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The 1955 Hawaii R6D-1 crash was an accident involving a Douglas R6D-1 Liftmaster of the United States Navy which crashed into a mountain peak in Hawaii on 22 March 1955, killing all 66 people on board. At the time, it was the worst crash involving any variant of the Douglas DC-6 airliner, and it equalled the 6 October United Airlines Flight 409 crash as the deadliest air accident of 1955.[1] It remains the worst air disaster in the history of Hawaii[2] and the deadliest accident involving a heavier-than-air aircraft in the history of United States naval aviation.[3]

Aircraft

The R6D-1 involved, Bureau Number 131612, had been manufactured in 1953. The R6D-1 was the U.S. Navy version of the United States Air Force's C-118B Liftmaster and of the civilian Douglas DC-6B airliner.[4]

Flight history

The R6D-1 was carrying a crew of nine and 57 U.S. Air Force, United States Army, and U.S. Navy passengers on a Military Air Transportation Service flight from Tokyo, Japan, to Travis Air Force Base, California, via Hickam Air Force Base, Territory of Hawaii. After making its stop at Hickam, the aircraft took off early on the morning of 22 March 1955 for the final leg of its flight to California, but began having radio problems. Its crew opted to return to Hickam, but at 2:03 a.m. local time while on its descent to land, the aircraft flew into 3,098-foot (944-meter) Pali Kea Peak in Oahu's Waianae Range 15 miles (24 km) northwest of the base and exploded, killing all 66 people on board.[4][5]

Investigation

The post-crash investigation concluded that the R6D-1's crew had made a navigational error which placed the aircraft 8 miles (13 km) off course. Straying into the Waianae Range in darkness without realizing their error, the crew flew the aircraft into the peak.[4]

Notes

  1. Aviation Safety Network Aircraft Accident Douglas R6D-1 (DC-6) 131612 Honolulu, HI and Associated Press, "Climbers Fight Cold to Take 66 Bodies From Plane Wreck," The Free Lance-Star, October 7, 1955 each place the death toll in the respective accidents at 66, and the Aviation Safety Network database lists no air accidents with a higher death toll during 1955.
  2. The Aviation Safety Network database cites no air accidents with a higher death toll having taken place in Hawaii to date (31 December 2012).
  3. Per Chronology of Significant Events in Naval Aviation: "Naval Air Transport" 1941 -- 1999. In addition, the Aviation Safety Network database cites no air accidents involving a heavier-than-air U.S. Navy aircraft with a higher death toll to date (31 December 2012).</
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Aviation Safety Network Aircraft Accident Douglas R6D-1 (DC-6) 131612 Honolulu, HI
  5. Height of peak from Pukui, Elbert, and Mookini, p. 177.

References

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*
  • Aviation accidents and incidents in 1955 (1955)
  • 1956
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article 1955 Hawaii R6D-1 crash, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Mdnavman Search for "1955 Hawaii R6D-1 crash" on Google
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article 1955 Hawaii R6D-1 crash, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Petebutt Search for "1955 Hawaii R6D-1 crash" on Google
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