View Full Version : USAAF Beau accidents

norman malayney
28th January 2008, 21:37

Another installment, this time a few Beau accidents, More to come.

Norman Malayney
19 November 1944, at Pisa, Italy at 1515 hours, Beaufighter ND277, 414th Night Fighter Squadron, APO 650, Crew. John D. Baker pilot, 2n Lt., and Leroy A. Brown, 2nd Lt. part of 62 Fighter Wing, XXII TAC command

Weather: Ceiling and visibility unlimited. Cleared from Pisa, Italy on local night flying test. It was common practice to perform radar equipment evaluation prior to night operations. At 1515 hours the pilot landed to the southwest on the northeast-southwest runway at Pisa airdrome, Italy with Lt. Brown as radar observer..The ship performed a night fighter test for 45 minutes. The pilot circled the field waiting for several P-47s to land. The tower ordered the pilot to make a tight pattern and land. He came over the end of the steel matting high and fast, touching down approximately twenty feet on the matting before reaching the concrete strip, made a bounce and on the second attempt touched down slightly sideways to the runway on three points before he could kick the aircraft straight. The right brake failed to hold the swing and the right landing gear collapsed. The ship did a 270 degree turn and skidded off runway on left side. It was left facing the strip. Damage: Right undercarriage sheared off; Right prop bent; right engine damaged; right wing buckled.
19 November 1944, Pisa Airdrome, Italy, time 2010 hours, Beaufighter Mk8 ND313, XXII TAC command, 62nd Ftr. Wg., 414 NFS, APO 650. Pilot 2nd Lt. Orin K. Goodrich, Jr.

Weather, ceiling and visibility unlimited. Cleared from Pisa, Italy for local training flight. At 2010 hours the pilot came in for a landing at Pisa Airdrome. There was a cross wind from the east. He made a touch down, landing on the steel matting with the tail touching just after reaching the concrete runway. The ship started a swing to the left and he applied full right rudder and full brake. The aircraft straightened just as he left the runway. The aircraft rolled off and hit rough ground, washing out the right undercarriage. Damage: right landing gear buckled, right wing damaged, right engine damaged, fuselage broken at trailing edge of main plane.
23 July 1944, APO 850, time 1210 hours, Beaufighter KW125, 12th TAC group 415 Night Fighter Squadron, APO 650
Crew: Lt. Wallace C. Gould, T/Sgt Walter J. Olson, and Sgt. Ivan E. Miller.

Weather CAVU, gusty cross wind, Cleared from Borgo, Corsica to Salenzara, Corsica to ferry parts. After being advised from control tower of strong, gusty crosswinds, pilot made a normal landing with proper flap setting. After rolling approximately 100 yards on the runway, the cross-wind caught his tail causing the plane to veer off the runway about 30 degrees. The runway had been built in a field of rock and uneven terrain. If an aircraft leaves the runway it is impossible to prevent from "washing it out". Pilot used good judgment in collapsing wheels before hitting a five-foot embankment. Due to nature of control of Beaufighter-type aircraft , they are extremely difficult to control during landing in strong crosswinds. Damage: Fuselage broken, port wing, undercarriage, sudden stoppage, both twisted and bent.
7 July 1944, Ligurian Sea off Bastia, Corsica at 0023 hours, Beaufighter VI ND167, XII Ftr. Comd, 63rd Ftr Wing, 417 Night Ftr Sq. , Crew: Guy N. Wilson, 2nd Lt., and Emery R. Berry, F/O

Weather: Scattered clouds, visibility 10-15 miles. cleared from Borgo to Borgo on local patrol. What seems to have been a blown jughead on the starboard engine was of sufficient intensity to lose the engine cowling (starboard engine blew up). This coupled with pilot's inability to move the rudder trim tab only one-fourth turn, altitude could not be maintained. Considerable vibration was set up even after prop had been feathered. Full aileron and rudder was not enough to bring the right wing out of a ten degree dip. A twenty degree port turn into the moon's path, aircraft hit water with one skip at about 130 mph and quickly sank. Being a complete mechanical failure, it is believed the pilot handled the situation quite well.
7 July 1944, APO 650 time 1638 hours, Beaufighter KW135, 12th TAC Command, 415 Night Fighter Squadron, Wallace C. Gould, 2n Lt.

Weather CAVU. Cleared from LaBanca, Italy to Voltone, Italy to ferry aircraft. Pilot took off and found his airspeed indicator was not functioning. He was obliged to land at an airstrip that is fairly short. Due to the fact that he had no airspeed indicator, he had to come in fast. In doing so he ran off the end of the runway, hitting a bump which collapsed his left under cart, damaging the left propeller and the left wing tip. Damage: left undercarriage, left wing tip and left prop bent and twisted.
16 June 1943, Honiley, England, time 1645 hours, Beaufighter VI V-8760, 8th AF 414 Fighter Squadron; Crew: Lt. Kenneth K. Nelson and observer F/O Marshall B. Carriere.

