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DaveTrojan

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 #1 
B-47E, 53-4244, crashed shortly after take-off  from Pease AFB New Hampshire. 4 Jan 1961
Aerial photo of crash site, looks like a flat spin crash

Anyone been to this site or have more info about this accident?
DSCN8820.JPG

Jeff_Wilkinson

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 #2 
Hey Dave,

The date of this crash is 4 January 1961.  It's described in the "HQ/SAC Analysis of B-47 Accidents" as #69:

A three-man crew plus a crew chief was scheduled for a night training mission. The initial portion of the flight was to be conducted as a two-ship cell with this crew flying the number two position. Mission preparation and preflight were uneventful. The aircraft had been partially covered with ice, which had been removed by hot isopropyl. The temperature was 22° F. The runway was clear and dry except for patches of ice on the extreme edges and patches of ice on the first 1, 000 feet of each end of the runway. The number one aircraft lined up at the 1, 000-foot point on the right guide line. The number two aircraft lined up an unknown distance back of number one and on the left guide line, 75 feet left of the center of the 300-foot-wide runway. Number two aircraft rolled approximately one minute after number one. The takeoff roll appeared normal to witnesses, until the aircraft reached a point 8, 290 feet down the runway. At this point, a witness reported sparks coming from the right side of the aircraft. The aircraft continued takeoff and a short time later contacted the ground slightly left wing low and nose high 246 feet beyond the end of the runway, 661 feet to the left of center line. The aircraft broke up and burned with all crew members sustaining fatal injuries. Investigation revealed scrape marks on the runway at the 8,290-foot point which were made by the right wing tip and the bottom of number six engine. These marks could have been made only with the aircraft airborne in an angle of attack of 13. 5 degrees, a right bank of 18. 5 degrees, and 131 feet left of runway center line (56 feet left of guide line). Since buffeting occurs at a 9.8° angle of attack, the aircraft was well into a stall condition when the first ground contact was made. It was established that all engines were operating normally, fuel panel was set properly, and there was no center of gravity problem. The possibility of power control malfunction steering failure or Q-spring ram air inlet icing could be neither proved nor disproved, but the board concluded that had one of these malfunctions occurred, proper pilot technique would have insured a safe takeoff.

The Cause ...

1. Primary cause of the accident is undetermined.
2. The most probable cause is pilot factor in that the pilot permitted the aircraft to become airborne in an attitude which precipitated a stall and subsequent crash.
3. A possible cause is icing of the Q-spring ram air inlet which resulted in loss of artificial feel, over-controlling, and the subsequent stall and crash.
4. A possible cause is failure or malfunction of nose wheel steering, resulting in loss of directional control which caused the pilot to over-rotate and stall in his haste to get the aircraft into the air.
5. A possible cause is distraction of unknown sources in the cockpit which resulted in a nose-high attitude and stall.

The Lessons . . .

1. Be aware of the dangers of over-rotation at unstick speed on takeoff.
2. Be alert for the symptoms for loss of artificial feel to preclude over-controlling on takeoff.
3. Loss of artificial feel gives the impression that the control column is disengaged.

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Jeff Wilkinson
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DaveTrojan

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 #3 
Thanks Jeff
skyraider0609

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 #4 
Dave,

I obtained a copy of the report on this crash some time ago as it caught my interest as a "local" event. I live about 20 minutes away from Pease and thought I'd look into it. Unfortunately, because the aircraft came down essentially just off the end of the runway, any thought of making a visit to the accident site are not practical and would end up with yours truly in handcuffs, charged with airport trespassing. There would be no evidence remaining either I'm sure because of where the Stratojet came down.

Killed in the crash of this B-47 from the 351st Bombardment Squadron, call sign Ready 18, was crew E-61: Aircraft Commander Capt Charles Weller, copilot 1/Lt Ronald Chapo, navigator 1/Lt John Wetherbee and crew chief SSGT Stephen Merva.

Jeff has all the details of the crash included in his reply. I would like to be able to place a flag at the site, but short of that, I thought I'd at least recognize the four crewmembers who died that night almost 54 years ago.

Pete
Jeff_Wilkinson

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 #5 
Hey Pete,

It's easy to be a cheerleader from several states away, but I don't think you would end up face-down on the concrete to visit this one.  I was reading the article about the crash in the Portsmouth Herald, and following their clues it looks like the airplane may have come down near the ball field on the other side of Little Bay Road. 

The article describes the crash: "The plane left a wide path of burning wreckage and flaming woodland growth nearly a half-mile long beyond the north end of the runway.  The craft finally disintegrated in a deep gully not far from the old Newington school."

From that description, and from the looks of Dave's photo, I get the impression that the site could be found.  Maybe not easily....

Or does the accident report say otherwise?

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Jeff Wilkinson
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skyraider0609

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 #6 
Hmmm Jeff, now you've got me thinking. The accident report is a bit vague as to where the aircraft came to rest. "The aircraft continued airborne, and moments later struck the ground at a point 240 feet beyond and 200 feet to the left of the center of the end of the runway."

I assumed that's where the B-47 ended up roughly, but from the article in the Herald, that's not the case. It sounds as though it continued on quite a distance before coming to rest. I need to look into this accident a bit more I think. I'll see if I can dig up that article. Just taking a quick look at the town's website, there's a mention of an old stone schoolhouse. I'm betting that's the school mentioned in the article.

Thanks Jeff for your reply. I would not have given this crash another thought otherwise. I'll see what I can research.

