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Angusnofangus

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 #31 
On the question of looping or rolling a P-3; I was attached to VP-4 in 1969-70 and there was a story in the squadron that one Lt G. (won't use his full name) did a barrel roll with one. I flew with him once and he seemed like a frustrated fighter pilot wanna-be.
CJorgenson

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 #32 
I am a 43 year Lockheed Field Service P-3 Tech rep currently working with the P-3-AEW and P-3-LRT.  In view of my long association with the P-3, I am surprised that today was the first time I had even heard of this accident.  i was looking up info on one of the aircraft I recently worked with 152170 (I was on its final flight in Sept 2011) and noted that the next S/N aircraft had crashed, then looked up the info. ending up on this message board.   I am offering the following information in response to items I noted in the messages.  Doubtful the info will be any help in the investigation, but then, every little piece of the puzzle can possibly help.

The part number you noted 916234-159 is for the "RADOME BOOM ASSY", AKA the "MAD Boom", the "stinger" on the back end of the aircraft, part of the aft radome. 916234 is the basic P/N for the Aft Radome assembly with multiple dash numbers for various applications, and sub parts. the -159 would be a fiberglass resin part, as was most of the radome. 

Modifications were made to the design of the aircraft and various parts even before the first aircraft was finished, therefore, the mention of being only one year old would not be a limiting factor.

I have "heard" that Lockheed test pilot Jay Beasley (AKA "Mr. P-3") had done a barrel roll in a P-3, I believe it is true.  Jay was legendary in the P-3 community, and remained in part time employ of Lockheed after his retirement about 1975.  He passed away 1996 in Jacksonville FL, just a few miles from the Hangar that had already been named for him, on a day when he had planned to be having a meeting in that hangar with P-3 Pilots.  I had encountered and spoken with Jay several times and once rode with (Jay driving a rental car) from the Portland Maine airport to NAS Brunswick. http://articles.latimes.com/1996-05-18/local/me-5521_1_jay-beasley.

I think there is a You Tube video made from a Norwegian P-3 of it doing a barrel roll.  I couldn't tell for sure, and am not sure it isn't doctored, but it looks real to me.

It is likely that the black smoke that had been noted by a child was the characteristic black smoke that can still be seen from each engine when under power.  Those turbine engines were designed before all the environmental efforts were being enforced, and fuels in 1966 were not nearly as clean as today.  I suspect, from the reports sounding like the engines were at full power, that a great deal of black engine smoke would have been visible coming from all engines.

The report about the pilot being a "Hotdog" sounds very much like reports that were verified about the pilot of the P-3 that flew under a tram line, chopping off its tail and crashing into a hotel in Pago Pago in 1980.  I'm wondering if the report mentioned earlier in this forum could have been a confusion from that crash.  Of course, there are probably many P-3 pilots that wish they were flying fighters, and therefore, likely that more than one accident has been caused by that attitude.

There is also the possibility of a lightning strike, which usually is barely noticed by the crews, but has also been known to cause a great deal of damage.  

I was amazed that investigators had left anything, any part of the aircraft at the crash site, but then, in 1966, things were done differently.  As an example, at 7PM. on Nov 22, 1963, I had driven my car over the exact spot in Dallas where Kennedy was shot.  If that had happened today, you wouldn't be able to get within two blocks of that spot for a month.   



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DaveTrojan

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 #33 
Thanks CJ for the info, PM sent to you
TedG

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 #34 
I lived next door to Charles Lurvey. He was my best friend. We went to technical school together, graduated as auto mechanics. He chose the Navy, I chose the USAF. I was home on leave the 4th of July, just missed seeing him.

Thanks for the hard work gathering the information.

