Hobart, OK Air Force B-47 Stratojet Crash, Nov 1956

Four Killed In Crash of Stratojet

Hobart, Okla., (UP)-An Air Force B-47 Stratojet Air Command base at nearby Altus, Okla., crashed on a farm near here late Tuesday and exploded, killing four officers.

Officials identified the victims as Maj. Joseph E. Wilford, aircraft commander, Capt. Francis P. Bouschard, pilot, Capt. Lee D. Ellis, Jr., instructor-aircraft observer, all having families at Altus, and 1st Lt. Andrew J. Toalson, observer, Bartlesville, Okla. All were attached to the 96th Bombardment Wing at Altus Air Force Base.

The swept-wing four engine jet, which normally carries a crew of three, was on a routine training mission when it crashed into a hay barn, scattering pieces of framing wreckage over a quarter-mile area just of this south western Oklahoma city.

Ranson Hancock, publisher of the Hobart Democrat Chief, said the plane apparently encountered engine trouble.

He said the long-range jet bomber hit the ground about 320 yards west of a barn owned by Charles C. Harris, skidded into the barn and exploded.

Brownsville Herald, Brownsville, TX 7 Nov 1956

Comments

B-47 crash, Nov. 6, 1956

My father, Capt. Lee D. Ellis, Jr, was flying "starboard" as an instructor on this flight. The crash was 2 days after my 9th birthday. I entered the Army, the week of my 17th birthday, on Nov. 10th, 1964. I spent 4 years as an enlisted infantry medic. Later, I used my GI Bill, entered advanced ROTC, and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. When I returned from a tour in Korea, I called my deceased father's pilot from his own aircraft assignment, Brig. Gen. Glenn R. Sullivan. He and my father served together as lieutenants, and were inseparable best friends. We talked for over an hour. He told me that the crash was a result of pilot error; that the pilot-in-command had made a 10,000 foot error in altitude while preparing to land. When he realized his error, he entered a series of pilot-induced oscillations - remember, the B-47 was a tricky aircraft to fly - and was too low to recover from the oscillations. To a non-pilot, this sounds like a dumb mistake...that is not the case. This was a plane that was built long before all the computerized safety devices of today. Although it had an autopilot, it had to be flown and continuously monitored every second throughout its flight. It could be a very treacherous airplane, as evidenced by the many fatal crashes in B-47's. Now that I am a retired Army officer, I am a sailplane pilot, and I have a great appreciation for the complexity of these demanding aircraft.

B-47 carsh

I remember the night she went down. I was in Air Police, and had to go out the next night to secure the area. I will never forget that sight, Parts all over the place. The canopy was upright stuck in the ground. Part of a helmet on the ground. I also remember a while (not sure how much later) we lost another one. I think this time it a B-52 .Do you remember the KC-97 last three numbers 666? We called it the ghost plane.

Grandfather

My grandfather was Lee Ellis, killed in that crash. I often heard about it from my grandmother who never remarried.

I remember it well

I remember that crash, I was of the air policeman who went out to the crash site the next night 4pm till midnight shift, and was positioned in the middle of the site where the canopy way stuck in the ground. Do you remember the KC-97 number 666

Hobart OK. Air Force B-47 Stratojet crash

In the article it is stated that the B-47 was a 4 jet engine jet bomber. As a former mechanic on the B-47 and stationed at Altus at the time that crash occured I can say without a doubt that the B-47 in question and ALL B-47s had 6 GE-J47-25 jet engines underslung on the wings.