Pete
Jeff_Wilkinson

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 #7 
I sent you some articles that may be helpful, Pete.  Check your email!  :-)
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Jeff Wilkinson
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skyraider0609

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 #8 
Thanks Jeff! I took advantage of a very nice mid December day here and went over to Pease for a preliminary look. I did find the old stone school but had no luck finding the "deep gully" the aircraft came to rest in. I'm not sure at all that I was in the correct area.

I'll look at the articles and see what I can get from them. I did see the article in the Portsmouth Herald about the crash. The images of the four dead crew, as well as confirming that the three officers were married fathers was sobering. That really puts a human spin on the crash...not just names in an accident report...

Hey Dave, do you have any other pictures of the crash site? There were none included with the accident report I received from Kirtland. It might be a help to see more.

Thanks guys

Pete
petef86a

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 #9 
Oh Jeff, now I understand. You sent the articles to the wrong "Pete". It is all good. I will visit more NH sites someday. 
DaveTrojan

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 #10 
Sorry no more photos.
I discovered this one from B-47 Stratojet book.
I recommend you contact  
http://b-47.com/
and request more info from them.
DaveT
DaveTrojan

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 #11 
Update from an eyewitness: reposted from Sweb ww2aircraft.com link http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/post-war/kc135-accident-walker-afb-near-roswell-nm-feb-3rd-1960-a-23487-2.html

B-47 crashes on base at Pease AFB, 1960-1963, 100th Bomb Wing. We lived at 31 Birch Drive in base housing. On two occasions there were terrible explosions and the night sky lit up. On both occasions my Pop was due home from what they called Reflex Missions to Brize Norton AB, England. They were sent out and came home in a Vee formation of three aircraft. Both times my Mom shot to the phone and called base operations to see who crashed. My Pop wasn't one of them but she would begin to cry because she learned which of her friends lost their husbands. We, as kids (I was 8 years old) learned which of our friends lost their Pops and knew they would move away. My Mom absolutely hated the military never saying one kind word about it. That early jet age killed many of her friend's husbands due to accidents and she lived in constant fear of my Pop being one of the statistics. Twenty years of living in fear like that are seldom chronicled in military journals. Military wives and families are different kinds of veterans, but veterans nonetheless.

There were subsequent investigations of the above crashes, which I learned the results of years later from my Pop, with the key findings that, 1) Fast jet bombers required the skills of fighter pilots with regard to reaction times and keeping their heads out in front of the (high speed) airplanes. Transitioning reciprocating engine pilots should be transitioned in T-33s before moving to the new bombers and, 2) At the time pilots were ordered to follow the commands of tower controllers who were not trained in the controller procedures for that particular high performance jet bomber, their higher approach speeds and slower power (turbine spool up times) recovery for aborting. A controller directed one aircraft onto the "runway" on one fogged-in night. The "runway" was, in reality, the base golf course. IOW, it crashed short of the runway killing all 3 crew members. The investigation determined that due to the conditions of that night the pilot could not have recovered. 

I remember seeing the burned out wreckage of one in the base golf course the morning after.

I wonder if the photo is from the one that crashed on the base golf course? The area looks like it could be. 
WaltW

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 #12 

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19610105&id=zTJWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wecDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2310,1369674&hl=en


A 1958 crash just after takeoff:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19580418&id=d8ozAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BO8HAAAAIBAJ&pg=2940,6248642&hl=en

Apparently the Golf Course is a B-47 magnet, a 1962 takeoff crash:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1356&dat=19620805&id=VwcTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EgUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3609,742552&hl=en

A 1964 takeoff crash:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19641208&id=-VEaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iScEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3552,5517205&hl=en

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2512&dat=19641209&id=UTxIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=DAENAAAAIBAJ&pg=852,4720237&hl=en

KC-97 on Golf Course and Route 101, 1964:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19641106&id=ZhdZAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8ugDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6627,2201545&hl=en

skyraider0609

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 #13 
I went to the crash site of B-47E 53-0339 that crashed on take off from Pease AFB on 12/8/1964 last Thursday afternoon. I met the moderator of the Pease Veterans Facebook page who is a retired USAF officer as well as the gentleman who's farm the aircraft crashed on that bitterly cold night over 51 years ago. He is incredible. At 86 years old, he looks 66 and is sharp as a tack. He took a break from cutting hay to take us out in his truck to the place where the Stratojet came down. 

Incredibly, we found two small pieces of aluminum still sitting on the forest floor. The plan is to return again with a metal detector and see if we can unearth more metal. The daughter of the aircraft commander has been following this wreck hunt from her home in Michigan and might possibly come east to visit the site herself. That's not been decided, but after speaking to her on the telephone, she still has a huge hole in her heart from losing her Dad, so we'll see. In any event, I will place a flag on site when I return.

This wreck hunt has been unique for me in that I've been able to speak to two people who were directly involved in the loss of this airplane. A relative and a direct witness to the immediate aftermath of the crash. I've got the accident report coming from Kirtland, which should hopefully shed light on the cause. It's also been very uncanny how many chance events all came together to make this a successful wreck find. It's too long to go into here, but suffice to say, I've had some "holy #$!@" moments for sure. 

I'll post on this thread when I have more to add.

Pete

DaveTrojan

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 #14 
KC-135 Tanker 59-1494 accident at Pease AFB Jan 11, 1990
KC135-USAF-Pease.jpg 

DaveTrojan

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 #15 
I think this is a photo of the same plane. They towed the remains of it to the North 40 so the air show attendees couldn't see it, But somebody got a photo. How's that for wreck chasing from far away.  Story was the KC-135 caught fire and exploded just after it came out of the fuel cell.
KC-135.jpg 




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