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Southron129

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 18
 #1 
Back in 1974 I lived in Winchester, Virginia. On December 1st, 1974, TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, was trying to make an Approach to Dulles Airport, which was on the Eastern side of Mount Weather.

On that particular day, the weather was bad. Visibility was severely limited  with heavy cloud cover over the Shenandoah Valley and intermittent snow squalls.During the post crash instigation the Cockpit Voice Recorder revealed that the 1st Officer told the Captain as they flew over the Valley that he thought that they were too low to clear the mountain just before the crash occurred.  Unfortunately, Flight 514 did not clear the top of Mount Weather. Everyone aboard the aircraft was killed in the impact.

I went out and visited the site of the crash about a month after it occurred. Even though the site had been "cleaned up" by the FAA and others, small debris was still littered everywhere all over the crash site. When I arrived at the site, I was amazed to see a suitcase and miscellaneous pieces of clothing, magazines and small pieces of the interior of the Boeing  lodged in the branches of some of the bare trees on the hillside around the crash site..

The afternoon I was there, it was a cold, dismal winter day and I almost cried because of the horrific tragedy that had occurred there. My heart went out the the victims of the crash and their families.

One of the most striking sights was that the tops of the trees were clipped off by the wings and fuselage of the Boeing before the nose of the aircraft struck the rising ground at the crest of the mountain.[Type in "TWA Flight 514" on Google, then Click On the Wikipedia page on Flight 514  and look at the picture of the tree tops that were clipped off by the airliner, it is an amazing sight.]

A paved road runs along the crest of Mount Weather and several fine country homes literally built on the crest of the mountain. Months later, I did talk to one of the homeowners, and he was amazed that Mount Weather had not been hit long before by an airliner going into Dulles. This was because airliners would be descending on their Approaches to Dulles.

He told me that on several times, both during both day and night, when the weather was bad he had been in his home and heard the sound of approaching jet engines that got louder and louder until the sound was almost ear shattering and the house vibrated as objects fell off of tables, shelves and desks. On several of those occasions, he was certain that those airliners had only cleared his home and the top of the mountain in the darkness or poor visibility conditions by only the barest of minimums.

One thing that came out of the tragedy was that the FAA changed ATC procedures for aircraft making radar assisted Approaches under IFR conditions to airports. Because of that tragedy, other lives have been saved.






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Southron Sanders
DaveTrojan

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Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 1,617
 #2 
Thanks for sharing the story. I always like to know that something was changed as a result of an accident to prevent future occurances. Anything at the site today? memorial marker? debris still there?
DaveT
CheckSix

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 125
 #3 
Got a story on this mishap on the website...

http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/TWA_Flt_514.htm

The major legacy of this crash is the Aviation Safety Reporting System, an early "whistle-blower" type program for pilots and flight crews to report unsafe practices and procedures.

A memorial is located at the site.



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Southron129

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 18
 #4 
I haven't been out to that crash site since 1974, so I don't know what type of memorial is there. I would certainly hope that one is there.

          "THE TWA PASSENGER THAT COULD FORESEE DISASTER?"

When I was a student at Burnside-Ott at Opa Locka Airport in Florida in 1966/67 one of my classmates was a TWA Flight Engineer that was attending the school to get his Commercial License, multi-engine and instrument ratings as part of his "career development."

This is a story he told me and whether of not it is true or not I do not know. According to this Flight Engineer (I have long since forgotten his name) there was this one businessman that flew several times a week on TWA flights to and from various cities. He had done this for years. His job required a tremendous amount of airline travel. As it was, this businessman got to know a lot of Stewardesses and even became acquainted some of the Captains and First Officers. As he was always a gentleman and spoke to the Stewardesses with respect, he became one of their "favorite passengers."

Then one afternoon, as was his usual practice he boarded a TWA flight. After the aircraft started taxing to the Runway for Take-Off, this veteran passenger became very agitated, got up out of his seat and DEMANDED to be put off the airplane.It was all the Stewardess could do to get him to sit back down and the businessman quieted down when he was told he would be allowed to leave the airplane.

 The Captain stopped the airplane, then taxied it back to the ramp where the passenger was allowed to get off the airplane.Obviously, this was very strange behavior for a veteran TWA passenger and drew a lot of comments.

