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List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1940–44)

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Title: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1940–44)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lists of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft, Tonopah Air Force Base, LIAT Flight 319, 1958 C-130 shootdown incident, Avient Aviation Flight 324
Collection: Lists of Accidents and Incidents Involving Military Aircraft
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1940–44)

This is a list of notable accidents and incidents involving military aircraft grouped by the year in which the accident or incident occurred. Not all of the aircraft were in operation at the time. For more exhaustive lists, see the Aircraft Crash Record Office or the Air Safety Network or the Dutch Scramble Website Brush and Dustpan Database. Combat losses are not included except for a very few cases denoted by singular circumstances.

See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft before 1925
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1925–1934)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1935–1939)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1940–1944)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1945–1949)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1950–1954)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1955–1959)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1960–1974)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1975–1979)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1980–1989)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1990–1999)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (2000–2009)
See: List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (2010–present)


  • Aircraft terminology 1
  • 1940 2
  • 1941 3
  • 1942 4
  • 1943 5
  • 1944 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Aircraft terminology

Information on aircraft gives the type, and if available, the serial number of the operator in italics, the constructors number, also known as the manufacturer's serial number (c/n), exterior codes in apostrophes, nicknames (if any) in quotation marks, flight callsign in italics, and operating units.


6 January
10 January
The Mechelen Incident, also known as the Mechelen affair, was an event during the Phoney War in the first stages of World War II. A German Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun piloted by Major Erich Hoenmanns, 52, base commander of Loddenheide airfield, near Münster with an officer on-board carrying the plans for Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), a German attack on the Low Countries, becomes lost and crash-lands in neutral Belgium near Vucht, in the modern-day municipality of Maasmechelen. This prompts an immediate crisis in the Low Countries and amidst the French and British authorities, whom the Belgians notify of their discovery; however the crisis abates relatively quickly once the dates mentioned in the plans pass without incident. It has been argued that the incident led to a major change in the German attack plan, but this hypothesis has also been disputed.
3 February
US Army Air Corps Chief of Staff Gen. Henry H. Arnold's personal staff transport, Northrop A-17AS, 36-350, c/n 290, 3-seat command transport, written off in accident this date.[2]
3 February
RAF pilot Peter Townsend, flying a Hawker Hurricane of 43 Squadron, downs Heinkel He 111, Werke Nummer 3232, 1H+FM, of KG 26, on a shipping strike, piloted by Hermann Wilms, which crashlands near Bannial Flat farm, Whitby, the first German aircraft downed on English soil since a Gotha bomber at Harrietsham, Kent, on 18 May 1918. (Previous German aircraft had been downed during World War II, but in Scotland.) Luftwaffe observer Peter Leushake on the He 111 killed by gunnery, gunner and flight engineer Johann Meyer, gunner Unteroffizier Karl Missy both wounded.[3]
10 February
First British Consolidated Catalina, P9630 [1], ex-NX21732, the sole Consolidated Model 28-5, sinks in a landing accident at Dumbarton after a flight from Rhu. Although salvaged, it never flies again.[4]
20 February
First fatal accident involving a Saro Lerwick flying boat occurs when Flt. Sgt. Corby attempts landing of L7253 of No. 209 Squadron RAF (209 Sqn) off Lismore Island near Oban in poor visibility. Aircraft stalls, bounces on water several times, starboard wingtip float breaks off, airframe capsizes. Water pours into hull through open windows, pilot Corby drowns but body recovered, three crew missing, two survive. Salvaged, becomes instructional airframe, later sinks in gale at RAF Wig Bay on Loch Ryan.[5]
11 March
Second prototype Mitsubishi Navy Experimental 12-Shi Carrier Fighter, built at the Nagoya aircraft works of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, equipped with a Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 engine, disintegrates at about 1030 hrs. during a dive test, flying out of Oppama Airfield (Yokosuka, Kanagawa), Japan. Pilot Masumi Okuyama of the flight test division of the Aeronautical Establishment is seen to deploy his chute, but then, inexplicably, releases harness and is killed by fall from height of 300 m (980 ft). Crash is determined to have been caused by tail flutter due to missing mass balance weight on elevator. The new design enters service named after the end of the year Kigen 2600 as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 11. This was the first fatality in the type.[6][7]
5 April
Prototype SNCASE SE.100-01 crashes at Marignane, France, returning from test flight. Approaching field, gear down, flaps up, it is seen to execute a flat turn at 1,000 ft (300 m), sink abruptly and crash. Unprotected fuel tanks in fuselage belly rupture, pilot Rouland and his mechanic perish in fire. Starboard propeller pitch mechanism inadvertently went into reverse on power increase causing loss of control.[8][9]
7 April
Blackburn B-20, V8914, experimental flying-boat with retractable lower-hull, lost after suffering severe aileron flutter - 3 crew killed, 2 rescued by HMS Transylvania. The aircraft's wreck still exists, but remains undisturbed as it is designated a War grave. In 1998, one of the engines was raised as it had been caught in a fishing boat's nets and dragged away from the wreck, into shallower water. It is currently an exhibit in the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.[10]
11 April
Grumman XF4F-2 Wildcat prototype, BuNo 0383, c/n 356, suffers engine failure during test flight out of NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C., force lands causing considerable damage. Aircraft grounded for several weeks for repairs.[11]
16 April
The sole prototype Kimura HK-1 tailless glider, purchased by the Japanese Army, crashes this date after only 13 flights.
24 April
Heinkel He 177A V3, D-AGIG, is destroyed in a crash this date.[12]
27 April
Prototype Yakovlev I-26, first of what became the Yak-1 fighter, crashes, killing pilot Yu. I. Piontkovskiy.[13] The investigation of the crash found that the pilot performed two consecutive barrel rolls at low altitude which was in violation of test flight plan. It was believed that during the first roll, the main landing gear became unlocked, causing it to crash through the wing during the second roll. It has been theorized that Piontkovskiy's deviation from the flight plan was caused by frustration that his aircraft was being used for engine testing while I-26-2, built with the lessons of I-26-1 in mind, was already performing aerobatics.
9 May
First prototype [14]
1 June
First Douglas R3D-1 for the U.S. Navy, BuNo 1901, c/n 606, crashes at Mines Field, Los Angeles, California before delivery. The Navy later acquires the privately owned DC-5 prototype, c/n 411, from William E. Boeing as a replacement.[15]
7 June
Edgar James "Cobber" Kain, the RAF's top ace (17 confirmed kills during the Battle of France), due to return to England after a combat tour in France this date, is seen off from the airfield at Échemines by squadron mates who bid him farewell as he takes off in his Hurricane to fly to Le Mans to collect his kit. Unexpectedly, Kain begins a "beat-up" of the airfield, performing a series of low level aerobatics in Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, L1826. Commencing a series of "flick" rolls, on his third roll, the ace misjudges his altitude and hits the ground heavily in a level attitude. Kain dies when he is pitched out of the cockpit, striking the ground 27 m in front of the exploding Hurricane. Kain is buried in Choloy Military Cemetery.[16]
21 June
Seventh (of 13 ordered) Bell YFM-1 Airacuda, 38-492, crash lands in farmer's field at East Aurora, New York, before acceptance by U.S. Army Air Corps when aircraft will not recover from spin, rudder locks, pilot cuts power prior to bail-out. After Bell test pilot Brian Sparks departs airframe, suffering severe injuries (two broken legs) when he strikes vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer, fellow Bell pilot John Strickler regains rudder control, dead-sticks the pusher twin into field ~15 SE of Buffalo. Sparks parachutes down, Strickler uninjured, airframe written-off.[17]
27 June
The second prototype Heinkel He 177A V2, CD+RQ, suffers in flight break up from control flutter.[12] Test pilot Rickert fails to bail out and is killed. The tail surfaces of the third, fourth and fifth prototypes nearing completion are then enlarged.
29 June
209 Sqn loses a second Saro Lerwick flying boat, L7261, when Flg. Off. Pain returns to Oban from escort mission due to severe weather. While taxying cross wind to the moorings, the starboard float breaks loose, flying boat capsizes, sinking within 30 minutes at RAF Oban in Ardantrive Bay. Airframe is beached four days later and salvage operations begin, but L7261 never flies again.[18]
9 July
During shakedown cruise of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp off Cuba, one of her Vought SB2U-2 Vindicator scout bombers, BuNo 1358,[19] crashes two miles (3 km) from the ship. Wasp goes to flank speed to close, as does the plane-guarding destroyer USS Morris. The latter's boats recover items from the plane's baggage compartment, but the plane sinks with its two crew.
11 July
On its fifth test flight, the prototype Vought XF4U-1 Corsair, BuNo 1443, runs low on fuel, Vought test pilot Boone Guyton attempts landing on rain-slicked fairway of the Norwich, Connecticut golf course, crashes into woods, flips over, slides into tree stump, comes to rest in ravine with wing and empennage torn off, propeller damage, but pilot unhurt. Vought rebuilds wreck to airborne condition in two months.[20]
Night of 22/23 July
First-ever combat victory using airborne radar takes place when Fg. Off. Glynn Ashfield, Plt. Off. Geoffrey Morris and Sgt. Reginald Leyland in a Bristol Blenheim, intercept and down a Luftwaffe Dornier Do 17Z in the English Channel off Brighton.[21]
6 August
Bell XP-39B Airacobra, 38-326, suffers second landing accident when pilot Capt. Ernest K. Warburton,[22] chief of the Wright Field test unit, on his third landing attempt, pulls back power as he approaches Wright Field, Ohio, at ~106 mph (171 km/h), stalls, and hits ground harder than intended. "The wing structure yielded where the main gear attached, damaging the wing and integral fuel tanks. Damage proved more substantial than first thought. As it turned out, this was the last flight of the XP-39B. Paper work was submitted to survey the airframe 11 days later and final approval was received 27 December 1940. (Air Corps record card for XP-39B, serial number 38-326.) The prototype Airacobra was scrapped."[23]
8 August
A Heinkel He 111H-4 of 1 Gruppe of Kampfgeschwader 4 (1/KG4), based at Soesterberg, the Netherlands, on a mission to lay mines off Belfast, crashes when the crew becomes lost and collides with the summit of Cairnsmore of Fleet in the Galloway Hills of Scotland, whereupon the ordnance on board explodes, killing the crew. KWF are Leutnant A. Zeiss, 25, Unteroffizier G. T. Von Turckheim, 31, Unteroffizier W. Hajesch, 21, and Unteroffizier W. Mechsner, 23. All crew are buried at Cannock Chase German war cemetery, Staffordshire, England. One of the Junkers Jumo 211 engines is displayed at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.[24]
13 August
Three members of the Australian cabinet, the Chief of the Australian Army's General Staff and six other passengers and aircrew were killed when Lockheed Hudson II, A16-97, which they were travelling in crashed in hilly country about 8 miles from Canberra.[25]
26 August
Luftwaffe Dornier Do 17Z-2, Werke Nummer 1160, 5K+AR, of 7 Staffel, III Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 3, is hit by Boulton-Paul Defiants of No. 264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron RAF, that leave both engines dead and the crew wounded [26] while over Kent during a raid to attack airfields in Essex in the Battle of Britain. Attempts a wheels-up low-tide landing on the Goodwin Sands in the English Channel, according to records obtained by the BBC, sinking to a depth of 50 feet, coming to rest inverted in the Sands off the coast of Deal, Kent. Two of the crew members die on impact, while two others, including the pilot, Feldwebel (Flt. Sgt.) Willi Effmert, are taken prisoner and survive the war. Hidden and preserved by shifting sands, the discovery of the rare bomber is announced 3 September 2010. The airframe was initially found in 2008 when a fishing boat snagged nets on it.[27][28] In March 2011 sonar images are taken by high-tech sonar equipment, undertaken by a Port of London Authority (PLA) vessel.[29][30] High-resolution images appear to show that the Do 17, known as the "Flying Pencil", suffered only minor damage, to its forward cockpit and observation windows, and propellers, on impact. "The bomb bay doors were open, suggesting the crew jettisoned their cargo," said Port of London Authority spokesman Martin Garside. As the only known survivor of the type, and in a remarkable state of preservation, the Royal Air Force Museum has launched an appeal to raise funds for the lifting operation of the Dornier 17.[31][32] In May 2013, the RAF Museum is on site, assembling a special lift to raise the airframe from the seabed, which attempt will probably take place in June. The wings will then be demated from the fuselage and the components moved for chemical stabilization and preservation, a lengthy process expected to cost about a half million pounds.[33] The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the investigation of all military aircraft crash sites in the United Kingdom (including those situated in UK territorial waters) and has only issued a licence for recovery of the Dornier because it is NOT a war grave. The aircraft's crew of four are all accounted for and no human remains are present in the aircraft.
29 August
A Grumman F3F-2, BuNo 0976, c/n 374, '2-MF-16', ditches off the coast of San Diego while attempting a landing on USS Saratoga, when pilot, Marine 1st Lieutenant Robert E. Galer, a future general and Medal of Honor recipient, has fuel pump issues.[34] The fighter is rediscovered by a navy submersible in June 1988, and recovered on 5 April 1991. It was restored at the San Diego Aerospace Museum.[35]
Grumman F3F-2, BuNo 0976, restored and displayed at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, Florida, after 50 years in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.
30 August
A Curtiss YP-37, 38-476, of the 22d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 36th Pursuit Group, Langley Field, Virginia, piloted by Homer M. Truitt, is moderately damaged in a ground loop on landing at Langley Field.[36]
5 September
Flugkapitän Fritz Wendel, Messerschmitt's chief test pilot, performing series of diving trials on Messerschmitt Me 210 V2, Werknummer 0002, WL-ABEO, loses starboard tailplane in final dive, bails out, twin-engined fighter crashing in the Siebentischwald, Augsburg, Germany. This was the first of many losses of the type.[37]
13 September
Fairey Battle, L5343 of No. 98 Squadron RAF (98 Sqn), the first RAF aircraft to deploy to Iceland on 27 August 1940, comes to an unexpected end on a test flight from Kaldadarnes, Iceland to Akureyri, Iceland when engine quits over remote area, wheels down emergency landing results in gear collapse, but pilot Fg. Off. "Willie" Wilcox and passenger Lt. Col. H. Davies of the Royal Engineers okay. Airframe is finally retrieved in 1972, restored, and is now displayed at the RAF Museum at Hendon, UK.[38]
19 September
Roald Dahl's Gloster Gladiator Mk.I, K7911,[39] low on fuel, crashes in the Libyan Desert (a.k.a. Western Desert) at sundown. "The landing gear hit a boulder and collapsed instantly into a pile of twisted metal and rubber, burying the nose of the plane into the ground. He was thrown violently forward against the front of the canopy. His nose was driven back into his face, his skull was fractured, and he was knocked unconscious."[40][41] a No. 80 Squadron RAF (80 Sqn) report the following day states that "P/O Dahl posted to this squadron from T.U.R.P. for flying duties w.e.f. [with effect from] 20th September. This pilot was ferrying an aircraft from No. 102 Maintenance Unit (102 MU) to this unit, but unfortunately not being used to flying aircraft over the Desert he made a forced landing 2 miles west of Mersa Matruh. He made an unsuccessful forced landing but the aircraft burst into flames. The pilot was badly burned and he was conveyed to an Army Field Ambulance Station."[42] Haunted by the experience, he pens a slightly fictionalized account, "Shot Down Over Libya", (Hawker Hurricane instead of a Gladiator; enemy fighter attack rather than low fuel), which is published in the 1 August 1942 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, credited only to "an RAF pilot at present in this country for medical reasons."[42] This marks the beginning of his writing career.[40][41]
20 September
Two Avro Ansons after emergency landing in Brocklesby, New South Wales, 29 September 1940.
29 September
Avro Ansons, L9162 and N4876, of No. 2 Service Flying Training School RAAF (2 OTU RAAF) collide in mid-air becoming locked together. A successful emergency landing was made at Brocklesby, New South Wales. L9162 became a ground instructional airframe, while N4876 was repaired and returned to service.[44]
A hangar fire aboard HMS Illustrious, which damages or destroys several Fairey Swordfish, forces postponement of an attack on the Regia Marina at Taranto, originally planned to take place on 21 October, Trafalgar Day, until the night of 11–12 November, now known as the Battle of Taranto.[45]
18 October
First Bell YP-39 Airacobra, 40-027, crashes near Buffalo, New York on eighth flight when only one main landing gear extends. Bell test pilot Bob Stanley bails out at 7,000 feet (2,100 m) rather than try a wheels-up landing, suffering only minor injuries when he lands in a tree. Examination of the wreckage shows that universal joints attached to the torque tubes driving the main gear struts had failed, as had limit switches placed in the retraction mechanism to shut off the electrical motors.[46][47][48]
16 November
Dornier Do 26 V5 was lost on 16 November 1940 , killing its crew, after being launched at night from the catapult ship Friesenland[49] in Brest, France.
19 November
First Republic YP-43 Lancer, 39-704, caught fire in air over Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, pilot bailed out.
20 November
Prototype [54]
21 November
Saro Lerwick, L7251, of 209 Sqn, is caught in a gale while moored on Loch Ryan, entrance hatches and front turret apparently not properly secured allow water to pour in, flying boat sinks.[55]
6 December
Saro Lerwick, L7255, of 209 Sqn, moored at RAF Stranraer, is caught in a gale, one wingtip float breaks off, flying boat capsizes, sinks.[56]
13 December
Two Northrop Nomad Mk. Is, of No. 3 Training Command RCAF, ex-USAAC Northrop A-17As, 93 of which were originally purchased by France but taken up by Great Britain after the Germans overran the continent in November 1940, with 32 transferred to Canada, collide in a blizzard whilst on a search and rescue mission for a third missing Nomad. One airframe, 3521, along with the remains of her crew, is discovered in Lake Muskoka, near Bracebridge, Ontario, by divers of the Ontario Provincial Police in July 2010. "A subsequent dive by the Royal Canadian Navy's Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) in October, 2012 saw the recovery of the two crewmen, RCAF pilot LAC Ted Bates and RAF pilot Flt.Lt. Pete Campbell, their personal effects, and three .303 machine guns."[57][58]On 30 October 2014, recovery of the remarkably intact airframe, although in five major pieces, was begun by the National Air Force Museum of Canada, at Trenton, Ontario, where it is anticipated that the rare aircraft will undergo a full restoration. The aircrew received "a proper military funeral, which their families held in Guelph, Ontario," on 13 September 2013.[59][60] The crew of the other Nomad involved in this accident, 3512, were Sergeant L. Francis and William J. P. Gosling. "Nomad 3512 and its pilot and co-pilot were located shortly after the crash."[61] They were looking for Nomad 3503, flown solo by L.A.C. Clayton Peder Hopton, who is buried at Cabri, Saskatchewan. The wreckage of 3503 found in a swamp five miles SE of Camp Borden, Ontario, on 14 December.
16 December
The Grumman XF4F-3 Wildcat prototype, BuNo 0383, c/n 356, modified from XF4F-2, is lost at Norfolk, Virginia[62] under circumstances that suggested that the pilot may have been confused by poor lay-out of fuel valves and flap controls and inadvertently turned the fuel valve to "off" immediately after takeoff rather than selecting flaps "up". This was the first fatality in the type.[11]
18 December
Boeing Y1B-17 Flying Fortress, 36-157, c/n 1981, formerly of the 2d Bomb Group, Langley Field, Virginia, transferred to the 93d Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group, March Field, California, in October 1940, crashed E of San Jacinto, California, 3.5 miles NNW of Idyllwild, while en route to March Field.[63] Pilot was John H. Turner.[64]
31 December
A Vickers Wellington IA bomber, N2980, R for Robert, of No. 20 OTU, out of RAF Lossiemouth, suffers starboard engine failure at 8,000 feet in a snow storm while on a training flight over Great Glen, Scotland. Pilot, Squadron Leader Marlwood-Elton orders crew of six trainee navigators and the tail gunner to bail-out, all escaping safely save the gunner whose chute fails to open. Marlwood-Elton and P/O Slatter (also reported as Slater) then notice a body of water and they successfully ditch in the northern basin of Loch Ness near the A82 road, both escaping before the airframe sinks. Discovered by side-scan sonar in 1976, the rare Wellington is raised on 21 September 1985, and restored at Weybridge where she was built. Now on display at the Brooklands Museum, it is one of only two known intact Wellingtons.[65]


