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Accident description
Last updated: 27 November 2015
Date:Thursday 5 June 1969
Type:Boeing RC-135E
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 62-4137
C/n / msn: 18477/C43
First flight: 1962-07-18 (6 years 11 months)
Total airframe hrs:3350
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-5
Crew:Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19
Airplane damage: Missing
Airplane fate: Presumed damaged beyond repair
Location:ca 400 km E off Shemya, AK, USA [Bering Sea] (   Pacific Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Shemya AFB, AK (SYA/PASY), United States of America
Destination airport:Fairbanks-Eielson AFB, AK (EIL/PAEI), United States of America
RC-135E "Rivet Amber" was at that time the most sophisticated reconnaissance plane of the US Air Force. It was converted to this configuration in 1963 to fly reconnaissance missions against the Soviet re-entry range off the Kamchatka Peninsula. On June 5, 1969, Rivet Amber departed Shemya for a flight to Fairbanks for routine maintenance. About thirty minutes after departing Shemya, Rivet Amber (callsign Irene 92) transmitted the following message to Elmendorf AFB: "Elmendorf Airways, Irene 92 experiencing vibration in flight. Not certain of the emergency. We have the aircraft under control, Irene 92." This was the last radio contact with the flight. Unidentified microphone keying clicks continued until 10:22. The aircraft crashed at sea.
After more than three weeks of intensive search and rescue operations, the efforts were called off. Neither a single piece of wreckage nor any personnel were ever found.

Loss of control

» A Tale of Two Airplanes by King Hawes


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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 Shemya AFB, AK to Fairbanks-Eielson AFB, AK as the crow flies is 2528 km (1580 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs 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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Boeing C-135

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