Accident North American RA-5C Vigilante 148928, Thursday 1 January 1970
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Date:Thursday 1 January 1970
Type:Silhouette image of generic vigi model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
North American RA-5C Vigilante
Owner/operator:US Navy
Registration: 148928
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:17 Nm ESE of Clark AB -   Philippines
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Little or no information is available
Crashed near Clark AB, Philippines for unknown reasons. Both crewmen were killed.

Uncontrolled, high-speed impact with the ground.

Vigilante was with RVAH-7.
On a local area familiarization flight out of NAS Cubi Point the aircraft impacted 45 degrees nose down in a plowed field for unknown reasons. Both crew were killed. The pilot, Commander Randell Billings, was the CAG, wing commander of CVW-14, and had asked to fly a Vigilante while the USS Constellation was in port at Cubi Point for the holidays. It went into a steep dive with the engines at high thrust. The RAN ejected 2 miles from impact but did not survive. The RAN could not eject the pilot, but the pilot could eject the RAN. They were faster than Mach 1. The RAN’s lower connection to his seat pan was found unfastened, maybe while trying to re-seat the comms leads (to tell the pilot to eject?). The high-speed ejection with a loose seat pan broke Beaver’s neck and tore apart the parachute canopy. The CAG’s (pilot) body was not recoverable as the Vigilante impacted in thick, heavy clay (a land reform/fish hatchery) scattering small pieces of debris up to 1 mile from impact. Duration of flight was 1 hour 15 minutes.

148928 had been manufactured 3 November 1967 and accumulated 968 total flight hours.

US Navy accident report
“RA-5C Vigilante Units In Combat”, Osprey Combat Aircraft 51, Robert R. “Boom” Powell


Revision history:

15-Jan-2022 14:44 TB Updated [Other fatalities, Location]
06-Jun-2024 12:10 ChrisB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative, Photo]
15-Jun-2024 08:39 TB Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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