Sole Kellett XR-2, 37-378, modified from a Kellett YG-1C gyrocopter, is destroyed in ground test by rotor-ground resonance problem - never flew. Funding transferred to Kellett XR-3.
5 January
Renowned aviatrix Amy Johnson takes off from an overnight stopover at RAF Squire's Gate near Blackpool in Airspeed Oxford V3540 on an Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) delivery flight from RAF Prestwick, Scotland to RAF Kidlington, in Oxfordshire. In bad weather Johnson becomes lost and was next seen more than three hours later over the Thames Estuary. Johnson parachuted into the water, where the barrage balloon tender Hazlemere, spotting her descent, hurries to pick her up. By the time the vessel reaches Johnson she is exhausted and unable to grab the line thrown to her. An officer from the tender, Lt.Cmdr. Walter Fletcher, dives into the sea to help, but numbed by the cold Johnson sinks beneath the surface. Johnson's body is never recovered. Fletcher succumbs to the cold and also dies. Johnson had made headlines in 1930 when she had become the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.[66]
7 January
Saro Lerwick flying boat, L7262, of 209 Sqn is lost when pilot Flt. Lt. Spotswood is unable to take off near Stranraer, Scotland. After a long take off run, the hull strikes a floating obstacle and rapidly takes on water, sinks. Two crew are trapped and drown.[56]
29 January
Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo, BuNo 1407, accepted 4 October 1940, to BatFor, San Diego, 14 October 1940; to VF-2, assigned to the USS Lexington, 15 October 1940, '2-F-2'; is lost prior to embarkation when a squadron pilot engaged in dive-bombing practice out of Pearl Harbor, H.I., loses both ailerons during 6G pull-out from what was claimed to be a 400 mph (643 km/h) 45-degree angle dive. With little control remaining, pilot successfully bails out.[67] SOC 31 January 1941 with 132 hours on airframe.[68]
Prototype Tupolev ANT-58, also known as Samolet 103 (aircraft 103), first of what became the Tupolev Tu-2, crashes after uncontrollable fire in problematic starboard Mikulin AM-37 engine. Pilot Mikhail A. Nyutikov and observer A. Akopyan bail out, but Akopyan's parachute lines entangle in tail structure and he is killed.[69]
4 February
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle prototype, P1360, written off in crash landing on test flight out of RAF Boscombe Down when six-foot square panel is lost from port wing surface. John Hayhurst bails out successfully, but flight test engineer Norman Sharp's parachute entangles with tail structure and he releases his chute just before touchdown on a flat ridge on top of a quarry SE of Crewkerne, Somerset, landing at ~150 mph (240 km/h; 130 kn) in snow and bushes, surviving with serious injuries. Pilot Brian Huxtable survives crash landing.[70]
5 February
Focke Achgelis Fa 223 V1 crashes when right rotor pylon breaks off in flight. Test pilot Carl Bode (25 February 1911 – 16 November 2002) successfully parachutes from the stricken helicopter (quite possibly the first helicopter parachute attempt ever), but passenger Dr. Ing. Heinz Baer is killed in the crash.[71]
6 February
Boeing B-17B Flying Fortress, 38-216, c/n 2009,[72] crashes near Lovelock, Nevada while en route to Wright Field, Ohio, killing all eight on board. Pilot Capt. Richard S. Freeman had shared the 1939 MacKay Trophy for the Boeing B-15 flight from Langley Field, Virginia via Panama and Lima, Peru at the request of the American Red Cross, for delivering urgently needed vaccines and other medical supplies in areas of Chile devastated by an earthquake. General Order Number 10, dated 3 March 1943, announces that the advanced flying school being constructed near Seymour, Indiana is to be named Freeman Field in honor of the Hoosier native.[73] Ref The World War II Heritage of Ladd Field, CEMML, Colorado State University- Chapter 4.0 Cold Weather Test - page 22; “One of the B-17s was lost in a February crash that took the lives of the eight men on board. They had been en route to Wright Field via Sacramento, carrying records and reports of the station. The loss of this crew weighed heavily on the small contingent at Ladd who were weathering the first winter of operations. Roads on Ladd Field were later named for the some of these crew members: Freeman, Ketcham, Whidden, Trainer, Gilreath, Davies, and Applegate.” Lost aboard 38-216 was Captain Richard S. Freeman of Indiana, 1Lt. Edward W. Ketcham (Home of Record Unknown), Sergeant Everett R. Crabb of Harrisburg, Illinois, Sergeant Joseph Pierce Davies, Jr. of Ohio, Technical Sergeant E.H. Gilreath of Virginia, Sergeant Elmer S. Trainer of California, and Sergeant Frank C. Whidden of Florida.
8 February
Prototype Curtiss XSB2C Helldiver, BuNo 1758, suffers engine failure just prior to landing and fuselage is heavily damaged. Repaired.[74]
22 February
Saro Lerwick flying boat, L7263, of 209 Sqn, piloted by Plt. Off. Fyfe, goes missing. Extensive air and sea searches turn up no trace, nor any of 14 on board, including Wing Commander Bainbridge. A new C.O., Wing Commander MacDermott, is appointed a few days later.[56]
25 February
Douglas B-18 Bolo, 36-446, c/n 1747, formerly of the 11th Bombardment Group Heavy (H), crashes due to main bearing failure on port engine. The crew was rescued three days later.[75] Since then, the aircraft has been sitting in a gulch on Laupahoehoe Nui LLC property, Hamakua, Hawaii. Acquired by Pacific Aviation Museum, the plan is to recover and restore the aircraft.
4 March
Douglas TBD-1 Devastator, BuNo 0377, assigned to USS Lexington, but operating out of NAS North Island, San Diego, California, on a bombing training flight, suffers engine failure after making a practice drop, and ditches in the Pacific Ocean, sinking in ~100 fathoms ~5 miles W of Mission Beach, California. Pilot 1st Lt. (j.g.) W. A. H. Howland, AOM2c R. Rogers, and AMM3c O. A. Carter successfully deploy dinghy and are rescued after ~30 minutes by light seaplane tender USS Williamson.[76] Rediscovered in 1996, the location was kept secret as the TBD is considered one of the holy grails of lost Naval Aviation. In February 2011, the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida, announced plans to recover and restore the rara avis.[77]
21 March
RAF Vickers Virginia Mk.X K2329 of the Parachute section, 13 Maintenance Unit crashes on take-off from RAF Henlow, Bedfordshire.[78]
24 March
Final Saro Lerwick flying boat loss for 209 Sqn, before transition to Consolidated Catalina, occurs this date when L7252 strikes a powerful wave in bad sea conditions while landing at Pembroke Dock, throwing aircraft up, sinks rapidly, but all crew escapes. Other Lerwicks are transferred to No. 4 Operational Training Unit (4 OTU) for training purposes.[56]
16 April
Sole Martin XB-26D Marauder, 40-1380, assigned to the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, 22nd Bomb Group, Langley Field, Virginia, modified to test hot air de-icing equipment, is written off in a landing accident at Langley Field. Pilot was Dwight Divine II.[79][80]
16 April
Lt. j.g. Yasushi Nikaido, fighter squadron leader of the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Kaga, survives close call when Mitsubishi A6M, number 140, loses both port and starboard ailerons as well as part of the upper wing surface while performing dive of 550 km/h at 2,300 rpm, but pilot makes skilful emergency landing at Kisarazu Air Field. Accident is reported to Naval Aeronautical Headquarters, the Naval Aeronautical Technical Establishment, and the Yokosuka Air Corps.[81][82]
17 April
During dive tests to determine why wrinkles are appearing on the surface plates of the wings, Lt. Manbei Shimokawa, squadron leader at Yokosuka Naval Air Corps, is killed in Mitsubishi A6M Model 21, number 135, equipped with balance tabs, when, during pull-out at 1,500 m (4,900 ft) from dive from 4,000 m (13,000 ft), parts are seen by ground observers to depart from the port wing, fighter drops nose, plunges into ten fathoms of water off Natsu Island. The popular pilot is found in the wreckage with "his head entirely crushed into the instrument panel". Aeronautical Technical Establishment investigation reveals that flutter and vibration tests had not simulated the stiffness distribution of actual airframes and that the ailerons and horizontal stabilizers had been torn out. Fighter had previously been assigned to the carrier Akagi.[83] Shimokawa is posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Commander.[84]
5 May
Major George Putnam Moody (13 March 1908 – 5 May 1941), an early Air Force pioneer, is killed while flight-testing a Moody Army Airfield on 6 December 1941 in honor of Maj. Moody. The AT-10 is used extensively at Moody AAF during World War II.
7 May
The second prototype MiG I-200, fitted with a prototype of the temperamental Mikulin AM-37 engine and first flown on 6 January 1941, experiences severe vibration problems and, despite efforts to cure the problems, it fails during a flight this date, and the airframe is destroyed in the ensuing crash.
10 May
At 2305 hrs. Messerschmitt Bf 110D, Werknr 3868, 'VJ+OQ', appears over Eaglesham, Renfrewshire. Pilot bails out and when challenged by David McLean, Head Ploughman of a local farm, as to whether he is German, the man replies in good English; "Yes, I am Hauptmann Alfred Horn. I have an important message for the Duke of Hamilton". Horn is taken to McLean's cottage where McLean's wife makes a pot of tea, but the German requests only a glass of water. Horn has hurt his back and help is summoned. Local Home Guard soldiers arrive and Horn is taken to their headquarters at the Drill Hall, Busby, East Renfrewshire, near Glasgow. Upon questioning by a visiting Royal Observer Corps officer, Major Graham Donald, Horn repeats his request to see the Duke. Donald recognises "Hauptmann Horn" to be none other than Rudolph Hess. The remains of Hess' Messerschmitt Bf 110 are now in the Imperial War Museum.[85]
14 May
Grumman XP-50 Skyrocket, 40-3057, crashes into Long Island Sound during first test flight when the starboard turbo-supercharger explodes. Pilot Robert Hall bails out. Built as a company project, it was allocated a USAAF serial, but was destroyed before being taken on charge.[86][87]
Early summer
Junkers Ju 288 V4, D-AACS, crashed during one of its first test flights from Dessau, Germany. Fire starts in the port BMW 801MA radial engine nacelle during landing approach at Dessau, burning so fiercely that it cuts through the main longerons, virtually severing the forward fuselage from the center fuselage. Despite severe damage, airframe is rebuilt and resumes flight test programme in late November.[88]
2 June
First British Selma, Alabama was renamed Craig Field, later Craig Air Force Base.[90] Investigation into the cause of the accident causes a two-month delay in deliveries, so the RAF does not begin receiving Liberator IIs until August 1941.
8 June
Fourth prototype Heinkel He 177A Greif V4, fails to pull out of a moderate dive during dive trials, crashes into the Baltic Sea, off Ribnitz-Damgarten. It was later discovered that the accident had resulted from the malfunctioning of an controllable pitch propeller control mechanism.[12]
16 June
USAAF Douglas O-38F, 33-324, c/n 1177, first aircraft to land at Ladd Field, Alaska, in October 1940, this aircraft flew various missions until it crashed on 16 June 1941, at 1450 hrs., due to engine failure about 70 miles (110 km) SE of Fairbanks. Uninjured, the pilot, Lt. Milton H. Ashkins, and his mechanic, Sgt. Raymond A. Roberts, hiked to safety after supplies were dropped to them. The abandoned aircraft remained in the Alaskan wilderness until the National Museum of the United States Air Force arranged for its recovery by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Fort Greely on 10 June 1968. Despite being exposed to the Alaskan weather for 27 years, the aircraft remained in remarkable condition. Only the wings required extensive restoration.[91][92]
21 June
Lieutenant Colonel Elmer D. Perrin, a native Texan, and the district supervisor, Eastern Air Corps Procurement District, since 1939, and Air Corps representative to the Glenn L. Martin Company, Baltimore, Maryland, is killed in a crash during an acceptance test of, Martin B-26 Marauder bomber, 40-1386, near the aircraft plant north of Baltimore, coming down ~1/2 mile after take off in woods and burning. Copilot A. J. Bowman of the Martin Company was also killed. Lt.Col. Perrin was the Air Corps' most experienced B-26 pilot at the time of this accident. In January 1942, Grayson Basic Flying School, Grayson County, Texas, is renamed Perrin Field in his honor, later Perrin Air Force Base.[93]
22 June
Royal Air Force Boeing Fortress I, AN522, c/n 2054,[94] of 90 Squadron, RAF Great Massingham, flown by F/O J. C. Hawley, breaks up in mid-air over Yorkshire during a training flight. Single survivor, a medical officer from RAE Farnborough, reports that the bomber entered a cumulo-nimbus cloud at 33,000 feet (10,100 m), became heavily iced-up with hailstones entering through open gunports, after which control was lost, the port wing detached, and the fuselage broke in two at 25,000 feet (7,600 m). Survivor, who was in the aft fuselage, was able to bail out at 12,000 feet (3,700 m).[95]
29 June
Curtiss XSO2C-1 Seagull, BuNo 0950, crashed at NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C.. To mechanics school at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
3 July
Royal Air Force Boeing Fortress I, AN528, c/n 2065,[94] of No. 90 Squadron RAF (90 Sqn) at RAF Polebrook, is destroyed when a troublesome engine catches fire during a late-night ground run.[96]
3 July
Luftwaffe experten Major Wilhelm Balthasar, (47 credited kills), Geschaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 2, and winner of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, is killed in action on this date when his Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 suffers failure of a wing and he crashes into Ferme Goset, Wittes, France, near Saint-Omer. The airframe is recovered in March 2004.[97]
9 July - 10 July
In a span of under three hours, three Junkers Ju 88As suffer controlled flight into terrain in northeast England, believed to be due to a British radio counter-measure 'Meacon' which falsifies German navigational beacon signals and caused the planes to fly headlong into coastal hills. The first Ju 88A comes in from the sea in mist and flies into the ground at Speeton near Bridlington at 2348 hrs. All crew KWF. At 0006 hrs., another Junkers flies into a cliff at Cliff Farm, Staithes, Yorkshire, in bad weather, killing all crew. A third bomber comes in from the sea in mist and flies into the ground at a shallow angle at Speeton near Bridlington at 0120 hrs. The aircraft is burnt by the crew who are all captured.[98]
7 August
Bruno Mussolini, the son of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and commander of the 274a Squadriglia (274th Squadron), was piloting one of the prototypes of the "secret" Piaggio P.108B bomber, MM22003,[99] near the San Giusto Airport in Pisa. He flew too low and crashed into a house.[100] The cockpit section separated from the rest of the aircraft and although the aircraft did not catch fire, it was nevertheless totally destroyed in the impact. Five members of the crew were injured and three died, including Bruno. Benito Mussolini rushed to the Santa Chiara Hospital to be at the side of his dead son.[101]
21 August
24 year-old Lt. Eugene M. Bradley, of Antlers, Oklahoma, assigned to the 64th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 57th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), is killed while engaged in a dogfight training drill with Frank Mears, commander of the 64th. Lt. Bradley's Curtiss P-40C, 41-13348,[102] spins out of a tight turn and spirals into a grove of trees 1 mile W of Windsor Locks Army Air Base,[103] Windsor Locks, Connecticut, the first fatality at the new base. Following his funeral in Hartford, Lt. Bradley's remains are interred at San Antonio National Cemetery in Texas. In January 1942, the War Department formally authorized the field's designation as Bradley Field, as a tribute to the flier's memory, so designated on 20 January.[104] It is now Bradley International Airport.
27 August
Four Boulton Paul Defiants of No. 256 Squadron RAF on practise formation flight, on NE heading a little W of Blackpool at 2,000 feet (610 m), break formation - right into a trio of Blackburn Bothas of No.3 School of General Reconnaissance, flying NW at 1,500 feet (460 m). First two Defiants avoid Bothas, but third off the break, N1745, 'J-TP', strikes one Botha, L6509, cutting it in two, and losing one of its own wings. Botha comes down on ticket office of Blackpool Central railway station, starting a large petrol-fed fire. The Defiant impacts on a private home at No. 97 Reads Avenue. Thirteen killed outright, including all four aircrew, 39 others injured. Of 17 detained in hospital, five later died. All civilian casualties were visitors to the seaside resort, except for one occupant of the house on Reads Avenue. This accident caused more casualties than all the enemy air raids on Blackpool and The Fylde during the entire war.[105]
4 September;
RAF Vickers Virginia Mk.X J7434 of the Parachute section, 13 Maintenance Unit undershoots on landing at RAF Henlow, Bedfordshire and is declared Cat M.[78]
3 October
Heinkel He 177A Greif V1, CB+RP, is destroyed on landing.[12]
14 October
First accident involving Saro Lerwick flying boat assigned to No. 4 Operational Training Unit occurs when L7268 dives into the sea near Tarbat Ness following failure of the port engine. Type could not maintain altitude on single powerplant. Six crew killed, three recovered alive.[56]
20 October
A Messerschmitt Bf 109F–2, Werk Nr. 12764, previously flown by Rolf Pingel (1 October 1913 – 4 April 2000), a German Luftwaffe experten (ace) and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, captured on 10 July 1941 when Pingel was forced to crash land in England near St Margaret's at Cliffe after being hit by fire from a British Short Stirling bomber that he was pursuing, returned to flying condition by the RAF and allocated the serial ES906, crashes this date near Fowlmere, killing Polish pilot F/O J. Skalski.[106]
21 October
First prototype Saro Lerwick, L7248, on strength with the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, crashes into hill at Faslane, probably as a result of engine failure, seven crew killed.[107]
2 November
Wisconsin-native Lieutenant Thomas "Bud" L. Truax is killed, along with his wingman, Lt. Russell E. Speckman, in a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk training accident during poor weather in San Anselmo, California. In the late afternoon, San Anselmo residents are startled when two low-flying Curtiss P-40C Warhawks, 41-13375 and 41-13454, roar up the valley at just above roof level and crash into the east side of Bald Hill just shy of the peak at 1740 hrs. It was almost dark, was misty and they were under a low cloud ceiling. They were critically low on fuel and part of a larger training group that had gotten separated. They were under the wintertime marine layer of low clouds that are common in the Marin County area, searching for nearby Hamilton Field to land.[108][109] Madison Army Air Field, Wisconsin, is named Truax Field in his honor in 1942. A third pilot, Lt. Walter V. "Ramblin" Radovich,[110] flying 41-13392, had left the formation over San Rafael, almost hit the city courthouse on 4th Street, circled the Forbes Hill radio beacon (37°58'44.73"N,122°32'50.78"W), clipped a tree and then turned northeast, towards Hamilton Field. Unsure of what the oncoming terrain might be and critically low on fuel, he decides to climb up though the typically thin marine cloud layer to 2500 ft, trim the airplane for straight and level flight and bail out. According to USAAF accident reports, his left leg was broken when exiting the plane and he parachuted down, landing near Highway 101 in Lucas Valley reportedly near where Fireman's Fund / Marin Commons is currently located (38° 1'10.66"N, 122°32'29.36"W). Ironically, after Lt. Radovich bailed out, the airplane slowly descended back down through the clouds and made a relatively smooth "gear up" landing. All aircraft were of the 57th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), on a cross-country flight from Windsor Locks Army Air Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, to McChord Field, Washington.
4 November
Tail section of Lockheed YP-38 Lightning, 39-689, separates in flight over Glendale, California, Lockheed Lightning crashes inverted on house at 1147 Elm Street, killing Lockheed test pilot Ralph Virden. Home owner survives, indeed, sleeps right through the crash.[86]
11 November
Saro Lerwick flying boat, L7257, of No. 4 OTU, sinks at mooring, Invergordon, when caught in a gale.[56]
17 November
((Northrop A-17)) from Albuquerque Army Air Base, NM crashed in Bear Canyon, Sandia Mountains. Killed were Geldon T Miller, 2nd Lt, and Howard L Edwards S/Sgt, 38th reconnaissance squadron.[111]
19 November
North American P-64, 41-19086, assigned to the 66th Air Base Squadron, Luke Field, Arizona, one of six NA-68s ordered by the Royal Thai Air Force which were seized before export by the US government in 1941, after the Franco-Thai War and growing ties between Thailand and the Empire of Japan, crashes and burns 20 miles NW of Luke Field after a stall/spin, killing pilot Charles C. Ball.[112][113] These aircraft, designated P-64s, were used by the USAAC as unarmed fighter trainers.
22 November
Luftwaffe experten Werner Mölders, traveling as a passenger in a Heinkel He 111, bearing Geschwaderkennung code '1G+TH', of Kampfgeschwader 27 "Boelcke" from the Crimea to Germany to attend the funeral of his superior, Ernst Udet, who had committed suicide, is killed during an attempted landing at Breslau during a thunderstorm when the aircraft crashed at 1130 hrs. Near Breslau, the port engine failed and the crew tried to land at the nearest available airfield, Schmiedefelde. At low altitude, the second engine cut and the He 111 hit the ground near Martin Quander Farm at N°132 Flughafenstrasse.[114] Mölders, pilot Oberleutnant Kolbe and flight engineer Oberfeldwebel Hobbie were killed. Major Dr. Wenzel and radio operator Oberfeldwebel Tenz survived the crash landing. Dr. Wenzel sustained a broken arm and leg as well as a concussion, and Tenz a broken ankle. Mölders' fatal injuries included a broken back and a crushed ribcage. Accident investigators then and since have speculated whether Mölders would have survived the crash if he had used his seat belt.[115] In his memory, on 20 December 1941, JG 51 was bestowed the honor name "Mölders".[116]
26 November
Mitsubishi A6M2, c/n 3372, coded 'V-172', of the 22nd Air Flotilla Fighter Unit, forced-lands on a beach at Leichou Pantao, China, as lost flight of two runs low on fuel. Discovered mostly intact, dismantled and shipped to United States for testing, this was the first of the type to fall into Allied hands. Later test-flown at Eglin Field, Florida, then put on tour as war bond exhibit. Disposition unknown following end of hostilities.[117]
28 November
First prototype Grumman XTBF-1 Avenger, BuNo 2539, suffers fire in bomb bay during test flight out of Long Island, New York factory airfield, forcing pilot Hobart Cook and engineer Gordon Israel to bail out. (Joe Mizrahi source cites date of accident as 28 August 1941.)[118][119]
11 December
American John Gillespie Magee, Jr., serving with newly formed No. 412 Squadron RCAF at RAF Digby on 30 June 1941, is killed at the age of 19, while flying Supermarine Spitfire AD291 'VZ-H', in a mid-air collision with an Airspeed Oxford trainer from RAF Cranwell, flown by Leading Aircraftman Ernest Aubrey. The aircraft collided in cloud cover at about 400 feet (120 m) AGL, at 1130 hrs. over the village of Roxholm which lies between RAF Cranwell and RAF Digby, in Lincolnshire. Magee was descending at the time. At the inquiry afterwards a farmer testified that he saw the Spitfire pilot struggling to push back the canopy. The pilot stood up to jump from the plane but was too close to the ground for his parachute to open, and died on impact. Magee is buried at Holy Cross, Scopwick Cemetery in Lincolnshire, England.[120] On his grave are inscribed the first and last lines from his poem High Flight.
12 December
Major General Herbert A. Dargue, the first recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States), en route to Hawaii to assume command of the Hawaiian Department from Lieutenant General Walter Short, is killed when his Douglas B-18 Bolo, 36-306, of the 31st Air Base Group,[121] crashes in the Sierra Mountains, S of Bishop, California, in worsening weather conditions. Wreckage not found until March 1942. (Joe Baugher cites discovery date of 5 July 1942.) Besides the general, seven are KWF including his staff, and crew chiefs, critically needed in the Pacific.[122]
18 December
A RAF Lockheed Hudson III, V9032, ofNo. 6 Operational Training Unit RAF (6 OTU), crashes onto the farmhouse of Quarry Farm at Ingleby Barwick near Thornaby, England, while on a training mission when aircraft stalls soon after takeoff. Plane and house destroyed in inferno. Of the occupants, a farmer, his wife and two of his children are killed, two other children, boys aged nine and eleven escape. The twenty-three-year-old pilot and five other crew members are KWF. The pilot's fiancee offers to adopt the surviving children.[123] Killed are F/Sgt Albert G. Graves RAF, pilot, 23, of Ashford, Kent; Sgt Richard H. D. Palmer RAFVR, pilot, 27; P/O Michael B. Van Heerdan RAFVR, observer, 23, of Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa; Sgt Leslie Hogg RAFVR, WOp/AG, 27, of West Croydon, Surrey; Sgt Harry W. G. Hewitt RAFVR, WOp/AG, 21, of Teddington; Mr. James R. Garbutt, 39; Mrs. Violet M. Garbutt, 41; Master Alick R. Garbutt, 8; and Master Charles R. Garbutt, 6, all of Quarry Farm, Ingleby Barwick.[124]
21 December
Curtiss XSB2C-1 Helldiver, BuNo 1758, destroyed after suffering inflight wing failure. Pilot Baron T. Hulse bails out. Airframe had previously crashed on 8 February 1941 due to engine failure during approach. Sustained damage to fuselage but was repaired.[125]
21 December
No. 4 Operational Training Unit RAF (4 OTU) loses third Saro Lerwick flying boat, L7265, when Flg. Off. Armstrong hits water hard near Invergordon while practising landings, wing distortion leads to total loss of control, all crew escape.[56]
30 December
Nine Martin B-26 Marauder bombers of the 33d Bombardment Squadron, 22d Bombardment Group, depart Muroc Army Air Field for March Field, California, but only eight arrive. In bad weather, B-26, 40-1475, snags a pine tree and crashes on Keller Peak in the San Bernardino Mountains, killing nine. Wreckage not found until 14 January 1942. Late the next day, a recovery team of sheriff officers and members of the 33rd Squadron reaches the site after a four-mile trek with toboggans from Snow Valley. All of the crew had been thrown from the plane except for one, whose body was trapped beneath the fuselage. A plaque was installed on a rock near the crash site in August 1995 commemorating the lost crew.[126][127] Two of the other Marauders in this flight were deployed onto Midway Island and saw action in the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942 in a torpedo attack on the IJN Akagi. One was shot down.