Weather: Ceiling and visibility unlimited, Cleared from Honiley to Honiley for night flying test.
At approximately 1645 hours the crew completed a night flying test and was practicing low-altitude flying in the vicinity of the airdrome as authorized for intruder flying. A tall tree surprised the pilot who nicked the top branches with the starboard wing. He then climbed to 1,000 feet and continued around the traffic pattern to land. While airborne, the only noticeable result was a slight roughness of the starboard engine and premature stalling out of the starboard wing on landing. Visible damage was done as follows. Denting leading edge of airfoil on starboard wing and a tear in the starboard aileron. Damage: Starboard outer main plane and aileron damaged; starboard engine shock loaded; starboard propeller damaged.
22 June 1943, Scorton, York, time 0135 hours. Beaufighter VI V8830, 417 Squadron. Crew Lt. Robert C. Swift and Pvt. Howard Kohman.

Weather: Fair. Cleared from Scorton to local sector reconnaissance. When pilot throttled back to let down for final approach, the port engine belched flames, as all engines do on a landing when they are throttled back. Pilot did not think any more about it until he touched the runway when he saw that it (engine) was still burning. He then opened the port throttle to try to blow out fire; this failed so he turned off runway and cut engines and petrol to tanks. He had given the observer warning before turning off the runway. As soon as the aircraft had stopped, the pilot made his exit, by which time the fire wagon had arrived and the fire was extinguished, but not until the wiring and connections were badly burned on front of the rear fire wall. Damage: Accessory panel at front of rear fire wall.
25 June 1943, Honiley, England, time 2030 hours, Beaufighter VI V8397, 8th Air Force, 414 Fighter Squadron, Honiley, England. Crew: F/O Theodore A. Deakyne and Sgt. Paul E. Cahill.

Weather: CAVU. Pilot made a normal approach and landed on number three runway. He applied brakes which had been consistently weak and turned onto number one runway, opened gills and raised the flaps. He applied brakes to make the turn onto the perimeter track but received no response. As he had no brakes, he applied port throttle in an effort to swing the aircraft around. When he saw that he could not make the turn, he cut both switches and aircraft rolled down a slope through a barbed-wire fence. The port undercarriage fell into a ditch and collapsed. The port engine and port outer main plane were also damaged. Cause of accident: weak brakes. Damage: left outer main plane, left gear buckled, left engine shock loaded, both props damaged.
3 March 1945, Air Strip A-96, France, time 1540 hours, Beaufighter VI-F KW103, XII TAC, First TACAF, 415th Night Fighter Squadron. Crew: Lt. Lester R. Zollars and F/O William C. Davis.

Weather: 9/10 clouds base at 2,000 feet. Surface wind NNE 15 miles per hour and very gusty. Cleared for local night flying test. Pilot made a normal three-point landing in a 90 degree crosswind blowing from his left with a velocity of 15 miles per hour and very gusty. Just after touching down the aircraft began to roll to the right. Pilot corrected this, and the airplane began to swerve to the right again. Pilot used full left brake to remain on the landing strip but the airplane rolled off at a speed of 30-35 MPH, three-fourths of the way down the runway. It hit an abandoned, sand-bagged AAA gun emplacement, mounted the sandbags with the starboard wheel and the wheel dropped into the gun pit,. The right landing gear collapsed and the airplane came to a stop. This was a point about 170 yards off the runway. This aircraft type has a tendency to swing on landings and this particular aircraft had a very marked tendency to do so. Damage: Stbd. undercarriage, nacelle and wing, both props bent.
28 November 1944, LeVallon Airdrome, France, time 2040 hours, Beaufighter VI-F ND280. XII AF command, 417 Night Fighter Squadron. Crew: Lt. Hyrum J. Allen, and Lt. Frank s. Campbell

Weather Good. Cleared from leVallon to leVallon on an operational patrol. Pilot on routine patrol when he noticed rise in oil temperature and fall in oil pressure on starboard engine. Pilot proceeded back to base favoring bad engine. As the oil temperature had not exceeded prescribed limits and while oil pressure was low, engine appeared to be reliable. Pilot proceeded to make a normal approach for landing. As pilot dropped flaps for landing, engine failed causing loss of control and subsequent crash.

On final approach he almost reached runway when he decided he was a little too high and dropped his flaps. As flaps began to lower, engine suddenly cut out, resulting in such a drop in air speed that the good engine was insufficient to hold aircraft for even the short space needed to reach the runway. He nosed down to prevent stalling and made a crash landing approximately 100 yards short of the runway. Damage: complete wreck.
15 August 1944, Borgo Airdrome, Corsica, time 2028 hours, Beaufighter VI-F KW203, 63rd Fighter Wing. 417 Night Fighter Squadron. Crew Lt. Samuel C. Rial, and F/O James W. Chelf.

Weather: Good. Visibility fair, slight haze. Cleared from Borgo to Borgo for local flying. Lt. Rial was landing to the north. The landing was long, pilot having used about half of the 4,500 foot runway before touching down. He tried to use the brakes to stop in remaining distance, finally swinging to starboard. Starboard undercarriage buckled, causing damage to starboard wing and prop. Damage: Starboard main plane and propeller.
14 April 1945, A-64, France, time 1445 hours, Beaufighter VI BT295, XII TAC, 1st TACAF, 415 Night Fighter Squadron. Crew. Lt. William H. Flanagan, F/O Raymond J. Neyer, and T/4 Lynn A. Doctor.

Weather: CAVU, wind 2 to 3 mph in-line with runway. Cleared from A-64, France for local night flying test. Pilot made a fairly normal landing and applied brake to straighten the roll on the runway. Brake lever became lax and there was no braking effect. