Accident Douglas DC-3-277 NC18142, Friday 23 February 1945
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Date:Friday 23 February 1945
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas DC-3-277
Owner/operator:American Airlines
Registration: NC18142
MSN: 2138
Year of manufacture:1939
Total airframe hrs:17296 hours
Engine model:Wright R-1820-G102
Fatalities:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 22
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:9 km SW of Rural Retreat, VA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Washington-National Airport, DC (DCA/KDCA)
Destination airport:Nashville-Berry Field, TN (BNA/KBNA)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
American Airlines Flight 3 en route from New York to Los Angeles departed at 21:39 on February 22, 1945. Departure from Washington had been at 00:11 on February 23. The last radio message from the flight was at 02:05 at 4,000 feet over Pulaski, Virginia. The DC-3 continued, passing through rain and clouds and encountering considerable turbulence. The airplane flew over mountainous terrain and struck the wooded summit of Glade Mountain at approx 3910 feet amsl.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's failure to properly plan the flight and remain at a safe instrument altitude under existing conditions. A contributing cause of the accident was the company's laxity in dispatching and supervising the flight."

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


CAB File No. 875-45


  • 81st worst accident in 1945
  • 335th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 67th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) Wayne; Glade Mountain; 07 April 2013

Revision history:


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