmen, this date. Nine are killed aboard an Army Douglas C-117A-1-DK Skytrain, 45-2554, c/n 18557/34212, 45–2554, near Newton, New Jersey, after a mid-air collision with an Army North American B-25J-30-NC Mitchell, 44-86870. The bomber suffers damage to a wingtip but lands safely. In a separate accident, two C-47 Skytrains engaged in the Berlin Airlift collide in mid-air near Ravolzhausen, killing two crew on each airlifter.[238] Killed in the C-47s were Maj. Edwin C. Diltz, Capt. William R. Howard, Capt. Joel M. DeVolentine, and 1st Lt. William T. Lucas.[220] Capt. Howard was piloting C-47A-80-DL, 43-15116, while Capt. DeVolentine was flying C-47A-90-DL, 43-16036, c/n 20502.
3 September
The only Silverplate Boeing B-29 Superfortress to be part of the strike package on both atomic missions over Japan, Boeing B-29-40-MO Superfortress, 44-27353, "The Great Artiste", of the 509th Composite Group, deployed to Goose Bay Air Base, Labrador for polar navigation training, aborts routine training flight due to an engine problem, makes downwind landing, touches down halfway down runway, overruns onto unfinished extension, groundloops to avoid tractor. Structural damage at wing joint so severe that Superfortress never flies again. Despite historic significance, airframe is scrapped at Goose Bay in September 1949.
4 September
A U.S. Navy Vought F4U Corsair fighter from Naval Air Station New York crashes into a four-family home at 39–29 212th Street, Queens, New York, killing the pilot, 1st Lt. Roger Olsen, USMCR, 25, of New Rochelle, New York, and three civilian women, Mrs. Helen Raynor, Mrs Alice Cressmer, and Miss Louise Paul. The pilot, a 1943 Pensacola graduate, was on the first day of a two-week reserve training course. The plane impacted one block from the Bayside station of the Long Island Rail Road.[239]
15 September 
The death knell for the trouble-prone French Arsenal VB 10 program comes this date when the third (some say first) production machine crashes after the failure of one of the coupled powerplants causes an in-flight fire, killing pilot Henri Koechlin. "Six days later on 21 September 1948, the Arsenal VB 10 contract was cancelled. At the time of cancellation, four production VB 10 aircraft (including the one that crashed) had flown, six additional airframes had been completed, and a number of airframes were under construction. All remaining VB 10s (including the first prototype) were scrapped."[215]
18 September[240]
A RAF de Havilland Mosquito crashes during an air show at RAF Manston, killing both crew and ten members of the public.[241]
19 September
RCAF de Havilland Vampire crashes into a hillside in what is now the Ganaraska Forest, near Kendal Ontario. Flight Lieutenant Leslie Banner was killed while returning to Trenton, Ontario from Niagara Falls, New York. Missing his turn at Newcastle, due to heavy clouds, he went off course and crashed into the side of Lookout Hill.[242][243]
20 September
First prototype USAF North American XB-45 Tornado, 45-59479, in a dive test at Muroc Air Force Base, California, to test design load factor, suffers engine explosion, tearing off cowling panels that shear several feet from the horizontal stabilizer, aircraft pitches up, and both wings tear off under negative g load. Crew has no ejection seats, and George Krebs and Nick Piccard are killed.[244]
6 October
An engine fire causes the crash in Waycross, Georgia, of a Boeing B-29-100-BW Superfortress, 45-21866, of the 3150th Electronics Squadron,[193] United States Air Force, shortly after take off from Robins Air Force Base, killing 9 of 13 men aboard, including 3 RCA engineers.[245] Four parachuted to safety. (See also 1948 Waycross B-29 crash).
