Crew and Passengers
- Capt. Lawrence Crawford, 28, San Antonio, Texas (pilot)
- Maxwell Perkins, 32, San Antonio, Texas (first officer)
- Dorothy Marie Davis, 21, San Antonio, Texas (stewardess)
- Hardin, Pfc. James Patrick, 21, Columbus, South Carolina
- Harding, Ulysses, Ludowici, Georgia
- Hargrett, Herbert B., Florida
- Harper, Charles Augustus, Florence, South Carolina - born
- Harrell, Ralph Donald, Hartford, North Carolina - born
November 9, 1929
- Harviley, Matthew, Bessemer, Alabama
- Hatcher, Walter Jr., Gadsen, Alabama
- Henderson, Willie B., Harrisburg, North Carolina
- Hendrix, Rothel O., Columbus, Georgia
- Herzig, Wilfried Otto Walter Paul, Augusta, Georgia
- Hill, Jimmie, Quitman, Georgia
- Hollingsworth, McLean, Salemburg, North Carolina
- Holloway, Raymond F., Jacksonville, Florida
- Hudson, Arthur, East Charles, South Carolina
- Hudson, Francis A., Beaufort, South Carolina
- Human, David, Travelers Rest, South Carolina
- Jackson, Ernest, Talladaga, Alabama
- Jaggers, Moses, Rock Hill, South Carolina
- Jenkins, Herbert H., Middleton, North Carolina
- Jenkins, Marvin, St. George, South Carolina
- Jenkins, Robert Jr., 22, Charleston, South Carolina
- Jinks, Russell, Baxley, Georgia
- Johnson, Henry A., Augusta, Georgia
- Johnson, James Jr., Donaldsonville, Georgia
- Johnson, Lawrence C., Newland, North Carolina
- Johnson, Robert C., Tucker, Georgia
- Johnson, Robert W., Montgomery, Alabama
- Johnson, Willy E., Ousley, Georgia
- Jones, James R., Lyons, Georgia
- Jones, Jeff W., Tallahassee, Florida
- Josey, James E., Plevna, Alabama
- Joyner, Walter R., Atlanta, Georgia
- Kelley, Leroy Jr., Columbia, South Carolina
- Kelley, Pearl "J.P." (Joe), 23, Birmingham, Alabama
- Kemp, Bruce M., Roseville, Georgia
- Kent, Joseph O., Porterdale, Georgia
- King, John H., Goldsborough, North Carolina
Accident Investigation Report - File No. 1-0006
Adopted 12/23/1953 - Released 12/31/1953
Associated Air Transport, Inc., Near Fish Haven, Idaho
January 07, 1953
At approximately 0412 MST, January 7, 1953, an
Associated Air Transport Curtiss C-46F, N1648M, being operated as
Trip 1-6-6A, CAM, No. 4355J. between Seattle, Washington, and Fort
Jackson, South Carolina, crashed approximately eight miles west of
Fish Haven, Idaho. All 40 persons aboard, consisting of 37
passengers, all military personnel, and a crew of three lost their
lives, and the aircraft was completely demolished.
History of the Flight
originated at Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, with the first stop
scheduled at Cheyenne, Wyoming. The crew consisted of Captain
Lawrence B. Crawford, First Officer Maxwell F. Perkins and
Stewardess Marie Davis. Prior to departure the aircraft was
serviced with 738 gallons of fuel and 60 gallons of oil.
Pre-flight inspection was performed by the crew. The gross
weight of the aircraft at departure was 45,401 pounds or 401 pounds
over the maximum allowable gross weight of 45,000 pounds authorized
for passenger operations; the distribution of the load on board,
however, was within the prescribed center of gravity limitations.
Weather briefing of the crew by the United States Weather Bureau at
Boeing Field indicated en route weather to be scattered to broken
clouds to overcast with the tops estimated at 12,000 feet and a
Cheyenne Terminal Forecast of scattered clouds at 15,000 feet,
visibility of more than 15 miles. The weather briefing
included a forecast of icing conditions in clouds and precipitations
above 6,000 feet along the route, with cloud tops ranging from
10,000 to 14,000 feet MSL.
