ASN Aircraft accident Curtiss C-46D-15-CU Commando N79982 Chicago-Midway Airport, IL (MDW)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Thursday 4 January 1951
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46D-15-CU Commando
Operator:Monarch Air Service
Registration: N79982
MSN: 33564
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:1257
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 45
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 48
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Chicago-Midway Airport, IL (MDW) (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Chicago-Midway Airport, IL (MDW/KMDW), United States of America
Destination airport:Newark International Airport, NJ (EWR/KEWR), United States of America
The Curtiss Commando was overloaded by 1100 lb when takeoff from runway 31 was attempted using insufficient engine power (47 inches manifold pressure and 2700 RPM). The aircraft became airborne approximately half-way down the runway, which is 5,730 feet in length.
At the captain's command to raise the landing gear, the copilot moved the handle into the retract position and noticed at this time that the aircraft, now airborne, was turning slightly to the left and the airspeed indicator read approximately 85 mph. With the left wing down and with but a few feet of altitude, the copilot, realizing an emergency existed, immediately applied emergency takeoff power--55 inches manifold pressure. However, the C-46, still turning, struck several small aircraft parked on the west side of the airport, and continued beyond the airport boundary, striking a fence and railroad embankment. Both throttles were then closed by the captain, but the electrical system switches were not turned off. The aircraft came to rest beyond the embankment and about one-half mile west of the airport's west boundary on a heading of approximately 250 degrees. A fire developed immediately, but all passengers and crew were evacuated before it assumed major proportions.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Loss of control of the aircraft due to faulty piloting technique and overloading of the aircraft."

Accident investigation:

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

Loss of control

» CAB File No. 1-0002
» ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.2, Circular 24-AN/21 (45-46)


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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 Chicago-Midway Airport, IL to Newark International Airport, NJ as the crow flies is 1133 km (708 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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