Date & Time: Mar 22, 1958 at 1118 LT
Type of aircraft:
Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation
McClellan - McClellan
United States of America
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Captain / Total hours on type:
Copilot / Total hours on type:
The crew departed McClellan AFB on a topographic and geographical mission off the Californian coast. Shortly after takeoff from runway 16, while climbing to an altitude of 500 feet, the engine number two caught fire. The crew obtained the authorization to return for an emergency landing and the captain completed a 180 turn to intercept the glide. Doing so, the airplane lost 200 feet while flying over a populated area and the speed dropped to 120 knots. On final, the captain told his colleagues he was unable to reach the airport so he attempted an emergency landing in an open field located 1,5 mile short of runway 16. On touchdown, the airplane slid for several yards, lost its right wing and came to rest in flames. All 18 occupants were injured, five of them seriously, and the aircraft was destroyed by fire.
The cause of the fire on engine number two could not be determined. At the time of the accident, ceiling was broken at 2,000 feet and overcast at 4,000 feet with light rain and a wind from the southeast at 10 knots, gusting 22 knots.