An IFR (Instrument Flight
Rules) flight plan, filed by Captain Crawford and approved by the
Civil Aeronautics Administration Air Route Traffic Control, Seattle,
requested a cruising altitude of 13,000 feet to Cheyenne via Airways
Green 2, Blue 12, Blue 32, Red 1, and Green 3, with a proposed true
air speed of 200 m.p.h., estimated elapsed time five hours, with six
hours and forty minutes of fuel aboard, alternate airport, Denver,
The flight departed Boeing Field at 0050
and made the required position reports along the route, with no
mention of any irregularities, reporting over Malad City at 13,000
feet, time 0358, and estimating Rock Springs at 0445.
There were no further radio contacts with the aircraft. All
attempts to contact the flight by CAA radio stations and by other
aircraft along and bordering the proposed route were unsuccessful.
A widespread search for the missing aircraft was subsequently
conducted under the supervision of Air Search and Rescue units of
the United States Air Force.
Five days later, on January 12, 1953, at 1320 hours, the wreckage
was sighted from the air by a Civil Air Patrol pilot. Two Air
Force paramedics parachuted to the scene and immediately confirmed
the aircraft's identity and determined that there were no survivors.
During their observation of the wreckage area, a strip of hard ice
was noticed on the leading edge of the deicer boot of a partially
exposed wing. This piece of ice was adhering to the boot,
parallel to the leading edge and was about three feet long and
uniformly about 1-1/2 inches thick and about 3/4 inches wide.
Both ends of this strip appeared to be blunt. No other ice was
seen on the aircraft wreckage.
On January 13 and 14,
a military search party and Board investigators reached the crash
site. It was agreed to by all concerned that it was impossible
to find and identify the bodies or to conduct a detailed examination
of the wreckage because of extremely deep and heavily drifted snow.
The military established and maintained a guard of the crash area
until June 20, 1953, when recovery operations were completed and the
last of the bodies had been removed.
investigation at the scene of the accident revealed that the initial
impact occurred when the aircraft, traveling on a heading of about
340 degrees and nearly level longitudinally, struck a small pine
tree at an altitude of approximately 8,545 feet, 45 feet south of an
8,500-foot east-west ridge, and continued 377 feet in a nearly level
attitude where contact was made with two large pine trees.
At this point several small bits of wreckage, including chips of
propeller blades, were recovered. The aircraft continued on
the same heading (340 degrees), striking another large pine tree 242
feet beyond and approximately 75 feet lower. From this point,
the aircraft began to disintegrate as it continued down the slope at
an approximate 50-degree angle shearing numerous trees.
Contact with the ground was made at the base of the hill at the
north end of a 93-foot ravine where the aircraft gouged three large
holes in the ground.
The aircraft then continued up a
32-degree rise approximately 200 feet where the tail section came to
rest. Several components of the wreckage continued over this
hill approximately 350 feet. The wreckage was distributed over
an area approximately 400 feet wide and 1,540 feet north from the
point of initial impact.
Time of the crash was
determined by impact-stopped watches as close to 0412. The
location was 42 degrees 04 feet North latitude 111 degrees 32 feet
Two oxygen bottles were found at the
scene of the accident. Although the main valve on each
cylinder was closed, both pressure gauges and output control valves
were broken off. One bottle was completely charged, while the
other, which was badly damaged, was partially discharged.
Thus, it is evident that there was no shortage of oxygen supply.
Examination of the widespread and scattered wreckage yielded no clue
or even suggestion that there had been structural or mechanical
difficulty of any nature before impact. Further, the
relatively flat angle of impact is indicative of partial control at
the time the aircraft struck. There was no evidence of any
fire or explosion before the crash.
showed that both engines were rotating at the time of impact and
that the propellers were in the cruising r.p.m. range which
definitely indicated that power was being developed at impact.
Damage was so extensive that it was impossible to follow through on
the continuity of all control systems; however, those portions of
control systems that could be examined were found to be properly
fastened and safetied.
The aircraft was equipped with
wing deicer boots but the cockpit unit controlling their use was not
recovered. However, investigation disclosed that the deicer
boots were operative when checked at Boston on January 4, 1953,
three days prior to the accident. Due to the forecasted icing
conditions en route to Cheyenne, it is probably that the pilot
checked the aircraft's deicer equipment prior to departure from
Seattle in accordance with standard operating procedure. Also,
the propellers were equipped for deicing, and the 20 gallon anti-icer
tank, supplying the propellers, the carburetor and the windshields,
was full of alcohol when the aircraft left Cheyenne for Seattle on
January 5, 1953.
