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Last updated: 25 June 2019
Status:
Date:Wednesday 18 April 1945
Time:23:25
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46D-5-CU Commando
Operator:United States Army Air Force - USAAF
Registration: 44-77432
C/n / msn: 32828
First flight: 1944
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Austin-Bergstrom Field, TX (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Austin-Bergstrom Field, TX (KAYS), United States of America
Destination airport:Austin-Bergstrom Field, TX (KAYS), United States of America
Narrative:
The C-46 took off from Bergstrom Field on a glider-tow mission. It was towing a Waco CG-4A glider on takeoff from runway 17L when the no. 1 engine began cutting out. The instructor reduced power a little, which seemed to help.
The crew were nearing the point were they would release the glider when the no. 2 engine began to loose power. They radioed Bergstrom Field that they would be returning with one engine out after glider release. The controller at Bergstrom Field saw the engine was on fire and instructed the crew to release the glider immediately. The glider pilot had also noted the fire and released the glider himself. The C-46 continued for an emergency landing. The crew were not able to put out the fire. The instructor told the other crew members to bail out from low altitude (750 feet). One crew member made it out but his parachute failed to deploy in time. The airplane struck terrain and crashed in flames following separation of the no. 2 engine.

Sources:
» Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945, Vol. 3: August 1944-December 1945 / Anthony J. Mireles


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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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