Lt. Ivan Chisov of the Red Air Force survives miraculous fall from 22,000 feet (6,700 m) without opening his parachute after departing a heavily damaged Ilyushin Il-4 twin-engined medium bomber when he passes out at high altitude. Afraid of being attacked by German fighters, he delayed opening his chute but passed out from the lack of oxygen at high altitude. After achieving a terminal velocity of about 150 mph (240 km/h), he is decelerated when he hits the lip of a snow-covered ravine, sliding down with decreasing speed until he stops at the bottom, suffering a broken pelvis and severe spinal injuries.[128]
13 January
Heinkel test pilot Helmut Schenk becomes the first person to escape from a stricken aircraft with an ejection seat after the control surfaces of the first prototype Heinkel He 280 V1, DL+AS, ice up and become inoperable. The fighter, being used in tests of the Argus As 014 impulse jets for Fieseler Fi 103 missile development, had its regular Heinkel-Hirth HeS 8A turbojets removed, and was towed aloft from Rechlin, Germany by a pair of Messerschmitt Bf 110C tugs in a heavy snow-shower. At 7,875 feet (2,400 m), Schenk found he had no control, jettisoned his towline, and ejected.[129] A 12 June 2003 press release by the Martin-Baker Company gives the details of this incident as "The first recorded live emergency ejection took place from a Heinkel 280 on the 13th January 1943. The pilot Herr Schenke, was on a ferry flight." Note the date discrepancy and the different spelling of the pilot's name. The release also states that "It is estimated that some 60 emergency ejections were made in WW2 by Luftwaffe pilots. It is not known how many were successful."[130]
14 January
A Douglas B-18A Bolo bomber, 37-619,[131] of the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, returning from submarine patrol duties went off course due to high winds, darkness and poor radio contact. Instead of landing at Westover Field, later Westover AFB, in Massachusetts they crashed into Mount Waternomee in New Hampshire's White Mountains. 5 of the 7 crew members survived.[132][133]
29 January
A North American Harvard I, N7179, of 61 OTU, crashes on takeoff at Heston, Middlesex, England, killing Royal Air Force pilot Victor William Gunther, service number 113404, age 31.[134]
10 February
A Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, P3664, of No. 55 OTU, based at RAF Usworth,[135] crashes in bad weather in an orchard opposite the High Marley Hill Radio Mast, killing RCAF Sergeant Pilot James D’Arcy Lees Graham, 24, of Carstairs, Alberta. The Air Ministry Crash Card records that the fighter flew into high ground in a squall, the weather deteriorated and the aircraft dived out of low cloud into a snow squall and failed to pull out of the dive. The pilot was interred at St Margaret’s Church Cemetery, Castletown, Sunderland.[136]
25 February
"Lieutenant Clark of the army air corps, flying an army pursuit plane, made a forced landing on the farm of Stephen Shirley in the Savannah was on the site to dismantle the plane for shipment back to the base for repairs. The Oconee home guard stood guard duty on the spot of the crash from an hour or so after the mishap until the plane was removed Friday."[137] About 30 different men of Company G of the Oconee Home Guard stood guard duty during the approximate 24-hour vigil.[138] The Aviation Archeological Investigation & Research database lists Curtiss P-40C, 41-13382, of the 65th Pursuit Squadron, 57th Pursuit Group, out of Trumbull Field, Groton, Connecticut, flown by Thomas W. Clark, as suffering a forced landing near Seneca, South Carolina, in Oconee County, suffering moderate damage on 26 February 1942, which, in this case, was the date of the airframe's recovery.[139] Repaired, this airframe would go to reclamation at Patterson Army Airfield, Ohio, on 12 May 1945.[103] Captain Clark would later score four aerial kills with the 57th Fighter Group in the Mediterranean Theatre, two on 26 October 1942, and one each on 13 January and 26 February 1943.[140] In a related story, a man whose automobile was halted by the Oconee guard on Thursday night, fled on foot through a nearby cotton field after being told to halt. The vehicle was found to have 90 gallons of illegal liquor concealed in its trunk, which was packed in 15 cases containing six gallons each in half-gallon fruit jars. The county officers were notified immediately. "The booze was confiscated by the officers and a search for the missing driver was begun." The man's hat was found about 100 yards from the road on a terrace of the field.[141]
18 March
The first German A-4 flight-test model, ("Launch Aggregate 1"), completed 25 February 1942,[142] but which slips out of its "corset" after being fully tanked at Test Stand VII at Peenemünde due to contraction of the fuselage from the cold propellants, falling 2 meters, smashing three fins, and coming to rest on the rim of the engine nozzle; repaired and renamed Versuchsmuster 1 (V1: Experimental Type 1),[143] at 2345 hrs., this date, the rocket fails during a test firing with flame bursting through the side just above the engine, wrecking the steam generator and many lines on board, with the engine shutting off automatically. Leaks in the fuel and oxidizer lines caused by vibration and stress are determined to have let an explosive mixture to have built up over the head of the motor and the rocket is junked for parts without any launch attempt. Albert Speer witnesses this test failure.[144]
23 March
North American B-25B Mitchell, 40-2291, piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Bates, crashes on take-off from Auxiliary Field No. 3, Eglin Field, Florida, during training for the planned Doolittle Raid on Japan. This aircraft did not participate in the mission. Bates deployed with the Raiders aboard the USS Hornet (CV-8) but did not fly the mission.
25 March
Test pilot Fritz Wendel takes Messerschmitt Me 262 V1, PC+UA, on its first jet-powered flight but experimental BMW 003 gas turbine engines both fail and he has to limp the prototype airframe back to Augsburg on the nose-mounted Jumo 210 piston engine installed for initial airframe testing.[145]
26 March
The first Bell XP-39E Airacobra (of three), 41-19501, with lengthened fuselage to accommodate the Allison V-1710-E9 engine, and used for determining handling qualities, armament tests, and maneuvers, crashes on its 36th test flight during a spin test out of Wright Field, Ohio.[146]
26 March
The fifth [147]
3 April
The 303rd Bomb Group, activated at Pendleton Field, Oregon, on 3 February 1942, suffers its first fatal aircraft accident when three flying officers and five enlisted crew are killed in the crash of Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress, 41-9053, c/n 2525,[94] six miles (10 km) N of Strevell, Idaho [148] during a training mission.[149]
22 April
Consolidated B-24D-CO Liberator, 41-1133, c/n 73,[150] piloted by Robert Redding, of the Combat Crew Training School, crashes into Trail Peak, near the Philmont Scout Ranch, 20 miles SW of Cimarron, New Mexico,[151] while returning to Kirtland Field, Albuquerque, killing all nine people on board.[152] Joe Baugher cites crash date as 22 May 1942.
23 April
US Navy Vought SB2U-2 Vindicator, BuNo 1363,[153] of VS-71, assigned to the USS Wasp, but flown ashore to clear deckspace for Spitfires bound for Malta, crashes in peat bog near Invergordon, Scotland, killing Ens. Jackson and Aviation Machinist's Mate Atchison. Atchison's body recovered, but squadron diary records that Jackson's body and bulk of airframe were buried too deeply, so remains and wreckage were covered over.[154]
29 April
A Time-Life reporter Melville Jacoby, and base personnel 2nd Lt. Robert D. Jasper, who were standing next to the Lockheed. A number of others receive injuries, but P-40 pilot survives. Victorville Air Force Base, California, is renamed for the late general in June 1950.[155][156]
May (?)
Reggiane Re 2001, MM8071, (third one built), downed in the Tyrrhenian Sea apparently by engine failure, pilot recovered, possibly during ferry flight to Sardinian-based 2nd Gruppo. Airframe recovered 23 November 1991 by Sardinian chapter of the Gruppo Amici Velivoli Storici (GAVS), the Italian national aircraft preservation society for the Italian Air Force Museum. This is the only example of a Daimler-Benz inline engine equipped fighter to survive in Italy.[157]
Grumman XF4F-6 Wildcat, BuNo 7031, prototype for the F4F-3A model, is written off in a crash.[62]
The Akutan Zero is inspected by US Navy personnel on Akutan Island on 11 July 1942.
3 May
Three Bristol Blenheim Mk. IVs, Z7513, Z7610, and T2252, of No. 15 Squadron SAAF, detached to support Allied ground forces garrisoning the oasis at Kufra in Libya, become lost while on a familiarisation flight and land in the Libyan Desert. They are not found until 11 May by which time only one of twelve crew survive. Z7610 and T2252 are flown out in May but damaged Z7513 is abandoned in place.
24 May
Lockheed C-40D, 42-22249, c/n 1273, ex-NC21770,[158] Air Transport Command, Trans-Atlantic Sector, Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., crashes in swamp one mile NE of Howe Brook Mountain, NW of Houlton, Maine, during "routine" flight out of Houlton Army Air Base, after possible disorientation in poor visibility, killing all six aboard. KWF are 1st Lt. J. D. Fransiscus; Lt. Col. Louis S. Gimbel, New York City; 1st Lt. Herback; S/Sgt. Frederick Taylor; 2d Lt. Earl R. Wilkinson; and Lt. Col. Clarence A. Wright.[159] SOC 1 June 1942. This airframe was one of eleven civilian Lockheed Model 12A Electra Juniors impressed 14 March 1942 by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), with standard six-passenger interior. Surviving examples redesignated UC-40D in January 1943.[160] The board of inquiry was unable to determine a cause, but listed weather and pilot inexperience under instrument conditions as factors.[161] Lt. Col Gimbel, "who resided with his wife and two children at 163 East Seventy-eighth Street, New York City, was once an executive of the Sacks Fifth Avenue and Gimbel stores. A graduate of Yale, he entered the Atlantic Ferry Service about six months ago and later transferred to the Army Air Corps. He was a son of the late Louis S. Gimbel and a cousin of Bernard F. Gimbel, President of Gimbel Brothers, Inc."[159]
3 June
The Akutan Zero - During a Japanese raid on Dutch Harbor, eastern Aleutians, Alaska, the Mitsubishi A6M Model 21, 4593, 'D1-108', flown by Flying Petty Officer 1st Class Tadayoshi Koga (10 September 1922 – 3 June 1942) takes hit to oil line in a brush with a U.S. Navy PBY Catalina. Pilot realizes he cannot make return flight to carrier Ryujo so he attempts emergency landing on what appears to be grassy terrain on Akutan Island but turns out to be soft muskeg, fighter overturning as landing gear makes contact, pilot killed by a broken neck. Attempt by Japanese submarine crew to rescue pilot is unsuccessful. U.S. Navy search team discovers nearly undamaged Zero with dead pilot still under the canopy, retrieves it and in August 1942 ships it to the Assembly and Repair Department at NAS North Island, San Diego, California for repair and evaluation, the second intact example to fall into American hands. Airframe had been built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya in February 1942.[162][163][164]
Post-4 June
Second prototype Fairey Firefly, Z1827, first flown 4 June 1942, of the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), Boscombe Down, is lost shortly thereafter in a crash that kills chief test-pilot Flt. Lt. Chris Staniland. Investigation of wreckage reveals few clues, and loss is initially attributed to failure of the tailplane following failure of the fabric-covered elevators. Later, it is suspected that the cockpit hood detached in flight and lodged itself in the tailplane, disabling the elevators.[165]
7 June
Major General Clarence Leonard Tinker, (21 November 1887 – 7 June 1942), of 1/8 Osage Indian heritage, leads an attack against Imperial Japanese Navy units during the Battle of Midway, but is shot down. His Consolidated LB-30 Liberator, AL589, of the 31st Bombardment Squadron, 5th Bombardment Group, 7th Air Force,[166] is seen to go down, taking him, and eight other crew, to their deaths. Tinker was the first American general to die in World War II; his body was never recovered. He received the Soldier's Medal in 1931 and, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Medal. Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is named in his honor on 14 October 1942.[93] Along with Major General Tinker (of Oklahoma), the following named Airmen were also lost: 2Lt. Walter E. Gurley of North Carolina, Major Coleman Hinton of Florida, 1Lt. Gilmer H. Holton, Jr., of North Carolina, Master Sergeant Franz Moeller of Alabama, Sergeant Thomas E. Ross of New York, Major Raymond Paul Salzarulo of Indiana, Staff Sergeant George D. Scheid of Utah, Sergeant Aaron D. Shank of Maryland, Technical Sergeant James H. Turk, Jr., of Texas, and Sergeant William J. Wagner of New York.
7 June
English Electric-built Handley Page Halifax BMk.II, serial V9977, crashed on a test flight from RAF Defford carrying a secret H2S radar system at 16:30 hrs at Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire, killing the crew and several EMI personnel on board, including Alan Blumlein, pioneer of television and stereo audio recording. Blumlein, together with Cecil Browne and Frank Blythen, all from EMI, were attached to the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at the time of the accident. Also killed was Geoffrey Hensby of TRE. While flying at 500 ft (150 m) a fire starts in the starboard outer engine. Unable to extinguish it and by then too low for a parachute escape, while attempting to reach an open area to put down the fire burns through the outer main spar at low altitude causing the outer wing to fold and detach, whereupon the aircraft rolls almost inverted and impacts the ground. The aircraft's highly secret cavity magnetron is recovered the next day by a TRE team from RAF Defford led by Bernard Lovell. An investigation into the cause of the fire by Rolls-Royce concludes that an insufficiently tightened inlet valve tappet locknut during maintenance caused the inlet valve to drop, where it was hit by the rising piston and broken off at the stem, allowing burning fuel to enter the rocker cover whereupon it quickly spread.[167] V9977 was one of only two Halifaxes fitted with H2S, the other being the Handley Page-built Mk II, R9490, used for trials of a klystron-based version of the system, developed for security reasons due to the difficulty of self-destructing a magnetron should its carrying aircraft come down over enemy territory. The crash of V9977 wiped out almost the entire H2S development team, delaying its introduction to the extent that Churchill has to be informed.[168]
The Halifax II United Kingdom military aircraft serials V9977, which crashed killing Alan Blumlein and several other key British radar technicians 7 June 1942.
8 June
Goodyear prototype G-Class Blimp, G-1, purchased 23 September 1935, in constant use until it is lost in a mid-air collision on this date with L-Class Blimp L-2. The two blimps were conducting experimental visual and photographic observations during a night flight off of Manasquan, New Jersey. Although twelve people were killed in the crash (one survivor),[169] the G-1 had demonstrated her capabilities as a trainer and utility blimp. As the Navy needed additional training airships during the World War II war time build up, a contract was awarded on 24 December 1942 for seven more G-class airships. These were assigned the designation "Goodyear ZNN-G". (Z = lighter-than-air; N = non-rigid; N = trainer; G = type/class). The envelope size of these new G-class blimps was increased over that of the G-1 by 13,700 cubic feet (390 m3).
15 July
