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Last updated: 11 April 2021
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 17 December 1955
Time:20:40
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46F Commando
Operator:Riddle Airlines
Registration: N9904F
C/n / msn: 30262
First flight: 1944
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-75
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Hollywood, SC (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Wilmington-New Hanover County Airport, NC (ILM/KILM), United States of America
Destination airport:Jacksonville-Thomas Cole Imeson Municipal Airport, FL, United States of America
Narrative:
The aircraft was engaged on a scheduled cargo flight from New York to Miami, Florida, with scheduled stops at Wilmington, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida. Flying on a VFR flight plan the aircraft landed at Wilmington at 18:57 and departed again at 19:36, estimating Jacksonville at 21:56. At approximately 20:40, at a point near Hollywood, South Carolina, engines were heard by witnesses and lights were seen descending on an erratic path as the aircraft fell in several pieces to the ground.

The aircraft was manufactured for and operated by the U.S. Air Force as a C-46A, and was decommissioned and stored in the Egyptian desert. Subsequently an Italian firm bought the aircraft, and the Curtiss-Wright company authorised this firm to convert C.46A's to C-46E's, and provided them with an incomplete set of drawings relative to this conversion, which is identical to that for the C-46F insofar as the tail surfaces arc concerned. Where specified material was not available the nearest available material was used. In every case the strength of the material in the new part exceeded the strength of the material specified. Many of the newly installed parts were heavier than the original parts.
A comparison of the rudder elevators, their tabs and their control mechanisms on the accident aircraft with applicable Curtiss-Wright drawings disclosed many nonconformities.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "An in-flight structural failure resulting from a violent pitch-down induced by the erratic action of nonconforming elevator tab controls."

Classification:
Loss of control

Photos

photo of Curtiss-C-46A-Commando-N9904F
wreckage distribution chart
 

Map
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 Wilmington-New Hanover County Airport, NC to Jacksonville-Thomas Cole Imeson Municipal Airport, FL as the crow flies is 550 km (344 miles).

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