Topics - B-29 Crash, Kadena, Okinawa, 1952

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A B-29 crash landed at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa on January 30, 1952, following an in-flight fire in #1 engine. One crew member was killed in the crash and the aircraft was totally destroyed by fire. The aircraft in question, serial number 44-61925, was assigned to the 370th Bomber Squadron, 307th Bombardment Wing. 1st Lieutenant John R. Badzik was the IP for the flight.

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Personnel on the Plane

  • Badzik, John Rudolph (IP) - seated in right seat; received simple fracture to left ankle; partial blindness, left eye, and fracture to his right fifth finger.  Badzik was discharged from the Air Force in 1946 and was recalled in April 1951.
  • Carey, John T. (CFC) - Lumbar sacro sprain and contusions.  Joined the present crew in August 1951 and had flown with them until the date of the accident.  Arrived Okinawa 24 January 1952.
  • Cayson, Wayman Adolph (N) - navigator; moderately severe back sprain.  Cayson received navigator rating in 1942 and served with Troop Carrier Wing until released from active duty in 1945.  He was recalled in April 1951 and underwent refresher training before being assigned to the 307th Bombardment Group two weeks prior to the accident.  He was seated in the navigator's seat with his seat belt fastened when the accident happened.  "With the sudden deceleration, his upper back probably was thrown against navigator's table.  Also the sudden thrust probably pulled muscles in back."
  • Easter, Joseph Warren Jr. (RG) - contusions and abrasions.  Injuries sustained when airman struck gun sight on impact.  Safety belt in locked position and prevented more serious injury.  Airman joined 307th Bomb Sq, 20 January 1952 and was assigned to this B-29 crew 27 January 1952.  Airman had 3 missions in 4 days preceding crash.
  • Foster, Harold Kenneth (IVO) - flew six combat and two training missions in January 1952.  Born in 1917, Harold died in 1991.  He was from Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Goudice, Daniel Edward (B) - bombardier; received contusions and abrasions to his left lower leg. Safety belt not fastened. Goudice was married in 1948 and had two children.
  • Hamm, Joseph Grinnell Jr. - engineer; contusion to right and left legs and mild lumbar sacral sprain.  cause of injuries unknown unless sustained getting out and off aircraft.  Safety belt was locked and tight, preventing airman being thrown into instrument panel.  Safety cushion in place prevented head injury.  Airman joined the 307th Bomb Gp. 20 January 1952.  He was assigned as FE to a B-29 crew.
  • Leone, A2C Anthony Jr. - radio operator; 3rd degree burns, entire body.  Anthony Leone was the only fatality in the plane crash.  Leone was born November 30, 1930.  He is buried in Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA, plot 305.
  • McCowen, William Irving (Pilot) - positioned in aisle; received lacerations and contusions to his head and legs.  McCowen finished pilot training in March 1951.  Total flying time: 600 hours, of which 200 were 4-engine.  He was thrown out of the plane through the nose.
  • Rose, Joe B. (LG) - wound lacerations to head.  Has been with present crew since July 1951 and has completed training.  Arrived on Okinawa 20 January 1952. 
  • Withun, Robert R. (TG) - lacerations and multiple abrasions to head and contusions on both arms.  Injuries sustained when airman riding in compression tube was thrown into radar compartment.  Airman was not in crash position and didn't have a safety belt.  Airman joined 307th Bomb Group, 24 January 1952.  Airman was assigned to this B-29 crew and was flying his 2nd mission when this crash occurred.
  • Wolfert, Frederick Edwin (VC) - received contusion to right eye and abrasions to right leg and right arm.  Injuries sustained from falling radar equipment.  Officer was not in his normal crash position and as a result was completely pinned in by the turret, necessitating assistance in making a successful escape.  Wolfert was recalled to active duty on 14 April 1951 from Air Force Reserves.  Was assigned to 307th Bomber Group on 20 January 1952.
  • Wynn, Donald Dewey (Aircraft Commander) - Seated in left seat; received nose fracture.  Wynn was discharged from the Air Force in 1945 and recalled in June 1951.

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Medical Report of AF Aircraft Accident*

*Obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

"While 50 minutes out of Kadena on a night bombing sortie to Korea, this B-29 suddenly developed fire in No. 1 engine, which was extinguished after the engine was feathered. The bombardier’s attempt to salvo both bomb bays emptied only the forward bay, creating an unbalanced condition until he was able to let the rear bombs out in train. The A/C, on the left seat, said this caused him to lose control of his plane for some moments and to lose 2500 of his 3500 feet of altitude above the sea; and also caused him additional acute anxiety. He made shallow turns onto the final approach due to flutter in the tail when using more than slight rudder. He says he deliberately remained high on the glide path (100-200 feet by GCA) because of his feathered No. 1 engine, until about 3 miles from end of runway, when (he says) the IP told him to reduce power to get on glide path. The IP says, however, that he merely mentioned the height above the glide path, according to GCA, but did not tell him to cut power. The A/C apparently overcorrected; too much power was lost, and the B-29 sank to 50-60 feet below glide path (still according to GCA). He says the IP then told him to add power and get on the glide path. This he did, but the extra engine pushed the plane slightly to the left; about a wing span to left of edge of runway at 200 yards from runway. At this point the IP shouted, “I’ve got it” and took the controls from the A/C who acceded. The A/C says he feels confident that if he had retained the controls he would have made a normal landing on this 8500 foot runway, especially since the wind was favorable. However, the IP says he feels the A/C could not have made a landing because he was too low and too far to the left. The IP then overcorrected to the right and passed the runway. This last correction was also exaggerated to the left and he passed to left of runway, whereupon he called for full power, high rpm and gearup. He denies, but the A/C, pilot and flight engineer say he also called for flaps up. At any rate, he did get full throttle, highest rpm, gear up and half his flaps up for what appeared to the others as an attempted go-around, but which he claims was an attempted controlled crash landing off the side of the runway. Just before they struck the pilot read 110 mph speed. At the last second the A/C overpowered a full right aileron the IP was making. Luckily the plane crashed belly down. It was badly damaged, the tail breaking off, and caught fire immediately. All but the radio operator, who apparently was killed on impact by falling debris, somehow escaped in the darkness. No one else was seriously injured.

This crew’s officers, like practically all of them in the 307th Wing, were either recent recallees (within a year) or recently out of training. The IP is also a recent recallee (within a year). This was the IP’s first trip as such. Furthermore, he had only once sat on the right seat of a B-29, the position he occupied during this crash. The IP says he feels he was not unduly alarmed by the information that GCA had given him that they were 200 feet above the glide path; however, the A/C feels that the IP’s decision to cut power (which, overcorrected, set them below the glide path) was forced by the information the IP had received from GCA. The A/C says he does not question the IP’s right to take the controls away from him any time the IP wishes, but that in this case it was an unfortunate choice inasmuch as he believes it was going to turn into a normal 3 engine landing. The pilot and bombardier, who followed all these procedures closely, agree with him.

Due to the altitude of the plane (belly down, gear up, wings level) 12 out of the 13 crew members were able to escape, none of them with injuries serious enough to place them on the critically ill list. The radio operator was apparently killed on impact, while strapped in his seat, by flying debris. It is possible that he may have survived if he had been in his crash station in the tunnel, but the A/C did not anticipate a crash, believing he could have made a normal 3 engine landing. The plane caught fire immediately and was totally destroyed."