During Operation Bolero, the ferrying of combat aircraft from the U.S. to England by air, a flight of two Boeing B-17E-BO Flying Fortress bombers, 41-9101, c/n 2573, "Big Stoop", and 41-9105, c/n 2577, "Do-Do", of the 97th Bomb Group and six Lockheed P-38F Lightnings of the 94th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group, on the 845-mile (1,360 km) leg between Bluie West 8 airfield and Reykjavík, Iceland, run out of fuel after being held up by bad weather, and all force-land on the Greenland icecap. All safely belly in except for the first P-38 which attempts a wheels-down landing, flipping over as nosewheel catches a crevasse, but pilot Lt. Brad McManus unhurt. All crews rescued on 19 July, but aircraft are abandoned in place. One P-38F-1-LO, 41-7630, c/n 222-5757, now known as "Glacier Girl", recovered in 1992 from under 200 feet (61 m) of accumulated snow and ice and rebuilt to flying status, registered N17630. One Boeing B-17 ("Big Stoop") also found, but it is too badly crushed for recovery.[170] Although the USAAF had expected to lose 10 percent of the 920 planes that made the North Atlantic transit during Bolero, losses were only 5.2 percent, the majority being involved in this single incident.[86]
30 July
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 V13, Werke Nummer 0036, unarmed prototype for the Fw 190C-1, with a 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Daimler-Benz DB 603A engine, crashes shortly after beginning testing.[171]
8 August
The sole Republic XP-47B Thunderbolt, 40-3051, operating out of the Republic plant at Farmingdale, New York, is lost when the pilot interrupted wheel retraction, leaving the tailwheel in the superchargers' exhaust gases. This set the tire alight which ignited the magnesium hub. When the burning unit retracted into the fuselage, it severed the tail unit control rods, forcing the pilot, Fillmore "Fil" Gilmer, a former naval aviator, to bail out with the airframe crashing in the waters of Long Island Sound.[172] Loss of prototype went unpublicized at this early stage of the war. Nothing is ever found of the wreckage.[173]
8 August
1st Lt. Edward Joseph Peterson dies in hospital from injuries suffered in the crash this date of Lockheed F-4 Lightning, 41-2202,[174] a reconnaissance variant of the P-38, when it suffers engine failure on take-off from Air Support Command Base, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Field is renamed Peterson Army Air Field on 3 March 1943, later Peterson Air Force Base on 1 March 1976.[175]
14 August
When Lt. Elza Shahn ferried his Lockheed P-38F Lightning to England, he spotted a German Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3 Condor near Iceland. These German long-range reconnaissance aircraft gathered data on weather and allied shipping to help U-boats attack ships in the Atlantic. Lt. Shahn shot the Condor down, becoming the first American Army pilot to shoot down a German plane in World War II.[176]
16 August
U.S. Navy L class blimp L-8, a former Goodyear advertising blimp, of ZP-32, departed Treasure Island, San Francisco, California, with crew of two officer-pilots. Five hours later the partially deflated L-8 is sighted drifting over Daly City, California where it touches down sans crew. Nothing is ever found of Lt. Ernest D. Cody and Ensign Charles E. Adams. It is assumed that they were lost over water but were never found.[177] The control car from this blimp is now in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, Florida.
17 August
Grumman XF6F-3 Hellcat, BuNo 02982, first flown 30 July 1942, suffers engine failure of Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 on test flight out of Bethpage, New York, Grumman test pilot Bob Hall dead-sticks into a farmer's field on Long Island, survives unpowered landing but airframe heavily damaged.[178]
17 August
Messerschmitt Me 262 V3 fails to achieve flying speed on his first take-off in the type from Leipheim air field, overruns runway, crashing in an adjacent potato field, in the first Me 262. Both engines of the aircraft are torn from the nacelles, both wings damaged and starboard wheel shorn off, but the airframe is deemed repairable. The pilot was uninjured.[179]
20 August
Flight Lieutenant István Horthy (the son of the Hungarian regent Miklós Horthy), 37, serving as a fighter pilot with 1/1 Fighter Squadron of the Royal Hungarian Air Force is killed in Russia when his MÁVAG Héja ("Hawk"), "V.421", a Hungarian fighter based on the Reggiane Re.2000, crashes shortly after takeoff from an air field near Ilovskoye.[180]
23 August
Boeing B-17E-BO Flying Fortress, 41-9091, c/n 2563,[94] of the 427th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group,[181] operating out of Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas, suffers center fuselage failure in extremely bad weather 12 miles W of Las Cruces, New Mexico, only the radio operator and the engineering officer for the 427th Bomb Squadron, both in the radio room, survive by parachuting. Pilot was James E. Hudson. The 303rd BG was due to deploy overseas from Biggs on 24 August.[182]
25 August
The General Aircraft Owlet, DP240, ex-G-AGBK, a tandem two-seat primary trainer with tricycle landing gear, impressed by the RAF to train Douglas Boston pilots with tricycle landing gear techniques. The Owlet, of No. 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron RAF at RNAS Ford, crashed this date near Arundel, Sussex.[183]
4 September
On the night of 4-5th September, Handley Page Hampden AE436, of No. 144 Squadron RAF crashes on the remote Tsatsa Mountain in Sweden while en route from RAF Sumburgh in the Shetland Isles to Afrikanda air base, Northern Russia, after being forced down to lower altitude by an overheating engine. Pilot Officer D.I. Evans and passenger Corporal B.J. Sowerby survive with only slight injuries, three other members of crew die. Evans and Sowerby take three days to cross mountains and reach the village of Kvikkvokk, ~20 miles (32 km) to the south east. Wreckage of the Hampden is re-discovered by three girl hikers at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) in August 1976, with remains of dead crew-members still in wreckage.[184]
10 September
No. 422 Squadron RCAF, temporarily operating Saro Lerwick flying boats cast off from No. 4 Operational Training Unit (4 OTU) while awaiting arrival of Short Sunderlands, suffers loss of L7267 this date when Plt. Off. Hoare crashes on landing at Lough Erne in good weather, airframe breaks up and sinks, but crew escapes safely. This is the final Lerwick write-off as the type is withdrawn from operation, remaining airframes sent to Scottish Aviation in November 1942 for reduction to salvage. Operations were generally not successful, with negligible contributions to the U-boat war. None now exist.[56]
12 September
Martin-Baker MB-3, R2492, prototype fighter crashes on its tenth flight after its engine seized shortly after takeoff from RAF Wing at a height of no more than 100 ft (30 m). A crank on one of the Napier Sabre II's sleeve valves had failed. While trying to land in a field, Captain Valentine Baker (Company manager, aircraft-designer and test pilot) was forced to turn to port to avoid a farmhouse, a wing clipped a tree stump, the fighter cartwheeled and burst into flame, killing him.[185]
15 September
Vultee XA-31B-VU Vengeance, 42-35824, piloted by H. H. Sargent Jr., out of Rentschler Field, Connecticut, overturns in a tobacco field while making forced landing near Windsor Locks, Connecticut, after engine failure.[186] Initially built as a non-flying XA-31A engine-test airframe but later upgraded for operation.[187]
30 September
Engine failure of Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/trop, Werke Nummer 14256, "Yellow 14" (on its first combat mission), of 3./JG 27, fills cockpit with smoke, forces Luftwaffe ace Hans-Joachim Marseille to bail out near Sidi Abdel Rahman, Egypt. His chest strikes the vertical fin as he departs the fighter, either killing him outright, or rendering him unconscious, as he makes no effort to deploy his parachute. His body is recovered from the desert, about 7 km S of Sidi Abdel Rahman.[188]
DAR-10A ''Bekas'' (ДАР-10), light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, one of only two prototypes, crashes this month (Darzhavna Aeroplanna Rabotilnica - State Airplane Workshop) (Bekas - snipe). In spite of good flight reviews, the type was not chosen for production and the high-wing Kaproni Bulgarski KB-11 Fazan was selected for production instead.
Early production Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet being test flown by renowned pre-war glider and test pilot Hanna Reitsch, from Obertraubling, near Regensburg, while on unpowered flight towed by Messerschmitt Bf 110, jettisoning of take-off dolley at 30 ft (9.1 m) altitude fails, causing severe juddering of airframe. Bf 110 tows Reitsch to height of 10,500 ft (3,200 m) and Reitsch casts off. Despite violent maneuvering to try to shake off dolly, which also fails, Reitsch decides to attempt landing in order to save aircraft. On approach to field, sideslipping to lose height, the unfuelled Me 163 stalls at a higher than normal airspeed, due to disturbed airflow caused by wheels of dolly. Komet impacts ground and somersaults. Although conscious immediately after the crash, Reitsch passes out as rescuers arrive. She is taken to the Hospital of the Sisters of Mercy, Regensburg, where she is discovered to be suffering from skull fractures in four places, compression of the brain, displacement of the upper jaw-bones, and separation of the bones of the nose. Regaining consciousness in hospital, she makes a slow recovery, being well enough to be discharged from hospital in March 1943. Shortly after the accident, Reitsch is awarded the Iron Cross, First Class.[189]
15 October
Douglas C-49E-DO Skytrain, 42-43619, DST-114, c/n 1494, ex-American Airlines Douglas Sleeper Transport NC14988, A115 "Texas", first flown as X14988 on 17 December 1935; sold to TWA, 14 March 1942, as line number 361; commandeered by USAAF, 31 March 1942; assigned to the 24th Troop Carrier Squadron, crashed this date in bad weather at Knob Noster, Missouri.[190][191] Another source gives crash location as 2.5 mi SW of Chicago Municipal Airport, Illinois.[192]
16 October
North American B-25C-1 Mitchell, 41-13206,[193] operated by the USAAF 5th Ferrying Group, Air Transport Command, piloted by Captain James M. Treweek, is on a routine flight from Rosecrans Field, St. Joseph, Missouri to Dallas Love Field[192] when bad weather closes airfield and controllers advise crew to divert. Pilot heads west, presumably bound for Meacham Field, flying below 500 ft (152 m) altitude to stay in visual conditions under low cloud deck. As bomber nears Grapevine, Texas, a wingtip and aileron are sliced off by a guy-wire of WFAA radio tower, causing pilot to lose control; all 6 crew-members die in subsequent crash.[194] Also killed in the crash was, Colonel Edward Standifer Fee of Little Rock, Arkansas, Corporal Joseph L. Tyndall, Captain Louis M. Rawlins, Jr., of Baltimore, Maryland, Staff Sergeant Wilfred E. Miller of Washington D.C. , and Private William A. Echko of Lorain, Ohio.
18 October
Vickers Wellington Mk.IC, T2564, 'KX-T',[195] of No. 311 Squadron RAF, Coastal Command, Royal Air Force, based at RAF Talbenny, Wales, crashes at 16:08 near Ruislip station while on approach to RAF Northolt, England, killing all 15 on board and six on the ground (including four children).[196][197]
21 October
Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress, 40-3089, of the 5th Bomb Group/11th Bombardment Group Heavy (H), with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, America's top-scoring World War I ace (26 kills), aboard on a secret mission, is lost at sea in the central Pacific Ocean when the bomber goes off-course. After 24 days afloat, Rickenbackker and surviving crew are rescued by the U.S. Navy after having been given up for lost and discovered by a Vought-Sikorsky OS2U Kingfisher crew.
23 October
Mid-air collision at 9,000 feet (2,700 m) altitude between American Airlines Douglas DC-3, NC16017, "Flagship Connecticut", flying out of Lockheed Air Terminal (now Burbank Airport) en route to Phoenix, Arizona and New York City, and USAAF Lockheed B-34 Ventura II bomber, 41-38116, on a ferry flight from Long Beach Army Air Base to Palm Springs Army Air Field. Pilot of B-34, Lt. William N. Wilson and copilot Staff Sergeant Robert Leicht, were able to make emergency landing at Palm Springs, but DC-3, carrying nine passengers and a crew of three, its tail splintered and its rudder shorn off by B-34's right engine, went into a flat spin, clipped a rocky ledge in Chino Canyon, California below San Jacinto Peak, and exploded in desert, killing all on board. Among the passengers killed was Academy Award-winning Hollywood composer Ralph Rainger, 41, who had written or collaborated on such hit songs as "Louise", "Love in Bloom" (comedian Jack Benny's theme song), "Faithful Forever", "June in January", "Blue Hawaii" and "Thanks for the Memory", which entertainer Bob Hope adopted as his signature song. Initial report by Ventura crew was that they had lost sight of the airliner due to smoke from a forest fire, but closed-door Congressional investigation revealed that bomber pilot knew the first officer on the DC-3, Louis Frederick Reppert, and had attempted to wave to him in mid-air rendezvous. However, Wilson misjudged the distance between the two aircraft and triggered the fatal collision when, in pulling his B-34 up and away from the DC-3, its right propeller sliced through the airliner's tail. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) placed the blame directly on the "reckless and irresponsible conduct of Lieutenant William N. Wilson in deliberately maneuvering a bomber in dangerous proximity to an airliner in an unjustifiable attempt to attract the attention of the first officer (copilot) of the latter plane." Lt. Wilson subsequently faced manslaughter charges by the U.S. Army but about a month after the accident a court martial trial board acquitted him of blame. In a separate legal development, a lawsuit seeking $227,637 was filed against American Airlines on behalf of crash victim Ralph Rainger's wife, Elizabeth, who was left widowed with three small children. In June 1943 a jury awarded her $77,637. The Ventura, repaired, and eventually modified to a RB-34A-4 target-tug, would crash at Wolf Hill near Smithfield, Rhode Island after engine failure on 5 August 1943, killing all three crew.[198]
Late October
Second prototype Messerschmitt Me 262 V2, PC+UB, first flown 1 October 1942, is damaged when pilot strikes ground vehicle with starboard wing during flight preparations, due to restricted visibility from cockpit in tail-dragger configuration of early 262s. Aircraft repaired.[199]
2 November
A Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress, 40-2047, c/n 2117,[94] breaks apart in the air near Tells Peak, California, while en route to Sacramento for an overhaul of the number 3 (starboard inner) engine. Pilot 1st Lieutenant Leo M. H. Walker dies, but the other eight crew members survive.[200]
6 November
Grumman UC-103, 42-97044, former civilian Grumman G-32 Gulfhawk III, ex-NC1051,[201] built for the Gulf Oil Refining Company, delivered 6 May 1938 and impressed by the USAAF in November 1942, used as VIP ferry aircraft, 427th Air Base Squadron, Homestead Army Air Field,[202] force-lands in the southern Florida Everglades with engine failure: written off.[201]
18 November
In a typical wartime training accident, a Beechcraft AT-7 Navigator, 41-21079, c/n 1094, of the 341st School Squadron,[203] crashes in the Mendel Glacier (one source says Darwin Glacier [204]) in California’s Kings Canyon National Park. The four-member training flight left Mather Field in Sacramento, California, and was never heard from again. On 24 September 1947, a hiker discovered wreckage of the plane on a glacier in Kings Canyon. On 16 October 2005, a climber on the Mendel Glacier discovered a body believed to be one of the crew members. He was later identified as Leo M. Mustonen, 22, of Brainerd, Minnesota. The others were John M. Mortenson, 25, of Moscow, Idaho; William R. Gamber, 23, of Fayette, Ohio; and Ernest G. Munn of St. Clairsville, Ohio. A second body was found under receding snow in 2007 and was identified Ernest G. Munn.[205]
27 November
National Museum of the United States Air Force for a flyable C-47. The (then) Air Force Museum has it restored at Perdue University and places it on display in 1974, the sole survivor of the 91 O-46s built.[207]
Henschel Hs 130E V2, high-altitude reconnaissance and bomber design, first flown in November 1942, is lost on its seventh flight due to an engine fire. Replaced in testing by the V3. Type is never accepted for production.[208]


