ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54A-10-DC (DC-4) N65143 Hugoton-HAP Airport, KS
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 26 March 1952
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54A-10-DC (DC-4)
Operator:Braniff International Airways
Registration: N65143
MSN: 10336
First flight: 1944
Total airframe hrs:11679
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 45
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 49
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Hugoton-HAP Airport, KS (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, CO (COS/KCOS), United States of America
Destination airport:Oklahoma City-Will Rogers Airport, OK (OKC/KOKC), United States of America
Flightnumber: 65
Braniff Airways' Flight 65 departed Denver, Colorado, at 15:35 for Dallas. It landed at Colorado Springs and departed for Oklahoma City at 16:20. The aircraft was en route at 3000 feet agl when in the vicinity of Hugoton, Kansas, one of the hostesses advised the crew that the right wing was on fire. It was apparently the no. 3 engine had caught fire. The captain then decided to land as quickly as possible on a small airport near Hugoton. The captain then disengaged the autopilot, closed the throttle of the No. 3 engine, put the mixture control at idle cut-off, closed the fuel selector valve, and set the propeller control at the full high pitch position. Following this, he dived the aircraft in an attempt to extinguish the fire and to lose altitude. When an air speed of approximately 230 mph was reached, power was reduced on the remaining three engines. When the air speed decreased to approximately 200 miles per hour, the captain pulled the No. 3 fire extinguisher selector valve control handle and then pulled the discharge handle of the left CO 2 bottle. The landing gear was lowered, and power was resumed on the three remaining engines. About this time the fire warning light in the cockpit came on, and the bell rang. These warning signals continued to operate intermittently. As soon as the gear was down, the descent was steepened and a series of steep slipping "S" turns were made toward the north while approaching the airport. At an altitude of approximately 200 to 300 feet above the ground, the no. 3 engine fell from the aircraft and a pronounced buffeting was experienced. The aircraft touched down in the middle of the airport. The captain applied brake pressure immediately, but the aircraft did not decelerate. Approaching the north boundary of the field, the captain tried to turn left to avoid crossing a road which was adjacent to the airport, but the nose steering wheel was inoperative. Left rudder was immediately applied; however, the aircraft responded so quickly to this action that right rudder had to be applied at once to keep the aircraft from groundlooping. After the aircraft was again rolling straight, the captain pulled back on the wheel, causing the nose wheel to lift from the ground, and the aircraft rolled beyond the airport boundary across a highway, through two fences and a ditch, and came to rest in a wheat field.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "An uncontrollable engine fire of unknown origin which necessitated an immediate landing."

Accident investigation:

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

» CAB File No. 1-0025
» ICAO Circular 38-AN/33 (52-54)


photo of Douglas-C-54A-N65143
accident date: 26-03-1952
type: Douglas C-54A (DC-4)
registration: N65143
photo of Douglas-C-54A-N65143
accident date: 26-03-1952
type: Douglas C-54A (DC-4)
registration: N65143

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 Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, CO to Oklahoma City-Will Rogers Airport, OK as the crow flies is 730 km (456 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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