18 October
A USAF Douglas C-54D-10-DC Skymaster, 42-72688, c/n 10793, participating in the Berlin Airlift, crashes near Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, killing three crew, Capt. James A. Vaughn, 1st Lt. Eugene Erickson and Sgt. Richard Winter.[220][246]
19 October
Royal Navy Grumman Avenger III, KE443, 'FD 068', of 703 Squadron, shorebased at Ford, Sussex, noses over on landing aboard HMS Illustrious. Airframe is not repaired and ends up on fire dump at Gosport, Hampshire, surviving until at least mid-1950.[247]
22 October
On fifth flight of the second prototype McDonnell XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter, 45–524, McDonnell test pilot Edwin F. Schoch unhooks from trapeze carried on Boeing EB-29B Superfortress, 44-84111, named "Monstro", and for the first time retracts the small fighter's nose hook in flight. But when he extends it to reconnect with the mothership, buffeting over the open nose hook well (previously flown taped closed) causes the Goblin to be too unstable for reconnection. The hook is broken in the attempts, and Schoch belly lands on the dry lake at Muroc Air Force Base for the second time. This was the last flight of the second prototype.[236]
3 November
Boeing RB-29A Superfortress, 44-61999, "Overexposed", of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 91st Reconnaissance Group, 311th Air Division, Strategic Air Command, USAF, crashes on Shelf Moor, Bleaklow, in between Manchester and Sheffield, Derbyshire, while descending through cloud. All 13 crew KWF. It is doubtful they ever saw the ground. The time was estimated from one of the crew members wrist watch. The plane, piloted by Captain L. P. Tanner, was on a short flight, carrying mail and the payroll for American service personnel based at USAF Burtonwood. The flight was from Scampton near Lincoln to Burtonwood near Warrington, a flight of less than an hour. Low cloud hung over much of England, which meant the flight had to be flown on instruments. The crew descended after having flown for the time the crew believed it should have taken them to cross the hill. Unfortunately the aircraft had not quite passed the hills and struck the ground near Higher Shelf Stones, being destroyed by fire.[248]
5 November
A Boeing DB-17G Flying Fortress, 44-83678[249] returning to Eglin AFB, Florida from Fort Wayne, Indiana, crashes in woods SE of Auxiliary Field 2, Pierce Field, crashing and burning NE of the runway at Eglin main base early Friday. All five on board are KWF, including Lt. Col. Frederick W. Eley, 43, of Shalimar, Florida, staff judge advocate at Eglin for nearly three years – he was returning from his grandmother's funeral in Portland, Indiana; Maj. Bydie J. Nettles, 29, who lived in Shalimar, Florida but was originally from Pensacola, Florida, group adjutant for the 3203rd Maintenance and Supply section; Capt. Robert LeMar, 31, Ben's Lake, Eglin AFB, test pilot with the 3203rd; crew chief M/Sgt. Carl LeMieux, 31, of Milton, Florida; and Sgt. William E. Bazer, 36, assistant engineer, Destin, Florida. Bazer's wife was the Eglin base librarian.[250]
7 November
Second prototype Republic XR-12 Rainbow, 44-91003, crashes at 1300 hrs. while returning to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The number 2 (port inner) engine exploded as the aircraft was returning from a photographic suitability test flight. The pilot was unable to maintain control due to violent buffeting, and he ordered the crew to bail out. Five of the seven crew escaped safely, including pilot Lynn Hendrix, rescued by Eglin crash boats and helicopters. Airframe impacts two miles S of the base, in the Choctawhatchee Bay. Sgt. Vernon B. Palmer, 20, and M/Sgt. Victor C. Riberdy, 30, who lived at Auxiliary Field 5, but was from Hartford, Connecticut, are KWF.[250]
8 or 11 December (sources differ)
US Navy Douglas R5D-3 Skymaster, BuNo 56502, c/n 10643, returning from the Berlin Airlift, crashes in the Taunus mountains near Frankfurt-am-Main S of Königstein, Germany. One crew of six aboard killed: AMM3 Harry R. Crites, Jr.[220][251]
13 December
A blade on the starboard rotor of the second prototype Bratukhin B-11 Soviet twin-rotor helicopter fails, and the subsequent crash kills the two crew.[252]


7 January
A USAF Douglas C-54G-5-DO Skymaster, 45-0543, c/n 35996, of the 14th Troop Carrier Squadron, 61st Troop Carrier Group, en route to RAF Burtonwood from Rhein-Main Air Base for a 200-hour inspection, crashes at ~1645 hrs. in bad weather at Stake House Fell, Lancashire, England, killing all six on board. KWF are pilot 1st Lt. Richard M. Wurgel, co-pilot 1st Lt. Lowell A. Wheaton Jr., engineer Sgt. Bernard J. Watkins, radio operator Cpl. Norbert H. Theis, and passengers Capt. W. A. Rathgeber and Pvt. Ronald E. Stone. Investigation showed that a commercial radio signal N of Burtonwood interfered with aircraft's radio compass, giving a false reading.[253][253]
12 January
During the Berlin Airlift, the crash of a Douglas C-54D-5-DC Skymaster, 42-72629, c/n 10734, on approach to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, kills three crew, 1st Lt. Ralph H. Boyd, 1st Lt. Craig B. Ladd, and T/Sgt. Charles L. Putnam.[220][254]
19 January
First flight of Martin XSSM-A-1 Matador test vehicle, from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, ends in crash.[255]
3 February 
The Lavochkin I-176, powered by a Klimov VK-1 engine, the first Soviet aircraft to break Mach 1 (in a shallow dive), is lost in a crash that kills test pilot Oleg V. Sokolovsky. Authorities select the Mikoyan MiG-15 fighter, also powered by the VK-1, for production.[256]
10 February
USAF Douglas A-26B-66-DL Invader, 44-34719, out of Greenville AFB, South Carolina, piloted by Robert L. Kenyon, crashes at Waples Pond, Delaware – four killed.
