Piedmont Airlines Flight 349

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Piedmont Airlines Flight 349
Piedmont flight 349 wreckage.jpg
The wreckage of Flight 349 in February 2002.
Date October 30, 1959
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site Bucks Elbow Mountain, Albemarle County, Virginia, U.S. (near Crozet, Virginia, U.S.)
Aircraft type Douglas DC-3
Aircraft name Buckeye Pacemaker
Operator Piedmont Airlines
Registration N55V
Flight origin Washington, D.C.
Destination Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport
Passengers 24
Crew 3
Fatalities 26
Injuries 1
Survivors 1

On October 30, 1959, Piedmont Airlines Flight 349, a Douglas DC-3, crashed on Bucks Elbow Mountain near Crozet, Virginia, killing the crew of three and all but one of its twenty-four passengers. The sole survivor, Ernest P. "Phil" Bradley, was seriously injured and lay on the ground near the wreckage, still strapped in his seat.[1] The subsequent investigation determined the cause of the accident to be:

A navigational omission which resulted in a lateral course error that was not detected and corrected through precision instrument flying procedures. A contributing factor to the accident may have been pre-occupation of the captain resulting from mental stress.[2]

Opposing view[edit]

The Air Line Pilots Association conducted its own investigation and came to a very different conclusion. Rather than missing the one turn on their flight, the pilot and co-pilot, according to ALPA, may have been led astray by faulty radio beacons. The ALPA report, citing numerous incidences of an intermittent signal at the beacon for the Charlottesville airport, found that the beacon for a private field in Hagerstown, Maryland, could have overridden and caused the collision with the mountain.[3]


The accident aircraft, named Buckeye Pacemaker, was registered as N55V and had construction number 20447. The aircraft had previously flown with Meteor Air Transport as N53593 and was sold to Piedmont Airlines in December 1956.


  1. ^ Kebabjian, Richard. "Accident Details". planecrashinfo.com. 
  2. ^ ASN accident description
  3. ^ Hawes Spencer (2009-10-08). "Alone on a mountain: the true story of Flight 349". The Hook. Charlottesville. Retrieved 2014-06-30. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°06′15″N 78°43′53″W / 38.10417°N 78.73139°W / 38.10417; -78.73139