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Accident description
Last updated: 19 October 2017
Date:Monday 17 September 1956
Time:ca 22:00
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed WV-3 Super Constellation
Operator:United States Navy
Registration: 137893
C/n / msn: 4380
First flight: 1956
Total airframe hrs:723
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 18
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 18
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:160 km (100 mls) S off Guam (   Pacific Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Guam-Agana NAS (NGM), Guam
Destination airport:Guam-Agana NAS (NGM), Guam
The Lockheed WV-3 Super Constellation, BuNo 137893, took off from Guam at 06:00 in the morning of September 1956 on a weather recon mission with an 18 man crew. The flight was normal for the first 14 hours or so. On the return leg, when the flight was 200 miles from Guam, when it lost engine #1 due to oil starvation. The engine was shut down and the propeller feathered. The pilot reported his position to Guam central and the radioman sent the position to the VW3 squadron duty office where it was tracked. The flight continued toward Guam at an altitude of 1200 feet. With 100 miles to go #4 engine experienced complete loss of power and was shut down. The propeller was feathered. However, the propeller never went to full feather and windmilled. There was a violent swerve to the right. Shortly after this, engines #2 and #3 started to lose power. At 80 miles from Guam and losing altitude at 500 to 700 feet per minute the captain decided to ditch the aircraft while he still had lateral control and issued the "Prepare to Ditch" command. Navigator Wanbaugh gave an updated position report to the pilot and radioman for the "May-Day" transmissions. A ditching was carried out. All 18 occupants climbed into two life rafts, already deployed, and pushed off at around 22:00. At about 03:20 on September 18th, the life rafts were sighted by a P2V Neptune aircraft flying search and rescue. The occupants were rescued by Coast Guard Cutter Buttonwood.


» James (Jim) Lines (survivor) (E-mail, 26-4-2010)


photo of Lockheed WV-3 Super Constellation 137893
Partial of LtJg Peter Wanbaugh’s left shoulder behind partially lowered canopy, Sharfman AT-3/C signaling with smoke while Neill AD-2/C watches
photo of Lockheed WV-3 Super Constellation 137893
USCG cutter Buttonwood’s crew helps survivors aboard
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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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