2 March
Two USMC Reserve Grumman F6F-5N Hellcats, BuNo. 94202, c/n A-11954, 'WF 9', and BuNo. 94182, 'WF 14', out of MCAS El Toro, crash into the 9,500 foot level of the south slope of Mt. Baldy, in Southern California. Wreckage discovered on 6 March.[257] Also this date, Vought F4U-4B Corsair, BuNo 97448,[258] 'AB 16', is reported missing since 1430 hrs., last reporting in that it was near Santa Cruz Island. Its wreckage and the body of its dead pilot are found on the island on 5 March.[259]
15 March
Second prototype of three Vought XF7U-1 Cutlass twin-tailed fighters, BuNo 122473, lost on test flight over the Chesapeake Bay, out of NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.[260] Test pilot William H. B. Millar killed.
1 April
Tip tank of Dow AFB-based Republic F-84B Thunderjet comes off during Lewiston, Maine parade flyover and hits Lewiston Public Works Garage.[63][64]
20 April
Crash of a Lockheed F-80A-10-LO Shooting Star, 44-85438,[94] c/n 080-1461,[111] kills Col. Robert Lewis Coffey, Jr., USAF Reserve, while on take-off from Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, at 1640 hrs. during cross-country proficiency flight. Coffey, a World War II ace (six victories) during 97 missions in the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and deputy group commander of the 365th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, who had been shot down and evaded capture, had resigned his regular commission to enter politics. He was elected to the 81st United States Congress (D-Pa.) and was on an Air Force training flight while the House was in recess when he died at age 30. He and fellow Hell Hawks pilot William D. Ritchie had departed Kirtland after refuelling for March AFB, California, but due to apparent engine failure on take-off, the fighter never rose above 25 feet, skidded off end of runway, cartwheeled across an arroyo, and broke apart but did not burn. Coffey was killed instantly. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The House of Representatives recesses for one day in his honor.[261][262][263]
29 April
First prototype (of two) of the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter, 45–523, makes its only flight, piloted by McDonnell test pilot Edwin F. Schoch. After launching from trapeze suspended below Boeing EB-29B Superfortress, 44-84111, named "Monstro", pilot is unable to hook up for retrieval and belly lands on dry lakebed at Muroc Air Force Base, California. After only six total flights by the Goblin, totalling ~2½ hours of flight time, the U.S. Air Force abandons the test program. Both prototypes are preserved in museum collections.[236]
4 May
USAF North American F-82F Twin Mustang, 46–468, out of Mitchel Field crashes into an unfinished house on Fulton Avenue near Duncan Road, a residential neighborhood of Hempstead, New York near Hofstra University; the plane burst into flames but neither the pilot, 2nd Lt. Andrew Wallace, nor his radar observer, 1st Lt. Bryan Jolley, were killed. In fact, Wallace used a brick from the house to smash the right canopy and rescue Jolley.[264][265]
20 May
A USAF Fairchild C-82A Packet, 48–572, c/n 10207, of the 1227th Air Base Group, Goose Bay, Labrador, veers off runway during takeoff at primitive Arctic Isachsen airstrip, Isachsen weather station, Ellef Ringnes Island, Northwest Territory, Canada, at 1745 hrs. Zulu. Despite crew attempts to keep the aircraft from drifting to the left, the port landing gear catches a snow bank, increasing veer, then port propeller strikes snow pack at 90 mph and 2800 rpm, ripping engine from mount and making aircraft uncontrollable. Three crew uninjured but aircraft written off, abandoned on site. Hull used for a shelter for a time. Wreckage still on site. The C-82 had delivered an engine and parts to repair a stranded Douglas C-54D-5-DC Skymaster, 42-72614, with a failed number 2 engine. The position of the Skymaster had required a downwind takeoff run.[266][267]
25 May
Silverplate Boeing B-29-35-MO Superfortress, 44-27299, .[268] of the 97th Bomb Group, Biggs AFB, Texas, suffers fire in number 4 (starboard outer) engine shortly after take-off for routine navigation and radar training mission. Unable to extinguish blaze, crew bails out but navigator's parachute does not open and he is killed – believed that he had struck his head on nosegear operating assembly while departing bomber. B-29 makes two-mile circle, then comes down 35 miles NE of El Paso, Texas, exploding on impact.
