Accident Douglas DC-3A-197 N16088, Saturday 28 April 1951
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Date:Saturday 28 April 1951
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas DC-3A-197
Owner/operator:United Airlines
Registration: N16088
MSN: 1927
Year of manufacture:1937
Total airframe hrs:43550 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Fatalities:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:near Fort Wayne, IN -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Cleveland (unknown airport), OH
Destination airport:Fort Wayne Municipal Airport/Baer Field, IN (FWA/KFWA)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
United Flight 129 departed Cleveland at 18:07 for Chicago, Illinois, with stops scheduled at Fort Wayne and South Bend. At 18:47, the flight reported over Toledo and estimated its arrival Fort Wayne at 19:32. At 19:20 the flight reported it was approaching Fort Wayne, reported again when nineteen miles northeast of Baer Field and was advised at runway 22 was the runway in use and that the wind was five to ten miles per hour from the southwest. Due to thunderstorm activity in the area, the wind at the airport shifted to west-northwest and increased in velocity from 5-10 miles per hour to 40 mph. The tower notified the crew and runway 27 was suggested. When the aircraft was east of the airport the wind increased to 60-65 miles per hour with gusts to 85 miles per hour and a heavy rainfall began, accompanied by lightning and severe static. The flight was quickly advised of the weather change but, due to the sudden decrease in visibility. The approach was aborted. At 19:32 the DC-3 struck the ground in a near level attitude with the left wing slightly low. The plane broke up and the main wreckage came to rest in a wooded area several hundred feet distant from the point of initial impact.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The severe downdraft encountered which caused the aircraft to strike the ground in a near level attitude."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAB
Report number: final report
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


CAB File No: 1-0024
ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.2, Circular 24-AN/21 (95-98)


  • 54th worst accident in 1951
  • 526th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 295th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Revision history:


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