1 January
The sole Lockheed XP-49, 40-3055,[209] a development of the P-38 Lightning, first flown 11 November 1942, suffers a crash landing at Burbank, California when the port landing gear fails to lock down due to a combined hydraulic and electrical problem. Pilot was Joe C. Towle. Repaired, it returns to flight on 16 February 1943, and is sent to Wright Field, Ohio, for further testing. Despite improved performance over the P-38, difficulties with the new engines, as well as the success of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang, leads to no additional orders or production.[210]
3 January
Boeing B-17F-27-BO Flying Fortress, 41-24620, c/n 3305,[94] "snap! crackle! pop!", 'PU-O',[211] of the 360th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group, on daylight raid over Saint-Nazaire, France, loses wing due to flak, goes into spiral. Ball turret gunner Alan Eugene Magee (13 January 1919 – 20 December 2003), though suffering 27 shrapnel wounds, bails out (or is thrown from wreckage) without his chute at ~20,000 feet (6,100 m), loses consciousness due to altitude, freefall plunges through glass roof of the Gare de Saint-Nazaire and is found alive but with serious injuries on floor of depot:saved by German medical care, spends rest of war in prison camp.[212][213] On 3 January 1993, the people of St. Nazaire honored Magee and the crew of his bomber by erecting a 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) memorial to them.
6 January
At 1735 CWT, three miles W of White City, Kansas, a Consolidated B-24D-13-CO Liberator, 41-23961, c/n 756,[103] of the 469th Bomb Squadron, 333d Bomb Group, out of Topeka Army Air Base, Kansas, piloted by Robert Clyne,[209] suffers a catastrophic structural failure due to ice. All are killed instantly except for Lt Maleckas, who makes it out with a parachute.
6 January
Consolidated B-24D-20-CO Liberator, 41-24202, c/n 997, of the 504th Bomb Squadron, 346th Bomb Group, out of Salina Army Airfield, Kansas, suffers fire in flight, crashes 15 miles SW of Madill, Oklahoma, destroyed by fire. Pilot was R. G. Bishop.[103][209]
13 January
Junkers Ju 290 V1, (Junkers Ju 90 V11), modified from Ju 90B-1, Werknummer 90 0007, D-AFHG, "Oldenberg", crashed on takeoff evacuating load of wounded troops from the German 6th Army at Stalingrad. The need for large capacity transports was so dire at this point that the Luftwaffe was taking Ju 290As straight from the assembly line into operation.[214]
15 January
Prototype Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-4 Wackett Bomber, A23-1001, crashes on a test flight to assess powerplant performance and evaluate aerodynamic effects of a new fixed leading edge slat. During return to CAC airfield at Fisherman's Bend, Australia, pilot Sqn. Leader Jim Harper detects fuel leak in port Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engine; as problem worsens he attempts shut-down and feathering of propeller but actuation of feathering switch causes explosion and uncontrollable fire. Crew of three attempts evacuation at 1000 feet (300 m), but only pilot Harper succeeds in parachuting, CAC test pilot Jim Carter and CAC power plant group engineer Lionel Dudgeon KWF. Airframe impacts ~three miles SW of Kilmore, Victoria. Wreckage recovered by No. 26 Repair and Salvage Unit on 18 January, delivered to No. 1 Aircraft Depot, RAAF Laverton, on the 19th. Final action taken on 26 January when the Air Member for Supply and Equipment approves "conversion to components" for what remains of the CA-4.[215]
5 February
Douglas A-20 Havoc, 39-735, modified as prototype Douglas XP-70 night fighter, assigned to the 349th Night Fighter Squadron, 50th Fighter Group (Special), crashes on takeoff from Kissimmee Army Airfield, Florida,[216] coming down 1/2 mile NW of the field,[217] killing pilot James H. Toal. The Army Air Force decides at the end of March that the airframe is beyond repair and scraps it.[218]
8 February
The second Bell XP-39E Airacobra (of three), 41-19502, is damaged during a forced landing when a Wright Field test pilot runs out of fuel short of Niagara Falls Airport, New York, where the Bell Aircraft plant is located.[219]
Blohm & Voss BV 222 V1, X4+AH, of air transport squadron Lufttransportstaffel 222 (LTS 222), sinks following a collision with a submerged wreck while landing at Piraeus harbour, Greece. Between 1942 and 1943, the aircraft flew in the Mediterranean theatre.
17 February
Consolidated B-24D-53-CO Liberator, 42-40355, c/n 1432, crashes at Tucson Municipal Airport #2, Tucson, Arizona, this date.[220] Six Consolidated Aircraft employees riding as passengers are killed and several others injured, of the 34 on board. The damaged airframe is subsequently modified into the first C-87 Liberator Express.
18 February
Second prototype Boeing XB-29 Superfortress, 41-003,[221] crashes into factory at Seattle, Washington after R-3350 engine catches fire, killing all 10 crew including chief test pilot Edmund T. "Eddie" Allen[222] along with 20 on the ground.[223]
22 February
Boeing 314, Pan American "Yankee Clipper", NC18603, c/n 1990, (U.S. Navy BuNo 48224), crashes into the Tagus River near Lisbon, while on approach to Portugal by way of the Azores. Caught in a storm, the flying boat hooked a wingtip in a turn while attempting an emergency landing. 25 of 39 on board die. Among those killed are actress Tamara Drasin and international journalist Ben Robertson, en route to his new job, chief of the New York Herald-Tribune's London bureau. Actress Jane Froman is seriously injured. Her story of survival will be made into the 1952 film "With a Song in My Heart" starring Susan Hayward.
10 March
North American B-25C Mitchell, 41-12740,[193] of the 473d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 334th Bombardment Group (Medium),[224] (activated as a combat crew training group on 16 July 1942) en route from Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina, to Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi, crashed into the Blue Ridge Mountains ~21 miles N of Walhalla in Pickens County, South Carolina, at about midnight,[225] killing all five crew "apparently instantaneously." The aircraft was assigned at Greenville AAB. Despite a large-scale search by army aircraft along the route from Greenville to Meridian, the wreckage was finally found 21 March 1943 by a 15-year-old mountain boy, Seab Crane, who was riding a horse along a remote path known as the Moody trail. The bomber had clipped off treetops at the peak of a mountain, just off Turnpike road about 2 1/2 miles from the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, and plunged into a ravine. The altitude where the plane first struck is more than 2,000 feet. Heavy recent rains kept the crash fire isolated to the actual wreckage. Crane, who lived in the Cheohee community, was riding to visit relatives who lived beyond the Tri-State Fishing club house, when his horse balked at an unknown foreign object on the trail. The boy and his mount galloped 2 1/2 miles to the nearest cabin, the club house, where he recruited the caretaker Ben Rogers, and they returned to the site where the mystery object turned out to be one of the Wright R-2600-13 radial engines that had been thrown a hundred yards beyond the main wreckage, the bulk of which had ploughed into an embankment in a ravine after it had sheared through tree tops for a quarter mile. "Three of the airmen were thrown from the plane and they lay as they fell - twisted and gesticulating. One of the men's wrist watches had stopped at 9:30. One of the men had died in his seat and the fifth body was found in the wreckage." One of the motors and the gasoline tank had burned, but only a few square yards of woods had burned. "After Rogers and Crane had found the wrecked ship they reported it to R. A. Stewart at the Fish Hatchery, an aircraft warning service spotter. Stewart put in a 'red flash' call to the filter center in Columbia and immediately afterwards notified Derrill B. Darby, of Walhalla, chief of the aircraft warning service in Oconee county [sic]. That was shortly before 1 o'clock Monday afternoon." After the wreckage had been viewed, home guardsmen took charge and kept watch until army men from the Greenville air base arrived. The victims were: Flight Officer Richard S. Brook, 22, pilot, of 10 Superior Court, Lima, Ohio; Second Lieutenant Earl S. Monroe, 26, co-pilot, of Bolivar, New York; Second Lieutenant Philip J. Graziano, 23, navigator, of 166 Chestnut Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts; Staff Sergeant Harvey M. Capellman, engineer, of Blanchard, Idaho; and Sergeant Michael Sekel, 29, radio operator, of Buffalo, New York. "Soldiers, home guardsmen, and volunteers labored into the night to remove the bodies and carry them on stretchers up the steep mountain side to the ambulance. Salvage of the wrecked ship was started on Tuesday." [226] A later report stated that the B-25 was en route TO Greenville Army Air Base from Meridian, Mississippi.[225] A memorial marker to the crew was dedicated at the site on 21 March 2014 by the Walhalla American Legion and the Oconee Veterans Council.[227]
23 March
Waco UC-72A, 42-68676, c/n 5150, civilian Waco ARE, ex-NC29376, impressed by USAAF, flown by Roy F. Brown, of the 5th Ferrying Squadron, 3rd Ferrying Group, out of Romulus Army Airfield, Michigan, is wrecked this date at Hebron, Kentucky.[228][229]
23 March
A Republic P-47C-2-RE Thunderbolt, 41-6292, of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352d Fighter Group,[224] crashes into Barnard Hall at Hofstra College shortly after take-off from Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, early this date, hitting the west side near the roof, setting the building afire, police announced. Pilot Earl D. Hayward died. The blaze was brought under control within 45 minutes by firemen from Hempstead, East Hempstead and Uniondale. No students were in the vicinity at the time. The Eastern Defense Command in New York City announced that the pilot was killed. He had taken off from Mitchel Field on a training mission shortly before the crash.[230]
4 April
North American B-25C Mitchell, 41-12634, of the 376th Bomb Squadron, 309th Bomb Group (M), ditches in Lake Murray, South Carolina, during skip-bombing practice, after starboard engine failure. Crew of five escapes before Mitchell sinks after seven minutes afloat, about two miles (3 km) west of the Saluda Dam in 150 feet (46 m) of water. On 19 September 2005, the bomber was raised to the surface by aircraft recoverer Gary Larkins for preservation (not restoration) at the Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham, Alabama.[231]
9 April
Lockheed P-38G-10-LO Lightning, 42-12937, flown by Col. Benjamin S. Kelsey, gets into an inverted spin during dive flap test, loses one wing and entire tail section. Kelsey bails out, suffers broken ankle, while P-38 hits flat on hillside near Calabasas, California.[86]
14 April
Two Fox Movietone News cameraman Eric Bieve, and footage is available on the web. "Green, Hoban and Bailey were buried in the Air Force section of the War Cemetery at Nowra on 15 Apr 43 at 1500 hours. The funeral was attended by Wing Commander Dibbs, Base Torpedo Unit (BTU) staff officers, Instructional crews and personnel of No 7 Beaufort course. On 17 April 1943, the body of Sweetnam was recovered and buried at 1600 hours with Air Force honours at Nowra. Late on the same day a diving party reported that they had not located the bodies of Dey, Norman, Solomon and Richardson. A Funeral held on 18 April 1943 on board the "Burra-Bra" at 1030 hours attended by the same people as listed for the 15 April Funeral."[232]
29 April
Republic P-43 Lancer, 41-6718, converted to P-43D. To RAAF as A56-7. Assigned to 1 PRU, it went missing in flight from Wagga, Australia, this date. Aircraft found crashed in thick forest on the side of Gordon Gully near Healesville in Victoria, NE of Melbourne, in June 1958.[233] The airframe was approved as a write-off on 30 April. The pilot was P/O A. W. Green (406393) of 1 PRU Rear Echelon based at Laverton. His body has not been found.[234]
U.S. Army personnel remove bodies from the wreckage of General Frank Maxwell Andrews' B-24D after it struck a mountain side in Iceland, 3 May 1943. The rudders and elevators have lost their fabric covering after the accident
3 May
During an inspection tour, Lt. Gen. [239] It appears that "Hot Stuff" was actually the first heavy bomber to complete 25 missions successfully, despite the publicity given the "Memphis Belle" and "Hell's Angels" of the 303d Bomb Group, when the B-24 bombed Naples on 7 February 1943. The bomber was, in fact, on the first leg of a trip back to the United Stes for a War Bond Tour when she was lost.[238][237]), for him on 7 February 1945.Andrews Air Force Base (later Andrews Field, is renamed Maryland, Camp Springs Army Air Field At the time of his death, he was Commanding General, United States Forces, European Theatre of Operations. [236]
6 May
Curtiss XP-60D-CU 41-19508 (the second Curtiss XP-53-CU re-designated), crashed at Rome Air Depot, New York.
Circa 7 May
The first prototype of the VL Myrsky (State Aircraft Factory Storm), a low-wing single-seat cantilever monoplane fighter completed on 30 April 1943, crashes "a week later."[240]
8 May
A USAAF Douglas C-33, 36-85, c/n 1518, of the 482d Air Base Squadron, is written off at Hill Field, Ogden, Utah, when the landing gear retracts on take off.[75][241] Pilot was William B. Cline.[242]
10 May
First Consolidated XB-32 Dominator, 41-141, crashes on take-off at Lindbergh Field, San Diego, probably from flap failure. Although bomber does not burn when it piles up at end of runway, Consolidated's senior test pilot Dick McMakin is killed. Six others on board injured.[243] This was one of only two twin-finned B-32s (41-142 was the other) - all subsequent had a PB4Y-style single tail.
10 May
First Okolona, Kentucky, killing three Curtiss test crew, pilot Ed Schubinger, co-pilot John L. "Duke" Trowbridge, and engineer Robert G. Scudder. Miserable attempt at building all-wood cargo design is cancelled by the USAAF on 3 August with only nineteen completed, all grounded by 12 September 1944. Four C-76s at the St. Louis, Missouri plant are granted one-time flight clearance and flown directly to Air Training Command bases for use as instructional airframes.[244]
16 May
Handley Page Halifax BMk.V bomber suffered starboard inner engine failure shortly after takeoff from RAF Holmsley South en-route to RAF Hurn. Crashed in Thatcher's Lane, Sopley, at grid reference OS SZ164986. All on board were killed. The names of those that died are: Donald J Smith ( J10798 Fg Offr RCAF Pilot ), M.W. Collins (J10509 Fg Offr RCAF Pilot ), Barrie Noel Stephenson ( RAFVR Flight Engineer ), P.S. Thomas ( Gunner ), Frances Joseph Davies ( Sgt Glider Pilot passenger ), Roland Davies Sunter ( Sgt Glider Pilot passenger ) and Ronald Herbert Borton ( Sgt Glider Pilot passenger ).
19 May
Northrop N-9M-1, one-third scale flying testbed for the Northrop XB-35 flying wing design, crashes approximately 12 mi (19 km) W of Muroc Army Air Base, California, killing pilot Max Constant. First flown 27 December 1942, airframe had only logged 22.5 hours, and little data was accumulated before the loss. Post-crash investigation suggested that: "...while Constant was conducting stalls and aft centre of gravity stability tests, aerodynamic forces developed full aft, which were too strong for Constant to overcome, trapping him in the cockpit. To prevent this happening on future flights, a one-shot hydraulic boost device was installed to push the controls forward in an emergency."[245]
20 May
Consolidated B-24E-5-FO Liberator, 42-7053, c/n 77,[158] of the 1014th Pilot Transition Training Squadron, Tarrant Army Airfield, Texas, departing there at 0650 hrs. CWT, piloted by David S. Alter,[242] hits the side of a 20 million cubic foot natural gas holding tank[246] of the People's Gas Light and Coke Company at 3625 73rd Street and Central Park Avenue, the largest of its type in the world, ~2 miles SE of Municipal Airport, Chicago, Illinois, between 1140 and 1145 hrs. CWT, killing all 12 crew.[242] Joe Baugher cites date as 5 May 1943, but this is incorrect. Approaching the airport from the southwest in light rain, light fog and light smoke, with a 500 foot ceiling and ~.75 miles visibility, the bomber circled the field to the north and east before striking the ~500 foot tall tank at the ~125 foot level whilst on a southern heading, initially with the port wingtip, according to witness Lawrence Kinsella, an employee of People's Gas Light and Coke Company. Much of forward fuselage fell inside the tank structure which exploded, throwing steel plate over 100 yards with heat felt over a mile away. Nine employees were on the grounds but none were injured. Four United Airlines flights rejected landings at the airport between 0957 and 1027 hrs. and continued onto Milwaukee due to conditions. Capt. Monstad of the 9th Tow Target Squadron, Chicago Municipal Airport, made arrangements for a Board of Inquiry.[247] The dead were identified as Capt. James R. Gilcrease, of Houston, commanding officer of the 1014th PTTS and a flight instructor, in charge of the flight; 2d Lt. David S. Alter, an instructor from Pittsburgh; 1st Lt. Harry B. Messick, Jr., navigator, of Indianapolis; 2d Lt. Frederick L. Dutt, student officer, of Wadsworth, Ohio; 2d Lt. John C. Wallace, student officer, of Luling, Texas; Pvt. Nick Lonchar, aerial engineer, of Weirton, West Virginia; Sgt. Arthur A. Huber, aerial engineer, of Queens, New York; S/Sgt. Norman W. Yutzy, aerial engineer, of Canton, Ohio; and Tech/Sgt. Ben F. Zumwalt, aerial engineer, of Ingram, Texas. The identified passenger was Capt. A. W. Lent, from Hamilton Field, California. The names of the other two passengers were to be announced after notification of the next-of-kin.[248] The USAAF Report of Aircraft Accident listed the other two victims as 2d Lt. A. L. Gentry and Capt. John M. Wallace.[247] The storage tank was erected in 1928 at a cost of $2 million, according to a Chicago Daily Tribune account. It was not rebuilt.
28 May
The loss of US Navy Curtiss SB2C-1 Helldiver, BuNo 00154, of VB-5, during launch near Trinidad on 28 May 1943[249] during the shakedown cruise of the USS Yorktown was incorporated by 20th Century Fox into the 1944 film Wing and a Prayer: The Story of Carrier X.[250]
30 May
Boeing B-17F-45-BO Flying Fortress, 42-5318, of the 464th Bombardment Squadron, 331st Bombardment Group,[158] out of Casper Army Air Field, Wyoming, piloted by James O. Westbury,[242] crashes into a mountainside NE of Covelo, California while on a training flight to Eugene, Oregon, killing all six people on board.[251]
Second production Mitsubishi J2M2 Raiden (Thunderbolt), Allied codename "Jack", noses over shortly after take-off and crashes for unknown reasons. When pilot of tenth production J2M2 experiences same phenomenon just after gear-retraction on test flight, he has enough altitude to drop gear and recover. It is discovered that retractable tailwheel shock strut can press against elevator torque tube during retraction, forcing control stick full-forward. This is modified and fighter production resumes.[252]
2 June
An hour into a routine training flight from the USS Lexington (CV-16) over the Gulf of Paria off Venezuela, 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick develops severe oil leak, cannot recover to either the carrier or land, and ditches his F4F Wildcat.[253] Although rescue forces arrive at the scene in eight minutes, neither he nor his plane are found, only an oil slick. Kinnick was the first Heisman winner to die. The University of Iowa renames their football stadium "Kinnick Stadium" in 1972.
3 June
A Boeing B-17F-55-DL Flying Fortress, 42-3399, "Scharazad",[254] of the Plummer Provisional Group, 318th Bomb Squadron,[158] flying to Grand Island, Nebraska from Pendleton Army Air Base in Oregon crashes on Bomber Mountain in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. 10 crew members were killed. Wreckage finally discovered on 12 August 1945.
4 June
RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc, AR512, of 312 (Czech) squadron based at Churchstanton in the Blackdown Hills hits a train while conducting a mock-attack near Bradford-on-Tone just west of Norton Fitzwarren. The roof of at least one carriage is ripped off and several passengers, mainly WRENs, are killed. The plane flies on before eventually crashing near Castle Cary. The pilot, F/O Jaroslav Cermak, dies and is buried in Taunton.
13 June
Blohm & Voss BV 138C-1, WNr.0310158, K6+AK, of 2.Staffel KüstenFlieger Gruppe 406, capsizes upon landing at Drontheim See Ilsvika in Trondheim harbour, Norway. Crew has to swim underwater to escape. Oblt. Ludwig Schönherr, wounded; Ltn. Günther Behr, wounded; Uffz. Heinz Kitzmann, unhurt; Uffz. Reinhold Zwanzig, unhurt; Ofw. Ernst Neumann, drowned. His body is recovered from inside the flying boat when it is recovered the following day.[255]
14 June
Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress, 40-2072, "Miss E.M.F." (Every Morning Fixing), of the 19th Bomb Group, heavily damaged on Davao mission 25 December 1941 and converted into transport. With 46th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group, crashed Bakers Creek, Queensland, Australia, this date while ferrying troops to New Guinea. Six crew and 34 GIs killed. One survived. (see Bakers Creek air crash) A memorial to the victims of this crash was installed at the Selfridge Gate of Arlington National Cemetery on 11 June 2009, donated by the Bakers Creek Memorial Association. The gate is named for Lt. Thomas Selfridge, killed in a 1908 crash at Fort Myer, Virginia, the first victim of a powered air accident.[256]
16 June
Boeing XB-38-VE, 41-2401, powered with Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engines, crashed near Tipton, California, on its ninth test flight when the number three (starboard inner) engine caught fire. Attempts to extinguish it were unsuccessful, and as the fire spread to the wing, the pilots bailed out after pointing the aircraft to an uninhabited area. Lockheed test pilot George MacDonald was killed when his parachute did not deploy, and Lockheed test pilot Bud Martin was seriously injured when his parachute did not deploy properly.
1 July
US Navy Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, BuNo 04447, returning to NAS Pensacola, Florida, after anti-submarine patrol flight over the Gulf of Mexico, attempts ill-advised landing in a storm brought on by a passing weather front, hits swell, bounces twice and overturns in Pensacola Bay. Nose section breaks away right at the wing tower and sinks, taking with it U.S. Coast Guard Motor Machinists Mate Chief Dana W. Heckart, in the co-pilot's seat as a pilot trainee. Rest of crew, all U.S. Navy personnel, pilot Ltjg. John W. Nichols, Lt. Norman Bennett, Ens. Francis R. Young, AMM3c Van C. Hardin, AM3c William E. Mutch, AMM2c Robert H. Ovink, ASM3c Albert W. Smith, and ARM3c Ralph E. Stuckey, survive as rest of airframe floats. Hardin, Mutch, Ovink and Smith suffer minor injuries, rest of crew more seriously injured. A seaplane wrecking derrick (YSD) retrieves floating section the following day. Heckart's body never recovered. Investigation finds pilot Nichols at fault for trying to land in storm conditions.[257][258]
4 July
Churchill and Roosevelt to circumvent any appeasement deals between the Allies, Russia, and Germany which would come at Poland's expense. By this time, the Free Poles had found out about the Katyn Massacre, and thus terminated relations with the Soviet Union on 26 April 1943. As Sikorski was the most prestigious leader of the Polish exiles, his death was a severe setback to the Polish cause, and was certainly highly convenient for Stalin. It was in some ways also convenient for the western Allies, who were finding the Polish issue a stumbling-block in their efforts to preserve good relations with Stalin. This has given rise to persistent suggestions that Sikorski's death was not accidental. This has never been proved." [89]
4 July
The prototype Platt-LePage XR-1 helicopter, 41-001, tested at Wright Field, Ohio, by the Rotary Branch of the Air Technical Service Command from May 1943, is damaged this date by the failure of a rotor blade spinner. Never ordered into production, its last flight will take place on 21 June 1946 with 91 hours, 45 minutes of flight time, and it will be donated the National Air Museum in Washington, D.C., where it remains in storage at the Paul Garber Facility at Silver Hill, Maryland.[259]
31 July
The first prototype Focke-Wulf Ta 154 V1, TE+FE, powered by Jumo 211R engines, first flown 1 July 1943, tested at Rechlin, is written off in a landing accident this date when the landing gear collapsed. This was a recurrent problem that accounted for the loss of several of the type.[260]
1 August
During a demonstration flight of an "all St. Louis-built glider", a WACO CG-4A-RO, 42-78839, built by sub-contractor Robertson Aircraft Corporation, loses its starboard wing due to a defective wing strut support, plummets vertically to the ground at Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri, killing all on board, including St. Louis Mayor William D. Becker, Maj. William B. Robertson and Harold Krueger, both of Robertson Aircraft, Thomas Dysart, president of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, Max Doyne, director of public utilities, Charles Cunningham, department comptroller, Henry Mueller, St. Louis Court presiding judge, Lt. Col. Paul Hazleton, pilot Capt. Milton C. Klugh, and co-pilot/mechanic PFC Jack W. Davis, of the USAAF 71st Troop Carrier Squadron.[261] The failed component had been manufactured by Robertson subcontractor Gardner Metal Products Company, of St. Louis, who, ironically, had been a casket maker.[262]
1 August
A Boeing B-17F-95-BO Flying Fortress, 42-30326, c/n 5440,[263] of the 541st Bomb Squadron, 383d Bomb Group, piloted by Roy J. Lee,[264] was headed north up the Oregon coast on a routine patrol flight. The plane had left Pendleton Field, near Pendleton, Oregon, at 0900 and was tasked with flying to Cape Disappointment on the Oregon coast. They were then to fly 500 miles out to sea, followed by a direct flight back to Pendleton Field. On arriving at the coast, the crew found the entire area hidden in overcast clouds which extended to an elevation of 8000 feet. The pilot decided to locate Cape Disappointment by flying below the overcast. The overcast proved to reach almost to the level of the sea. The plane was flying at about 50-150 feet above the waves. Deciding that the risk was too great the crew began to climb back up into the overcast. Unfortunately, the plane crashed into the side of Cape Lookout at about 900 feet in elevation.[265][266] The Aviation Archeological Investigation & Research website lists the crash date as 2 August.[264]
2 August
Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress, 41-2463, "Yankee Doodle", of the 19th Bomb Group, then to 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bomb Group, crashes on takeoff due mechanical failure at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, Bombardier Sgt. John P. Kruger and navigator Lt. Talbert H. Woolam are killed. Pilot was Gene Roddenberry, future creator of Star Trek.[267] The airframe was stricken on 13 August 1943.[268]
4 August
North American XB-28A-NA, 40-3058, c/n 67-3417, crashes into the Pacific Ocean off California after the crew bails out. Project not proceeded with.[269]
8 August[270] or 11 August
[271] Future ETO double ace Captain Walker Melville "Bud" Mahurin gets off to an ignominious start this date when, "On a training mission over England he had spotted a B-24 Liberator - at the time not a particularly common aeroplane in English skies. While flying formation with the bomber he took his Thunderbolt (41-6334) a little too close resulting in the empennage being slashed off by the Liberator's propellers. Mahurin came down by parachute, his P-47 disintegrated in an English field and the Liberator made a successful landing having sustained only minor damage. Thunderbolts, costing $104,258 each, were still in short supply and Mahurin's folly did not endear him to the authorities."[270] The P-47C-5-RE, of the 63d Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, impacted ~one mile NW of Metfield, Suffolk.[150][271] Mahurin will somewhat redeem himself on 17 August 1943 when he downs two Focke-Wulf Fw 190s. The 11 August date may be the date that the airframe was officially written off.
14 August
Curtiss XP-60E-CU, 42-79425, is damaged in a forced landing just before being released to the USAAF for official trials. Becomes XP-60C when it is retrofit with wings, landing gear, and other items from the Curtiss XP-60A-CU, 42-79423. Meanwhile, original Curtiss XP-60C-CU, 42-79424, becomes second XP-60E with removal of 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) R-2800-53 engine and contraprops, replaced with R-2800-10 engine and four-blade prop.[272] Whole P-60 project is essentially a dead-end, being nothing more than Curtiss' attempt to stretch pre-war design that started out as the P-36, and the company's unwillingness or inability to start fresh with a new fighter design will force them out of the airframe business a few years after the war.
16 August
Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger I, out of Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Lewiston, Maine, ditches in Sebago Lake near Raymond, Maine and sinks. Crew uninjured. Plane listed as missing, so it’s still out there.[273][274]
18 August
Following a Royal Air Force raid on the test facilities at Peenemünde on 17 August, the Messerschmitt Me 163B Komets of training unit EK 16 are moved to a new airfield at Anklam. The airframes are towed to the new location, with one Komet, ferried by test pilot Paul Rudolf Opitz, suffering malfunctioning flap hydraulics. After casting-off from the tow plane, the rocket fighter's landing skid fails to function, the airframe decelerates over a patch of rough and rutted ground at the end of the landing run following an otherwise normal approach. Pilot suffers two damaged vertebrae due to hard landing, spends three months in hospital. Investigation reveals that a force of 15 to 30Gs were required to cause this injury, and Me 163Bs are subsequently fitted with a torsion sprung seat for the pilot, eliminating this type of injury.[275]
9 September
A Reggiane Re.2000, launched from the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto to look for survivors of the sunk Italian battleship Roma, subsequently crashes when it tries to land near Ajaccio airfield, Corsica.
9 September
During carrier compatibility trials, test pilot Capt. Eric "Winkle" Brown crashlands Fairey Firefly F Mk.I, Z1844, on the deck of HMS Pretoria Castle when arrestor hook indicator light falsely shows "down" position. Fighter hits crash barrier, shears off it's landing gear, shreds propeller, but pilot unhurt.[276]
26 September
A Vought OS2U-3 Kingfisher, BuNo 5767, of VS-34, from Naval Air Station New York, Floyd Bennett Field, crashes 7 miles S of Little Egg Inlet, near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two survivors, pilot William K. Stevens, and radio operator-gunner Frank W. Talley,[277] are picked up by Coast Guard 83-foot Wooden Patrol Boat WPB-83340.[278][279]
2 October
Second prototype Arado Ar 234 V2 crashes at Rheine, near Münster, after suffering fire in port wing, failure of both engines, and various instrumentation failure, the airframe diving into the ground from 4,000 feet (1,200 m), killing pilot Flugkapitän Selle.[280]
8 October
First (of two) Northrop XP-56 tailless flying wing fighters, 42-1786, suffers blown left main tire during ~130 mph (210 km/h) taxi across Muroc Dry Lake, Muroc Air Base, California. Aircraft tumbles, goes airborne, throws pilot John Myers clear before crashing inverted, airframe destroyed. Pilot, wearing a polo helmet for protection, suffers only minor injuries.[281]
The first XP-55 lies inverted following a crash during flight testing.
20 October