30 May
Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft test pilot John O. "Jo" Lancaster becomes first British pilot to save his life with an ejection seat when he bailed out of experimental twin-jet flying wing Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52, TS363, out of Bitteswell, using "primitive" Martin-Baker Mk.1 seat, when an oscillation in pitch set in during a shallow dive from ~5,000 feet.[269]
3 June
Sole Sukhoi Su-15 (Aircraft P) twin-engined jet all-weather interceptor develops severe vibration during 39th test flight, breaks up in mid-air forcing pilot S. N. Anokhin to eject. Project abandoned, second prototype never finished.[270]
15 June
Sole prototype reconnaissance Gloster Meteor FR Mk. 5, VT347, breaks up in the air during its first flight, killing pilot Rodney Dryland. This version is not proceeded with.[271]
11 July
A U.S. Navy pilot trainee is killed when his Vought F4U-4 Corsair strikes a parked North American SNJ Texan at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Corry Field, Florida, upon returning from a period of field carrier landing practice. It approaches on landing, and the port wing strikes a static SNJ in a parking area and the Corsair "cartwheels" onto its back, killing the pilot.[272]
14 July
A Fairchild C-82A-15-FA Packet,[28] 44-23014, c/n 10058,[273] crashes into a parking lot in Area B of Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. While conducting routine drop testing in Area C of the base, the C-82 attempted an emergency landing in Area B. With its electrical system down and the right engine on fire, the plane landed ~three-quarters down the runway, running off the end of the runway across a grassy area, plowing through a steel fence, and ran over a number of cars in the main parking lot near Highway 4 before flipping onto its back. Firecrews were on the scene immediately. The only person killed was MSgt Lubitz, Flight Test Division, who jumped from the plane just before it hit the fence. The other four crew were only slightly injured and no one on the ground was hurt.[274]
25 July
RCAF World War II ace, Squadron Leader Robert Allen "Bob" Kipp, DSO, DFC, (12 October 1919 – 25 July 1949), commanding officer of No. 410 Squadron, is killed while practicing aerobatics in a de Havilland Vampire F.3 of the Blue Devils demonstration team.[275]
9 August
US Navy pilot Lt. J. L. "Pappy" Fruin[276] of VF-101 loses control of his McDonnell F2H-1 Banshee at 500 mph and 30,000 feet and ejects over Walterboro, South Carolina, becoming the first American Naval aviator to use an ejector seat during an actual in-flight emergency. VF-101 was the first Navy unit to receive the type.[277]
12 August
Third of three Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 jet-powered flying-boat fighter prototypes, TG271, design specification E.6/44, is written off after hitting a submerged obstruction and sinking in the Solent off Cowes, Isle of Wight, Royal Navy pilot Lt. Cdr. Eric "Winkle" Brown surviving. Design not placed in production.[278][279]
Second of three Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 jet-powered flying-boat fighter prototypes, TG267, design specification E.6/44, crashes into the sea during practice for an air show, killing the pilot. Design not placed in production.[278]
15 September
First Convair B-36 Peacemaker loss occurs when B-36B 44-92079, of the 9th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, crashes into Lake Worth during a night "maximum effort" mission takeoff from Carswell AFB, Texas, killing five of 13 crew. Cause attributed to two propellers going into reverse pitch. Wreckage removed from lake and scrapped.[280]
30 September
First Avro 707 delta-wing research aircraft, VX784, first flown 6 September 1949 (one source says 4 September), crashes near Blackbushe on test flight out of Boscombe Down, killing Avro test pilot Flt. Lt. Eric Esler. Cause never established.[281]
3 October
The first (of only two) prototypes of the Kellett XR-10 helicopter, 45-22793, crashes due to a control system failure, killing Kellett's chief test pilot, Dave Driskill. The project was abandoned shortly thereafter.