The Board's investigation also
disclosed that all the required items of navigation equipment were
aboard the aircraft, and that the flight log found at the scene had
been maintained with the last position entry over Malad City at
0358. It revealed no discrepancies. The indicated times
over stations along the route coincided with reported times as
recorded by the CAA radio stations.
company records, Captain Crawford and First Officer Perkins were
both well qualified on C-46 aircraft, and were thoroughly familiar
with the deicing equipment and its use. A company official
testified that both had flown the route involved about 12 times
during the year preceding the accident and were therefore familiar
with terrain elevations. Investigation disclosed that both
Captain Crawford and First Officer Perkins had received their
required rest periods prior to departure from Seattle.
Had the flight continued on
from Malad City at 13,000 feet, it would likely have entered the
tops of the clouds over the mountains between Malad City and Bear
Lake. During this short period that the flight would have been
in the clouds, light rime ice and light to possibly moderate
turbulence would have occurred. It is probable that the top
portion of these clouds were predominately ice crystals, and that
therefore sufficient water in the liquid state would not have been
present to produce more than a light coating of ice. It seems
likely that even this condition could have been flown over by an
increase of altitude of not more than 500 feet. These
conditions were verified by another flight that preceded N1648M by
only a few minutes without any difficulty. There was no
request received from the flight for a higher altitude. (Any
change of altitude would require clearance from Air Route Traffic
Since the above conditions did exist at the
time the flight was in the area, it is likely that an involuntary
descent was made into an area of increasing ice and turbulence which
extended two or three thousand feet above the mountains. The
mountains between Malad City and Bear Lake range from 8,000 feet to
in excess of 9,000 feet. The westerly winds were lifting the
moist unstable air over those mountains, producing zero ceiling,
moderate to severe turbulence, moderate to heavy icing and snow,
with updrafts on the windward side of the slopes and downdrafts on
the leeward sides. Ground observers in that area, none of whom
saw any aircraft, described conditions as a blizzard. This was
a local condition resulting from the air flow over this mountain
The general weather conditions at 13,000 feet
in the area were not conducive to carburetor ice. However, had
any icing occurred, the prompt application of alcohol or heat should
have eliminated this condition. Since icing became
progressively worse at lower altitudes, there is a possibility that
any appreciable delay in taking corrective action could have caused
a forced descent into worsening conditions. There was an ample
supply of alcohol for both the carburetors and propellers.
As mentioned previously, a strip of hard ice was found on the
leading edge of the deicer boot, parallel to the exposed supper
surface of a wing. Although this ice was observed five days
following the accident, there were strong indications that it had
accumulated on the wing during descent. No ice was seen on the
other exposed parts of the airplane and the absence of glazed ice or
icicles on the boughs of trees is indicative that the wing ice had
not formed following the accident. The configuration of the
ice precludes the possibility of it having formed as a result of
rain droplets after the crash. Furthermore, the blunt
condition of both ends of the ice strip strongly suggests that it
was the remaining portion of a larger ice layer on the leading edge
which could well have been broken off during the crash. Since
this ice was on the deicer boot, it shows that ice was forming on
the boots so rapidly during descent that action of the boots
themselves was not sufficient to break off and remove the ice
Investigation disclosed that the aircraft
struck on a heading almost 100 degrees from its intended course.
This gives rise to the belief that during the descent a rapid
accumulation of ice on the top surfaces of the wings would have
seriously impaired the lift of the aircraft and probably adversely
affected controllability despite the fact that the deicer boots
could have been operating at the time. The airplane could not
have maintained proper altitude much less climb had these conditions
existed, even though maximum continuous power was being used.
It is well known that the rate of ice accretion and its quantity
vary greatly under different conditions of temperature, moisture
About 42 miles back from the crash
site, over Malad City, the flight reported as being at 13,000 feet.
