ASN Aircraft accident Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando N66534 Louisville-Standiford Field, KY (SDF)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 28 September 1953
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando
Operating for:Resort Airlines
Leased from:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: N66534
MSN: 22384
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:6952
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-75
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 22 / Occupants: 38
Total:Fatalities: 25 / Occupants: 41
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Louisville-Standiford Field, KY (SDF) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Philadelphia-North Philadelphia Airport, PA (PNE/KPNE), United States of America
Destination airport:Louisville-Standiford Field, KY (SDF/KSDF), United States of America
The Curtiss was approaching Louisville Airport (SDF) runway 24 when it ballooned slightly during the flare out. Power was applied and the aircraft entered a steep climb. The angle of attack continued to increase until the aircraft stalled at an altitude of about 300 feet. The plane struck the ground with the nose and left wing, bursting into flames.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Structural failure of the left elevator in flight, causing loss of control. The structural failure was brought about by the left outboard hinge bolt backing out of the assembly. The underlying cause was improper maintenance which resulted in the installation of hinge bolts and bearings not meeting specifications, and inadequate inspection which failed to detect this condition."

Accident investigation:

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

Wrong installation of parts
Wing failure
Loss of control

» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 39-AN/34 (119-123)


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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 Philadelphia-North Philadelphia Airport, PA to Louisville-Standiford Field, KY as the crow flies is 942 km (589 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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Curtiss C-46

  • 3341 built
  • 779th loss
  • 167th fatal accident
  • 23rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 36th worst accident (currently)
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