Accident and Missing Air Crew Reports




Sources: AAIR, USAAFDATA, MACR, WWII AAF Casualty List, NARA (see resources page).

Squadron Crew Year Month Role Name Rank Serial Status
573573150439BDavis, John O.2/Lt.O741244DNB
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-35067. 8 Oct 1943
NOTES: All crew were killed in aircraft 41-35067 on 8 October 1943 when it crashed after it got into an uncontrollable spin. Roles are assumed from existing role data and rank. Although Boyette's role was deduced as CP by elimination, he is attributed as Pilot on the accident report. Davis' forename comes from 573BS History (reel A0644 page 905), which also states that Parnell was a crew chief. Davis's ASN from 391BG Medical Journal (Reel B0427 page 1046).
ADDENDUM: Accident Report has since been received and details have been updated accordingly. Abernath's ASN is shown as O-731776. This crew was previously listed as crew #391101.
573573134448BMuddiman, Thomas E.1/Lt.O712204
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-107806. 21 Mar 1945
NOTES: Landing accident at Roye/A-73. On 21 March 1945, 1st Lieutenant Philip S. Walter was flying a B-26C45 aircraft, AF No. 42-107806, on a local night training mission. Lieutenant Walter made normal traffic pattern dropping his wheels while our base leg. He asserts positively, that gear indicator was in down and locked position before landing. He landed ship on runway to 28 approximately 50 yards from end of runway. After rolling approximately 2,500 feet, nose wheel was let down and brakes applied. As brakes were applied, the right main gear collapsed. The right engine and propeller have major damages, the right wing-tip, aileron, wheel-well doors, engine cowling and fuselage were damaged. In view of the fact that the down-lock was not actuated, it could not have engaged the switch which actuates gear indicator, gear indicator could not have possibly shown down and locked for right gear operation. Cause: 100% pilot error, carelessness. Pilot and co-pilot failed to accurately check the gear indicator prior to landing. Recommendations: None.
573573147448BMuddiman, Thomas E.2/Lt.O712204
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-34454. 5 Jan 1945
NOTES: Ground looped at Roye/A-73.

On 5th of January 1945 first Lieutenant Walter was flying a B26G10 aircraft, AF number 43-34454 on a combat mission. The mission was recalled 5 minutes before fighter rendezvous. Lieutenant Walter returned to the field in formation and prepared for a normal formation landing. After a normal approach and landing Lieutenant Walter had a blow out of his left main gear tire approximately 100 yards after touchdown. The pilot endeavored to keep the airplane straight and was successful for a short interval; however, the slippery condition of the runway finally caused him to slide off of the left edge. When the aircraft struck the soft soil it spun around and skidded, tearing off the right main gear, breaking the right wing and buckling the fuselage.

Cause: The accident was caused by 100% material failure, i.e. tire blew out.

Recommendations: None.

NOTE: This was a 573BS crew flying a 574BS aircraft.

573573133452BTaucher, Leonard M.2/Lt.O2072039
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95820. 12 Mar 1945
NOTES: Landing accident at Roye/A-73. On 12th March 1945, 2nd Lieutenant Homer W. Lentz was scheduled to fly a B-26B45, AF No. 42-95820 on a local night transition mission. He received instructions for landing from the tower and then gave his co-pilot permission to land the plane. Because of ground haze he did not turn on the landing lights until in the round-out of the approach. When the lights came on, he saw that they were not lined up with the landing runway; instead of, they were to the right. Pilot gave co-pilot verbal orders to go around, which the co-pilot did not hear. At the same time the pilot retracted the wheels, and the co-pilot proceeded to land the aircraft with wheels partially retracted. Aircraft was completely wrecked due to this action. Cause: 100% pilot error. Poor judgement, in that incorrect decision was made. Recommendations: none.
573573132451BWentworth, Jesse L., Jr.F/OT131572
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-35252. 12 Mar 1945
NOTES: Take off accident at Roye/A-73. On 12th March 1945, 2nd Lieutenant Atwood L. Edwards was scheduled to fly a B-26C25 aircraft, AF No. 41-35252, on a combat bombing mission. Edwards started his take-off on runway 10 in the normal procedure. He had reached the speed just under that at which the aircraft becomes airborne, when the tire of the right main gear deflated. He at once cut the throttle and held aircraft straight until right gear collapsed, causing the aircraft to swerve to the right off the runway. After leaving runway the right strut dug into the ground, turning the aircraft 90 degrees and bringing it to a stop. Main gear was wrecked and right wing was buckled. Cause: 100% material failure; aircraft structure. Recommendations: none.
574574140456BDraganchuk, William2/Lt.O2069438
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-22598. 9 Jun 1945
NOTES: Taxiing accident at Vitry-en-Artois (B-50).

On 9 June 1945, 1st Lt Edward F. Murphy was taxiing an A-26C25 AAF #43-22598 aircraft back to its hardstand after a routine training flight. After entering the parking area Lt Murphy attempted to turn the aircraft around. While so doing, his right propeller came close enough to a canvas cover at the edge of the parking area to blow it back and consequently drag a tool box into the path of the propeller. The tips of the three blades were bent slightly necessitating replacement of the propeller.