A Consolidated Liberator III from No. 10 Squadron RCAF, on a routine flight from Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador to Mont-Joli, Québec flew into a mountain near Saint-Donat, Lanaudière, Quebec due to inclement weather and a mapping error. All those on board prerished in the incident and it took more than two years to find the location of the wreckage.[282]

8 November
Boeing B-17F-75-DL Flying Fortress 42-3553, c/n 8489,[283] "Sad Sack", crashed at Middle Farm, West Harling, Norfolk, United Kingdom shortly after taking off from RAF Snetterton Heath with the loss of all ten crew.[284]
10 November
Boeing B-17G-15-DL Flying Fortress, 42-37831, c/n 8517,[263] suffered a hydraulics and brakes failure at RAF Snetterton Heath and was written off.[284]
15 November
First of three prototypes of the Curtiss XP-55 Ascender, 42-78845, on test flight out of Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri, crashes when pilot is unable to recover from a stall, engine then quits, Curtiss test pilot J. Harvey Gray divorces airframe after 16,000-foot (4,900 m) plummet, landing safely, fighter impacts inverted in an open field.[285][286]
Night of 23–24 November
The Deutsche Luftfahrt Sammlung (Berlin Air Museum), at Lehrter Bahnhof, is destroyed in an RAF bombing raid by 383 aircraft:365 Avro Lancaster, 10 Handley Page Halifax, and 8 de Havilland Mosquito bombers.[287] Many exhibited aircraft are destroyed, including the Dornier Do-X, and the Focke-Wulf Cierva C.19a demonstrator, Wrke Nr. 35, D-1960 / D-OBIR.[288] Surviving types are moved E from Berlin where they are discovered post-war. Most of these survivors are now in the Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego w Krakowie, the Polish Aviation Museum, at Kraków, Poland.[289]
6 December
USAAF Douglas A-20G-20-DO Havoc, 42-86782,[290] of the 649th Bomb Squadron, 411th Bombardment Group (Light), out of Florence Army Airfield, South Carolina,[291] crashed near Woodruff, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, three miles E of Switzer. Pilot 2nd Lt. Hampton P. Worrell, 26, (b. 27 September 1917 in South Carolina), gunners Sgt. Harry G. Barnes, 19, (b. 22 September 1924 in New York) and Sgt. John D. Hickman, 21, (b. 31 December 1923 in California), all killed.
7 December
During a joint U.S. NavyU.S. Marine simulated close air support exercise near Pauwela, Maui, Territory of Hawaii, the pilot of a U.S. Navy Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, BuNo 36045, initiates a slight right-hand turn and deploys dive brakes in preparation for a bomb run, but his aircraft is struck by a second Navy SBD-5, 36099, that did not have dive brakes deployed. Both aircraft crash, and a bomb knocked loose from 36045 falls in the midst of a group of marines and detonates, killing 20 and seriously injuring 24. Both SBD pilots parachute to safety, but both SBD gunners die, one after an unsuccessful bailout attempt. The collision is attributed to poor judgment and flying technique by both pilots.[292] Aviation Archaeology Investigation & Research gives the date of this accident as 6 December.[293]
22 December
Lt. Col. William Edwin Dyess (1916–1943) is killed when the Lockheed P-38G-10-LO Lightning, 42-13441, of the 337th Fighter Squadron, 329d Fighter Group,[291] he is undergoing retraining in catches fire in flight near Burbank, California. He refuses to bail out over a populated area and dies when his Lightning impacts in a vacant lot at 109 Myers St, Burbank, saving countless civilians on the ground. Dyess had been captured on Bataan in April 1942 by the Japanese, but escaped in April 1943 and fought with guerilla forces on Mindanao until evacuated by the submarine USS Trout in July 1943. Abilene Air Force Base, Texas, is named for him on 1 December 1956.[294]
29 December
1st Lt Robert L. Duke is killed in the crash of Curtiss A-25A-20-CS Shrike, 42-79823, near Spencer, Tennessee, this date. He was assigned as Assistant A-3 of Eglin Field, Florida. Eglin Auxiliary Field 3 is later named Duke Field in his honor.[295]
30 December
Luftwaffe pilot Lt. Joschi Pöhs is killed when, upon takeoff in a Messerschmitt Me 163A of training unit EK 16 from Bad Zwischenahn, near Oldenburg, he releases the takeoff dolly too soon. The bouncing dolly strikes the airframe, apparently damaging a T-Stoff line, and the engine loses power. The pilot banks the Komet round for an attempted landing but just prior to lining up for touchdown a wingtip grazes a flak tower, all control is lost, and the rocket fighter crashes just outside the airfield perimeter. It was felt that if Pōhs had begun his turn back to the airfield immediately after the power loss he would have made a safe return; however, he lowered the landing skid and dropped flaps before beginning the turn and ate up precious altitude.[296]
Sole prototype of the Kawasaki Ki-64 (Allied code name: Rob), an experimental heavy, single seat, fighter with two Ha-40 engines in tandem; one in the aircraft nose, the other behind the cockpit, both being connected by a drive shaft, driving two, three bladed, contra-rotating propellors, first flown in December 1943. During the fifth flight, the rear engine catches fire, the aircraft makes an emergency landing, but is damaged. The design is subsequently abandoned in mid-1944 in favour of more promising projects. The airframe survives the war and parts are sent to Wright Field for examination.[297]