The elapsed time from the Malad City report to the time of crash was
about 14 minutes. Thus the ground speed over these 42 miles
was about 180 miles per hour. Previous legs of the flight had
been logged at ground speeds of 220-230 miles per hour. But
the distance of the final segment, from Malad City, is short and the
time determinations are subject to some error. Therefore, it
may be presumed that the flight lost altitude while continuing
straight ahead and on course at a somewhat reduced speed until
shortly before the accident when a left turn was made. (The
crash site was only about two miles from the center of the airway.)
This somewhat reduced speed can be accounted for by the fact that
light to moderate turbulence existed at the cruising level and
became worse at the lower altitudes. (The company's Operation
Manual specifies a speed reduction to 140 m.p.h. through
The flight previously mentioned, also
eastbound, and only a few minutes earlier, did encounter some
turbulence in the area and this pilot avoided it by increasing his
altitude from 13,000 feet to 13,500 feet.
site was several hundred miles from Cheyenne, the point of next
intended landing, far too distant to start a letdown.
The fact that the aircraft was overweight by 401 pounds when it left
Boeing Field cannot be considered as pertinent because the
aircraft's weight at the time it crashed was some 3,000 pounds less
than the weight at take-off due to fuel consumption.
The Board concludes from the evidence available that the aircraft
encountered severe turbulence and the formation of heavy icing of
the aircraft which precipitated its descent and subsequent crash.
The Board is unable to state why the flight did not request and
proceed to a higher altitude to clear the tops of the clouds.
The reason for the initial descent is not known.
On the basis of all available
evidence the Board finds that:
The carrier, the crew and the aircraft were
Both the captain and copilot had received the
required rest period at Seattle.
The flight was routine until passing Malad City,
the last reporting point.
The flight reported being over Malad City at
13,000 feet, its assigned altitude.
Light to moderate turbulence and light rime ice
prevailed in cloud tops at cruising altitude, while at lower
altitudes moderate to severe turbulence and moderate to heavy
Ice found on the wing had formed in flight.
The crew had been adequately briefed by the U.S.
Weather Bureau as to weather over the route prior to departure
All major components of the aircraft were
identified and examination of the wreckage disclosed no evidence
of malfunction, failure or fire prior to impact.
Both engines were developing power at impact.
All navigation aids along the route were
The accident occurred within the airway and
slightly to the left of course.
The Board determines that the probable cause of this
accident was the inadvertent descent into an area of turbulence and
icing which resulted in the flight's inability to regain a safe
BY THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD:
/s/ Oswald Ryan
/s/ Harmar D. Denny
/s/ Josh Lee
/s/ Joseph P. Adams
/s/ Chan Gurney
Investigation and Hearing
The Civil Aeronautics Board's office at Kansas City,
Missouri, received notification of the accident through CAA
Communications, at 0930, January 7, 1953. An investigation was
immediately initiated in accordance with the provisions of Section
702(a)(2) of the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, as amended. A
public hearing was held in connection with the investigation of this
accident at San Antonio, Texas, February 20 and 21, 1953.
Additional reports of the Board's final examination of the wreckage
were entered in the record by deposition at Kansas City, Missouri,
on August 14, 1953.
Associated Air Transport, Inc., an irregular air
carrier, is a Texas Corporation with its principal place of business
at San Antonio, Texas. It is authorized to operate in the area
of the Continental United States, Overseas and International,
transporting passengers and cargo under the terms of Air Carrier
Operating Certificate No. 1-740.
Captain Lawrence B. Crawford, age 28, was employed
by Associated Air Transport on August 1, 1951. He was the
holder of a valid airman certificate with an airline transport and
appropriate aircraft rating. Captain Crawford had a total of
4,960 flying hours of which 1,055 were in C-46 aircraft. His
last instrument check was accomplished October 27, 1952. He
possessed a first-class medical certificate dated August 22, 1952,
listing no restrictions.*
First Officer Maxwell F. Perkins, age 32, was
employed by Associated Air Transport October 20, 1952. He held
an airman certificate with a commercial pilot, multi-engine land and
instrument ratings. He had a total of 3,584 flying hours,
which included 1,445 hours on C-46 type aircraft. First
Officer Perkins possessed a first-class medical certificate dated
April 14, 1952, which contained a waiver for glasses.
