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DaveTrojan

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 #16 
I was surprised that the portion of the field next to where the impact occurred is still being cultivated. As the field is farmed each year, more artifacts continue to be brought to the surface. They were very easy to find when I visited the site. I believe the old stone wall located just inside the woods is the property line and on the other side is property belonging to a church. I'm looking for a point of contact for the property owner who owns the wooded area.
DaveT 
Burrpink

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 #17 
I live in Lansing, Michigan now. However, my mother and sister still live on our farm at the intersection of
M-66 and M-78. Our farm is not a working farm anymore. The owners of the crash site farm. have passed away and I don't know who lives there now. I don't know which church owns the wooded area. There are quite a few more homes in the area since 1966. I don't know if the land is still being farmed or by whom. The large building at the intersection, was a hardware store owned by my grandparents for a number of years and has since changed hands quite a few times. The entire immediate area has gone through a great many changes during the last fifty years.
whiteb52

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 #18 
Dave,

At the time of the crash I lived about 2 miles straight north of where the P3 went down. I remember very well the extremely loud roar of the engines just before the big boom. The roar was very loud and it rattled our windows so bad that it made all of us run outside to see what was causing it and that was just in time to see the big mushroom cloud forming. Like most everyone else I waited and waited to hear what had caused the crash but had never heard anything until I talked to a P3 pilot one day several years later. What he told me was quite shocking and please understand that these are his words and not mine.

While attending an airshow in Kalamazoo, Michigan one year I began talking with a pilot of a P3 that was there on display. He was an older officer who had been flying P3's for years and was getting ready to retire. I mentioned to him about the crash behind my house and he instantly asked me where I lived. When I said Battle Creek his immediate reply was "Pennfield, 1966". I mention this because it shows that he was familiar with the crash but what he said next absolutely floored me. He was there with a junior officer/pilot so he started telling me and the other pilot about what happened. As you know P3's are very powerful planes and because of this he claimed the pilot of the doomed plane had always talked or bragged about how he could loop one. According to this senior pilot it was believed that the other pilot may have tried to do this maneuver thus causing the possible catastrophic in flight failure along with the sudden drop in altitude and the steep angle of the impact. This could also explain the extremely loud roar of the engines. Remember, this roar rattled my windows at least 2 miles away. 

I know this story is hard, if not impossible, to believe but it was his story and not mine. I am only telling you about it because of your interest in the crash, and whether you choose to believe it or not, I hope it helps you in some way with your investigation. To my knowledge this information has never been publicly disclosed but again, it was his story.

Let me say that I was at that crash site within minutes of it happening. I will never forget what I saw that day and I will always have the deepest respect for anyone who has to be involved in the investigations and clean up of these crashes. It is something that I could never have the strength to do.
DaveTrojan

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 #19 
Thank you whiteb52. That loop story is new to me. Nothing is in the official accident report about it.

I will say that there is no way for the pilot you met to know what happened to this P-3. Pilots are always bragging to each other about things, but doing a loop in a P-3 is known to be unsafe because of all the loose gear inside the plane.
 
I will add the loop story to my investigation and ask about it when I interview other former P-3 crew members. There is a P-3 on static display at Shelfridge Field Michigan and they have an active group of volunteers and former P-3 crewmembers and maintainers. I look forward to talking to them about it.
Futhermore, I will be visiting the home base of the squadron, Moffett Field CA to talk to their "experts"
Lastly, I still have many friends at Lockheed.
This investigation is going to be a long one.
Right now, I'm busy with the upcoming Aviation Achaeology Symposium.
DaveT
Tlbarnum4

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 #20 
Dave my father was the safety officer at vp-19
And one of the investigators of the crash
He can tell you why it crashed
Skype rabanita1
russfarris

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 #21 

Dave - your investigation of this long forgotten accident is very interesting! I have a few observations if I may indulge.

I've been flying large transport airplanes for over 35 years - an attempt to loop an aircraft like a P-3 would be suicide, no sane person would even think about it. But a PROPERLY executed roll - yes, it has been done by pros like "Tex" Johnston in the 707. I can also state a Lufthansa Boeing 720 was lost on a training flight during an attempted barrel roll. There have been similar incidents. It's more of a possibilty, I should think. Does the report state they were in VFR conditions at FL 220?

The other comment I have is the number of crashes of the L-188 Electra/P-3 in the enroute phase of flight far exceeds any other transport airplane I know, piston, turboprop or jet. A total of seven Electras and three P-3s, including one in Maine lost to whirl-mode, years after the problem was supposedly fixed. Several P-3s were lost at sea for reasons unknown.  

