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Accident description
Last updated: 11 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Friday 23 October 1942
Time:17:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic L37 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed B-34 Ventura IIA
Operator:United States Army Air Force - USAAF
Registration: 41-38116
C/n / msn: 137-4772
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 12
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:5 km (3.1 mls) N of Palm Springs, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Long Beach Army Airfield, CA (LGB/KLGB), United States of America
Destination airport:Palm Springs Municipal Airport, CA (PSP/KPSP), United States of America
Narrative:
American Airlines Trip 28 was a regular service from Burbank, California, with New York, as its final destination. It departed from Lockhead Air Terminal, Burbank, at 16:36, having been cleared in accordance with company procedure to Phoenix, Arizona. The flight was carried out by a Douglas DC-3 (NC16017, msn 1555).
At 17:02 the pilot of the aircraft gave his position by radio to Burbank as over Riverside, California, at 9000 feet, and estimated his arrival over the Indio, California, intersection at 17:22 at 9000 feet.
Meanwhile a Lockheed B-34 Ventura IIA bomber (41-38116, msn 137-4772), operated by the Ferrying Command of the U. S. Army Air Forces had taken off from Long Beach, California at 16:26 hours, bound for Palm Springs.
The pilot proceeded to a point north and west of March Field near Riverside, California, at an altitude of about 4000 feet. Here he made two wide circles and instructed his copilot to be on the lookout for the DC-3. Upon sighting the aircraft, he proceeded in a climb toward the San Gorgonia Pass. Upon reaching an altitude of about 9000 feet in the vicinity of March Field, he passed about one and one half to two miles to the left of the DC-3. As they passed the pilot rocked the wings of the B-34 to identify himself to the first officer in the DC-3. The B-34 pilot, then well ahead, crossed the line of flight of the DC-3 and throttled back, waiting for it to overtake him on him left. The DC-3 next overtook the B-34 on a parallel course to the left. The pilot, feeling that he was still too far from the DC-3 to recognize his friend, turned his plane to the left to approach closer. Following this change of course he realized he was coming closer to the DC-3 than he had anticipated and he immediately made a right turn to avoid it. While in this right bank the impact occurred.
The copilot of the B-34 stated that at the moment of the impact he saw the DC-3, which was then immediately below and ahead of them. He said he observed that the rudder of the DC-3 had been hit by the propeller of the B-34 and about three-fourths of the rudder was gone. He stated further that the DC-3 appeared to rise about ten feet above them, hover momentarily, fell off to the left and disappeared.
The DC-3 impacted terrain, killing all 12 on board. The B-34 landed safely at Palm Springs Army Airport.
It appeared that the pilot of the B-34 was a friend of First Officer on Trip 28. They had met the previous evening and during their conversation it was revealed that there was a possibility of both of them departing the following afternoon at about the same time. They had trained together several months previously in small type aircraft and thought it would be pleasant to see each other in the air.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Reckless and irresponsible conduct of Lt. [name] 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."

Classification:
Mid air collision
Forced landing on runway

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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 Long Beach Army Airfield, CA to Palm Springs Municipal Airport, CA as the crow flies is 151 km (94 miles).

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