After the businessman had left the aircraft, the TWA flight took off and several hours later, the flight crashed with the loss of all on board. Needless to say, the story of the passenger that demanded to be let off of the doomed airliner went all around the TWA system and the gentleman became very well known.

The businessman caught the next TWA flight to his destination and continued to be a loyal TWA customer, never causing any more trouble and flying with the airline several times a week on business. Then several years after the first incident with the "Doomed TWA" airliner, the same thing happened again. The TWA airplane was taxing out to the Runway to Take -Off and this man became very agitated again, and again DEMANDED to be allowed to get off of the airplane.

He was allowed to get off and sure enough, that TWA flight was lost in an accident with all on board an hour later. Needless to say, this particular businessman became something of a "living legend" among the TWA flight crews. The businessman did not stop flying TWA, and he continued taking TWA flights as a matter of course on a regular basis.

Several years passed and then one evening, as a TWA airliner was taxing out to the runway for a night flight, this very same businessman again became very agitated DEMANDED to be allowed to get off of the airplane!

When the Stewardess informed the Captain what was going on, the Captain stopped the airplane on the Taxi way, turned the controls over to the First Officer and walked back into the passenger compartment to talk with this man. After a short conversation, the Captain returned to the cockpit.

This time, the pilot, a Senior TWA Captain simply taxied the aircraft back to the passenger terminal and ordered everyone off the airplane. Then the entire Flight Crew walked off the airplane and REFUSED to fly that night. TWA had no choice but to cancel that flight.

Like I said, I don't know if the story is true or not, that TWA Flight Engineer told it to me and said it was true. He said that that "Frequent TWA  Businessman Flier" was literally a "living legend" throughout the entire TWA system. In other words, IF the businessman refused to fly, so too would the flight crew!!!


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Southron Sanders
ldantiques

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 1
 #5 
My Grandfather was on that flight.  He worked for the CIA or Secret Service, we think.  We or my mother and grandmother, never knew what his occupation was.  They just knew he was in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs, eastern Germany a good bit of time, and the GOLD coast of Africa during their revolution.  He brought back many beautiful treasures.

But that TWA Flight 514 crash change aviation and lawsuits. My grandmother was a Doctorate of Law. My grandfather who died on that plane, or so we were told, was also a doctorate of law.  They met while perusing the doctoral degree. My grandmother sued the living crap out of everyone, it was the largest settlement ever in a court of law.  Kardashian, as in KIM Kardashian's father, was the head attorney, Hilary Rodham Clinton worked on the case as well as a young aspiring attorney.  They sued everyone, from gps companies, to maping companies, TWA, the government, and whom ever else they could and did. It was the largest settlement ever in the history of US law.

She never worked and that was her only lawsuit, and she never worked again. She died of Cancer in 1999.  My grandfathers "partner" or agent, died a few years later.  We asked him to tell us what it was they did for the government, but he said they were sworn to secrecy, and he took it to his grave with him. 


The little bit we knew about them, my Grandfather and his partner.  For some reason MR. (WHATEVER HIS NAME WAS) DID NOT GET ON THAT FLIGHT.  WE WERE TOLD HE GOT PLASTERED IN THE AIRPORT BAR, BUT SOME HOW HE WAS NOT ON THE FLIGHT.  HE AND MY GRANDFATHER RODE TO THE AIRPORT TOGETHER, BUT HE LIVED AND MY GRANDFATHER DIED.  HE WAS AN ASIAN MAN.  HIS FAMILY LIVED 1/2 A BLOCK FROM MY GRANDMOTHER UNTIL HER DEATH IN 1999.  HE DIED DOWN THE STREET A FEW YEARS LATER.

We know they worked on wreckage from Roswell, NM, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  My mother lived there as a child.  We know while in Africa, they stayed with a tribe of cannibals, and they were all fed goat testicles.  It made my grandfather sick, and they flew him and Mr. (I cannot remember his name) back to the US for medical treatment, and the cannibals ate the rest of the men that were there with him.  We know he was in Cuba during the missle crisis.  We know that several other top military and government officials were on that plane as well (twa crash) 

It stirred much controversy, the crash, and the book, "The Sound of Silence" was written about it.  The author kept approaching my grandmother, but she did not participate and asked to leave her husband out of the book as well.  I am not sure who wrote it, but my mother has it.  She said she would never read it.  It was given to her by the author.  It is on the bookshelf in her living room as we speak.
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