Thanks for keeping us informed on this.

Russ Farris

DaveTrojan

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 #22 
I'm still working on the investigation of this accident, just on another level. I'm working with former VP crewmembers at Moffett Field and engineers at Lockheed to get their opinions. Yes they were VFR at the time. An intentional roll of the aircraft is very unlikely. I think it was just talk among pilots. Right now I believe the most likely cause is an explosion of the air conditioner pack which is located under the cockpit section. This theory is confirmed to have happened to other P-3s. The air conditioner pack was modified in later models. The implosion of the windshield was sited as a possibility in the report, but I believe not sufficient enough to incapacitate the entire crew and does not explain the APU door part found miles away. I looked at the possibility of an APU explosion, but it would not have been running at the time. The plane dove from altitude 20K feet into the ground. Talking to pilots/engineers they told me that if no one was at the controls to pull back, then the plane will do this.

The clues from the report are:
1. high pitch background noise on radio TX in an attempt to make a call (indicative of decompression/air entering cabin)
2. part of APU door found miles from crash site (indicative of in-flight explosion)
3. no attempt to pull out of dive (incapacitated crew)

Furthermore, I recovered a few artifacts from the crash site and brought them to Moffett Field. I'm currently working on putting the items on display as a memorial to the crew.
I'll post pictures when complete.
I wanted to return a little bit of the plane back to its home base.
DaveT   


   
HisGirl

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 #23 
Dave, I was the girlfriend of 2nd Flight Engineer, Larry (Laird) W. Battson, lost with the crash of the P-3A, on 7/4/66. He asked me to marry him during that layover. I said yes, drove him back to Floyd Bennett Field, NY and we said goodbye with joy and hope for a wonderful future together.

I have searched, for years, for any kind of details of the crash. THANK YOU for all the work that you have put into the research of the crash. P.
DaveTrojan

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 #24 

PM sent to HisGirl

I research these accidents as a public service for people like you. I leave a trail of stories behind for people to pick up on.  I’m glad you found the trail.

I have several goals with this project. I have collected several artifacts from the crash site and have returned them to Moffett Field for display at their memorial wall. I want to make some kind of memorial at the crash site. And lastly, but most important, I want to re-investigate this accident using modern techniques and new information gathered from historical research to determine the most likely cause of this accident. I will them compile everything into a story/report. 

The crewmembers are NOT FORGOTTEN!       

Pilot, Lt. William E. Xiques, Staten Island, NY

Copilot, Lt. John P. Fitzmaurice, III, Waterbury, Conn

Flight Engineer, ADJ2 Charles J. Lurvey, Meriden, Conn

2nd Flight Engineer, ADJ3 Larry W. Battson, Santa Clara, CA

karlthelosen

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 #25 
William xiques was my first cousin.Dave, please email me at karl@ridgwaytruss.com. I would like to have further conversations with you . thank you very much
DaveTrojan

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 #26 
 
email sent regarding William xiques by DaveT
Rich

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 #27 
Hi!  Just learned of this today.  I live in the area and would like to learn more as you get info.  I volunteer at the Air Zoo in restoration and just started today at the Battle Creek Regional History Museum, where I heard about this.
Rich

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Rich
DaveTrojan

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 #28 
Welcome to the message board Rich. PM sent. 
DaveT
tdottom

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 #29 
Hi Dave,
I was a member of the accident team. Fitzmaurice was a member of my crew #6. Door to door interviews developed some very strange stories!
Tom Maurer
USN read.
Bernie66

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 #30 
Hi Dave,
My Family were  some of the first on scene. I was a baby and do not remember the crash.
all my aunts and uncles,mom dad sisters entire Ellis Family were having a fourth of July picnic a mile or so southwest of the crash site  corner of white rabbit and m-66 and this aircraft came screaming down over our heads and crashed really close bye.
My dad and cousins jumped into a car and raced to the scene and found the crash  sight.
They made the women and children stay behind knowing what they would find.My dad told me years later the investigators found the cockpit twenty feet underground? there were many families lucky that day the owners of the field  that it  crashed near had been putting up hay bales and had stopped working for the day minutes before the crash,my dad claims the boys would have been killed at the scene if they had been in the field and this aircraft was treetop level when it went over our heads. Question for Dave would the explosion in the AC unit produce black smoke before impact my sister claims she saw black smoke  coming from plane before impact but she was six at the time,Dad does not remember smoke but was in the process of covering children as the plane came down. My heart goes out to the Family of the crew that were lost that day.after reading some otehr posts I guess the guys were out of the field due to rain
Bernard Ellis
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