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Alder, WA Dutch Airliner Crashes, Mar 1939

Alder WASH Stratoliner Boeing.jpg

"STRATO" PLANE CRASHES KILLING TEN.

LINER FALLS TO GROUND ON TEST FLIGHT.

2 OFFICIALS OF DUTCH FIRM PASSENGERS ON GIANT SHIP.

Alder, Wash., March 18 (AP) -- At least ten persons were killed, including two officials of Dutch Airlines, when a four-motored, 33 passenger airplane,designed to operate through the sub-stratosphere plunged to earth near here today during a test flight.
Witnesses said the plane appeared suddenly out of the clouds and that the sound of its motors died down momentarily.
The motors then seemed to speed up and the plane began a long, crazy spin earthward. The tail assembly apparently broke away during the fall. It struck in a narrow ravine in logged-off land.
"It traveled toward the earth at tremendous speed," said Mrs. L. W. Gilbert of LaGrande. "There was an exceptionally loud noise, not like an explosion but more like a roar."
"It was terrible to stand there and watch it fall. The noise was terrific, even though we were some distance away."
Seattle headquarters of the Boeing Airplane Co., which built the
$500,000 "Stratoliner."
The victims of the crash are:
JULIUS BARR, Boeing test pilot.
EARL A. FERGUSEN, Boeing test pilot.
JOHN KYLSTRA, Boeing engineer.
RALPH L. CRAM, Boeing flight engineer and aerodynamics expert.
WILLIAM DOYLE.
HARRY WEST, Boeing flight engineer.
BEN PEARSON.
P. GIULONARD, assistant general manager of Royal Dutch Airlines.
A. G. BAUMAUER, Dutch KLM line.
HARLAN HULL, chief test pilot for Transcontinental and Western Airways.
The company said an 11th man, E. R. KINNEMAN, may have been aboard the plane.
The Stratoliner was the first four-engined transport designed and equipped with cabins and facilities for high altitude, operation 20,000 feet or higher, above storms on the earth's surface.
It was to carry 33 passengers by day or 25 in luxurious night accommodations, with a crew of four or five, and had a capacity of two tons of mail and air express.
This plane was the first of 10 to be built. It had a wing span of 107 feet, length of 74 feet and an overall height of 17 feet, three inches.
One of its innovations was a "super-charged cabin," to provide passengers and crew with "sea-level" air pressure while flying 20,000 feet in the air. This was a sealed cabin, into which air was pumped, creating and automatically maintaining air pressure comparable to that at sea level.

Sandusky Register Ohio 1939-03-19

Comments

Headline Error

The Sandusky Register got it wrong when they said "Dutch Airliner." There was a delegation from KLM aboard the airplane belonged to Boeing. It was the prototype Model 307. KLM was just evaluating it for a possible purchase of some B-307s for their Dutch East Indies route. In the end only Pan American and TWA purchased B-307s.



article | by Dr. Radut