Thirtieth Mitsubishi J2M2 Raiden (Thunderbolt) disintegrates over Toyohashi airfield. Cause never satisfactorily explained but believed to have been either violent engine shaking due to failed attachment point causing secondary airframe failure, or, possibly, engine cowling detaching and striking tail assembly. Both power attachment points and cowling fasteners strengthened, but Raidens continue to be lost after these modifications.[298]
3 January
CDR. Frank A. Erickson, U.S. Coast Guard, receives an official commendation after he pilots a Sikorsky HNS-1 helicopter with two cases of blood plasma lashed to its floats from New York City to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, for treatment of U.S. Navy crewmen of the destroyer USS Turner, which had exploded, burned, and sunk off New York harbor, this date. In this heroic deed, in violent winds and snow that grounded all other aircraft, Erickson became the first pilot in the world to fly a helicopter under such conditions as well as making the first "lifesaving flight" ever performed by a "chopper". Without the plasma, many of the severely injured survivors of the Turner would have died.[299]
8 January
1st Lt. Andrew Biancur, a test pilot of the Medium Bombardment Section of the 1st Proving Ground Group, is killed in crash of Northrop YP-61-NO Black Widow, 41-18883, c/n 711, at Eglin Field this date. Eglin Auxiliary Field 6 is later named in his honor.
12 January
U.S. Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat, BuNo 66237, c/n A-1257, 'Z 11', suffers engine failure on functional check flight out of NAS San Diego, North Island, California, pilot Ens. Robert F. Thomas ditches in the Pacific Ocean ~12 miles (19 km) from the base, gets clear of sinking airframe and survives to become an ace in the Pacific theatre. Hellcat is discovered in 3,400 feet (1,000 m) of water by Lockheed research submarine RV Deep Quest on 17 March 1970. Recovered by USN on 9 October 1970. An M-2 .50 calibre machine gun from the wing is taken to the Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Virginia, for test firing. Showing little signs of deterioration after the long immersion, the weapon, after cleaning and lubrication, fires without a stoppage or mechanical failure.[300] Airframe was displayed as of 1974 at Pima County Air Museum, Tucson, Arizona, now at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, Florida.[301]
14 January
Fighter Leader, B. B. Howe, 28, and Squadron Leader, R. S. Harmon, 25, of the British Royal Air Force bailed out of their disabled plane over the Ohio River about nine miles above St. Marys, WV. The two were flying from Dayton, OH to Bolling Field, Washington, DC. Harmon parachuted to safety on the West Virginia side of the river while Howe, the pilot, plunged into the river and drowned. The plane crashed against a hillside on the Ohio side of the river and burned. Harmon managed to land against a hillside, but Howe apparently unable to direct his parachute plunged into an air pocket in the ice-filled river. He managed to break loose from his parachute harness just before he plunged into the river. He was about midway of the river and remained afloat for about 15 minutes. He was seen struggling to climb onto the ice, which was so thin it broke at his every attempt, and probably exhausted and benumbed with cold he sank and drifted under the ice. Both men had engaged in many flights of the RAF, Harmon being credited with twenty-seven bombing raids over Germany. They had been sent to the U. S. to serve as trainers in the field.[302]
28 January
Col. Robin E. Epler, deputy commander (Technical) of the Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, is killed this date in crash of Douglas A-20G-10-DO Havoc, 42-54016, one mile (1.6 km) NE of Crestview, Florida. Eglin Auxiliary Field No. 7 is named in his honor.
4 February
Boeing B-17F-90-BO Flying Fortress, 42-30188, "Temptation", with nose art of a black cat considering dropping a bomb,[303] previously "Kats Sass II", 'MZ S' of the 413th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group, during takeoff for a Frankfort mission,[304] suffers runaways on Nos. 1 and 2 propellers. Lt. Joseph Meacham attempts landing at near-by as yet unfinished base, but crash lands at East Shropham, Norfolk, NNW of RAF Snetterton Heath.[305] All eleven crew survive but the aircraft is damaged beyond repair and is written off, fit only for parts salvage.[284]
16 February
Focke-Wulf Ta 152 V19, Werke Nummer 110019, prototype for the Ta 152B-5/R11 (Ta 152C-3/R11) with 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Jumo 213A engine, is written off this date in a crash during test flight out of Langenhagen. Airframe had been damaged in 1943 wheels-up landing during testing but was repaired.[306]
18 February
Curtiss C-46A-10-CU Commando, 41-12339, c/n 26466, of the 3d OTU, Henry F. Harvey piloting,[307] departs McClellan Field, California, at 0045 hrs. on a flight to homebase at Reno Army Air Base, Nevada. Some 15 minutes after takeoff arcing wiring ignites hydraulic fluid. The fire burns though oxygen lines and de-icer lines, airframe impacting in American River Canyon, California. Five crew members bailed out, ~0100 hrs., but two died when exiting the plane.[308]
Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless, BuNo 2173, of the Carrier Qualification Training Unit, NAS Glenview, Illinois, piloted by LTJG. John Lendo, suffers engine failure, probably due to caburetor icing, while on approach to a Type IX training carrier on Lake Michigan. Pilot ditches dive bomber and is rescued. On 19 June 2009, the airframe was retrieved from the lake bottom and will go to the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Oahu, Hawaii.[309]
23 March
Consolidated B-24J-25-CO Liberator, 42-73228,[310] of the 3330th Combat Crew Training Squadron,[311] on training mission out of Biggs Field, Texas, crashes into the eastern slope of Franklin Mountain near El Paso, Texas, at 2240 hrs. during routine training flight. Seven crewmen are killed in the crash: 1st Lt. Lyle R. Jensen, Big Springs, Nebraska, whose wife was in El Paso; 2nd Lt. Benjamin C. Fricke, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2nd Lt. Robert Spears, Indianapolis; 2nd Lt. Donald B. Harris, Deming, New Mexico; Staff Sgt. Richard I. Stoney, Stoneham, Massachusetts; Sgt. William T. Hinson, Norwood, North Carolina; and Sgt. John H. House, Black River, New York.[312]
24 March
Major-General Orde Charles Wingate flies to assess the situations in three Chindit-held bases in Burma. On his return, flying from Imphal to Lalaghat, the USAAF North American B-25H-1-NA Mitchell bomber, 43-4242,[313][314] of the 1st Air Commando Group[315] in which he is traveling crashes into jungle-covered hills near Bishnupur, Manipur, in the present-day state of Manipur in Northeast India. He is killed along with nine others.[316] Local thunderstorms with extreme turbulence have been suggested as the cause of the crash. Remains of Wingate and crew are later recovered and interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
24 March
Royal Air Force tailgunner Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade jumps without a parachute from a burning Avro Lancaster BMk.II, DS664,[317] 'S for Sugar', of No. 115 Squadron RAF, E of Schmallenberg, flying at 18,000 ft (5,500 m) during a raid on Germany. Alkemade falls into a forest and is decelerated by fall through tree branches before landing in deep snowdrift. Alkemade survives fall with severe bruising and a sprained leg. Captured and unable to show them his parachute, his captors disbelieve his story and suspect him of being a spy until he shows them bruising and indentation in snowdrift. Alkemade finishes war in Stalag Luft III and dies in 1987.
8 April
Fifth Fisher XP-75-GC Eagle, 44-32163, out of the Fisher Plant No.2, Cleveland, Ohio, crashes at Cleveland after pilot engaged in low-level aerobatics that reportedly exceeded the placarded limitations. Pilot Hamilton J. Wagner [318] killed.[319]
9 April
Fairey Albacore, X9117, of No. 415 Squadron RCAF, engaged in a fighter affiliation exercise, crashes near Bosham, West Sussex while making a low turn. All four crew KWF.[320]
9 April
Consolidated B-24D-135-CO Liberator, 42-41128, c/n 2203,[321] of the 420th AAF Base Unit, March Field, California, piloted by Frank A. Gurley, crashes in weather-related accident 3 miles SW of Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station Mojave,[322] Mojave, California, while on a routine training mission to simulate a long range bombing mission. All ten crew members are KWF.[323][324] Site rediscovered in 2005.
11 April
Short Stirling B.Mk.III, EH947, of 75 Squadron, suffers engine failure during non-operational flight, force-landed at Icklingham, Suffolk.[325]
13 April
After downing 3 planes on 8 April,[326] Don Gentile was the top scoring 8th Air Force ace when he crashed his personal North American P-51B-7-NA Mustang, 43-6913, 'VF-T', named "Shangri La", this date while stunting over the 4th Fighter Group's airfield at Debden for a group of assembled press reporters and movie cameras. He buzzed the airfield too low, struck the rising ground, and broke the back of his fighter.[327][328] Col. Donald Blakeslee immediately grounded Major Gentile as a result, even though his combat tour was completed, and he was sent back to the US for a tour selling War Bonds.
13 April
During a Naval Air Training Command (NATC) evaluation flight of a Budd RB-1 Conestoga prototype, U.S. Navy BuNo 39293, NX37097, at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, the aircraft crashed, killing one of the crew.[329] The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and written off, but the pilot reported that the stainless steel construction of the plane contributed to saving his life.
15 April
Second prototype [330]
19 April
U.S. Navy K-class blimp K-133, of ZP-22, operating out of Naval Air Station Houma, Louisiana, is caught in a thunderstorm while patrolling over the Gulf of Mexico. Ship goes down and twelve of thirteen crew are lost. Sole survivor is recovered after spending 21 hours in the water.[331]
21 April
Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube (29 October 1890 – 21 April 1944), a German general who served in the German Army during the First and Second World Wars, and recipient of the Diamonds to the Knight's Cross, is killed when the Heinkel He 111 which was shuttling him to Berlin crashes shortly after takeoff in Salzburg at Ainring. Hube was nicknamed der Mensch ("The Man" or better "The human being") by his troops during the Second World War.[332]
21 April
Southeast door of blimp hangar at Naval Air Station Houma, Louisiana, goes inoperable, is chained open. A gust of wind carries three Goodyear ZNP-K airships, all of ZP-22, out into the night; K-56, BuNo 30178, travels 4.5 miles (7.2 km), crashes into trees, K-57, BuNo 30179, explodes and burns 4 miles (6.4 km) from the air station, K-62, BuNo 30184, fetches up against high-tension powerlines a quarter mile away, burns. K-56 is salvaged, sent to Goodyear at Akron, Ohio, repaired and returned to service.[331][333]
8 May
Vought OS2U-2 Kingfisher, BuNo 3092, suffers midair collision with OS2U-3 Kingfisher, BuNo 5422, 1/2 mile S of NAS Pensacola, Florida.[74]
15 May
Ex-RAF de Havilland Mosquito B.IV, DK296, formerly flown by 105 Squadron as 'GB-G', delivered to the Soviet Union for testing on 19 April 1944 by Soviet flight crew, is written off this date in landing accident at Sverdlovsk when pilot A. I. Kabanov loses control with engines at low power setting, turns to port, runs off runway, shears off landing gear and skids to a stop on its belly. Pilot and navigator P. I. Perevalov unhurt. This was the ninth flight of DK296 (which never received a Soviet serial) since it arrived in Russia and was the only Mosquito delivered to Russia. Kabanov was the Deputy Director of the Scientific Research Institute of the Air Force at this time, and had much experience flying foreign types.[334]
28 May
Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6, 'Red 3', formerly carrying RQ+DR, werke nummer 163306, crashes into Lake Trzebun in Pomerania, northwest Poland in 0831 hrs. takeoff accident from airfield at Gebbert (now Jaworze), killing pilot Feldwebel Ernst Pleines of 2 Staffel, Jagdgruppe West. (Luftwaffe Verlustmeldung 174 - Casualty Report 174.) He was buried 15 June at Gebbert. Wreck discovered June 1999 in 56 feet (17 m) of water, subsequently recovered by Gdańsk-based Klub Pletwonurków Rekin (Shark Divers' Club) for the Polish Eagles Aviation Foundation for restoration and display.[335]
29 May
Luftwaffe fighter experten Friedrich-Karl "Tutti" Müller (140 victories in 600 combat sorties) is killed in a landing accident at Salzwedel, when his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, Werknummer 410827, stalls on landing approach at low altitude. He is posthumously promoted to Oberstleutnant.[336]
8 June
Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express, 41-24006, c/n 801, crashes during attempted belly landing at Station 4, Jorhat, India, this date. Pilot was Lawrence C. Ackerson.[103][337]
9 June
Mid-air collision between two Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Lewiston-based Vought F4U Corsair fighters over Lewiston, Maine; both are able to land and crews are uninjured.[273][274]
13 June
The Bäckebo Bomb - A German Aggregat-4 (Vergeltungswaffe 2) rocket, V-89, c/n 4089, specially equipped to be hand-controlled in flight by the Wasserfall anti-aircraft system, test-fired from Peenemünde, goes astray, exploding at ~1605 hours over a cornfield at gräsdals gård in Knivingaryd, close to Bäckebo, N of Nybro in Småland,[338] near Kalmar, Sweden, creating a 13-foot wide crater after a flight of 350 km. The Swedish government later transfers two tons of debris to England, transported in a Douglas Dakota, reportedly in exchange for two squadrons of new tanks,[339] or Supermarine Spitfires. The last leg of the delivery flight, from Scotland to London, was flown by Bernt Balchen.[338]
20 June
Lt. Donald A. Innis, [341]
29 June
Republic P-47D-1-RA Thunderbolt, 42-22331, c/n 82, accepted 30 March 1943, of C Flight, 1st AF / 1st FG / E Section / 124th Base Unit (Fighter), "A-362", from Bluethenthal AAF, piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert B Boyd, Jr., makes gear-up crash landing on Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Abandoned in place, the hulk of the wings and lower fuselage is uncovered by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Now stored at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina. Pictures of salvage on beach March 2000, P-47G Salvage c/o Carolina Military Gallery.
11 July
U.S. Army Lt. Phillip "Phee" Russell was attempting to land his Douglas A-26B-5-DT Invader, 43-22253, at the Portland-Westbrook Municipal Airport at 1645 hrs. this date.[342] For reasons that were never fully determined, Russell lost control of the plane and crashed into a trailer park in a nearby neighborhood in South Portland, Maine. Two crew, and 19 people on the ground were killed and 20 people were injured—mostly women and children—making it the worst aviation accident in Maine history.[273][274][343][344]
11 July
A U.S. Army Air Force Boeing B-17G-75-BO Flying Fortress, 44-38023,[345][346] en route from Kearney Army Airfield, Nebraska, to Dow Field, Maine, for overseas deployment, crashes into Deer Mountain in Parkertown Township in North Oxford, Maine, during a thunderstorm, killing all ten crew: Sgt. James A. Benson, Sgt. Gerald V. Biddle, 2nd Lt. John T. Cast, 2nd Lt. John W. Drake, 2nd Lt. William Hudgens, Cpl. John H. Jones, Staff Sgt. Wayne D. McGavran, Sgt. Cecil L. Murphy, 2nd Lt. Robert S. Talley, and Sgt. Clarence M. Waln. Locals saw the plane circling before it struck terrain 500 feet below the summit. It apparently descended below the clouds, struck treetops, and cartwheeled across the mountainside. Two days later, after a search by more than 100 spotters from the Civil Air Patrol, the Army Air Force, the Navy, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Boeing B-17’s wreckage was found on the side of the mountain. Ironically, this is the second worst military crash in Maine history, and it occurred the same day as an A-26 Invader crash at Portland that killed 21.[273][274]
13 July
A Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 G-1 night fighter of 7 Staffel/NJG 2, bearing Geschwaderkennung code 4R+UR, on North Sea night patrol landed at RAF Woodbridge. This aircraft carried recent versions of the FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 VHF-band radar, FuG 350 Naxos-Z and FuG 227 Flensburg homer[347] which were being successfully used to intercept RAF night bombers. The German crew had only just completed 100 hours of flight training, and had flown by compass heading, but proceeded on a reciprocal (opposite) course to that intended and thought they were over their own airfield. Within days, the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) analysed the radar equipment and devised countermeasures. This 'coup' repeated the events of the previous year, when a similar radar-equipped Ju 88 (pictured) was flown by a defecting crew to the UK
The earlier Ju 88 R-1 nightfighter flown to RAF Dyce by its defecting crew the year before the 13 July 1944 event
16 July
Royal Navy Vought Corsair I out of NAS Brunswick, Maine, destroyed when it flies into Sebago Lake near Raymond, Maine; crew condition unknown.[273][274]
18 July
Hauptman Werner Thierfelder, unit commander of Erprobungskommando 262, out of Lechfeld, is lost in crash of Me 262A-1a under unclear circumstances. Luftwaffe records indicate that he was shot down but U.S. and British records show no comparable engagement. A possible cause is that Thierfelder exceeded the airframe's limiting Mach number in a dive, perhaps while pursuing an Allied reconnaissance aircraft, leading to an irrecoverable dive.[348]
19 July
Boeing B-17G-60-BO Flying Fortress, 42-102937, "Ready Freddie", of the 412th Bomb Squadron, 95th Bomb Group,[349] crashed at RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, when attempting to buzz the airfield at too low an altitude. The aircraft clipped a hangar and crashed into a barracks block killing all thirteen on board and one person on the ground.[284]
21 July
Royal Navy Vought Corsair I out of Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Lewiston, Maine, crashes in Mount Vernon woods (Cottle Hill area) following engine failure, killing Sub-Lt. Peter John Cann.[273][274]
21 July
Three US Army Air Force Douglas C-47s (42-100712, 42-92115, and 43-30664) disappear while flying at 500 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The three aircraft lost radio contact with the squadron leader and flew into a storm.[350] Lost aboard 42-100712 were: 1Lt. William E. Bechelm, Jr., of Illinois, 2Lt. Oakes M. Colwell of New Jersey, 2Lt. Donald W. Copeland of Iowa, Sergeant Leo C. Fair of Louisiana, and Sergeant Edward G. Hillman of Pennsylvania. Lost aboard 42-92115 were: 1Lt. Chris C. Nicorvo of New Jersey, 2Lt. Junior R. Davidson of Oklahoma, Flight Officer James M. Crew of Alabama, Staff Sergeant Fred J. Carini of Pennsylvania, and Sergeant Frank E. Sherwood of New York. Lost aboard 43-30664 were: Captain Robert J. Miskell of Ohio, 2Lt. Milton J. Verberg of Michigan, 2Lt. Walter H. Zuidema (origin unknown), Corporal Roger O. Weston of Massachusetts, and Sergeant Ben L. Dean of Texas
23 July
Two Paramount Pictures newsreel crew caught the accident on film, which was examined by the crash investigation board for clues to the accident. This footage was later incorporated into the 1956 film Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.[352]
23 July
Focke-Wulf Fw 190C V33 prototype, Werke Nummer 0058, modified to Fw 190 V33/U1 as prototype for Ta 152H-0 with 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Junkers Jumo 213E-1 engine and new wing fuel tanks of the definitive Ta 152H-1, comprising three tanks in each inner portion, located just aft of the truncated mainspar, first flown 12 July 1944, crashes this date out of Langenhagen, setting back the flight test programme.[353]
31 July
Noted aviation pioneer and author Bastia, Corsica, a reconnaissance variant of the P-38 Lightning, over the Mediterranean; his fate remains a mystery until 2004 when the wreckage of his plane is discovered. While the cause of the crash is unknown, analysis of the wreckage and enemy wartime records suggests that the crash was an accident unrelated to enemy action.[354] A former Luftwaffe pilot has published a volume in which he claims to have shot down a French-marked Lightning, but his claim is largely discounted.
