11 March 2012

21st February 1969

FT 446 55.30n 40w 2218 F260 51.30n 50w 2333 outside temp' -48C fuel remaining 52,000 lbs

Flying Tiger CL-44D, N446T

This aircraft was delivered to Flying Tiger Line on 3rd March 1962 and later sold to Conroy Aircraft Co in December 1968 for conversion to 'O' standard (i.e. Standard Guppy). In February 1969 it was leased to Mobil Oil for service in Alaska. However it was written off on 1st May 1969 as the result of a belly landing at Anchorage, Alaska. N446T´s undercarriage collapsed after heavy landing, the plane cart-wheeled and caught fire. All 4 crew survived.
Later the NTSB wrote: - "The main cause for the accident can be seen in the fact that the co-pilot did not level off correctly and that supervision by the captain was inadequate."
Though this accident was regarded as pilot error it should be mentioned that an accident in Norfolk, Virginia was identical. After these accidents operators developed special landing techniques, such as keeping power on the inboard engines to keep airflow over the elevators.
The aircraft was scheduled as Mobile Flight 109 and was engaged in transporting fuel to an oil-drilling site on the Alaskan arctic coastline.When Captain Talford Bray and his crew arrived , the last of the twenty-seven 250 gallon tanks in the body of the aircraft was being filled. The crew rapidly filed the flight plan with the airport controllers and checked on the enroute weather conditions. They returned to their CL-44, started up the engines, and departed. After landing at West Kaparukat about 5.00 a.m.. and waiting around until the fuel was off-loaded (which took about an hour) the crew returned to their positions in the cockpit and took off for the return flight to Anchorage. At 8.10 a.m., clearance was given to land on Runway 6L and about a minute later the wheels touched down. At this very instant, the right hand undercarriage beam bogie snapped, the right wing came down on the runway, the two right engine propellers slashed their way into the runway surface and finally the plane swerved to the right onto the grass, snapping off the right wing.
Fire had broken out before the plane had run off the runway. Witnesses estimated that it broke out at the same time as the right wing failed. Soon, the whole of the aircraft was enveloped in flames, and it was a miracle that the co-pilot and the engineer escaped with only minor injuries, though the pilot and a mobil fuel-loader suffered serious injuries including burns. [
From the Book "Runway" by John Godson c1973]

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