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Damage to Plane

  • Cockpit – severely damaged
  • Seats, shoulder harness, safety belts – moderately intact after the crash
  • Crew Stations (other than cockpit) – severely damaged (tail was demolished)
  • Emergency exits, hatches – severely damaged but functioned properly
  • Passenger cabin - none

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Engineering Officer's Report*

Examination of the engine after the accident disclosed the following condition:

  1. All nine rods of the rear bank were sheared at approximately equal distance from the knuckle pins.
  2. Both plates of the counter-weight were gone.
  3. The master rod bearing was completely missing.
  4. The cylinder skirts were pounded flat against the crank case.
  5. The crankcase contained numerous bits and pieces of broken rods, pistons and counter-weight parts.
  6. Several cylinder heads had burned off in the fire making it possible to see and reach in through the cylinder sleeves.
  7. The engine was in a badly burned condition.

Probable cause: Failure of the counter-weight bolt locking cup and nut.

Recommendations: None

*Report signed by William Sebasky, Field Maintenance Officer.

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Unsatisfactory Report*

Description of Difficulty:

"Shortly after takeoff #1 engine on aircraft #44-61925A caught fire.  Engine was feathered and fire extinguished.  Bombs were salvoed and aircraft returned to base for three engine landing.  Aircraft crashed and completely burned on landing.  Investigation revealed #11 and #13 cylinders articulating rods broken and #10-11-12 and 13 cylinder heads were blown off."

*Report signed by Donald I. Yous, Major, USAF, Maintenance Control Officer.

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Aircraft Accident Investigator's Report

"At 1851 Item, 30 January 1952, B-29 SN 44-61925 departed Kadena Air Base on a combat mission, operating on an authorized Tactical clearance under a coded call sign.  Approximately 15 minutes after take-off a fire occurred in number 1 engine.  The propeller was feathered and fire extinguished by use of the CO2 system.  The aircraft returned to Kadena, homing in on Mike Fox homer, at which time Kadena GCA picked up the aircraft and proceeded to bring it in to the field.

The GCA approach deviated from a normal approach inasmuch as the aircraft was operating on 3 engines, and was holding turns into the dead engine to maximum 1/2 needle width turns.  After turning onto the final approach and intercepting the glide path, the Aircraft Commander evidently elected to hold high on the glide path as somewhat of a safety margin.  GCA operators state the aircraft was holding approximately 200 feet high until about 2 1/2 miles from touchdown point.  At this point a power adjustment was made and the aircraft dropped below the glide path, reaching 70 feet low within the 1 mile range.  Power was applied which caused the aircraft to veer to the left at which time the Instructor Pilot, riding in right seat, took over control of the aircraft.  Corrective action was taken, however, apparently the aircraft was over-controlled and was allowed to cross back over the runway putting the aircraft then to the right of the runway.  Airspeed at this point was approximately 110 mph and the IP called for gear up, flaps 25 degrees, and power was applied to at least 40" Hg.  A turn to the left was started, causing the aircraft to recross the runway to the left side.  Heading of the aircraft at this time was approximately 020 degrees in a nose high attitude, altitude approximately 25 feet above the runway.  First contact with the ground was with the tail skid about 4200 feet from approach end of runway.  63 feet from the tail skid mark were tire parks of all four main tires, distance between the outer tire marks measuring 32 1/2 feet.  The direction of the tire skid marks in relation to the initial point of contact by the tail skid indicate that the aircraft was in a level attitude and direction of travel was straight ahead rather than to either side.  There was no indication in this area of either wing tip making contact with the ground.  The aircraft proceeded straight ahead, going between two small knolls, each of which was marred by the propellers on numbers 3, 3 and 4 engines.  A short distance past the knolls there were propeller marks of number 3 engine in the coral surface.  These marks were quite deep, and one tip was broken from the prop at this point.  It is believed that the lower forward turret was separated from the fuselage while the aircraft was passing between the small knolls, being thrown to a position near the indicated gun emplacement.  The anti-aircraft gun emplacement is on a small hill approximately 20 feet high and the aircraft then careened off the northwest edge of the hill and did not come in contact with the ground until 600 feet further on.  Upon contact with the ground the last time, the fuselage broke, and the wings and forward portion of the fuselage turned right approximately 90 degrees.  The rear part of the fuselage was parallel to the wings after coming to rest.  Fire in the vicinity of number 3 or 4 engine immediately enveloped the entire wreckage and totally destroyed all components.

Material failure of number 1 engine is definitely a contributing factor in this accident.  Fire following the crash did considerable damage to the engine however investigation has revealed probable failure of articulating rod.  There were four cylinder heads missing, either melted by the fire or blown off by heat expansion.  The eight valves from the four cylinder heads were recovered and there was no evidence of valve failure.  Remaining cylinder heads and valves show no evidence of failure.  One cylinder showed evidence of pulling loose at the base, and it is believed that possibly when the internal failure occurred, the cylinder head of this cylinder was cracked, allowing fuel and oil to come in contact with the exhaust and creating the fire.

The right and left flap screws indicate that flaps were set at 25 degrees.  The exposed threads on forward portion of the flap screw numbered 62, and test on similar aircraft indicated 25 degree flaps down with the same number of threads exposed.

It is estimated that upon initial contact with the ground by the main wheels, the landing gear was approximately 50 percent in the retracted position.  Both right and left landing gear retracting screw had been broken at the base with 54 threads exposed.  This is further substantiated by the fact that no marks of the nacelle doors were located either side of the tire marks at point of contact.

Immediately after the accident the GCA unit was inspected by a competent technician and no discrepancy in any unit was noted.  The operators were taken to the Base Dispensary and given complete medical checks.  None of the operators were found to be suffering from any physical defect.

Neither weather or GCA are considered to be a cause factor in this accident.

At the time of the crash, it is estimated that the aircraft had a gross weight of 114,851 pounds.  The power-off stalling speed at this weight is between 105 and 110 mph with full flaps extended, and with 25 degree flaps down the stalling speed is between 115 and 121 mph.

Official sunset for 30 January 1952 was 1610 Item."

Signed: Robert N. Snook
Captain, USAF
ACFT Acc Inves Off

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Proceedings of Aircraft Accident Investigation Board

Headquarters, 6332nd Air Base Wing
APO 239 Unit 1
c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
7 February 1952

Proceedings of Aircraft Accident Investigation Board appointed per paragraph 1, Special Order 30, Headquarters, 6332nd Air Base Wing, APO 239, Unit 1, dated 5 February 1952.

The Board met pursuant to the call of the President, at 0900 hours, 7 February 1952, with the following members present.


President - Lt. Col. Walter A. Williams, HQ, 6332nd ABWg
Medical Member - Lt. Col. John A. Booth, 6332nd Med Gp
Member - Major Richard W. Mallon, 307th Bomb Wg
Member - Major James M. Graves, 19th Bomb Gp
Maint Member - Capt. William K. Sebasky, 6332nd M&S Gp
Acft Acc Inv Off - Capt. Robert N. Snook, Hq 6332nd ABWg

Capt. Snook called the first witness in for questioning by the Board.  After administering the oath to the witness, he then advised him of his rights under Article 31, Manual for Courts Martials United States.  Witness assured Capt. Snook he was familiar with Article 31.  Witness then gave his name (2nd Lt. William I. McCowan) to the recorder.

Lt. Col. Williams: Lt. McCowen, before we start I should like to say the purpose of this Board is to try to determine the true facts surrounding this case and any statement you make in this investigation will not be used against you in any manner.  We are a fact-finding Board, our sole purpose being to elicit all the pertinent facts in this case, and we would therefore like you to give us information as you saw it.  First of all, would you give us your position in the aircraft at the time the fire broke out?

