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Accident description
Last updated: 13 December 2017
Status:
Date:Friday 17 May 1940
Time:18:03
Type:Boeing S.307B Stratoliner
Operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC19905
C/n / msn: 1996
First flight: 1940
Total airframe hrs:133
Engines: 4 Wright GR-1820G-105A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 11
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 19
Airplane damage: Substantial
Location:35 km (21.9 mls) W of Pritchett, CO (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO (MKC/KMKC), United States of America
Destination airport:Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM (ABQ/KABQ), United States of America
Narrative:
The Boeing S.307B Stratoliner operated on a flight from Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO to Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM. The aircraft took off at 14:43, climbing to the en route altitude of 16000 feet. En route the flight had to navigate it's way around thunderstorms and at some point static prevented radio communications with ground stations at Amarillo and Albuquerque.
At 15:37 the flight began to descend through clouds. It encountered snow and a slight trace of ice began to form on the outside of the aircraft. Immediately turn of 180 degrees was made to reverse the course in order to get out of the overcast. After the turn was completed, the No. 4 (right outboard) engine began to show a loss of manifold pressure and power output. Two more engines lost power in rapid succession until only No. 2 (left inboard) engine was functioning and it was operating at reduced power.
At the first indication of engine trouble, descent was begun in an attempt to reach an altitude where the temperature was above freezing and power would be restored. While the captain concentrated on the descent, which was nearly all under instrument conditions, the first officer and engineer made repeated efforts to start the engines. One of the passengers, a Civil Aeronautics authority engineering inspector also tried to restart the engine, but without success.
As the aircraft continued to descend, the one remaining engine steadily lost power. The aircraft momentarily broke out of the overcast at 7000 feet above sea level but quickly went back into the overcast before breaking into the clear at an altitude of approximately 5750 feet above sea level and approximately 800 feet above the ground. It was raining and visibility was about one mile.
The landing gear was ordered down. At this time the No. 4 engine started a surge of power which indicated that the engines would probably resume normal operation, so the captain ordered the gear up again. This surge of power, however, died out and as only one engine was operating and at reduced power, the gear was ordered down again. It was then too late to fully extend the gear and the aircraft contacted the ground while the gear was only partially extended. The ground was covered with soft sod and the landing shock was slight as the aircraft skidded along on the under surface of the fuselage.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Loss of power in flight resulting from icing of carburetor system."

Classification:
Forced landing outside airport

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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO to Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM as the crow flies is 1150 km (718 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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