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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 174625
Last updated: 6 June 2021
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Date:13-AUG-1956
Time:22:25
Type:Silhouette image of generic B26 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas B-26B Invader
Owner/operator:Armée de l'Air
Registration: 8811-B
MSN: 29029
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Distinkhorn, Ayrshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Ferry/positioning
Departure airport:Reykjavik Airport (RKV/BIRK)
Destination airport:Prestwick Airport (PIK/EGPK)
Narrative:
The aircraft is reported to have been originally built as an A-26C with the USAAF serial number of 44-35750 and was subsequently converted to a B-26B for delivery to France as 8811-B

Written off on delivery flight on 13/8/1956. At the time of the accident, B-26 Invader 8811-B was on a ferry flight from the USA via Reykjavik, Iceland and Prestwick, Scotland to France. The aircraft was intended for use by Free French Air Force in Algeria in their war against insurgents. This B-26, therefore, was bearing French (and not USAF) markings.

This B-26 Invader was being flown by two US civilian crew employed by Fleetways Incorporated of Burbank, California. This company had been retained by the US Government to operate ferry flights on behalf of the USAF.

After refuelling at Meeks Field/Patterson Field (Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport) Iceland, the B-26 was scheduled to make a stopover at Prestwick Airport. When Prestwick ATC had provided clearance to land, the pilot began his descent toward the airport. However, while still a few miles distant from the airport, Air Traffic Control lost contact with the B-26, both from their radio transmissions and also on their radar screens.

As soon as it was realised that the aircraft had crashed, Prestwick ATC issued an alert to the search and rescue services. Teams were assembled from Catrine, Sorn, and Darvel to join in the search. USAF personnel based at Prestwick were advised of the situation and joined in the search for the missing aircraft.

Mr. J. Anderson and his wife, the owners of Weitshaw Farm, Sorn, had seen a glare in the sky and then heard reports of a missing aircraft. Shortly afterward, police and rescue services arrived in their farmyard. Mr. Anderson was able to tell them what he had seen. Then, the local police and the USAF rescue teams proceeded to that area a few miles away over rough and boggy moorland.

After searching in the darkness for about 5 hours, the wreckage was found eventually, partially buried in very boggy ground at Avon Head, Wedder Hill, near Distinkhorn, Blackside, Ayreshire. The search parties soon discovered that fire had engulfed the B-26 shortly after impact. There were no survivors.

Due to the boggy ground and inaccessibly of the site for road vehicles, it was not possible to recover the bodies except by using the accompanying search and rescue helicopter. However, high winds prevented the helicopter from making an immediate recovery, and this had to be postponed until the winds had abated.

Possible Cause: Unconfirmed reports state that 'instrument failure' was the primary cause of this accident. Some pieces of wreckage were still visible at the crash site (due to its remoteness) as recently as March 2012.

Crew:
Edgar Joseph Flanagan (aged 38) Collingswood, New Jersey (Pilot)
Wayne Archer Taylor (aged 32) Lamissa, California (Navigator)

NOTE: Several published sources claim that this aircraft was intended to be used against the Viet-nimh insurgents in French Indo-China (now Vietnam). However, France pulled out of Indo-China (Vietnam) in 1954. France was, however still fighting a colonial war in Algeria in 1956. Also, the aircraft involved was not, as often claimed ex-USAF 43-22346 - the later aircraft WAS delivered to French forces in Algeria as "095-B", and was written off in Algeria on 05/12/1956

Sources:

1. Kilmarnock Standard 18 August 1956 at http://www.ayrshirehistory.com/sorn/560818_kilmarnock_standard_page_four.jpg
2. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-douglas-b-26b-invader-sorn-2-killed
3. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/6150357
4. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1944_3.html
5. http://napoleon130.tripod.com/id596.html
6. https://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/crash_sites/scotland/douglas-b-26b-8811b-distinkhorn/
7. http://www.ayrshirehistory.com/sorn_air_accidents.html
8. http://www.ayrshirehistory.com/sorn/560817_cumnock_chronicle_page_three_a.jpg
9. Photo of crash: https://www.facebook.com/AyrshireinthePast/photos/a.1566355093673531.1073741827.1566331470342560/1575010756141298/?type=3&theater
10. http://www.edwardboyle.com/wreck44.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Mar-2015 19:03 TB Added
23-Feb-2017 02:06 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
23-Feb-2017 02:20 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Feb-2017 02:21 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-Feb-2017 02:34 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source, Narrative]
25-Aug-2018 20:21 TB Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Source]
24-Jun-2020 20:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
25-Jun-2020 18:16 TB Updated [Location, Embed code]

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