A: I was just changing positions with the IP.

Q: Was that the right seat or the left?
A: The right seat.  I don't believe the IP had gotten in his seat (aisle seat) when he hollered that No. 1 should be feathered.  I pulled the throttle back on No. 1 and I don't know the rpm.

Q: What action did the IP take?
A: He opened the nose wheel hatch and pushed the feathering button.  Then the Aircraft Commander told me to feather it again and I did.

Q: It went into a feathering and unfeathering cycle and you again feathered it?
A: Yes, we got the fire out and we had a little trouble salvoing the bombs.  It certainly threw us off balance and we lost quite a bit of altitude.

Q: Who was actually at the pilot's controls at that time?
A: The A/C.

Q: The A/C was flying the airplane?  Did he have anything to do with the feathering operation, or changing it?
A: He was strictly flying the airplane.  The IP did the feathering operations.

Q: Can you give us any explanation of the loss of altitude at that time?
A: I think the balance was off-center.  All the weight was in the rear of the aircraft.  That's about the only explanation I can think of.

Q: Were you spiraling into the dead engine?
A: I believe we were.

Q: Did you change power settings on the other three engines?
A: Yes, when the fire broke out.

Q: Was turbo super charging setting changed at this time?
A: No, I don't believe so.

Q: Approximately what setting did it take to maintain cruising position?
A: On the turbo?  Oh, roughly about 5.  It depends on the aircraft a lot too.

Q: After the loss of altitude and you got rid of your bomb load, what power settings did it take to climb and maintain your altitude?
A: I don't know, Sir.

Q: Do you remember the altitude when you came back to Mike Fox homer?
A: I thought it was around 1500 feet.

Q: At what time did you leave the right seat?  Was that before you climbed to cruise altitude or after?
A: Immediately after the A/C had the plane under control I moved back to the aisle seat and the IP moved to the right seat.

Q: And during the GCA let down you were in the center aisle position?
A: Yes.

Q: Do you recall any complaints, or would you have any complaints, on the GCA procedure let down?
A: I was on the inter-phone but it looked like a normal approach.

Q: How were the operators?
A: I didn't hear the operators.  I was on the inter-phone.

Q: Could you give us the altitude you became VFR on your final approach?
A: Actually we were never in doubt where we were.  It was just obscured for a moment and then the runway was in sight.  We were below 1000 feet.  Right around or below.

Q: Do you recall whether it was broken or scattered?
A: Fairly scattered.

Q: Could you see the runway from the Mike Fox homer?
A: I don't remember that, Sir.

Q: What is the normal procedure with one engine out on a GCA approach?
A: Down at Randolph we were taught the normal approach.  It's normal landing as far as we are concerned.

Q: Do you recall what power setting they had on your approach on Nos. 2, 3, and 4 engines?
A: I couldn't tell the exact manifold pressure.  I remember 1 and 4 balanced out and the A/C asked the IP to roll out the rudder.  They were balanced on 1 and 4 and I don't know what the power was on 2 and 3.

Q: When the first accident started with the fire you lost over 2000 feet of altitude.  Were you aware of that altitude?
A: No.

Q: Did it seem serious?
A: It sure did.

Q: Did it alarm you?
A: No, but it scared me.

Q: Did you think the plane was out of control?
A: No.

Q: Did it alarm the A/C?
A: No, not alarming.  Just scary.

Q: When you came in on final approach, did you think the aircraft too high?
A: No.

Q: But sometime short of the field the plane did lose altitude?
A: I believe the IP instructed the A/C to reduce power.

Q: Why do you suppose the IP told the A/C to reduce power?
A: I don't know, Sir.

Q: When you were fairly short of the runway the IP took it over.  Do you think the A/C himself could have landed the plane?
A: No sweat, I would say he had it made.

Q: You feel certain that he would not have cracked the plane up then.  Do you think he could have corrected it himself?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Then you think he could have controlled the plane?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Do you think the IP had something to do with the accident?
A: Well, you can't blame that on one person.

Q: Do you think the A/C was approaching short of the runway?
A: No.

Q: Do you think when power was reduced on the glide path the IP should have instructed the A/C to reduce the power?
A: That's a matter of opinion.  I can't see two men flying the final.  One man was doing the thinking and one man was flying.

Q: The IP saw something and he did tell the A/C something.  What did he tell him?
A: I don't know, Sir.

Q: Do you think that reduction of power was ill-advised?
A: I do.  When you are flying final approach it isn't any time to be messing around.

Q: Do you think the IP should have taken over the controls just short of the runway?
A: No, I don't.

Q: When you were coming in on final, and after starting to intercept the glide path then you changed over from high on the glide path to low.  Did you get the sensation of the plane making a violent change, or seem less gently then?
A: In my opinion it made no abrupt change until the IP took over the plane.

Q: Do you remember any orders the IP gave when the airplane became erratic?
A: I don't believe he gave any orders until he called for flaps, gear, and manifold pressure.

Q: Did he ask for flaps up or to 25 degrees?
A: No.

Q: What was his order on flaps?
A: When he went off the right of the runway he called for flaps up.  I didn't hear the A/C at the time but he told me not to bring them over 25 degrees.

Q: Did you actually move them up?
A: Yes, I was watching the airspeed and it was about 110 when we stalled out.

Q: When he called for power did it sound as if additional power was added?
A: I don't recall.  It was pretty close but I don't recall too much about sounds and things.

Q: When the IP took over did he keep the controls until the crash?
A: I understand the A/C overpowered him on aileron.

Q: do you think the IP was making a go around?
A: I don't know any other way to explain his actions.

Q: What is your knowledge of SOPs on go around for flaps?
A: Get the gear up and get the flaps up to 25 degrees.

Q: When your gear and flaps were down and before you crashed, what did you do?
A: I did bring the flaps up.

Q: You mentioned in your statement you looked out the A/C's window at the fire in number 1 engine.  Was it black, blue, or white smoke coming through the flaps?
A: It was a very bright flame, almost white, and was coming all around the cowl flaps.

Q: More white than any other color?
A: Just bright.

Q: Do you remember any instructions you have received since you've been in B-29's about 3-engine go arounds either at school or in your training in the states, or since you left the states, any reference to 3-engine go arounds or go arounds in general?
A: Mostly I wouldn't ever attempt a 3-engine go around, especially with flaps down.

Q: Do they practice 3-engine go arounds at Randolph?
A: Yes.  But we wouldn't bring the flaps down below 25 degrees.

Q: What altitude do they give you a go-around?
A: About 300 feet.

Q: What is your opinion of 3-engine go arounds at that point?
A: Well, as long as conditions are right, no sweat.

Q: Do they tell you to hold high altitude down glide path or hold normal glide path?
A: Just regular GCA approach.

Capt. Snook then called the second witness, Capt. Donald D. Wynn.  The oath was administered and the witness was asked if he was aware of his rights under Article 31, Manual for Courts Martial United States.  The witness replied, "Yes."

Capt. Snook: Would you please give your name to the recorder?
Capt. Wynn: Capt. Donald D. Wynn.

Lt. Col. Williams: Before we start, I should like to state this is a fact finding Board, the purpose of which is to try to determine the true facts in this case and any statement you make in this investigation will not be used against you.  We have a few questions we would like to ask you:

Q: To start off, would you give your position in the aircraft?
A: I am the Aircraft Commander, Sir.

Q: What side of the airplane were you sitting at the time of the crash?
A: I was flying left seat.

