(Contributed by the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama)
On 17 June a C-47 type aircraft crash landed at Offutt Air Force Base.
The following summary of the accident was reported by First Lieutenant Howard
L. Peters base flying safety officer.
At 1200 hours on 17 June a call was received by the Offutt tower from
a C-47 that its #2 engine had been feathered and a landing was desired here.
Aircraft was cleared to land on any runway. The plane was in such a position
that a straight in to runway 12 was chosen by the pilot.
However, due to a jet aircraft which was landing at the time the pilot
elected to make a normal pattern. Gear and flaps were lowered on final approach,
the gear came down and locked., and the crew states that full flaps were
Witnesses said flaps were only one-fourth down at the point of touchdown.
There is also variance between crew and witness statements as to the point
of touchdown. The crew states a normal touchdown on the first one-third of
the runway, and two witnesses state a fast touchdown approximately 2,850
feet from end of the approach (5800-foot runway).
A loss of hydraulic pressure after touchdown resulted in the loss of
brakes--apparently after one application. Crew chief states that the engine
hydraulic valve had been placed on the left engine immediately after the
right engine had been feathered.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the left engine hydraulic pump
was inoperative. The emergency hand hydraulic pump was tried by the engineer
during the landing roll, but no apparent braking action was received The
flap handle was left in the down position, and full flaps had not been attained
as shown by investigation at the scene of the accident.
Any pressure in the main system could possibly go to the flap cylinder
with the flap selector in the down position., as well as to the brakes, resulting in little or no effective braking action.
Pilot states that a ground loop was considered but two F-86 (Sabrejets)
which had just landed were parked on the warm-up pad at the end of the runway,
preventing a ground loop to the right--only possible direction--from being
Also, the pilot thought there was little possibility of unlocking the
tail wheel without the aid of brakes.
Aircraft left the runway along the left side approximately 400 feet
from the end, struck a concrete drainage ditch and went over an embankment.
The aircraft was airborne some 78 feet after leaving brink to point of next
The gear collapsed on impact with a guard rail., fence and road, continued
down the embankment and came to rest with the nose jammed against a ditch
approximately 572 feet from the point of leaving the runway.
The aircraft, C-47A #43-15600, en route from Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base, Ohio, was "completely destroyed."
It was estimated by medical authorities here that both the pilot and
co-pilot would probably have to spend six months in the hospital. The pilot
Captain Vern L. Larson, Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., received head abrasions, a broken finger, and a fractured phalanx. The co-pilot, Captain D. D.Johnson, received chin and head abrasions, contusions to both arms, and a comminuted fracture of the left astralgus.
Most of the passengers received minor abrasions and contusions, and
were released from the hospital after examination and treatment. Dr. James
W. Martin, medical consultant from the base hospital came out from Omaha
to attend the injured personnel.
Word was received 21 July that a B-26 from this base was involved in
storm damage at Minneapolis 20 July and would require considerable repair
before it could return to this station.
At approximately 1035 on 3 July a C-47 being ferried from Camp Carson,
Colo., to Westover AFB, Mass., was cleared for takeoff on runway 21 by the
The tower cleared the aircraft for takeoff at the pilot's discretion
from the intersection of two runways, some 1,600 feet from the end of the
active. The pilot, Capt. John R.Stevens, elected to start the takeoff near
the intersection rather than use the entire runway and roll through a slightly
muddy condition at the intersection.
Immediately upon becoming airborne the right engine aborted. The pilot
pulled the power and applied the brakes. The aircraft careened to the right,
narrowly missing a parked a C-97, and struck a slight embankment and a fence
surrounding a fuel storage sump adjacent to runway # 21.
Both propellers were broken off at the nose section and the left landing
gear buckled on impact with the fence, oil drums, and embankment. A good
crew and passenger briefing by the pilot prior to takeoff prevented possible
serious injuries from the moderate impact.
The Investigating Board's opinion was that the presence of water
in the sump of the right main tank and the lack of signatures on the form
AF I, part II, to indicate performance of a daily inspection, led to the
belief that improper draining of the fuel tanks was at least a contributing
factor, if not the primary reason, for loss of power on the # 2 engine.
Recommendations of the Flight Safety Officer and the Investigating Board,
to prevent a similar occurrence, were (1) that all available runway be used
for takeoffs, regardless of runway length or type of aircraft, and (2) that
pilots scrutinize AF Form I, parts II and III to ascertain mechanical condition,
and that necessary preflights are signed off as accomplished.
The installation of the new lighting system for runway 03-21 was completed
and put into operation on 2 July. The new system will mean greater safety
for night landings, and will facilitate such jobs as maintenance and repair of the lights, and winter snow removal.
The system includes new runway lights and end approach lights. A total
of 12,000 feet of wire and 120 lights make up the new night landing aid.
The lamps are mounted on standards and can be detached and moved by
a simple unplugging operation. This will facilitate snow removal by eliminating
the risk of running into lights with snow plows.
On each lamp unit, a transformer completely encased in rubber has been
mounted. This transformer is protected so it will be in perfect operating
condition regardless of moisture conditions. The lights are set in series
so that if one burns out the others will remain lighted.
Three more SAC-type barracks will be constructed at Offutt, Colonel
de Russy announced in July. The buildings will accommodate 576 airmen, and
will be built in the same area as the one now under construction near base
A contract for $1,174,400 was awarded to Foster-Smetana Company of Omaha,
and notification to proceed was given to the contractors. Work was expected
to get underway about 1 August.
The new units will be of the same design as the first "dream"
barracks. Also part of the group will be the new 750-man mess hall now under
construction behind base headquarters.
