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
573573120432NCalvert, Russell J.1/Lt.O798744
SOURCE: MACR 08058, 42-95802. 25 Aug 1944
NOTES: Target: Brest/Penscorff Coastal Defences. Mid-air collision between stabilizer of lead flight No.4 (42-95802 - Thorn) and left propellor of No.6 (42-95797 - Rice). Thorn lowered landing gear, one man bailed out, then aircraft went into spin. Calvert, who managed to bail out and was picked up by fishermen, stated that Thorn was low on gas and planned to land in Cherbourg and left the formation, but then decided to rejoin the formation and follow them to Cherbourg.
575575136NHowe, Owen C.1/Lt.O685619
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-34326 7 Feb 1945
NOTES: Landing accident at A-58. Pilot made normal landing. Tire blew out on left main gear, causing aircraft to swerve to the left and off of runway. Pilot used left throttle and right brake in an attempt to keep the aircraft on runway. There was a 20 degree cross-wind at 15 MPH aggravating the aircraft's tendency to swerve to the left. Pilot was landing on the left-hand side of runway in his correction for drift. NOTE: This Accident Report was filed by the 410th Bomb Group, 647th Bomb Squadron. It is assumed that this aircraft and this crew (except for Curtis, and formerly of the 574 and 575 squadrons respectively) were transferred to this squadron at some point. The 410BG were originally equipped with A-20 Havoc aircraft. This report has been included for completeness.
575575101432NKadansky, David M.2/Lt.O791832
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-18135. 30 Mar 1943
NOTES: Crashed due to engine failure at MacDill Field, FL. 575BS History (Reel A0644 page 1201) states that this was the first aircraft assigned to the 575BS. Capt. Stalnaker was on a transistion flight to the Osprey Bombing Range when he had an engine failure. He had to use the nearest available runway at MacDill and, due to the presence of planes on this runway, almost totally wrecked the aircraft on landing. No crew members were hurt as they had all assumed emergency positions.
Due to an engine failure while on a bombing mission, the pilot decided to return to his base. Upon approaching the MacDill Field, he made contact with the tower and was told to land and since it was an emergency to use runway 31. Traffic was using runway 9. The pilot was approaching the field from the S.E. The tower ordered three B-26's that were on runway 31 to clear the runway immediately. Two of the ships responded and cleared. The third ship kept taxiing on to the intersection of runway 31 and 36. In the meantime, the B-26 in trouble kept coming on in. Because of the third ship on the runway, the pilot decided to fly over this ship and land ahead of him. About that time the airplane on the runway turned off leaving the runway clear. The pilot of the ship in emergency then decided rather than try to climb and go around to land in the last 1/3 of the runway and he put his wheels and flaps down. He landed "hot" and the right gear did not have time to get completely down and locked. The right prop started cutting into the runway and the right gear collapsed due to the fact it was not completely down and locked. The nose wheel strut snapped causing the ship to skid sideways and partially groundloop.
1. Pilot was not certain at the time the prop was feathered that he had actually lost an engine.
2. Investigation by Engineering section of Sub-Depot failed to disclose any defect that would cause a malfunctioning engine.
3. Unidentified aircraft on runway did not obey tower's instructions to "clear runway 31 immediately".
4. The nose wheel was down and locked while the right gear was not.
5. In view of the known facts of this accident, this board places partial responsibility on the pilot and partial responsibility on the pilot of the unidentified aircraft that did not clear the runway.
It is recommended in the future all aircraft be instructed to use taxi strips where possible instead of using runways as taxi strips. This will keep all runways open for use during emergency landings.
575575103432NLanford, Edwin H.2/Lt.O666683
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-31747. 6 Jun 1943
NOTES: Landing accident at Myrtle Beach, SC.
Pilot was landing ship upon completion of night mission about 0003 EWT, June 6, 1940. Upon landing, left main gear buckled, due to not being fully extended and locked.
In the opinion of this committee the pilot was careless in that he did not avail himself of the checks provided to positively assure himself that the landing gear was down and locked. Further, the pilot landed the airplane after being assured that only one main wheels was down, and before being assured the left wheel was also down, other then glancing at the wheel indicator, which after check showed the left main gear not to be fully extended. After further investigation, it was disclosed that the locking pin had not been actuated for the left main gear.
RECOMMENDATIONS: That steps be taken by local authorities to insure the compliance, by pilots, with all procedures outlined for landing, and further, pilots be impressed with the serious results possible by a few moments inattention or carelessness.
575575104432NBLaufman, Herbert J.2/Lt.O732863
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-31764. 30 Jun 1943
NOTES: Landing accident due to mechanical fail at Myrtle Beach, SC.
Left tire blew out after landing while plane was rolling. Flat tire caused tire locking rim to fly off allowing play in the tire on the rim. Force of flat tire caused the plane to leave runway and strike bank on left side of runway . Pilot Wanstreet should be commended for his masterful handling of the plane in averting a more serious accident.
NOTE: The aircraft was completely wrecked.
575575129444NRauschenberger, Arthur F.Capt.O741368KIA
SOURCE: MACR 12611, 42-107576. 24 Feb 1945
NOTES: Target: Irlich. 42-107576 was flying box 1, lead flight. Just before release point, burst of FLAK hit the right engine and the main auxiliary fuel tank. The aircraft caught fire, veered right, and then went down in spiral dive. The wing broke off in the dive. No parachutes were observed leaving the aircraft.
57557510743NWechsler, Howard2/Lt.O797108
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-18087. 11 Aug 1943
NOTES: Taxiing accident at Myrtle Beach, SC.
1. Pilot was taxiing, using right brake, only due to weakness of left brake, to slow airplane, and using right engine to keep airplane straight. The right brake froze, and pulled the aircraft into the ditch at the side of the runway.
Examination of the aircraft after the accident showed the clearance on the left brake to be excessive, and the right brake showed signs of scorching, and burning, but the clearance was normal. The pilot stated that after noting the condition of the brake on Form #1, he taxied out, and noted the weakness of the left brake, and took-off.
2. In the opinion of this committee the pilot was at fault for flying an airplane when he was cognizant with the fact that the left brake was weak, as noted on the Form #1.
3. RECOMMENDATIONS: Recommend that pilots in the future take a greater interest in the condition of their aircraft, and not just climb in and take-off.
575575112431NWilliams, Edgar G.Capt.O791015
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.
575575117431NWilliams, Edgar G.Capt.O791015EVA
SOURCE: MACR 06649, 42-95821. 8 Jul 1944
NOTES: Target: Nantes RR Bridge, France. Stalnaker was leading the first box. During the bomb run the formation encountered heavy and accurate FLAK. Stalnaker was hit in both engines and his right engine started smoking. He continued the bomb run even though he was losing altitude. After the formation had dropped its bombs, he broke left and feathered his right engine. Mitchell flying in No.2 position took over the lead and called Stalnaker (who seemed calm) to say he was trying to get him fighter escort. Witnesses in the second box saw Stalnaker's aircraft flying alongside for a while until it stalled and crashed 5 mile NW of Chateaubriant. All crew bailed out and survived. The report seems to show that only Alexander was captured and the rest returned to duty.