Q: Relate to us your actions and reactions from the time the no. 1 engine caught on fire and when you got back to the cruising altitude after the engine was feathered?
A: The scanner reported flame from No. 1 engine.  I gazed out and it was blazing.  Previously we had a backfire of some sort.  At that time Lt. Badzik attempted to feather the engine.  I was flying instrument conditions.  The engine went through the feather cycle, clear through, and unfeathered itself.  I don't know why.  I was flying and wasn't watching.  I alerted the crew to bail out.  The engine was burning badly.  After that the Bombardier told me there was a man in rear bomb bay and we had to get him out.  We notified the man to clear the bomb bay.  At the same time my Pilot, Lt. McCowen, succeeded in feathering the engine.  We put the fire out at which time I started my turn to a reciprocal heading.  I asked the Bombardier to get rid of the bombs and he said when the man was out of bomb bay, and when he was, he attempted to salvo the bombs.  We salvoed front bomb bay only.  At the time it put me in a pretty bad spot.  I was scared.

Q: What was the direction of the turn if you recall; was it into the dead engine or away from it?
A: Yes, it was into the dead engine.  There was an island, the Engineer mentioned, just to the west of us.  If I couldn't get all the way back I wanted to get close to that.  At that particular time we salvoed and we spiraled.  A number of times we flopped over violently.  All the control I put in didn't have satisfactory action until all the bombs were out of the rear bomb bay.  The Bombardier told the scanner to turn his salvo switch on but that failed to salvo the bombs and then the bombardier short-trained them out, then the plane recovered.  The turn wasn't over 180 degrees but it was violent, especially for a B-29.  I had to lose altitude to maintain airspeed.  We were loaded and I didn't want to drop below 160 or 150 on conditions like that.  At one time we dropped to 160.  The ship recovered after we got the bombs out and the bomb bay doors closed, in the neighborhood of 1300 feet I would say.  After the bombs were out I climbed to 2500 feet and homed in on Mike Fox homer.

Q: When you feathered No. 1 did you change your power settings?
A: Yes.  After setting 2400 rpm I increased to 42 inches.

Q: That was TBS setting approximately?
A: I don't know.  I asked for it but I got my power.

Q: Before you attempted to salvo, were you losing altitude?
A: It happened rather rapidly.  We were losing some airspeed.  We might have been losing some but it was gradual, no emergency.  We would naturally lose airspeed.  Maybe some altitude in trying to maintain airspeed but it's not certain.

Q: The emergency then occurred after the bombs were salvoed from the front?
A: Yes, as far as airspeed, we lost a little before.

Q: When you arrived at Mike Fox homer could you see the field at all from that particular point?
A: I wasn't particularly interested in looking for it.

Q: You were flying normal instrument procedure?
A: Yes.  We were 2500 and I homed in on homer Mike Fox and took a 90 degree heading.  I could see towns and lights on the Pilot's side but I made no attempt to pick out the landing strip.

Q: Regarding the GCA approach, have you any derogatory comment to make as to the GCA procedure?
A: I was satisfied.

Q: They were doing normal GCA approach for you?
A: Yes.

Q: What is your normal GCA approach: any, other than a 4-engine approach?
A: We make no special changes but you do delay putting your gear down and delay on your flaps.

Q: So you wouldn't set them up too soon.  Other than that you would make no changes?
A: Personally, I ride the glide path high but I prefer to bring them in a little high on 3 engines.

Q: What is your main reason for that?
A: I can always pull it off and circumstances show you can keep 150 high on a glide path on 3 engines.  It is desirable because you can always come down but not always go back up.

Q: Would that be based on the actual visibility?
A: I don't know what you mean, Sir.

Q: If you had 150 foot ceiling and 1/4 mile visibility would you bring it in high?
A: Far as the runway, yes Sir, if we had 150 foot ceiling.  Whenever you get a little low and have to add too much power to get back I don't like it.

Q: Would you go through your procedure for your final approach on 3-engines?
A: It was sloppy and recovering from a left turn put the pattern too far to the left.  I put the rudder in and she really hammered back there.  I was slow coming out of the turn.  The pattern was sloppy like the turn.  On the final I overshot considerably, at which time I could see the runway and got back on course.  The main difficulty was the rudder control.  Every time I put the rudder in too far I would have to back off and use ailerons.  And we rode the glide path high and the IP suggested I get on.  I was using balanced power and backed off to about 13 inches on No. 2 engine.  I made too much correction and went below.  I put the power back on two (2) engines, enough to stabilize it but we were still below.  I added power to No. 4 engine and it pulled us off to the left of the runway, about the width of an airplane, maybe not that much.  It was to the left of the strip.  At that time the IP took over.

Q: At this descent did the IP reduce the throttles, or did you at his request?
A: I am under oath, Sir, and I think I reduced them but actually I don't know whether I did or not, but I think I did.

Q: Did you want to cut back 2 and 3 at that time?  If the IP hadn't t old you, would you have done it?
A: No, Sir.  I hedge on these things.  I like a margin and work on that principle.

Q: You didn't want to?
A: I didn't have a negative attitude.  I had no opposition.

Q: But if he weren't there you wouldn't have done so?
A: That's right, I wouldn't have.  But I had no opposition.

Q: Do you feel you pulled back 2 and 3 too much?
A: Yes, Sir.  Our rate of descent was too rapid.

Q: Why did you pull back 2 and 3 so much then, if you did?
A: Error in judgment.  When I pulled it back I didn't anticipate the increase we got.  I think the ship had me.

Q: Can you tell me when you called for full flaps for final, the distance it was from the field?
A: That is hard to say.  I had the runway in visual sight.  I saw we were going to make it.  We had room.  I asked for full flaps.

Q: That is normal on GCA?  After you get the field in full view you ask for full flaps?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Do you feel the IP was entirely right in taking over the aircraft at the time he did?
A: At the time he took over I felt as if it was all right if he felt he could do a better job than I did.  It was all right with me.  I didn't hesitate.

Q: Do you feel that you could have made a satisfactory landing?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Since you were off to the left of the runway approximately a wing span do you feel you had sufficient altitude to set it down?
A: We weren't to the runway and had time to get over there.

Q: When the IP made correction to go back to the runway the first time did he get it in steep bank?
A: Yes.  Our position, we sort of knifed against the end of the runway and were going to the right.

Q: Did it seem his reactions were too slow the way the airplane responded to his corrections?
A: Do you want an opinion of what I think?  I think maybe that the perspective from one seat to another is terrific and if he hadn't made too many landings from the right seat he corrected where he thought it should be, but when he got there, he was too far right.  I've made landings from that seat.  He thought I was farther off than I was because he was sitting in the right seat.  In other words, it looked like he wanted that much correction because he thought we were farther off.

Q: What time did you stop taking instructions from GCA and channel your own runway?
A: About 50 feet below the glide path.  I figured I could see it and to heck with those people and put this thing on the runway.

Q: How far away from the runway were you at the time, and approximately what altitude?
A: Well, at the time we were indicating about 500 feet, and I would say we were...These distances get me.

Q: Just a half-way estimate.
A: 500 to 1000 feet to the end of the runway.

Q: Do you remember what weight the Flight Engineer had given?
A: When we opened the nose wheel hatch we lost our charts and weights.  They went down the hatch.  He gave a rough guess right around 115,000.  That's the figure that sticks in my mind anyway.

Q: Do you recall the attempted correction for the approach, whether the IP tried to make a go around of it, or did he try to land?
A: Again I'm trying to think into another man's mind.  When he made the first correction we were trying to get on the runway.  When he made the second correction we were still trying to get on.  When he asked for all the power and gear and flaps I figured he was trying to make a go around.  I'll never know, though.

