ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DST-A-217A (DC-3) NC21752 Saline, MI
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 24 December 1944
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DST-A-217A (DC-3)
Operator:American Airlines
Registration: NC21752
MSN: 2165
First flight: 1939
Total airframe hrs:12164
Engines: 2 Wright R-1820-G102
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 15
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 18
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:7,3 km (4.6 mls) NE of Saline, MI (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Detroit (unknown airport), MI, United States of America
Destination airport:Chicago (unknown airport), IL, United States of America
American Airlines Flight 21 en route from New York to Chicago, departed Detroit at 11:25. The first officer was pilot flying. After passing Willow Run airport, the captain started making the routine entries in his flight log. While making the entries, his attention was diverted momentarily from the flight path ahead. At about the same time the first officer tuned the auxiliary receiver to the frequency of the next range station. As he leaned forward to line up the tuning dial his upper limit of vision was increased and he saw a yellow plane coming from above. He was startled and involuntarily depressed the left wing. wing to clear the approaching plane but also simultaneously felt an impact against the DC-3s left wing. The captain immediately took over the controls. The left wing went down about 30 degrees and continued downward despite the captains efforts to level it. With the right engine idling and the left engine operating at emergency power the combined efforts of captain and first officer brought the aircraft level laterally but altitude could not be maintained. The captain selected a field he could reach by turning only a few degrees to the right and landed with wheels up and flaps down. After passing through three wire fences the plane stopped in an upright position. The light plane involved in the collision, Taylorcraft BL-65 NC24403 owned by Ypsilanti Air Service, Inc., lost control and crashed. Its occupants parachuted safely.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Probable cause of this accident was lack of vigilance of the crew of the overtaking DC-3."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

» CAB File No. 4118-44
» Propliner number 39, page 39-42.


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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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