ASN Aircraft accident Douglas MC-54M (DC-4) 44-9068 Las Vegas, NV
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Date:Thursday 17 November 1955
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas MC-54M (DC-4)
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 44-9068
MSN: 27294
First flight: 1945
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Total:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 14
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:48 km (30 mls) WNW Las Vegas, NV (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Hollywood-Lockheed Air Terminal, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America
Destination airport:Nevada Test and Training Range / Area 51 Airport, NV (KXTA), United States of America
USAF C-54 44-9068 was routinely assigned to carry scientific and technical personnel from the Lockheed "Skunk Works" in Burbank to the secret Area 51, where they were working on the U-2 plane.
Because of the secrecy, the crew were never in contact with air traffic control. The plane flew on a new route that would cut 10 minutes off the total flight time. However, the C-54 was blown off course by a severe storm front and while lost in the clouds, an error in the assumed position of the aircraft in relation to the Spring Mountain range resulted in the crash a mere 50 feet below the crest of an 11,300-foot ridge leading to the peak of Mount Charleston.

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

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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 Hollywood-Lockheed Air Terminal, CA to Nevada Test and Training Range / Area 51 Airport, NV as the crow flies is 406 km (254 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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Douglas DC-4

  • 1242 built
  • 193rd loss
  • 112th fatal accident
  • 49th worst accident (at the time)
  • 79th worst accident (currently)
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