Q: What was  your airspeed when you were going around?
A: (Reflecting)

Q: The indications point to 110.
A: No, Sir.  No, I can't give you the estimate.

Q: What is your opinion of 3-engine go arounds?
A: If you start soon enough, it's alright, before you get your full flaps, and are still on approach.

Q: Would you consider a B-29 3-engine go around an emergency operation?
A: Not until this time.  I might change my opinion.  I never had the crew posted for a 3-crash landing.

Q: Do you always fly the GCA high on a normal landing?
A: No, Sir.  I fly as normal.

Q: At the beginning, when the front bomb bay salvoed and you lost that altitude did you get upset?
A: No, Sir.

Q: Did you feel you lost control of the plane momentarily?
A: Momentarily, yes.  At that particular time I prepared to get out.  I had aileron-rudder in and she wasn't reacting.

Q: What made you lose speed?  Just the one engine going out?
A: That, and I purposely slowed up.  It was a choice of holding airspeed and altitude.

Q: What was that, 200 feet above the glide path?
A: I don't think it was 200--a little over 100.

Q: How far out from the field do you estimate you were at the time the IP told you to cut back?
A: Half way down the approach.

Q: How many miles?
A: I don't know.

Q: Can't you estimate how many runway lengths?  That would give us an idea.
A: About 2 1/2 to 3 runways would make it 2 1/2 to 3 miles.

Q: Did the IP ask you to cut back 2 and 3, or did he tell you?
A: I can't repeat his exact words.  The impression I had was I had better get down on glide path and I made an attempt.

Q: He was obviously listening to GCA?
A: I think so.

Q: Did he seem to be worried about that elevation above the glide path?
A: No, Sir.  His voice didn't give any indication.

Q: Do you think he might have manipulated the controls also, to get down on the glide path?
A: It is never done, so I doubt whether he did it.

Q: do you think you could have made a safe landing unassisted if you were left entirely at the controls?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: And you also think the IP was attempting at the last minute to make a go around?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Just before crash you put your hands on the controls?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Why?
A: something happened in my stomach and I knew she was going.  I knew he had full ailerons.  I reached up and started cranking something, I don't know.

Q: What was the wing: Down right or left?
A: We were fairly level.  The right wing was down the least bit and we were aligned to the left.

Q: After you overpowered him, did you pass the runway?
A: We were past the runway, where the sand is.

Q: Your plane landed level.  Do you think putting your hands on the controls helped level it?
A: No, Sir.  I don't think my action had any effect on the airplane.  It was level.  It's just one of the tings I did without reasoning.

Q: Do you think the correction of this 200 feet back down to the glide path bothered you throughout the remainder of your GCA approach at all?
A: (reflecting)

Q: The question is, due to the change of altitude from 200 feet above trying to get on glide path, did it bother you?
A: I wouldn't say it bothered me.  I just tried to make the adjustment.

Q: You were on course when you were 200 feet above and when you corrected and went below you put on power.  Is that the time you were off the runway?
A: Yes.  Of course we did overshoot on the final approach.

Q: On final approach with No. 1 engine out, did that have a bearing on the pattern?
A: I was having trouble recovering from my left turn and was making a shallow turn.

The court adjourned at 1130 hours.

The court convened again at 1300 hours.

Capt. Snook brought the next witness, Lt. Badzik in.  After administering the oath, Capt. Snook inquired of witness whether he understood his rights under the 31st Article, Manual for Courts Martial, United States.  Not completely understanding the 31st Article, Capt. Snook then read that Article to witness.  Capt. Snook further advised witness that this was a fact-finding Board, designed to uncover all the facts surrounding this case and that no statement the witness might make could be used against him.  Witness was asked to be seated.

Lt. Col. Williams: Give us your particular capacity and position in the aircraft?
A: I was flying as IP in the right seat.

Q: During your take-off?
A: Well, I took off in the right seat and we were cleared to climb to 3500 feet as altitude 100 miles out.  I was up around 3000 feet when I got out to let the Pilot in and stood in the aisle.

Q: Explain the circumstances when you got out of the seat, during notice of the fire, and getting back into the seat again.
A: From the time I got out of the seat?

Q: Yes.  Everything that you can remember.
A: Well I got out of the seat and was going to get myself comfortable.  Got my headset and throat mike and was going to hook it up and I had had a few words with the engineer and asked how everything goes.  A few minutes after being out of the seat I heard two rapid backfires coming from the left of the airplane.  I jumped up and looked out the window and saw No. 1 was burning.  I immediately told the Engineer to feather No. 1 and I hit No. 1 feathering button.  I guess about the same time I told him to pull CO2 bottles on No. 1.  This all happened within a few seconds of time.  I told the Bombardier to open the bombay doors.  I believe he got the bombs out.  The way the ship acted earlier I thought we had bombs still in front bombay but they told me later we had no bombs in front.  I told Capt. Wynn to head down to 2000 feet.  We were heading back to Kadena.  I told the Engineer to open nose wheel and drop nose gear.  I also hit the salvo button to try to get remaining bombs out.  I guess it didn't do any good.  A few seconds later the Bombardier said he would train them out.

Q: How did the aircraft act after one-half the bombs salvoed?
A: We were in a spiral.

Q: What direction?
A: Into the dead engine.  I thought we had dropped the bombs out the rear bombay.

Q: I notice in some of the statements that you did loose considerable altitude.  Was the pilot losing altitude in combination with your instructions, or what?
A: I don't know what he was thinking about.  At one time we were above 270 and I shook him a little bit.  I pointed to the airspeed.  At that time we were down at 1200 feet.

Q: He had reached an airspeed of how much?
A: I looked at the airspeed one time and it was at between 260 and 270.

Q: Do you remember what airspeed you were cruising at the time you lost your engine?
A: No, Sir.

Q: You don't know if the appreciable drop in airspeed at the time reached proportions of 60 or 70 miles an hour?
A: No, Sir.  At that time I was intent on getting the fire out.  No one seemed to take any initiative.  I pushed the button myself and told him to feather.  At this time I just got my headset on and didn't have the throat mike on and was hopping back and forth between the Engineer and the A/C and I tore my headset off and don't know what discussion took place.

Q: Are you relatively sure it was 270 and it wasn't 170 at the time you were letting down?
A: It seemed awfully fast, Sir.

Q: Was it a direct reading?
A: It was with a two (2) in the instrument window and a dial reading of 60 or 70.

Q: This was before you got your bombs out of the rear bay?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: At that time you were between 1200 and 1300 feet?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: When did you begin to sit in the front seat of the aircraft?
A: As soon as we got the fire out.

Q: Did you notice at the time of the fire whether rpm increased, manifold pressure if any?
A: I remember I increased the rpm on the way back.  There was a strange sort of shuddering in the tail section at between 160 and 161.  We had 2400 set up and I must have boosted it up twice at least for finally we had around 2500.

Q: When you got back to Mike Fox homer was the air base visible?
A: I couldn't see it until we turned on final.  We were about 1/2 or 3/4 miles to the right.  That's when I saw it.

Q: To get back to GCA operations, after they picked you up, I presume you were listening all the time?
A: Off and on.

Q: Have you any complaints as to the way GCA handled the flight?
A: I can't imagine why we were to the right on the final.

Q: Do you remember on the final how sharp a turn you made?
A: I guess it could have been speeded up.  It could have been a little closer maybe.

