Narrative:National Airlines Flight 1 originated at Orlando, Florida, destination Miami, Florida, with scheduled intermediate stops at Lakeland, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Ft. Meyers, and West-Palm Beach.
The flight departed Orlando at 08:05 and Lakeland was overflown as there were no passengers debarking or boarding. After a stop at Tampa the flight landed at St. Petersburg at 09:29.
The captain taxied the aircraft from the ramp to the run-up position for runway 09 then told the copilot that he was to fly the next segment of the route.
After a normal run-up, the copilot taxied the aircraft to the end of the 5010-foot runway. The airplane was lined up and the tail wheel was locked. During takeoff, as the tail had come up, the airplane began to swerve to the left. After correcting, it swerved to the right. A series of over-corrections in both directions followed. The crew noted a drop of 5 inches in manifold pressure of the left engine followed by a drop of 25 inches. The captain took over control and closed the throttles. He could not stop the turn which developed into a skid and the main landing gear collapsed, rupturing the right wing fuel tank.
The airplane came to rest on the sodded area, off the runway, heading 180 degrees from its original takeoff position. All on board safely evacuated the airplane.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the copilot's loss of directional control during the takeoff run and the inability of the captain to regain control of the aircraft, the latter possibly due to failure of the pedal mechanism."
» The Lockheed Twins / Peter J Marson
» Rome News-Tribune - Jan 10, 1955
» CAB Report
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 St. Petersburg-Pinellas International Airport, FL to Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, FL as the crow flies is 58 km (36 miles).