Accident Boeing S.307B Stratoliner NC19905, Friday 17 May 1940
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Date:Friday 17 May 1940
Time:18:03
Type:Silhouette image of generic s307 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing S.307B Stratoliner
Owner/operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC19905
MSN: 1996
Year of manufacture:1940
Total airframe hrs:133 hours
Engine model:Wright GR-1820G-105A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 19
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:35 km W of Pritchett, CO -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO (MKC/KMKC)
Destination airport:Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM (ABQ/KABQ)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
The Boeing S.307B Stratoliner operated on a flight from Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO to Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM. The aircraft took off at 14:43, climbing to the en route altitude of 16000 feet. En route the flight had to navigate its way around thunderstorms and at some point static prevented radio communications with ground stations at Amarillo and Albuquerque.
At 15:37 the flight began to descend through clouds. It encountered snow and a slight trace of ice began to form on the outside of the aircraft. Immediately turn of 180 degrees was made to reverse the course in order to get out of the overcast. After the turn was completed, the No. 4 (right outboard) engine began to show a loss of manifold pressure and power output. Two more engines lost power in rapid succession until only No. 2 (left inboard) engine was functioning and it was operating at reduced power.
At the first indication of engine trouble, descent was begun in an attempt to reach an altitude where the temperature was above freezing and power would be restored. While the captain concentrated on the descent, which was nearly all under instrument conditions, the first officer and engineer made repeated efforts to start the engines. One of the passengers, a Civil Aeronautics authority engineering inspector also tried to restart the engine, but without success.
As the aircraft continued to descend, the one remaining engine steadily lost power. The aircraft momentarily broke out of the overcast at 7000 feet above sea level but quickly went back into the overcast before breaking into the clear at an altitude of approximately 5750 feet above sea level and approximately 800 feet above the ground. It was raining and visibility was about one mile.
The landing gear was ordered down. At this time the No. 4 engine started a surge of power which indicated that the engines would probably resume normal operation, so the captain ordered the gear up again. This surge of power, however, died out and as only one engine was operating and at reduced power, the gear was ordered down again. It was then too late to fully extend the gear and the aircraft contacted the ground while the gear was only partially extended. The ground was covered with soft sod and the landing shock was slight as the aircraft skidded along on the under surface of the fuselage.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Loss of power in flight resulting from icing of carburetor system."

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

Sources:


Revision history:

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