Miss Dorothy Marie Davis was employed as a
Stewardess by Associated Air Transport, on January 1, 1953.
This was Miss Davis' first flight with the company.
N1648M, a Curtiss-Wright Model C-46F, Serial No.
2504, was certified under CAA Specifications 3A2. It was
equipped with two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines with a total time
of 673:33 hours since overhaul. Total time on the aircraft as
of December 31, 1952, was 1,941:37 hours. The aircraft
possessed a current Airworthiness Certificate issued December 12,
*Note: Civil Air Regulations require the holder of
an airman certificate with an airline transport rating to take a
physical examination each six months by a Medical Examiner
certificated by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
[KWE Note: Family and friends of the victims of this
crash are encouraged to post a tribute on this page of the Korean
War Educator. There is no charge to do so. Contact
Crawford, Capt. Lawrence
Age 28, Captain Crawford was from San Antonio, Texas.
He had a wife and two sons.
Age 32, First Officer Perkins was from San Antonio, Texas.
Davis, Dorothy Marie
Age 21, Stewardess Davis was from San Antonio, Texas.
Hardin, Pfc. James Patrick, 21, Columbus, South Carolina
Harding, Ulysses, Ludowici, Georgia
Hargrett, Herbert B.
Sergeant Hargrett was born on June 03, 1930. He is
buried in Crawford Cemetery, Shadeville, Florida.
Harper, Charles Augustus, Florence, South Carolina - born
Harrell, Ralph Donald
Born November 09, 1929,
Corporal Harrell is buried in Cedarwood Cemetery, Hartford,
North Carolina. He served in the 160th Infantry, 40th
Harviley, Matthew, Bessemer, Alabama
Hatcher, Walter Jr., Gadsen, Alabama
Henderson, Willie B., Harrisburg, North Carolina
Hendrix, Rothel O., Columbus, Georgia
Herzig, Wilfried Otto Walter Paul
The son of Willy P. Herzig, he was born on January 06, 1932.
He is buried in Gracewood Cemetery, Gracewood, Georgia.
Hill, Jimmie, Quitman, Georgia
Born October 06, 1923, he was a son of Perdie Lee
Hollingsworth (1895-1954) and Caressie Knowles Hollingsworth
(1896-1982). He served as a Sergeant in the Service
Company of the 27th Infantry, United States Army. His
siblings were Thomas M. Hollingsworth (3/02/1939-12/10/2016),
Marion D. "Red" Hollingsworth (12/08/1931-3/09/2006), Lindsey B.
Hollingsworth, Aaron C. Hollingsworth, John Lee Hollingsworth,
and Armon E. Hollingsworth.
Holloway, Raymond F., Jacksonville, Florida
Hudson, Arthur, East Charles, South Carolina
Hudson, Francis A., Beaufort, South Carolina
Human, David, Travelers Rest, South Carolina
Jackson, Ernest, Talladaga, Alabama
Jaggers, Moses, Rock Hill, South Carolina
Jenkins, Herbert H., Middleton, North Carolina
Jenkins, Marvin, St. George, South Carolina
Jenkins, Robert Jr., 22, Charleston, South Carolina
Jinks, Russell, Baxley, Georgia
Johnson, Henry A., Augusta, Georgia
Johnson, James Jr., Donaldsonville, Georgia
Johnson, Lawrence C., Newland, North Carolina
Johnson, Robert C., Tucker, Georgia
Johnson, Robert W., Montgomery, Alabama
Johnson, Willy E., Ousley, Georgia
Jones, James R., Lyons, Georgia
Jones, Jeff W., Tallahassee, Florida
Josey, James E., Plevna, Alabama
Joyner, Walter R., Atlanta, Georgia
Kelley, Leroy Jr., Columbia, South Carolina
Kelley, Pearl "J.P." (Joe)
The son of an Alabama coalminer, Joe was survived by his wife
Yvonne Kelley. The couple met while she was roller skating
and they married in July 1951. Three months later he left
for Korea, where he served in a Field Artillery Battalion.
He received a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. Yvonne was
later married and divorced from a Smith.ww.
Kemp, Bruce M., Roseville, Georgia
Kent, Joseph O., Porterdale, Georgia
King, John H., Goldsborough, North Carolina