Q: When you turned off your base leg on your final, you were considerably right of the runway.  It indicated to me you made a slow turn.  I wonder if the GCA had any conversation with you the way you turned?
A: At that time the A/C was flying.  I believe the turn was shallow, but still not that much.

Q: The GCA unit did get you corrected and get you back on course to line up with the runway?
A: We got fairly close to the runway.  We must have been headed about 20 degrees, anyhow back on the course that would take us on the runway.

Q: What was your position on the flight?  Explain your final approach, the GCA pattern.
A: Just as soon as we turned on final, I was told our gross weight was 115,000 pounds and I tried to find the card that indicates what stalling speed we would have at that weight, flying flaps down, so I told him about 115 miles an hour.  Also told him not to let airspeed, less than 150 miles per hour.  I switched back to VHF and I heard, from GCA that we were 200 feet above the glide path.

Q: Did you use standard check list procedure?
A: Yes, I had it in my hand.

Q: What took place after they told you, you were 200 feet off the glide path.  Did you take any action?
A: No, Sir.

Q: Did you tell the pilot to do anything?
A: I told him he was high.  I don't know if I told him 200 feet.  There wasn't much more comment from GCA until we were too low.

Q: Did you ask the pilot to make any more correction?
A: I didn't know if he heard GCA.  I asked him.

Q: Did he reduce power to go down?
A: I believe he reduced a little power.

Q: What altitude and distance from the runway were you when you were VFR?
A: From the time we turned on final, I could see runway lights.

Q: Do you have any SOP set-up for 3-engine approaches that differ from 4-engine approaches?
A: I don't know what you mean, Sir.

Q: SOP for making 3-engine approaches any different in procedure?
A: Yes, Sir.  The time you drop the flaps, etc., that's all that is different.  Also on 3 engines I like a pattern of 180, not below 170.  I made 3-engine landings before.

Q: Explain to us, if you can, just what happened as you approached the runway, the corrective action taken, and the events that took place until the final crash.
A: The reason I took control of the aircraft I believe we were too low and at about 140 and left on course.

Q: How far left on course were you?
A: I would say 150 feet left.

Q: How far from end of runway?
A: 200 or 300 yards.

Q: That's where you took over, and then what happened?
A: All the way on final, we had that shuddering of the tail.  Trying to maintain airspeed as soon as I took over I had No. 2's power all the way.  I used rudder-aileron trying to get over to the right side.  In a fraction of a second we were at the right outer edge of the runway.  I just eased her over a little to the left.  When the left wing dropped, I tried to bring up with ailerons.  It wouldn't come up.

Q: That was when you were applying power?
A: As soon as my wing dropped, I advanced Nos. 2 and 3.

Q: Do you remember your airspeed?
A: 120 or 125.

Q: Then what happened?
A: My one thought was to get that wing up.  Like I say, with a throttle full she would come up slowly.  It was obvious to me we would have to go straight ahead and I called for gear up and no one did anything, so I just raised the gear and then we were in.  I could see periodically, the runway and the terrain.

Q: Did you at anytime try to make a go around?
A: No, Sir.  That never even occurred to me.

Q: Did you close all your throttles completely, in preparation for a crash?
A: I eased back at the time of impact, but didn't get the throttles completely back.

Q: If you weren't contemplating a go around, what explanation do you give for wing flaps going up 25 degrees?
A: I never thought of wing flaps being up.  I asked for more rpm.  I referred to it as more power.  I asked for gear up.  I thought of landing in the woods.  It's been told to me, and I believe it's better, to have your gear up.

Q: We are not questioning that.  I just couldn't understand the wing flaps at 25 degrees.
A: I never even mentioned the word "flaps".

Q: How long have you been an IP?
A: This was my first flight.

Q: Will you tell us how much time, approximately, you had in the right seat of aircraft?
A: In a B-29?

Q: Yes, a B-29.
A: I think I have had one other hop in the right seat.

Q: Counting co-pilot time?
A: I wasn't a co-pilot on a B-29.

Q: You started as pilot?
A: Yes, I think the other time was at Randolph about six months ago.

Q: Just for one flight's duration?
A: I believe at that time we had two or three A/C's taking up and we alternated in the seat.

Q: Do you recall, did you notice, or have you had it called to your attention the difference in perspective sitting in the right seat, or how different the runway looks from the right seat?
A: I can't see where it makes such difference being 200 or 300 yards back.  You can see your runway lights.

Q: You say this is your first light as an IP on a B-29.  When was your original check-out in a B-29?  First time you started flying.
A: April or May of 51.

Q: Can you - do you - have a reason for going clear across the runway on your correction from left and then to right?  What was the perspective, or what?
A: No, Sir.  There wasn't much difference between edge of runway if we were going to set it down.  Still we were right at the edge of the runway if the wing hadn't dropped.

Q: What type of check-out did you have when you were checked out as IP?
A: I was listed on a Loading List as IP.

Q: Were you given a briefing as to duties as IP and what you were supposed to do before the flight?
A: No, Sir, no one briefed me, but I had a pretty good idea of what I was to do.

Q: Did you talk it over with the pilot as to what each was supposed to do?
A: Yes, and we discussed a number of things.  He told me he didn't believe in a heavy weight take-off procedure; he'd rather start off slowly and I told him he just couldn't do it.

Q: What, roughly, total time did you have in a B-29?
A: A little over 300 hours.

Q: Was this the pilot's first flight on the combat mission, and did you know the reason you were going along as IP?
A: In our squadron, generally until 2nd or 3rd missions, the IP goes along.  The man hadn't been briefed.

Q: Did you know specifically, why you were going along?  Could it have been his 10th mission?
A: No, I knew it was either his first, second, or third.

Q: Do you feel that the plane was stalling out when you were making that turn and releasing the bombs?
A: No, the plane was going fast.

Q: You weren't at the controls?
A: No, I don't think it was out of control.

Q: When you approached glide path how high were you?
A: 200 feet.

Q: GCA told you?
A: (Nod.)

Q: Corrective action was taken shortly thereafter?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: What kind of discussion did you have with the A/C?  Did you tell him to pull back throttles or pull back throttles or what specific instructions did you give? 
A: No, all I told him was we were a little high.

Q: Were you aware of what he did then?
A: He must have decreased a little power, because we were 140 miles an hour.

Q: He went through glide path?
A: Yes, GCA said he was below the glide path.

Q: Were you concerned about those positions: the high and low? Did it bother you?
A: In what respect?

Q: Were you worried about it?
A: When we were coming in the runway, I would be concerned but way out there, 200 feet above, no.

Q: What did he do to go back on the glide path?
A: I don't know, because then I took over.

Q: You hit all three (3) throttles?
A: No, I had 2 or 3 up all the way, and 4 about one-half way.

Q: Did that make you go to the right?
A: No.

Q: Do you think, at that time, you might have over-corrected?
A: If I did, it wasn't much.  As I said, we were at the edge of the runway and we were edging in slowly.

Q: After you took over the controls, did the A/C ever put his hands back on the controls again, to your knowledge?
A: I don't think so.  I know I had full rudder-aileron.

Q: Why did you take over the controls?
A: The airspeed was too low and the ground not too far ahead.

Q: Do you think he would have made it if you hadn't taken over the controls?
A: No, that is my personal opinion.

Q: Do you know the airspeed you can hold a B-29 with full flaps, three (3) engines operating full power and one feathered, with that gross weight?  A mile or two difference and the wing will drop.
A: I don't know what you mean.

Q: You were flying an airplane and there is a critical airspeed which you can't hold it up on both sides.  Ever run into a Tech Order on that?
A: It was above 35 miles above stalling speed.

