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SaxMan

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 #31 
I found a picture of the house next door before it was demolished -- you can actually see it on Google Earth street view.   The tree is in very close proximity to the house, so I am now disinclined to believe that this was a memorial and was just "normal" landscaping.
SaxMan

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 #32 
11/6/12 Update:   I spoke with the former Capital Airlines secretary.  Unfortunately, she really couldn't recall much, if anything, about the crew other than the Instructor.   Obviously, asking people to remember small details that occurred 55 years ago is definitely a challenge.   She ask me to send her whatever information I had to see if I could jog her memory.   I still need to speak with the occupant of the house.   He is next up on my witness list.   I also have another two or three eyewitnesses "in the queue" who were with the Hyattstown VFD (the first units on the scene) at the time.

One of the other pursuits is to see if I can find the daughters of one of the crew members.  They were 11 and 9 in 1957, so that would put them in their mid to late 60s by now.   Of course, I am assuming they married and took their husbands' last names, so tracking them down may be a bit of a challenge.
SaxMan

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 #33 
2/3/13 update: 

I finally had an opportunity to speak with one of the occupants of the house.   He was 8 or 9 at the time and didn't have a large recollection of the event, but he did hold some key information as well as giving me some good first hand accounts of what he could recall.    He did put to rest that there were parts of the plane still on the property.   He is certain the Captial Airline mechanics cleared the site.  

He also said the family never resided in the house again.   The well was fouled with gasoline and oil and their mother did not want to live in a house where three men died literally in their backyard.   They rented an apartment in Gaithersburg until a new house could be built.   Apparently, they may have even tried to sue Capital for damages, but he had no recollection of the outcome.  Given Capital's precarious financial position during those times, I'd find it unlikely that the family was able to collect.
colsonj8

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 #34 
Well frankly if a deadly plane crash happened on my backyard I probably wouldn't stick around for long.

I still don't really believe that there is nothing left at the site. Such a big plane usually leaves traces, even if it just a few small fragments. Keep up your search I would say, I still think there is a chance for you to find something. Have you used a metal detector at all? Im quite curious now to see if you do find anything.

Near the beginning of this thread you have some photos of some large wreckage in the woods, do you know if any of those are still there or parts like that that might be hidden?
SaxMan

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 #35 
Given the plane's angle of impact, which was near vertical, and combined with its relatively slow speed and the lack of a post crash fire or explosion, the debris field was fairly compact.  Some parts of the plane may have detached when it came through the trees, but again, with the angle was so steep that they would not have been very far from the impact point.   The CAB notes that their investigation of the wreckage was "very thorough", so I'm inclined to believe that anything that detached before impact was recovered. 

I have not gone over the site with a metal detector.   My guess is if there is any debris, it would be located near the impact crater, which also included the Studebaker that the plane impacted and drove 5 to 6 feet into the ground.   There is an outbuilding that was erected over the point of impact which certainly would impede the recovery of any wreckage.   In addition, the landowners would not allow any digging unless it was under the direction of a professional archaeologist.

The pictures I posted earlier in this thread turned out to be from another Capital Airlines crash at Coopers Rock, WV in 1947, but were mislabeled as the Clarksburg crash.  I'm not too disappointed, because without the pics to generate my curiosity, I never would have set out on this quest.   
colsonj8

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 #36 
Ah, I see. Well keep up your search anyways, you never know if you will come across anything. Perhaps one of the witnesses you interview might even have a part of the plane, you never know. But its definitely an interesting story though. 
SaxMan

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 #37 

In my interview of the occupant of the house, he said he and his siblings approve of my research and not only want this story to be told, they support having a memorial erected near the property.   That's given me additional incentive to continue to search for other witnesses and try to obtain as much detail as I can about the story.  

  

SaxMan

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 #38 
2/7/13:   I received a copy of a number of newspaper photos taken after the crash from the occupant of the house.   They are not of great quality, but they are from different angles than any other photos I have seen up to this point, as well as the 16mm home movie that was online (although it has now been taken down).   Does anyone have suggestions on what settings to use on Photoshop to improve the quality.   I've had some experience trying this with older photos with mixed results.   There is one photo in particular that was taken overhead that I really would like to work on.   Even with the poor resolution, you can make out the left wing and the word "CAPITAL" on the wing.  
SaxMan

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 #39 
Here is the shot.   I tried to do my best to Photo Shop it, but the resolution of the original was marginal:

Overhead View by onyxsax, on Flickr

As you can see, the plane REALLY came close to the house.   This is the first pic that showed the wing.   The clump of trees to the left of the wing is no longer there.   The tail is visible at the top of the pic just to the right of center.   You can see a group of people still working the impact crater in the center of the picture just to the right of the house.

By the lighting, my guess is this was taken somewhere before noon.  Two of the three bodies had been recovered, and the rescue crews were working to get to the third body. 

colsonj8

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 #40 
Wow, that's an impressive shot. Very lucky that the plane didnt crash into the house, you can really see how hard it went down. 

Im not very good at photo editing, but I will say this. Sometimes when Im looking at old black and white photos of crash reports (or a photo like this) it helps to put the image in negative color. It doesn't really change the sharpness or quality, but sometimes it helps you see the photo differently and you notice stuff you might have missed before. Just a thought
Brad

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 #41 
Not sure if this is any better, but did a little work on it.

Attached Images
Click image for larger version - Name: 2013-01-13_001_2013-01-13_003a.jpg, Views: 44, Size: 332.36 KB 

SaxMan

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 #42 
Thanks Brad.   If you want to PM me, I could e-mail you a larger file.
SaxMan

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 #43 

Here are some of the other newsclipping photos that were sent to me:


Backyard View by onyxsax, on Flickr

This is the view looking northbound towards the neighboring property owned by the Norwoods. 

View towards Norwood property by onyxsax, on Flickr

A slightly different view of the same image from a different paper:

News article 2 by onyxsax, on Flickr

I believe the gentleman in this picture is John Anderson, who owned the house.   I think this view is southbound, as I don't recognize the structure behind him from any previous photos

Anderson by onyxsax, on Flickr

colsonj8

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 #44 
Wow those photos are haunting...Its easy to see why the family didnt want to stick around. Thanks for sharing, quite interesting!
russfarris

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 #45 
This is getting bizarre. I'm type-rated in the DC-3, with around 1,000 hours in them. I have a DC-3 R/C model in Capital Airlines colors identical to the accident aircraft. I've been to the Capital DC-4 crash site at Lookout Rock, WV and wrote an article for "Airliners" back in 1996 about the experience. And now Saxman reports the plane crashed on top of a STUDEBAKER. I've collected Studebakers since 1988 and currently own two of them. Which begs the question...do you have any info on what model year it was? I must know the rest of the story! Talk about synchronicity....

Russ Farris





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