ASN Aircraft accident Douglas R5D-3 (DC-4) 50869 Grosse Ile NAS, MI
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Date:Tuesday 22 January 1957
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas R5D-3 (DC-4)
Operator:United States Navy
Registration: 50869
MSN: 10546
First flight: 1945
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants:
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Grosse Ile NAS, MI (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM (ABQ/KABQ), United States of America
Destination airport:Detroit-Willow Run Airport, MI (YIP/KYIP), United States of America
The R5D-3 was operating on a flight from NAS Miramar near San Diego to Detroit-Willow Run Airport. An intermediate stop was made at Albuquerque to pick up the body of a Navy pilot who had died in an airplane crash earlier. The crew prepared for an ILS approach to Willow Run and the weather was deteriorating. Snow had begun falling heavily only 20 minutes earlier and the ceiling had dropped from 900 feet to only 550 feet. The intention was to descend to 800 feet and to divert to Grosse Ile NAS for a GCA approach there in case the ground was not in sight. The plane descended too low and impacted a pond. It traveled about 100 feet before hitting a small bank and then bouncing another 126 feet through the air. It then hit the pond again and traveled about 134 feet before one of the engines was ripped off against the pond's bank. After skidding nearly 200 feet, the wings were torn off as the fuel, spilling from the wing tanks, burst into flames. Reportedly a faulty altimeter reading caused by a frozen moisture drain on the Pitot Static System had caused faulty altimeter readings.


Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

» Check-six - Funeral Plane Crashes in Snow Storm
» USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to Present / Joe Baugher


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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 Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM to Detroit-Willow Run Airport, MI as the crow flies is 2136 km (1335 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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