Accident Douglas C-54D-DC (DC-4) N3054V, Tuesday 23 April 2024
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Date:Tuesday 23 April 2024
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas C-54D-DC (DC-4)
Owner/operator:Alaska Air Fuel Inc
Registration: N3054V
MSN: 10547
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Fairbanks International Airport (FAI), Fairbanks, AK -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Fairbanks International Airport, AK (FAI/PAFA)
Destination airport:Kobuk/Wien Airport, AK (OBU/PAOB)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On April 23, 2024, about 1003 Alaska daylight time, a Douglas C54D (DC-4) airplane, N3054V, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Fairbanks, Alaska. The two pilots were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight.

The accident airplane, owned and operated by Alaska Air Fuel, Inc., was transporting 3,400 gallons of unleaded fuel and two 100-gallon propane tanks. The airplane departed from the Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) at about 0955 Alaska daylight time (AKDT) with a destination of the Kobuk Airport (OBU) Kobuk, Alaska. Shortly after takeoff an eyewitness reported seeing the airplane flying to the west, with the far left engine (No. 1) not running. The witness also noticed a small, white plume of smoke coming from that engine. The witness reported the airplane began a turn to the south at which point he noticed the engine was on fire. Recovered surveillance video shows white smoke behind the number one engine, followed by flames. The video also revealed that seconds later a bright white explosion is seen just behind the number one engine followed by fragments of airplane wreckage falling to the ground.

The airplane then begins an uncontrolled descending left turn into terrain. The No. 1 engine separated from the wing about 100 ft above the ground and eventually came to rest on the frozen Tanana River.

A preliminary review of archived voice communication information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that shortly after departure from FAI at 1,000, the pilot contacted the departure air traffic control (ATC) specialist on duty, stating that there was “a fire on board” and that they needed to return to the airport.

The accident airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS– B), which provides aircraft position information via satellite navigation or other sensors and periodically broadcasts it, enabling the aircraft to be tracked. The information can be received by air traffic control ground stations as a replacement for secondary surveillance radar, as no interrogation signal is needed from the ground.

According to archived FAA ADS-B data, after the airplane departed FAI, it initially proceeded southwest, then it turned westbound. The airplane then began a left turn back to FAI. The ADSB data eventually stopped near where the witness observed the accident airplane impact terrain.

The accident airplane was also equipped was Spidertracks. Spidertracks enables real-time flight tracking, automated flight watch, two-way communication, and flight data monitoring (FDM) for aircraft. The operator’s archived Spidertracks data has been collected for further analysis.

A large postcrash fire ensued, which incinerated much of the airplane's structure.

The No.1 engine was recovered, and a detailed engine examination is pending.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: 
Status: Preliminary report
Download report: Preliminary report


NTSB (photo)

History of this aircraft

Ex N76AU, N62296, US Navy Bu:91994, Royal Air Force KL977, USAAF 42-72442



Revision history:

23-Apr-2024 21:20 Captain Adam Added
23-Apr-2024 21:25 Captain Adam Updated [Date, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
24-Apr-2024 05:02 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Category]
24-Apr-2024 05:06 Iceman 29 Updated [Country, Embed code]
24-Apr-2024 05:31 ASN Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
24-Apr-2024 05:31 ASN Updated [Embed code]
24-Apr-2024 05:50 Captain Adam Updated [Narrative]
24-Apr-2024 06:53 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location]
24-Apr-2024 08:11 ASN Updated
25-Apr-2024 05:50 Anon. Updated [Source, Embed code]
25-Apr-2024 05:55 ASN Updated [Source, Narrative]
25-Apr-2024 05:55 ASN Updated [Embed code]
02-May-2024 19:29 Captain Adam Updated [Time, Location, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report]

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