Burbank, CA Plane Crash, Jan 1945

Pilot’s Error is Blamed for Plane’s Crash

BURBANK, Calif., Jan 10 (INS) — A mistake based on the human element today was regarded as behind Wednesday’s American airliner crash in which 24 persons perished.

Turned Wrong Way

A Civil Aeronautics inspector said the pilot, given permission to proceed to a desert emergency field at Palmdale when he found the Lockheed air terminal fogbound, turned to the left instead of making the usual swing to the right.

A turn to the right would have carried the airliner out over the San Fernando valley and given it space in which to gain altitude to clear the mountains to the north.

The turn to the left headed it towards destruction in the Verdugo range. Approximately two minutes after the big plane passed over the air terminal field it crashed and was torn to bits on a mountainside five miles away, about 300 feet from the crest.

Names Are Withheld

The ship struck with throttle open and at this high speed all aboard were killed instantly. Victims of the tragedy were 17 Army men, four Navy men, and the crew of three. Names of the Army and Navy personnel are being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

Transcribed from The Port Arthur News, Port Arthur, TX, January 11, 1945, p. 8.