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wombat

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 #35 
In 1966 I lived in Battle Creek in an area known as Verona (NE Capitol and Emmett St.) I heard the Orion sounding very strange. the years have dimmed but I would have said it was coming from the West to the East (that would be inconsistent with the reported facts). I headed out to the North expecting that a crash was eminent. I did not see but heard the engines overreving and what I visualized to be a full up stall.  I found the crash site in Pennfield and was the very first on the hill. In those days I was driving a Green 57 Chevy. The site was not in open flame but lots of smoke. My lasting recollection is of a limbless body in an Orange jump suit entangled in a tree. The nose was buried at least 30 feet in the ground not much  was recognizable. A firend of mine, Lyle Rollehagen, arrived shortly there after I would say we were the first on the hill in autos.  I was researching the Orion and its radios for a completely disassociated project. I am an electronics engineer by training. This work kindled these memories. Lyle and I were each members of the Emmett Rescue Squad a volunteer ambulance service in the near area; we with this credential and personal associations gain access to the site a day or two later. my recollection is that the forward portion of the plane was not fully recovered but buried at the site. The consensus of the day was that there was an uncontained electrical fire that ate away control cables and electrical wiring and that the plane was uncontrollable; this also seems inconsistent with later published reports.  Long ago and now far away from my home in Flagstaff AZ.  Ted Hartson   Feb 2017
DaveTrojan

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 #36 
Thanks Ted for your eyewitness account
a correction to the original 1st post. 
The time of the crash was 3:40 pm local time.
The time cited in the 1st post was zulu time 2040, which is what was in the official accident report. 
RussArizona

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 #37 

WOW, this is amazing. This P-3A was en route to Glenview NAS to pick up my dad (PV-19 Ron Gunther, AME 2nd Cl. Aviation Metalsmith Safety Equipment) and continue back to Moffett Field in Sunnyvale. Just a couple days earlier this crew dropped off my dad and another serviceman at Glenview NAS on their way out to New York (he thinks there was also a serviceman dropped at St. Louis in the first leg).

Please reach out to me Dave, so you can interview and speak with my dad (as well as anyone else who would like to contact him). He said no one ever really heard or found out anything more until today when I was on the phone and reading these posts to him! He agrees that all the loose equipment on board would have kept the pilots, no matter how bold, from even contemplating any loop, but that a barrel roll could be in possible consideration. He serviced this squadron, and every inch of the planes of this Squadron and their systems. My dad appreciates all this information and the investigation that is ongoing.

I set up a webpage on their US Navy Patrol Squadron 19 (VP-19): https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Category:US Navy Patrol Squadron 19 (VP-19)

I will now add links for the lost crewmen. Anyone from the Squadron, please reach out to me if you knew my dad and we will re-unite you! My dad does have the Squadron yearbooks out as well.

The Lockheed P-3A Orion also has a page on Wikipedia, including reference to this crash (that is how I found the link to arrive on this page here created by Dave).

I just found a VP-19 crewmates page at: http://www.vpnavy.com/vp19_shipmates.html

Best wishes,

Russ Gunther, son of Ron Gunther
RussArizona@gmail.com


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Mbfiorini

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 #38 
Dave: Would it be possible to get the GPS coordinates or approximate street address of the crash site ? I lived in Battle Creek from 1998 until 2010 and never knew of the crash. At the time of the crash, I was a P-3 flight crew member for VP-6, deployed to Adak, Alaska. I still visit friends in Battle Creek, on occasion and would like to visit the site, if possible.

Mike Fiorini
Mbfiorini@gmail.com

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DaveTrojan

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 #39 
Mike, PM sent
NAXY21

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 #40 
Hello, Dave,
I am one of 3 sisters (still living,) of the pilot of this crash and have just finished reading all of the comments. Needless to say, they were very interesting.
After my parents died, I obtained the official Navy report of the crash from Langley.
It is very interesting to learn that you are reopening the investigation using new technology.
It was also amazing to learn that you are still finding more objects at the crash site after all these years.
I would appreciate it very much if you would keep me informed and up to date with anything that is relevant. You can reach me at this email address, naxy21@hotmail.com.
(I just went to edit a correction and lost the last half of the original message.)
I think it contained a comment from me about some who were suggesting “hearsay”. This crash occurred over 50 years ago so many who knew Bill may have passed away already. However, I urge you to try to find and interview anyone who, not only knew him, but worked closely with him. They will be able to testify to his character. “ hotdogger” is the exact opposite of the truly reserved, moderate, conscientious and dedicated person that he was. It is a word that would never be used to describe him. He would never have rolled that plane to be a “ hotdogger” show off. He valued his life and those of others he was responsible for.(By the way, an Admiral was on the first leg of the flight to NYC for that holiday weekend.)

