Narrative:Eastern Air Lines Flight 45 was in straight flight and letting down at approximately 200 feet per minute toward Columbia, SC. At the same time a US Army Douglas A-26C-35-DT Invader plane (44-35553) was on a training flight in the area. The Army plane had just returned to straight level flight after having been banked 15 degree or 20 degree to the left in a turn of about two miles radius for more than one minute when both aircraft collided. Impact occurred at an altitude of approximately 3100 ft.
Initial impact was with the vertical fin of the A-26 against the leading edge of the DC-3's left wing at a point slightly in from the landing light. The fin progressed along this loading edge until it struck the left engine nacelle, tearing loose that engine. This engine then moved to the right sufficiently to allow its still rotating propeller to strike and cut into the fuselage of the DC-3 at a point just behind the baggage compartment door. The top 4-5 feet of the A-26's fin and rudder were broken off and parts of these also struck the DC-3 fuselage. The A-26 crashed out of control and the pilot of the DC-3 was able to carry out an emergency belly landing on a field.
PROBABLE CAUSE: " The lack of vigilance on the part of the pilots of both aircraft resulting in the failure of each pilot to see the other aircraft in time to avoid collision."
Mid air collision
Forced landing outside airport
» CAB File No. 2773-45
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 Washington-National Airport, DC to Columbia Metropolitan Airport, SC as the crow flies is 653 km (408 miles).