9 October
Douglas C-47A-90-DL Skytrain, 43-16062, c/n 20528, of the 6th Rescue Squadron, Air Rescue Service, MATS, based at Goose Bay, Labrador, fails to gain sufficient airspeed on takeoff from primitive Isachsen airstrip, abandoned Isachsen weather station, Ellef Ringnes Island, Northwest Territory, Canada, at 1800 hrs. Zulu, lifting off twice before landing gear/skis contacted rising terrain and collapsed. Cause was icing and overload conditions. Four crew and six passengers suffer only minor injuries. Airframe abandoned in place. It is still there.[231][282]
31 October
Westland Wyvern test program suffers set-back when second prototype Wyvern TF Mk 2 (N.12/45), VP113, powered by Armstrong Siddeley Python turboprop, crashes in attempted dead-stick landing after the props seize in flight, test pilot killed.[283]
1 November
A Lockheed P-38L Lightning, NX26297 flown by a Bolivian Air Force pilot, collides in midair with Eastern Airlines Flight 537, a Douglas DC-4 airliner, N88727, on its final approach to National Airport. All 55 people on board the Douglas DC-4 die; the P-38 pilot survived with injuries. Bridaux was considered one of Bolivia's most experienced pilots. Among the dead were Congressman George J. Bates and former Congressman Michael J. Kennedy. DC-4 wreckage comes down on Virginia shoreline of the Potomac River, north of Mount Vernon. It was (at the time) the worst plane crash in the history of civil aviation. The P-38 pilot was accused of causing the accident, later tried and cleared of the charges, which now is believed to have been an ATC error.
9 November
A US Navy Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer on a training flight crash landed south of Mikkalo, Oregon, after all four engines "froze up" in flight. One fatality.[284]
16 November
A USAF B-29 on a flight from March Air Force Base, California, to England via Bermuda goes down at sea when fuel exhausted; of 20 crew aboard two are missing but 18 are rescued on 19 November, 385 miles NE of Bermuda.[285]
22 November
First prototype Gloster E.1/44, TX145, on test flight out of the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough, suffers engine flame-out, crash lands. Repaired.[201]
29 November
Fairey Gannet, VR546, crashes on take-off from Fairey's flight test airfield at White Waltham, Berkshire, following violent porpoising at unstick speed. Repairs take three months and test flying does not resume until March 1950.[286]
11 December
North American F-51D-25-NT Mustang, 45-11353, of the 192d Fighter Squadron, Nevada Air National Guard, crashes at Reno Air Force Base, Nevada, during a mock dogfight killing Reno native 1st Lt. Croston K. Stead (19 March 1922 – 11 December 1949)[287] during training mission. Base is subsequently named Stead Air Force Base in January 1951 in his honor.[288][289]
22 December
USAF Boeing B-50A-30-BO Superfortress, 47–110, c/n 15794,[290] of the 2d Bombardment Group, crashes into swamp land on the banks of the Savannah River ~7 miles above Savannah, Georgia, five minutes after take off at 2112 hrs. from Chatham AFB, 4 Miles ENE of the airfield. The bomber was on a training flight to Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas. All eleven on board KWF. The crash site was less than two miles from U.S. Highway 17, which crosses the river just above Savannah, but it could only be reached by small boats guided by boatmen who knew the river. The Air Force waited until dawn to send a large crash boat with a score or more men, armed with shovels and ropes, to try to remove the bodies. They had to transfer to small, flat-bottomed swamp boats to get to the wreckage. Capt. E. S. Harrison, public information officer, said the wreckage would cover a football field. Salvage workers sank up to their armpits in the mire. The men aboard the plane were identified as: Capt. George V. Scaringen, pilot, and aircraft commander, Columbia, South Carolina; Capt. Andrew G. Walker, pilot, Norfolk, Virginia; Lt. Rogers Hornsby, Jr., 29, son of Rogers Hornsby of baseball fame; 1st Lt. Robert W. Beckman, bombardier, Birmingham, Alabama; Capt. Anthony C. Colandro, radar navigator, Baltimore, Maryland; 1st Lt. James W. Johnson, Jr., flight engineer, Wells, West Virginia; T/Sgt. Leonard B. Hughes, flight engineer, Denison, Texas; S/Sgt. Fred W. Cunningham, radio operator and gunner, New Orleans, Louisiana; S/Sgt. Manson L. Gregg, gunner, Meadow, Texas; S/Sgt. Garnell W. Myers, gunner, Franklin, Indiana; and S/Sgt. Billy C. Bristol, gunner, Tucson, Arizona.[291]

See also[edit]

List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft
List of aircraft accidents at Eglin Air Force Base


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Martin, Bernard. The Viking, Valetta and Varsity. Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1975. ISBN 978-0-85130-038-2.

External links[edit]

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