Date & Time: May 27, 1950 at 1729 LT
Type of aircraft:
Curtiss C-46 Commando
Flight Phase:
Takeoff (climb)
Flight Type:
Teterboro – Fort Wayne – Detroit
Crew on board:
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
Captain / Total flying hours:
Captain / Total hours on type:
Copilot / Total flying hours:
Copilot / Total hours on type:
At 1727 the aircraft was cleared to Runway 19 for takeoff toward the south. The engines were run up to a manifold pressure of 15 inches of mercury and ignition was checked on both magnetos of each engine. Takeoff was then started and the manifold pressure was increased to 52 inches of mercury. Ground witnesses estimated that the takeoff run as somewhat longer than usual for this model aircraft. Tower personnel and several ground witnesses saw puffs of black smoke coming from the left engine immediately after the takeoff. At an altitude estimated as 200-300 feet, the left engine started to misfire. The landing gear had been raised and was checked for position. The left engine continued misfiring and shortly became worse. The left propeller as feathered. Ahead, the terrain as flat, unobstructed and marshy. Full power was maintained on the right engine and a left turn was started as if to return to the airport. At this point the altitude was estimated to be 400-500 feet. During the turn the air speed fell to 85-90 1 PH and the aircraft settled. This turning and settling continued until the aircraft neared the ground, when it was leveled laterally. It struck while about level, both laterally and longitudinally, and slid along the omen ground in a generally northeasterly direction for some 620 feet where it struck some large trees and turned to the left about 180 degrees. Both captain and copilot were thrown clear of the wreckage. The captain later died from his injuries. The weather was good and was not a factor in the accident.
Probable cause:
The Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was overloading of the aircraft due to faulty loading end dispatch procedures coupled with engine malfunctioning due to inadequate maintenance.
The following factors were noted:
- The aircraft's was leaded above its maximum gross weight by approximately 5,000 pounds,
- The aircraft had been flown in excess of its 80-hour inspection period,
- Both engines were inadequately maintained,
- The ignition systems of both engines were found to be defective,
- The left engine malfunctioned and its propeller was feathered shortly after takeoff at an air speed of 130-135 miles per hour,
- A left turn was made and the air speed fell sharply to 85-90 miles per hour,
- The aircraft settled to the ground in a near stalled condition.
Final Report:
N9406H.pdf474.49 KB