Immediate Cause: Right propeller struck crew chief's tool box.

Underlying Cause: Poor judgement on the part of the pilot, first, in not allowing sufficient clearance to turn his plane around in, and secondly, in not waiting until a ground crew member arrived to direct his taxiing.

Responsibility: 100% Pilot error.

Recommendations: None.

574574136451BZuranski, Ralph C.2/Lt.O2069504
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95807. 5 Apr 1945
NOTES: Crash landing at Laon/ 5mi N A-69. On 5 April 1945, 1st Lt Clifford F. Hocker was flying a B-26 aircraft, A.F. #42-95807 on a scheduled training mission; instruments and practice navigation. By his own admission, Lt Hocker was buzzing a farmer in a field. In so doing he flew so low that the propeller blades struck the ground. In attempting to regain altitude, he pulled back so abruptly on control column that the tail turret struck the ground. Being unable to regain a safe altitude, he crash landed straight ahead. The aircraft was loaded with four (4) X one thousand (1000) lb. Gp bombs. Three of these were dislodged and thrown through the bombay, when the tail turret struck the ground. The aircraft caught fire and burned, detonating the remaining bomb. All personnel had evacuated the area prior to detonation of bomb. Cause: One-hundred per cent (100%) pilot error. Pilot was acting in direct disobedience of AAF Regulations and local flying orders in indulging in unauthorised low flying. Recommendations: None.
575575113432BDrake, Leo A., Jr.2/Lt.O733161
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95805. 23 May 1944
NOTES: Landing accident at Matching/Sta 166. At about 1050 on the morning of 23 May 1944, B-26B50MA, 42-95805 made a normal approach for a landing on runway 03. The plane touched down fast almost on three points and according to testimony of occupants of the plane, almost immediately tended to swerve to the right. About 4 seconds (300 yards) after touching down both main wheels were locked, the left very slightly before the right as evidenced by the tyre marks on the runway. These marks continue to the point where the plane left the runway about 700 yards further along and show by their breadth that the right tire blew out about 100 yards before the left which burst shortly before the plane left the runway. Upon leaving the runway, the plane skidding on the soft shoulder, was shorn of the left main gear which raked the left side of the fuselage and allowed the left the nacelle, propeller, and wing to be damaged. Post-crash examination of both wheels showed no sign of binding or heating within the brakes; both wheels were free to turn. The brake valves were inspected and found satisfactory and the lines were clear except for a minimum of hydraulic fluid in the airlines. The air bottle had not been pulled. The brakes had been adjusted within the squadron only the day before. The evidence shows that after landing the plane had tended to swerve to the right which condition the pilot attempted to compensate first by rudder, then by normal use of the left brake and application of power to the right engine, the wheels changed almost instantaneously from a condition of freewheeling to one of complete lock, and that the brakes were locked at a point unreasonably far from the end of the runway and under conditions that refute any contention that the pilot held the brakes depressed thereby causing the accident. With the evidence presented, this board finds itself unable to fairly affix the responsibility in the case of this accident. There are no recommendations.
5755751124312BMurphy, Francis J.1/LT.O534308
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95950. 12 May 1944
NOTES: Landing accident at Matching/Sta 166. The B-26B50MA, AF # 42-95950 was making a single engine approach, the right engine having been feathered after loss of oil pressure and decided vibration had set in. After wheels and flaps had been lowered in the normal manner the plane was brought in in a fast glide and set down about a third of the runway down at the rather high landing speed of 130 MPH. Anticipating no trouble, speed was at first dissipated by holding the nose up and then the nose wheel was eased down and brakes applied. The pilot states that absolutely no reaction to the depression of both brake pedals prompted him to cause the emergency air bottle to be pulled; estimated speed at this time was about 30 MPH. Characteristically, both wheels locked. Unfortunately, the plane skidded to the left and when it hit the soft shoulder, the shearing forces was too great for the right landing gear assembly which gave way. All crew were in crash landing positions for the landing, but stood up after the aircraft was on the ground. All crew resumed crash landing positions when the aircraft started to skid, except for the engineer in the waist position who recived a slight cut on his forehead. Cause of the engine failure remains undetermined. Neither pilot nor engineer checked hydraulic pressure after wheels and flaps operated normally. 100% failure of structure; is brake failure. In view of the fact that this is the second total loss not to mention the number of tires destroyed occasioned by ships skidding off the runway after pulling the air bottle, it is recommended that a thorough study study be made of alternative methods of bringing the ship to a stop. One suggestion involves coordinated use of the shut off and bleed valves in the emergency system by which pressure could be at least partially controlled. Another suggestion incorporates landing on the runway to absorb the initial shock, but then as speed is dissipated, rolling deliberately off onto the soft shoulder where the friction coefficient will help to dissipate that last bit of speed that air resistance and a smooth runway affect so little. NOTE: Rapport is listed on the accident report crew listing for 42-95950 on 12 May 1944 as (Duty) "M", (Rating) "F/S", and (Branch) "MC". These are possibly "Medical", "Flight Surgeon", and "Medical Corps" respectively.