There was a good deal of cable splicing activity during the month, due
mainly to the new barracks project in the base area. A new cable was buried
near the area and a cable cut completed near the site of the proposed 750-man
mess hall. This cable work was accomplished to replace the existing cables
that were in line with the proposed foundation of the new barracks. Northwestern
Bell Telephone Company contracted to perform a portion of the work in order
to expedite its completion.
Traffic during July was somewhat higher than for the preceding month,
with 69,926 messages being handled in the Communications Center.
Of the 148 telephone work orders issued, 125 were completed during the
month. Of these, 75 per cent were relocations, and 25 per cent new installations.In addition, 70 telephone trouble reports were answered during July.
A concrete platform was constructed to accommodate an emergency power
unit (PE-95)and sidewalks were laid about building T-355. In conjunction
with the installation of the power unit, 60 feet of conduit and cable were
buried from building T-355 to the platform. No serious obstacles were encountered during the operation, and the power unit is planned to be in service by 7 August.
A 303-pair cable extending from the SAC exchange to the Bellevue gate
was staked out,but further progress was curtailed pending the arrival of
An operational Radio Teletype Test Circuit was placed with Sandia AFB,
New Mexico. Daily test periods were one hour long during July.
Four Army Signal Corps men on temporary duty with 30th communications
squadron returned to their home station after completion of splicing a cable
damaged during construction of the new airmen barracks.
The 30th Communications Squadron was handicapped somewhat by the loss
of eight operators on 9 July when the 49th Communications Squadron departed
for an overseas assignment.
Five men from the Crypto Section of the Communications Center were placed
on 60 days TDY to Pope AFB, North Carolina, to participate in operation "Southern Pines." This operation will be a joint Army-Navy-Air Force tactical maneuver to be held near Fort Bragg.
A test was prepared and given to all radio operators to determine the
weakest points in procedure for further on-the-job training of all
Communications personnel were under constant training during the month--both
here and at service schools--to achieve and maintain a high degree of
proficiency. Three airmen were released to attend teletype operators school
at Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming and Captain William B. Pierce, OIC, MARS
Radio Station, was placed on six months TDY to the University of Omaha for
The 39 assigned aircraft consumed 319,000 gallons of fuel in logging 2103:20 hours flying time.
The periodic maintenance docks performed 10 major and 21 minor intermediate inspections with an expenditure of 6,617 man hours.
The modification of stands for docks 1, 2, and 5 was started.
Restrictions were removed on cash purchases of clothing at the Base Clothing Sales Store on 20 July.
At Approximately 0230 hours, 26 February, a B-50 type aircraft crashed
and burned on the east-west runway.
The left wing apparently broke off as the left side of the plane hit
The front portion of the fuselage was badly mangled though the tail
section remained upright.
Approximately 63 fire fighters were alerted for emergency duty. They
assisted in rescuing the twelve injured crew members. Five crew members were
already dead as a result of the crash.
The fire was extinguished and the wreckage was carefully guarded for
24 hours for safety investigations.
The home base of the B-50 was Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. The
aircraft was on a non-stop flight from Honolulu.
The ground accident cost per capita for February of $1.07, though higher than the rate of the last five months, is still below the 1951 cost per capita for the base which was $2.63. The base ground accident cost per capita has also consistently been lower than the SAC rate.
During February there were four USAF motor vehicle accidents which resulted in a total cost of $209.00 compared to two accidents which resulted in a total cost of $98.00 for January. There was also an increase in the number of military disabling injuries during February. Nine military disabling injuries resulted in 199 man-days lost in February. January had two injuries and 31 lost man-days.
Offutt was host for the first United States Air Force World-Wide Basketball Tournament held during the month of February. The purpose of this tournament was to determine an Air Force champion and to select an amateur team to represent the Air Force in the Amateur Athletic Union Tournament in Denver, Colorado, and subsequent Olympic Play-Offs.
Captain Mary E. Bates of the 3901st WAF Squadron left the base this month to be reassigned to Rapid City Air force Base, South Dakota.
Captain Victoria E. Fox who transferred here from March Air Force Base, California is the new commanding officer.
Major J. L. Evans was relieved of his command of Headquarters Sq Section, 3902nd Air Base Group and was assigned as Materiel Officer for Headquarters 3902nd Air Base Group. Major Frederick E. Hintz assumed command. Major Hintz was assigned to the base August 1949
Major Gail Young, commanding officer of the 3902nd Air Installations Squadron, left this month to an Air Base overseas. He had been at Offutt since November, 1948.
At approximately 0319 hours, 10 March, a C-47 type aircraft crashed
and burned while attempting to take off from Offutt.
Twelve men escaped unhurt when the plane swerved off the runway, tore
down several feet of fence, flattened some trees and burned on the parade
Crew members were quoted by base officials as saying they didn't
know exactly what happened, but the plane turned to the left just as it became
Trees in the northwest corner of the parade ground stopped the skidding
plane about one hundred yards short of the row of old brick houses occupied
by senior officers of the Strategic Air Command, including General Curtis
The fire started just behind the pilot's compartment after the
plane stopped skidding.
The plane's occupants got out through escape hatches and doors
before the fire got headway.
Base firemen poured chemical foam on the burning craft, but it was already
The plane's home base was Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
A B-25 type aircraft crashed three miles northwest of Offutt at
approximately 2348 hours, 30 March while attempting a landing.
Two crew members, Brig. Gen Jesse D. Auton, deputy director of operations
for fighters at SAC headquarters and Lt. Col. Edwin R. Bush, executive officer
in Gen. Auton's office were killed and three injured.
The pilot had called in for landing instructions and reported some engine
trouble. The plane then headed for a landing on runway "30", but
apparently overshot the runway. It struck a slight rise near a farm home
scattering wreckage over a 300-square-yard area.
There was little fire following the crash.
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