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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 98696
Last updated: 19 August 2017
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Date:29-MAY-1947
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic B29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing F-13A Superfortress (B-29A)
Owner/operator:46th RS (VLR(P)), USAAF
Registration: 45-21848
C/n / msn: 3742
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 12
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:3 miles East of Ladd Field AAF, Fairbanks, Alaska -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Ladd Field AAF, Fairbanks, Alaska
Destination airport:Ladd Field AAF, Fairbanks, Alaksa
Narrative:
Boeing B-29F-100-BW Superfortress 45-21848: Assigned to 509th Bomb Group, Roswell AAF, New Mexico. Re-Assigned to 46th Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range, Photographic), Alaska Air Command, Ladd AAF, Alaska on June 1, 1946. Modified for cold weather operation designated as B-29F.

With Alaska Air Command 1946-47 operated by 46th Reconnaissance Squadron, at Ladd Field AAF, Fairbanks, Alaska. The Squadron was part of the newly-formed Strategic Air Command, and participated in a number of early SAC efforts, including Project NANOOK, as well as the subsequent LEOPARD. Their mission was to provide long range reconnaissance over the Arctic, especially along the Soviet Union's northern border. The unit was also tasked with deep-penetration reconnaissance missions over Soviet Union territory, which were kept classified Top Secret until 2001.

45-21848 was first aircraft in history to fly over the Geographic North Pole on October 16, 1946. Later renamed "Dreamboat" when modified to F-13A, Long range configuration.

Written off (destroyed) May 29, 1947: Shortly after takeoff from Ladd Field AAF, Fairbanks, Alaska, while in initial climb, the aircraft stalled and crashed in flames 3 miles east of the airfield. Nine crew members were rescued while three others were killed.

One of the survivors, Earnest C. Stewart, the last surviving member of the crew, now aged 88, was interviewed in September 2012 (see link #7):

"The third crash, he said, changed his life. It was May 1947, and Stewart was in a B-29 that has just taken off from Ladd Field. Something went wrong, and the bomber, heavily loaded with fuel, smashed into a nearby hillside. Three crew members were dead, and Stewart was left with a broken neck and badly burned hands.

"In fact, that was the very same plane that we used for the North Pole flight," Stewart said. "No name, just the tail number: 848." In a full body cast, he was flown to a hospital in Augusta, Ga., to recuperate for six months. "I had to wear the cast for four months, with holes cut for my face and ears, and there was no air conditioning," he said.

"The old saying that a dark cloud has a silver lining proved true," he said. "I met a beautiful blond nurse, Lt. Elaine Anderson, and we were married on Sept. 8, 1947."

Sources:

1. El Tiempo 31 May 1947, page 19
2. Passauer Neue Presse 3 June 1947, page 1 .
3. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1945.html
4. http://www.baaa-acro.com/1947/archives/crash-of-a-boeing-b-29f-100-bw-superfortress-in-fort-wainwright-afb-3-killed/
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/46th_Reconnaissance_Squadron#Aircraft
6. http://vintageairphotos.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/recon-superforts-over-alaska.html
7. http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Last-B-29-crew-member-recalls-1st-flight-over-3879073.php

46th Recon Squadron - B-29s over Arctic B-29s of the 46th Reconnaissance Group over the Arctic, 1946: The serial may be 44-21848, but the serial has been painted out by the censor

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Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
26-Aug-2011 11:05 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Location]
09-Mar-2014 18:42 TB Updated [Total occupants, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Source]
08-Oct-2014 13:12 TB Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
27-Jun-2017 01:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Jun-2017 01:46 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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