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Official Reports

(Contributed by the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama)


                 (June 1951)                  

Aircraft Accident

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 down.

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 considered satisfactory.

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 touchdown.

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.

View Photographs

(July 1951)


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.

Aircraft Accident

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 Offutt tower.

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 headquarters.

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 contractors.

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 operators.

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 specialized training.


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.

(February, 1952)

Aircraft Crash

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 strip.

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.

Ground Safety

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.

Special Projects

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.

(March 1952)


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.

Aircraft Crashes

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 ground.

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 airborne.

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 E. Lemay.

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 practically destroyed.

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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