I understand how rumors begin and grow which is why I’m urging interviews, and record checking of evaluations . I am open minded enough to accept the reality, if I am PROVEN wrong. However, it is key to an investigation to stick to the facts.
Thank you very much.
Nadine Xiques Yurko.
NAXY21

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 #41 
Dave, apparently I missed reading some of the earlier posts and would like to correct the post made on 12/17/13.

There was an Admiral on the first leg of the flight who wanted to go to NYC.
The pilot’s commanding officer knew that the pilot was also from NY .
Therefore , he assigned Bill to make the flight . The flight was NOT made because the pilot wanted to go to NY but rather the Admiral and it was listed as a training mission..
Please check it out...with some deeper investigation.
Thank you.
Nadine Xiques Yurko
DaveTrojan

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 #42 
To all. I am in the final stretch to complete my investigation of this P-3 Orion accident. My final report and story will be out soon. I need to have it reviewed by a couple more people first. I know many people are waiting for this one. Standby. 
Sincerely
Dave Trojan 
Rizor1947

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 #43 
I remember this crash. I saw the aircraft circle just south of Battle Creek over Goguac Lake at about 2500 -3000 feet. It approached from the east went west directly over head then turned north then angled off NE and disappeared north of Battle Creek. When I first saw it, it was coming toward us and passed over us, the engines would rev up very loud then die down, rev up very loud then die down, it did this repeatedly as it circled then disappeared.
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Wayne Rizor
Rich

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 #44 
That sounds like they were trying to land at Kellogg Field, perhaps on short 31-13 runway. 
It would be South of the approach to 27-9 (don't know when that runway was closed). 
Also indicates good likelihood that they were going around to try landing on the main 23-5.  Wonder if they were trying to land but felt longer runway was better or 31 was blocked. 
Not the first time a likely overrun-avoided led to a certain crash. 
Standard approaches to 23 would have put base leg South of crash site although current (today) instrument approaches could be out that far (crash site). 

At the time 23-5 was shorter about 7000'+---the taxi strip NW of the runway, where it curves SE toward the runway, was there then and the runway ended a few hundred feet past that.  The E-W road (Territorial) which now snakes around the South end of the runway continued West into an easy curve to it's continuation running to the SW.

Yesterday (Wed 12/13/18) there were a number of posts on Facebook on the page "You know you're from Battle Creek when..." including photos of the Battle Creek Enquirer article.  The location of the crash, based on that article, with the mention of appearing to be turning SE supports the possibility that after passing Goguac Lake they flew North, or passed the airport and turned NE on a long downwind leg and were turning on a wide base to line up on 23.

At any rate, this account puts the plane well South (at Goguac Lake, and in trouble) of what seemed to be true based on other posts---others seemed to indicate the plane was North of Battle Creek all along on its West-bound route.  Definitely worth re-evaluating with this info.
Wonder if the investigators knew of this South position?





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Rich
Rich

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 #45 
This changes my understanding of what happened.  I thought (solely from reading about it) that the plane was on a Westbound course flying North of Battle Creek.  This comment from Rizor1947 puts it about 2 miles South of Battle Creek, possibly approaching (what is now called) Kellogg Regional Airport's short runway 31 but then turned to make an approach on the longest runway, 27 and crashed about 8 miles from this Goguac Lake sighting (6 miles North of Battle Creek).  Wonder if the investigators knew of this?
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