ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 48323
Last updated: 5 April 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:09-DEC-1960
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic B52 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-52D-65-BO Stratofortress
Owner/operator:United States Air Force (USAF)
Registration: 55-0114
C/n / msn: 17230
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 8
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Barre, Plainfield, VT -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Westover AFB, MA
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Started its flight in Springfield Mass at Westover AFB & did what was called the watertown bomb run in mid NY. They travelled as far north as the St. Lawrence seaway passing over Massena NY. During the night the bomber rolled over and lost altitude.

The navigator thinking she was breaking up ejected without direction from the pilot.
When he did there was a loud noise and the pilot thinking she was breaking up ordered the crew to eject.

The plane had righted itself & the instructor on board yelled to the pilot & co-pilot to stay with the bird.

In the end the instructor was the only one left so he ejected as well. The plane continued to fly on making large up & down spirals & crashed in Plainfield Vermont 50 miles from where the crew left the aircraft.

All survived, except for Sgt Maheux, although they were injured and had frost bite due to cold and snow in the area of the Adirondac Mountains. The body og Sgt. Maheux was found seven months later and either the chute hadn't opened or he landed on a rock killing him instantly.

The plane crashed and burned in an open field making a crater 350' long, 30' deep and 30' wide.
There were no deaths or injuries on the ground.

Additional comments:
I heard this firsthand from my uncle, Henry "Hank" Luscomb. He was the instructor for the flight and was sitting in the jump seat behind the two pilots.



The reason the aircraft rolled over was the pilot blacked out, and without positive control input the aircraft entered a gentle slow roll. This initially went undetected by the rest of the crew, who were each performing their own chores. As the aircraft achieved a high angle of bank the rate of descent went over 2,000 feet per minute. The navigator has a duplicate set of flight instruments, but he is not in the cockpit. The Navigator suddenly noticed the high rate of descent on the VSI and misread his altimeter as 9,000 feet instead of 19,000 feet, and coupled with the descent rate thought impact was imminent. He ejected without discussion. The aircraft explosively decompressed, which brought the pilot to consciousness. The pilot, not realizing he had lost consciousness, thought the aircraft had suffered severe damage and ordered an all out evacuation. Major Luscomb tried to counter the ejection order, but was unsuccessful. The entire crew departed the aircraft, except Luscomb.

After discussion with Otis AFB Major Luscomb was instructed to bail out the bomb bay doors as all the ejection seats were gone. The aircraft was deemed unflyable with no seats in the cockpit. Luscomb trimmed the aircraft for a gentle descent, and bailed out the belly bomb bay, blacking out as soon as he hit the violent slipstream. He came to with his canopy deployed, descending at night over woods, and suffered minor injuries landing in the trees. As daylight broke, most of the crew walked out of the woods and made phone calls from the first house they came across.
Jeff Miller, nephew, ATP.

Additional comment:... This sounds very much like the SAC party line denying that they had an incompetent pilot flying a B52. The NAV on board told me that the pilot knew the aircraft was "rolling over" as they tried to make an entry turn into the low level route. The Pilot did not "pass out".. and the bail out light did come on before the NAV ejected. I knew this crew at Castle during Combat Crew Training, and the NAV was very much afraid to fly with this Pilot. That is why there was an IP on board. SAC tried to ground the NAV, but HQ USAF did not let that happen. The NAV went on to a successful USAF career and retired as a full Colonel.

Sources:

widow, of James V. Saravo, co-pilot
http://web.archive.org/web/20171101061754/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/aircraft_by_type/b52_stratofortress.htm
http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1955.html
www.mil-veh.org/archives/05-09/0968.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Nov-2008 10:15 ASN archive Added
26-Oct-2009 14:03 JINX Updated
31-Oct-2009 18:49 JINX Updated
23-Jan-2011 02:56 Anne Saravo Updated [Source]
15-Feb-2013 18:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
28-May-2015 17:05 TB Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jul-2015 07:01 JDM Updated [Narrative]
03-Jul-2015 13:17 JDM Updated [Narrative]
18-Dec-2015 10:27 BEGLIN99 Updated [Narrative]
18-Dec-2015 18:13 BEGLIN99 Updated [Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description