Test program of Lavochkin La-7TK, fitted with turbo-supercharged M-82FN engine in July–August 1944 comes to sudden end when one TK-3 supercharger explodes and airframe is destroyed.[355]
5 August
During test flight out of the Fisher plant at Cleveland, Ohio, third Fisher XP-75 Eagle, 44-32161, crashes at Fairfield Village, Ohio, three miles (5 km) N of Cleveland, after an explosion and fire at 23,000 feet (7,000 m) - pilot Russell Stuart Weeks bailed out at 4,000 feet (1,200 m).[319][356]
13 August
Focke-Wulf Fw 190C V30 prototype, Werke Nummer 0055, modified to Fw 190 V30/U1 as prototype for Ta 152H-0, rebuilt with Fw 190D 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Jumo 213A-1 power egg, but without new wingtanks, crashes this date on flight out of Langenhagen after only one week of testing. First flown in new guise on 6 August.[357]
21 August
Lieutenant John M. Armitage, USNR, is killed while conducting air firing tests of a [341] and was killed after the launching the rocket. Accident investigators discovered that the shock wave from the rocket's blast caused a jam in the SB2C's flight controls.[358] Airfield dedicated 30 May 1945 in his honor as Armitage Field, now part of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.[359]
23 August
Freckleton Air Disaster - A United States Army Air Forces Consolidated B-24H-20-CF Liberator, 42-50291, "Classy Chassis II", crashes into a school at Freckleton, Lancashire, England at 1047 hrs. while on approach to Warton Aerodrome. Twenty adults, 38 children and the three-man crew are killed. In addition to a memorial in the village churchyard, a marker was placed at the site of the accident in 2007.[360]
23 August
Maj. Carlo Emanuele Buscaglia, one of Italy's most noted aviators, crashes this date in a Martin Baltimore light bomber. After the armistice of 8 September 1943, Buscaglia was asked to fight alongside the Allies, as a member of the newly formed Aeronautica Cobelligerante del Sud. In the meantime, in the northern part of Italy still occupied by Germany, a wing of the Aeronautica Nazionale Reppublicana (the Air Force of the puppet Italian Social Republic) had also been named after him. On 15 July 1944 Buscaglia assumed command of the 28th Bomber Wing, equipped with Baltimores, based on Campo Vesuvio airport, near Naples. On 23 August, while attempting to fly one of the new planes during the early transition training phase, without an instructor, Buscaglia crashes on take-off, dying in hospital in Naples the following day.[361]
Post September
Blohm & Voss BV 155 V1, first flown 1 September 1944, crashes on later test flight for unknown reasons. Second prototype, BV 155B (V2), completed just before war's end, is recovered by Allies in hangar at Hamburg-Finkenwärder and taken to RAE Farnborough, England for examination.[362] Aircraft is currently in the hands of the Paul Garber Restoration Facility.
First two attempted test flights of the Fieseler Fi 103R (Reichenberg) at Larz on consecutive days results in both pilots killed.
4 September
Douglas A-26B-15-DL Invader, 41-39158, first assigned to Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Station, Boscombe Down on 11 July 1944 for six weeks' testing (but no RAF serial assigned), then to 2 Group for further evaluation, crashes this date when the upper turret cover left airframe, striking the vertical tail.[363]
6 September
First prototype (and only one completed) McDonnell XP-67 Moonbat, 42-11677, suffers fire in starboard engine during functional test flight at 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Pilot E.E. Elliot manages to bring stricken airframe into Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri, flames gut the fuselage, engine nacelle and wheelwell before firefighters halt blaze. As jet engined project that will become the FD-1 Phantom is already on the horizon, project is cancelled.[364]
Bell P-39 Airacobra #42-18290 crashes southwest of Victorville Army Airfield, Victorville, California. Pilot 2nd Lt. Pat L. Montgomery is killed instantly.[365]
13 September
The first Supermarine Spiteful prototype, NN660, a converted Spitfire XIV, first flown 30 June 1944, returning from flight from the A&AEE, Boscombe Down, crashes this date while in unplanned mock combat with a Spitfire at low altitude, killing test pilot Frank Furlong. No reason for the loss is officially established,[366] although after an incident that happened to him, Jeffrey Quill suggests it may have been due to the Spiteful's aileron control rods sticking - previous Sptifires had used cables. Control rods are checked for binding in all future Spitefuls and the problem does not re-occur. Quill had chosen Furlong for his test team after they had flown together during the Battle of Britain.
14 September
Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless, BuNo 10575, 'B-16', crashes off bow of USS Sable during flight operations on Lake Michigan at 1001 hrs. Pilot Ensign Albert Grey O'Dell, A-V(N), USNR, recovered by U.S. Coast Guard 83-foot Wooden Patrol Boat WPB-83476 at 1003, brought back aboard Sable at 1013. Pilot suffers minor contusion of right shoulder, "numerous jagged lacerations of the face, chin and forehead."[367][368] Airframe rediscovered on 11 April 1989 by A&T Recovery of Chicago, Illinois, and recovered 26 August 1991 on behalf of the National Museum of Naval Aviation and brought initially to Crowley's Yacht Yard for disassembly and shipment for restoration. After restoration it is displayed for a time at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio, marked as a USAAF A-24 Banshee.[369] It is now on display in Concourse C at Chicago Midway International Airport, marked as the SBD, 'B-3', flown by Ensign Frederick Thomas Weber (4 February 1916 – 4 June 1942) of VB-6, USS Enterprise, at the Battle of Midway. Credited with a bomb hit on the Japanese carrier Hiryū, he was killed in action, and awarded the Navy Cross.[370]
18 September
Second Folland Fo.108, P1775, 'P', one of only twelve built by newly founded Folland company, as dedicated engine-testbed type, specification 43/37, crashes this date. Of the twelve, five were lost in accidents, including three in a 21 day period in August and September 1944, giving rise to the nickname, the Folland "Frightener".[371]
19 September
RAF Douglas Dakota Mk. III, KG374, c/n 12383, (ex-USAAF C-47A-DK, 42-92568), 'YS-DM', of 271 Squadron, RAF Down Ampney, Gloucester, piloted by F/Lt. David S. Lord, is hit by AAA in starboard engine while on resupply mission for beleaguered troops at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden. Despite fire spreading to whole of starboard wing, pilot spends ten minutes making two passes over very small dropzone (which, unbeknownst to the crew, had been overrun by German forces) to drop eight ammunition panniers. Just after last one has been dropped, fuel tank explodes, tearing off wing, only navigator F/O Harry A. King escaping from stricken aircraft and descending by parachute to be captured as a POW the following morning, spending the rest of the war in Stalag Luft I at Barth. KWF are pilot Lord, second pilot P/O R. E. H. "Dickie" Medhurst (son of Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Medhurst), wireless operator F/O Alec F. Ballantyne, and four air despatchers of 223 Company RASC, Cpl. P. Nixon, Dvr. A. Rowbotham, Dvr. J. Ricketts and Dvr. L. Harper. Following release of King from prison camp, full details of the action become known and pilot Lord receives posthumous Victoria Cross on 13 November 1945, the only VC awarded to any member of Transport Command during the Second World War. In May 1949 the Dutch Government awards Harry King the Netherlands Bronze Cross.[372]
19 September
Consolidated B-32-1-CF Dominator, 42-108472, first B-32 delivered, on this date, written off the very same day when nosewheel collapsed on landing.[373]
30 September
Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat, BuNo. 42782, lost 125 miles (201 km) SE of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts during carrier qualifications. Pilot's name/fate unknown. Located by submarine DSV Alvin, 24 September 1968.[374]
The Lavochkin La-7, which entered combat testing in September, suffers from a batch of flawed wings and causes six accidents, four of them fatal, which causes the fighter to be grounded until the cause is determined to be a defect in the wing spar.[375]
First prototype of two [376]
2 October
A [378][377]
5 October
Oberstleutnant Helmut Lent, night fighter ace (110 victories), and the first of only two night fighters to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten), crashes in a Junkers Ju 88 on a routine transit flight from Stade to Nordborchen, 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of Paderborn. On the landing approach one of the engines cuts out and the plane collides with power lines. All four members of the crew are mortally injured. Three men die shortly after the crash and Lent succumbs to his injuries two days later on 7 October 1944. Lent is posthumously promoted to Oberst.[379][380]
6 October
Junkers Ju 90, G6+AY, blows two tires and crashes on landing at Tatoi Airport, Greece, after flight from Iraklion, Crete. Repairs prove impossible and the aircraft is set on fire by the crew to prevent capture by the British, who were about to occupy Greece.[381]
8 October
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 V18/U1, Werke Nummer 0040, originally Fw 190A-0, (utilized by Daimler-Benz for engine tests with Hirth exhaust turbine), is rebuilt a second time to Fw 190C standard as Fw 190 V18/U2 with 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Daimler-Benz DB 603A engine replaced by 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Jumo 213E. Aircraft, prototype for Ta 152H-1, crashes this date on test flight out of Langenhagen after just a few days in its new configuration.[382]
10 October
First Fisher P-75A-GC Eagle, 44-44549, crashes on flight test out of Eglin Field, Florida, when propellers apparently run out of oil, pilot Maj. Harold Bolster attempts dead-stick landing but crashes short on approach, dies.[319]
18 October
A United States Army Air Forces Consolidated B-24H-20-CF Liberator, 42-50347 broke up in mid air over the town of Birkenhead, England. The aircraft was on a flight from New York to Liverpool and the accident killed all 24 airmen on board the aircraft.[383]
19 October
En route to the Gulf of Paria, off Trinidad, Ensign T. J. Connors, A-V(N), USNR, of VF-67, crashes in a Grumman F6F Hellcat, astern of USS Bennington, while making a strafing run on a towed target sled. "Search results were negative." This was the Bennington's shakedown cruise.[384]
20 October
Lockheed YP-80A-LO Shooting Star, 44-83025, c/n 080-1004, crashes at Burbank, California after main fuel pump failure, killing Lockheed test pilot Milo Burcham.[385]
Second XP-77 prototype, 43-34916, which was lost during Air Proving Ground tests on 22 October 1944, at Eglin Field, Florida.
22 October
Second of only two Bell XP-77-BE lightweight fighters completed out of a contract for six, 43-34916, crashes when pilot attempts an Immelmann turn resulting in an inverted spin during testing at the Air Proving Ground, Eglin Field, Florida.[386] Pilot Barney E. Turner bails out.
26 October
WASP pilot Gertrude Tompkins Silver of the 601st Ferrying Squadron, 5th Ferrying Group, Love Field, Dallas, Texas, departs Mines Field, Los Angeles, California, in North American P-51D-15-NA Mustang, 44-15669,[387] at 1600 hrs PWT, headed for the East Coast. She took off into the wind, into an offshore fog bank, and was expected that night at Palm Springs. She never arrived. Due to a paperwork foul-up, a search did not get under way for several days, and while the eventual search of land and sea was massive, it failed to find a trace of Silver or her plane. She is the only missing WASP pilot. She had married Sgt. Henry Silver one month before her disappearance.[388][389]
26 October
Sole Platt-LePage XR-1A helicopter, 42-6581, is damaged in an accident at Wright Field, Ohio, due to the failure of a pinion bearing support in the starboard rotor hub and is shipped back to the manufacturer. It will be declared surplus following the end of World War II.[259]
14 November
Ceylon where he was to take over command of Allied air operations in South East Asia Command.
22 November
Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, BuNo 59544, on pre-delivery test flight by company crew out of Lindbergh Field, San Diego, California, takes off at 1223 hrs., loses port outer wing on climb-out, crashes one quarter mile further on in ravine in undeveloped area of Loma Portal near the Navy Training Center, less than two miles (3 km) from point of lift-off. All crew killed, including pilot Marvin R. Weller, co-pilot Conrad C. Cappe, flight engineers Frank D. Sands and Clifford P. Bengston, radio operator Robert B. Skala, and Consolidated Vultee field operations employee Ray Estes. Wing panel comes down on home at 3121 Kingsley Street in Loma Portal. Cause is found to be 98 missing bolts, wing only attached with four spar bolts. Four employees who either were responsible for installation, or who had been inspectors who signed off on the undone work, are fired two days later. San Diego coroner's jury finds Consolidated Vultee guilty of "gross negligence" by vote of 11-1 on 5 January 1945, Bureau of Aeronautics reduces contract by one at a cost to firm of $155,000. Consolidated Vultee pays out $130,484 to families of six dead crew.[391]
27 November
During a 3,000-mile out-and-back navigation training mission from Great Bend Army Airfield Great Bend Army Airfield, Kansas, to Batista Army Airfield, Cuba, Boeing B-29-25-BW Superfortress, 42-24447,[392] coded '35', of the 28th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), suffers fire in number 1 (port outer) engine. Aircraft commander, 1st Lt. Eugene Hammond, orders crew bail-out 37 miles S of Biloxi, Mississippi. After all but pilot have departed, the burning engine nacelle drops off of the wing, Lt. Hammond returns to controls, brings the bomber into Keesler Field, Mississippi for emergency landing. Only four recovered from the Gulf of Mexico, one dead, three injured.[393]
29 November
Douglas A-26 Invader, A-26B-10-DT 43-22298 and A-26B-15-DT 43-22336 both of 641st Squadron USAF collided during formation after take-off from Warton Aerodrome Lancashire. All crew were killed. Both aircraft remained on Freckleton Marsh and were partially recovered as part of a UK Channel 4 Time Team Programme in 2005.[394]
5 December
British Douglas Dakota III, FL588[395], of the Royal Air Force crashed on the Pic de la Camisette, a mountain close to the commune of Mijanès, Ariège, in the French Pyrenees.
The Dakota was piloted by three RAF pilots. In total twenty-three airmen were on board, including twenty members of the Glider Pilot Regiment. Only six airmen survived the incident; sixteen died in the crash, another died within hours from his injuries. In spite of serious wounds, two of the survivors managed to reach the village of Mijanès to get help for the other survivors.[396][397]
The bodies of eleven men were recovered from the crash site between 10 and 19 December, and buried in Mijanès. The search was suspended due to adverse weather conditions, but in the spring of 1945 a further six bodies were brought down from the crash site after the snow had melted. All of the airmen who died in the crash were later reburied in the Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles.[398][399] Remains of Dakota FL588 have been preserved and today are on display at the Château d'Usson, a ruined medieval Castle noted for its association with the Cathars.[400]
6 December
Lockheed XF-14 Shooting Star, 44-83024, c/n 080-1003, originally YP-80A No 2, redesignated during production, of the 4144th Base Unit, destroyed in mid-air collision with B-25J-20-NC, 44-29120, of the 421st Base Unit, near Muroc Army Air Base, California. All crew on both planes killed, coming down 7 miles SSW of Randsburg, California. XF-14 pilot was Perry B. Claypool, while Henry M. Phillips flew the B-25.[401]
6 December
First prototype Heinkel He 162 V1 Spatz (sparrow, Heinkel factory name for design), or "Volksjager" ("Peoples' Fighter"), loses wheel-well doors on first flight at Schwechat, by company test pilot Flugkapitän Gotthard Peter, due to improper bonding. Nonetheless, flight testing is not delayed for a thorough inspection, and on another flight in front of German high brass by Peter on 10 December, V1 starboard wing comes apart in high-speed, low-level pass, killing pilot.[402] The wing appeared to split and "the upper skinning began to roll back like a carpet."[403] Starboard aileron breaks away, taking part of wingtip with it, followed by failure of wing's leading edge. Aircraft corkscrews down and crashes on the perimeter of the airfield. Cause was defective wing bonding.[404] Adhesive used, Dynamit, was substitute for Tego film glue used previously, but factory producing it was destroyed in RAF attack on Wuppertal. Substitute glue problem causing structural failure also affected Focke-Wulf Ta 154 and other late-war German aviation projects depending on bonded wooden components.
7 December
The sole Northrop JB-1A Bat, unofficially known as the "Thunderbug" due to the improvised General Electric B-1 turbojets' "peculiar squeal", a jet-propelled flying wing spanning 28 feet 4 inches (8.64 m) to carry 2,000 lb (910 kg). bombs in pods close to the engines, makes its first powered, but unmanned, flight from Santa Rosa Island, Eglin Field, Florida, launching from a pair of rails laid across the sand dunes. It climbs rapidly, stalls, and crashes 400 yards from the launch point.[405]
11 December
The sole Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket, BuNo 1442, is written off after a gear-up landing, this date.
15 December
RAF Twinwood Farm, Clapham, Bedfordshire, England. Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 10770. It is believed that the plane was lost by straying into a forbidden zone in mid-channel which was designated for the jettisoning of surplus ordnance. On that day, a squadron of RAF Lancasters had aborted a mission and were salvoing their bombloads in this zone. One crewman, a navigator, claims to have looked down and seen a Norseman flying low over the water. Before he could draw any attention to this, the Norseman was apparently overwhelmed by bomb splashes and disappeared. Other conspiracy theories about the disappearance have also been advanced.
19 December
2nd Lt. Robin C. Pennington of VMF-914 out of MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, is killed in the crash of Brewster F3A-1 Corsair, BuNo 04634, 'L69', while on a GCI training mission to intercept a North American PBJ Mitchell, his fighter coming down in a swampy area 1/4 mile E of Great Lakes, North Carolina, striking the ground left wing low. Privately recovered in 1990, there then follows a legal battle with the National Museum of Naval Aviation in 1994 which tries to lay claim to the rare Brewster-produced model (only 735 versus the 12,571 built by Vought) which is only finally resolved in the private individual's favour by an Act of the U.S. Congress in 2005.[406]
28 December
At 1151 hours, FM-2 Wildcat, BuNo. 57039, out of NAS Glenview, Illinois, crashes into Lake Michigan in about 200 feet of water. The pilot was Ensign William E. Forbes. Ensign Forbes was in the process of making his third take-off of his aircraft carrier qualification off the USS Sable. Apparently the engine checked out okay. However, on the take-off roll the engine began to "pop" and then "quit completely." The fighter rolled off the bow of the ship and sank. The accident was determined to be 100 percent material (engine failure). The National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola plans to recover the airframe in December 2012.[407]

See also

List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft
List of aircraft accidents at Eglin Air Force Base


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Martin, Bernard. The Viking, Valetta and Varsity. Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1975. ISBN 978-0-85130-038-2.

External links

  • Aviation Week
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