TWA Flight 6

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TWA Flight 6
TWA DC-2 airplane parked on airport's concrete apron
A TWA Douglas DC-2 (NC13784) sister ship to the accident aircraft
Accident
DateMay 6, 1935 (1935-05-06)
SummaryCrashed into terrain while flying in low visibility
SiteNear Atlanta, Missouri
39°56′N 92°35′W / 39.93°N 92.59°W / 39.93; -92.59Coordinates: 39°56′N 92°35′W / 39.93°N 92.59°W / 39.93; -92.59
Aircraft
Aircraft typeDouglas DC-2
OperatorTranscontinental & Western Air
RegistrationNC13785
Flight originLos Angeles
1st stopoverAlbuquerque, New Mexico
2nd stopoverKansas City, Missouri
(not reached; following stopovers omitted)
DestinationNewark, New Jersey
Passengers11
Crew2
Fatalities5
Injuries8
Survivors8

TWA Flight 6 was a Transcontinental & Western Air Douglas DC-2, on a route from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, that crashed near Atlanta, Missouri, on May 6, 1935, killing five of the thirteen people on board, including Senator Bronson M. Cutting of New Mexico.[1] The airliner crashed when its wingtip hit the ground as it flew under a low cloud ceiling at very low level, over dark, fog-shrouded country, while its pilots were trying desperately to reach a nearby emergency landing field before their fuel ran out.

Investigators from the Bureau of Air Commerce concluded that several factors had led up to this crisis, including communications malfunctions, darkness, inaccurate weather forecasts, worsening weather at the destination airport, and errors in judgment both from the airline dispatchers and the flight crew; they also found TWA in violation of several aviation regulations. Senator Cutting's death drove Congress to look into the Bureau's own management of civil aviation. Senator Royal S. Copeland established a special subcommittee, the Copeland Committee, which held hearings that harshly criticized the Bureau and released a controversial preliminary report that blamed the Bureau's management for the accident. This political battle played a major role in the Bureau of Air Commerce being replaced in 1938 by the newly formed Civil Aeronautics Authority.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Davies, John; Ross, Alastair; Wallace, Brendan (2017). Safety Management: A Qualitative Systems Approach. CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-351-98874-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Komons, Nick A. (1973). The Cutting Air Crash: A Case Study in Early Federal Aviation Policy. Washington, D.C.: Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Management Systems, Agency Historical Staff. hdl:2027/umn.31951t00466721h. OCLC 674254.
  • Komons, Nick A. (1978). Bonfires to Beacons: Federal Civil Aviation Policy under the Air Commerce Act, 1926–1938. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. hdl:2027/mdp.39015013920528. OCLC 3832134.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Air Commerce (July 15, 1935). "Scheduled Air Line Accident Report". Air Commerce Bulletin. Vol. 7 no. 1. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. pp. 12–18. (Includes, in addition to the Bureau's accident report, a public statement on the accident by the Secretary of Commerce and two related memoranda by the Director of Air Commerce.)
  • Safety in Air: Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate. U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1936–1937. hdl:2027/umn.31951d021564626.
  • Safety in the Air: 74th Congress, 2d Session, Report No. 2455. U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. June 15, 1936.

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