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77 years since B-25 bomber crashed in KCK

LINK to VIDEO: https://www.kmbc.com/article/friday-marks-77-years-since-b-25-bomber-crashed-in-kck/27291252

AAIR listing:
420426  B-25D 41-29660NA Aviation  Kansas City Muni Airport, KS  KTOAEF 5 Quick, Raymond B USAMO ¾ mi NE of Kansas City Muni Apt, KS

Before the B-25 bombers filled the sky during World War II, they had to be test flown after assembly at the Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas, from runways built adjacent to the factory.

On April 26, 1942, with the United States only a few months into the war, the 13th B-25 bomber to come off the line was ready for its test flight. 

Pilot Raymond Quick fired up the engines and took off.

"It was immediately clear that there was something wrong," said Dan Desko, of the B-25 History Foundation.

Desko said the bomber made a flat turn over the river -- never reaching 150 feet. The plane struggled to fly and then crashed, cartwheeling into the railroad tracks in a ball of fire.

Quick; co-polit Basil Sims; flight engineer Charles Frederick; Edward Krakora; and Joseph Preacher were killed.

A portion of a B-25 wing in the Wyandotte County History Museum is signed by many who worked in Fairfax, including Desko's grandparents. They were there when the crash happened.

But the fatal crash did not crush morale at the plant.

"If anything, it made them more committed to doing a better job at doing what they were doing by building airplanes," Desko said.

A factory newsletter, which came out after the crash read, "We shall carry on more diligently than before."

It was wartime, meaning no time for reflection. But there was never another fatal test flight of a Fairfax-made B-25. A testament to the workers -- heroes, too -- like the veterans who returned after the war.

"They could not have done what they did if it was not for the people back at home doing what they did. We really made sacrifices here on the home front, as well," Desko said.

Engine failure is likely what caused the fatal crash.

Desko hopes that one day a memorial near the crash site will honor the sacrifice of the B-25 crew.

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