Q: That would be about it if you had full power on three (3) engines.  It would have been impossible for you to hold.  If you overshot the runway on correction and had to hold back, that may have been why your wing dropped and you were killing airspeed all the while.  When the wing dropped and you put the correction right away, did you do anything besides aileron and the rudder correction?
A: I had No. 2 advanced.  I think that is the only thing that brought that wing up.

Q: Did the torque of the aircraft pull you into the new strip or did you intentionally turn?
A: Once the wing dropped, we were headed away from the landing strip.

Q: All the power you had couldn't bring you up?
A: I had full power like I told you and I knew the terrain was fairly level from previous experience and I knew the runway was there, but I thought we had gone beyond the new runway.

Q: You thought you had hit the new runway?
A: I thought I had gone beyond it.

Q: In your training at Randolph, was that the only training?
A: No, also at Forbes.

Q: Much training at Forbes?
A: Limited training there.

Q: Generally below 400 or 500 feet, do you think B-29s are fairly easy to make go arounds?
A: On simulated go arounds, I can't see difficulty as long as he has the altitude.

Q: Have you made any go arounds since you got out of Randolph?
A: Yes.  When I checked out at Forbes, the IP there made me.

Q: Any on your own for practice?
A: No, I made only one and that was here.

Q: How much total time, roughly do you have, within 100 hours?
A: 1500 hours.

Q: Have you ever been involved in any other aircraft accident?
A: Never have.  I was in the enlisted ranks prior to going to bombing school and I was bombardier in '43.

Capt. Snook then brought the next witness in.

Capt. Snook administered the oath to T/Sgt. Hamm Jr. and then inquired of the latter if he was familiar with Article 31, Manual for Courts Martial United States.  Upon receivi9ng a negation to this query, Capt. Snook then proceeded to read Article 31, after which he advised the witness the Board was investigating this case solely to determine all the facts and that any statement the witness might make derogatory to himself, could not be used against him.  Capt. Snook then asked witness to give his name to the recorder.  "T/Sgt. Joseph G. Hamm, Jr."

Lt. Col. Williams: I should like to reiterate this Board is investigating this accident in order to ferret out all the pertinent facts leading to this accident; in order to help some other crew from repeating perhaps the same mistakes.  We would like you to tell us all the incidents surrounding the final approach--everything you can tell us starting with your final GCA approach up to the time of the crash.
A: It is rather hard for me to say too much; riding backwards I don't have much chance to see too much.  Also in turns it takes some time to feel a turn or to get the sensation of one if it's a fairly smooth maneuver.  I called up and notified the crew we were going to make a GCA 3-engine landing.  Everything looked all right.  All other engines looked normal and I thought it would be a normal 3-engine landings.  While the approach went on I don't know how high above ground we were or the particular attitude of the ship.  I heard the IP say to Capt Wynn, "I've got it", and it seems he repeated it two or three times.  Capt. Wynn said, "You've got it."  The IP shortly afterwards called for gear up, full power, and flaps up.  I looked at the manifold pressure.  It was rising all right.  I didn't notice airspeed.  I was braced, since a long time ago I got in the habit of bracing for any landing.  I had my hands on the panel, watching instruments.  I barely glanced out the window and from the corner of my eye saw a tree or something.  Next thing I knew we hit, seems like tail first.  I reached for switches with my right hand and in doing so was thrown back against the switches with my right hand and in doing so was thrown back against the seat again.  The second time I threw the crash bar off and I won't say for sure but I'm pretty sure I got it.  Then I decided I'd better start for fuel shut-off valves and I reached for those, and about that time I saw the fire pretty near.  I stooped and saw it coming through the hatch.  I removed my hatch and threw it down in the nose.  The doors sprung up and I proceeded out of the airplane.  My hatch was almost on top of the airplane.  I was going to slide down the side, but the fire was close so I went down the nose and front.

Q: Did it appear the pilot said he was trying to make a go-around?
A: I don't recall but I remember he had gear and flaps.

Q: That was set up for a go-around?
A: Yes, where I had 5 degree cowl flaps 7 degrees GCA pattern I remember they called to set the turbo at 7 1/2.  We had 2400 rpm and in the pattern we were drawing between 30-35 inches different times, depending on what they were doing.

Q: Normally when you were near the runway and someone called for flaps up would that mean milking them up or what?
A: I flew during the war and I would say bring them up for that particular aircraft.

Q: You weren't listening to GCA?
A: No, Sir.

Q: Was power cut to get the ship low on the final approach?  Was the exaggerated power changed?
A: Decrease in power?  I don't think so.

Q: How about your No. 4 engine.  On the glide path do you remember what that was?
A: I believe at one time they did have it cut back a slight bit below the others and I believe it was for dual control.  I think they wound the trim out, the trim out of the rudder.

Q: By the time you got back to the field you were going too slow for a go around?
A: The last airspeed reading I took was about 140 and I don't know how high we were off the ground.  But during GCA the airspeed was, well, about 150 at all times and it dropped to 140 and he called for flaps.

Q: When he called for power and flaps up did you happen to notice the settings of the engines at that time?
A: Yes.  Full power was applied.  The rpm was 2400 and he came forward with his throttles.  It was well up over 40 inches.  The rpm had started to rise but it was slow.  It doesn't have a quick reaction.  About that time I looked at my other instruments to see if we had oil pressure and fuel pressure and it didn't seem anytime at all after that that we hit.

Q: To go back.  When you lost No. 1, what exact sequence was followed on setting that up for 3-engine operation?
A: It seems to me, I have asked other members of the crew and they thought they heard the same thing I did prior to the report that the engine was on fire.  It seems to me I heard something like a backfire.  In a few seconds the left gunner called that flames were coming from No. 1 engine.  I looked through the Navigator's window and the flames were quite red.  The A/C said feather No. 1 engine.  I proceeded with fire procedures.  On the Phone the conversation was that they were trying to salvo bombs.  Shortly after, a couple of seconds, the A/C notified the crew to prepare to bail out.  The IP immediately told me to lower the nose wheel and open the hatch.  I lowered the nose wheel and I opened the hatch.  I hadn't finished with feathering procedure.  I understand later it went through the full sequence and unfeathered itself.  Well, Lt. McCowen pushed the button the second time and the prop feathered.  Prior to all this when he said to feather I called for 2400 rpm and 44 inches up.  To me at that altitude it seems we could have held it safely at that.

Q: What was the airspeed after you dropped the nose wheel?
A: Well, we salvoed the forward bomb bay and picked up airspeed and I don't know exactly how much it was.  About 100, I thought.  If the fire hadn't gone completely out I thought the A/C was diving the ship to put the fire out.

Q: The airspeed did increase?
A: Yes, over 200.  I'm not sure.  We finally got bombs out of the rear and we leveled off.  The left gunner called and said the fire was out.  I followed the procedure for CO2 bottles and cleaned up the panel.  In the process of opening the nose wheel door, my log was on my lap and I believe it went out the hatch.  We climbed back up to 2500 feet.  They asked me for gross weight at landing.  I gave an estimate between 113,000 and 115,00 lbs.  I knew I used about 1000 pounds of fuel, salvoed about 20,000 of bombs.  We weighed close to 115,000 lbs.  We weren't exactly light.

Q: When you cut your fuel off tell us the sequence.
A: I was disturbed somewhat with that prepare to bail out.  As soon as the A/C said "feather" he pressed feather button and I shut off the fuels.  I shut my fuel off by the tank shut-off valves.

