This 1841 page document on CD gives you a close look at the people, places, conditions, crew, and individual TWA aircraft like the SKY CHIEF and SUN DANCER that wound up in trouble. From official accident investigations, this accumulated study of accidents takes you back to the dramatic scene of all of these accidents.
The accident investigations are surprising and compelling. The loss of life was tragic, but the unforeseen events’ situations are intriguing and mesmerizing to read. This document by RareAviation.com allows long-forgotten TWA flying history to the surface by revealing company policies and piloting procedures long forgotten.
This is a Must-Have Document For Any Person Interested in TWA History
This is the only document that I have ever seen that accumulates, on CD, all of the official investigations about TWA accidents into one document and provides you with an extreme level of detail about each accident.
A Small Sampling of the Intensely Interesting and Strange Accident Stories Inside
You’ll read about the TWA plane SKY CHIEF that crashed near Atlanta in 1935, killing Senator Cutting of New Mexico while others escaped with only injuries. To make matters worse, the co-pilot did not even hold a valid air transport rating. Apparently, the plane only had a 27-minute reserve as it entered fog in the dark, not a great combination. So it was ironic to read that the flight from Los Angles to Kansas City normally took eight hours and fifteen minutes and that TWA had to get special permission for one pilot to fly that long route. The report also tells us that the TWA planes did not always carry a hostess at the time of this flight, and the report describes how the co-pilot was often called upon to perform duties normally assigned to a hostess.
I was surprised to read the included report of the procedures that planes used to fill one tank with 87 octane fuel for taking off and another tank with 80 octane fuel for cruising. Well, that didn’t work so well for Flight 6. Shortly after this, while at an altitude of 9500 feet, the left engine stopped, and immediately after, the right engine stopped. The pilot immediately changed back to the 87 octane tank and, with the assistance of the co-pilot, attempted to get the engines started again by pumping the throttles and using the wibble pump. This was continued until the plane had lost so much altitude that an emergency landing could not be avoided. The pilot then dropped two flares, seeking a landing field, and by the aid of a third flare, dropped by a plane which had come to his assistance, succeeded in effecting an emergency landing into dense scrub pine trees. Miraculously, the TWA pilot managed to land in a small pasture after cutting a swath through surrounding trees. I just shook my head when I read, in this included report, the simple cause of this accident. A simple reason that would be easily avoided today, and it is all Mother Nature’s fault. You’ll see what I’m talking about as you read through this compilation.
You’ll read about the accident of TWA NC 19905, a Boeing 307-B, with the Civil Aeronautics Authority Air Carrier Inspector, Civil Aeronautics Authority Senior Aeronautical Engineering Inspector, Assistant Superintendent of Passenger Transportation, Superintendent of Maintenance, Chief Meteorologist, Superintendent of Communications, Flight Superintendent and a Boeing engineer aboard. Boy, talk about a passenger load full of back seat drivers. One cause of this accident was the static discharge that began as the plane entered storm clouds. The sparks began to fly between the whip antenna and the fuselage, and the pilot ordered a reduction of power on the one running engine. Unfortunately, the other three engines had already died. Luckily the plane broke out of clouds just above the ground in the rain and one mile of visibility and, with the gear half-lowered, plopped in soft sod and slid about 700 feet. These are just excerpts from the first accidents in this report, there are sixty-eight accidents in all, and if you are a TWA fan like I am, you’ll find this document from RareAviation.com mesmerizing and intriguing. I love TWA because, as a child, I was brought forward by a stewardess and allowed to ride in the cockpit and meet the Captain. After about fifteen minutes, I was given my wings and taken back to my seat.
The TWA accident near Berryville, Virginia (Page 1015), in 1974 has always intrigued me. This was a significant accident that changed aviation. It was not until the crash of Flight 514 that congress forced FAA action and mandated the installation of Ground Proximity Warning Systems in aircraft. The accident also led to creating a reporting system used today to distribute important warnings and safety information to all airlines. Only 6 weeks before the TWA accident, another airline’s aircraft had experienced a similar incident on the same route. This incident was disseminated internally that all pilots in the airline were acquainted with the unsafe factor, but was unfortunately not distributed to other airlines.
Another result of this accident was the outing of the secret underground White House located just a couple of miles from the crash site. Reporters flocking to the crash site became curious about the guards and fencing at an unknown base nearby. Even today, the base is used, and its underground bunkers and sophisticated electronics are up and running.
Recently, I stopped by on my way out to visit this accident site, and as I stopped at the main gate to read the sign, the gate was slammed shut in my face. I guess I lingered a bit too long.
Many years ago, I was taken out to the crash site by a resident I had met. The mountainside where the crash occurred had still not grown back, and it was easy to see the site. Unfortunately, the TWA flight had managed to fly directly into the only large boulder on that side of the mountain, and the point of significant impact was right on the road. For the sake of family members, I won’t retell the description I was given by the resident that rushed to the site immediately after the accident. I have included in this document some photos I took recently at the site of this accident.
There are just so many interesting accidents in this report. You’ll also have the chance to read the detailed information about the breakup of the infamous Flight 800 and the collision of a TWA flight and an Army C-53 in 1942.
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