Q: And after the prop stopped feathering then you discharged your CO2 bottles.  One of two?
A: Both bottles.  It is recommended to use both bottles on one fire.  One might put it out but two stands a better chance.  After you have discharged the bottles you clean up the panel, turn off your generator switches.  You have set your cowl flaps and oil cooler flaps for least amount of drag.  More or less cleaning up, as they say.

Q: Was this your first combat mission?
A: No, I flew one on the 22nd.

Q: This was your 2nd?
A: Yes, Sir.

Lt. Col. Williams: I don't believe we have any more questions.  You may be excused.

Board Findings

  1. Failure of number 1 engine is a contributing factor to the accident.

  2. Weather is not considered a factor.

  3. From the evidence given, the Board believes that an attempted go-around was made.

  4. The Aircraft Commander errored in allowing the aircraft to veer left just prior to reaching the approach end of the runway.

  5. The IP took over the aircraft to correct the error, and in correction, over-controlled too far to the right, then in attempting to align himself with the runway over corrected to the left.  At this point an attempted go-around was made which resulted in a stall due to low airspeed, and an uncontrollable condition existed, because of torque, when power was applied to the three engines.

  6. That the IP was not properly checked out as an Instructor Pilot.

  7. That the IP was not qualified for IP duties inasmuch as previous experience in the B-29 did not include qualifying right seat time.

  8. Supervisory error is a factor inasmuch as the Instructor Pilot was assigned duties in which he was obviously not qualified.

Board Recommendations

  1. That thorough and complete Instructor Pilot checks out be given prior to assigning personnel these duties.

  2. That Pilot Training Units within the United States endeavor to more thoroughly qualify Aircraft Commanders prior to sending them over seas as Combat Replacements.


Walter A. Williams, Lt. Col., USAF, President
Robert R. Snook, Captain, USAF, Acft Acc Inves Off
John A. Booth, Lt. Col., USAF (MC), Medical Member
William R. Sebasky, Captain, USAF, Maintenance Member

Statement - 1/Lt. John R. Badzik

"I, 1/Lt. John R. Badzik AO-708998 assigned as IP Aircraft 1925 - date 30 Jan. 1952 - which was involved in the accident at Kadena AFB, state the preflight was normal, and inspection normal, an starting engines, 3 & 4 normally, #1 had to be turned over twice to start, #2 started normal.

We taxied to take off position & utilizing check list prepared to take off, take off normal, flew out 6 minutes and turned on first heading in the green, cleared by tower to climb to 3500 ft and maintains 3500 ft for 1st 100 mile leg, or 100 miles out, upon reaching appx. 2500 ft I got out of the right seat to 1st Capt. Wynne, pilot, into the seat, I was in the process of getting my headset and throat mike connected in the aisle stand position when I heard what sounded to me like two rapid backfires coming from engines either 1 or 2.  I got up and looked out the left window and saw that no. 1 engine was burning.  Flames were coming out around the cowl flaps, exhaust stack.  My first impression was that it was a gasoline fire, I immediately told the Engineer to use feathering procedure on #1 & hit the feathering button, about the same time I yelled to the Bombardier to salvo bombs, also told the Engineer to pull the CO2 bottles on #1, then told the Engineer to open nose wheel well and drop the nose gear.  We had difficulty jettisoning bombs out of the rear.  Bombardier reported bombs went out the front and not the rear.  So I tripped the salvo switch on the pilots aisle stand but bombs would not release a few moments later bombardier reported that he had trained the remainder out the crew in the meantime was alerted to prepare to bail out.  Approx a minute or two after the bombs all jettisoned the fire seemed to be dying down.

After the fire was completely out, told the bombardier to close the bomb bay doors and Engineer to raise the nose gear, and we proceeded on to Kadena at apprx 2500 ft.  At about this time I returned to the right seat.  Approach to Mike Fox Homer was normal at 2500 ft.  GCA was notified that #1 was feathered.  A/C was making the GCA on the base leg gear was lowered GCA had us make a left turn onto the final approach.  After rolling out on final, 25 degrees flaps was lowered.  On rolling out I saw the field runway lights approximately 1/2 mile to the left of our course.  I told Capt Wynn where the lights were and he headed in that direction on a course of approx. 030 degrees.  About this time considerable shuddering was observed in the rudder control so I increased RPM to approx. 2550 RPM.  This shuddering was noted at approx. 150 MPH. indicated, prior to this I received landing information from Engineer.  Gross weight was approx. 115,000 lbs.  I relayed this information to the AC.  During the approach tail section shuddered periodically at airspeeds between 150 and 160 ind.

About this time I switched my jack box to command hear GCA advise us we were 200 ft above glide path and I could see we were left of on course, rate of decent was increased and shortly thereafter GCA advised that we were below the glide patch and I could see we were holding to the left of the runway at approx this time I asked the AC to let me have the controls.  Our Airspeed was down to approx. 140 IND. so I applied power moreso on 2 & 3 than I did #4 about this time we were approx. 200 ft from the end of the runway.  I managed to bring the left wing up enough to make the turn to the right to get lined up with the runway.  I was over the right edge of the runway when the left wing dropped dangerously low and the aircraft turned to the left headed across the runway my one thought was to get the left wing up.  I had full right rudder and aileron in attempting to bring it up, wing would not come up so I advanced throttle on #2 engine and the wing came up slowly, the plane was partially stalling so I increased power on the other engines.  It was obvious to me that at this low altitude and full flaps down that a go around could not be attempted.  I knew from past experience that the terrain to the left of the landing strip was fairly level so made the decision to crash land straight ahead.  I called for fear up--reached over myself and tripped the landing gear switch to the up position, landing lights were extended and we settled down until we made contact with the ground.  I believe the tail skid hit and the airplane went back into the air and came down and made final contact.  The aircraft was on a fairly level attitude when hitting the ground.  After stopping I was fully conscious.  I unfastened the safety belt, removed my parachute and then realized my leg was pinned between the rudder mounts.  About this time the AC yelled to me his leg was pinned.  I got myself loose and was about to aid the AC when he told me he was okay.  I could see the Engineer was about to aid the AC when he told me he was okay.  I could see the Engineer was out, Navigator behind him.  AC went out the escape window and I went out mine.  When I made contact with the ground I crawled away from the aircraft.

I certify to the best of my knowledge that the statements above are true."

Statement by Joe B. Rose

"I, Joe B. Rose, was left gunner on aircraft 925 on night of 30 Jan 52.  We took off from Kadena AFB at 1851 hours.  We climbed out, made our turn and proceeded on course.  Approximately 20 minutes out I detected flame coming from the underside of No. 1 engine.  I reported this to the Aircraft Commander.  He instructed the crew to prepare for bail out.  The bombs were salvoed so we could get out the bomb bay.  No. 1 engine was feathered and the fire was put out completely so we returned to Kadena.  We made a normal 3 engine, GCA approach.  When we broke out of the overcast the plane made a sharp turn to the right and then back to the left.  I heard power coming on the remaining engines and then we hit off the runway.  The plane had started to burn before we stopped moving.  I remained conscious and was able to get out without any help.

I certify that the above statement is true to the best of my knowledge."

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Remembering Anthony Leone Jr.

Anthony Leone Jr.

A2C Anthony Leone Jr., serial number AF15425142, radio operator, received 3rd degree burns over his entire body.  He was the only fatality in the plane crash. 

Leone was born November 30, 1930 and was from Steubenville, Ohio.  He is buried in Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA, plot 305.

Corporal Leone was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.



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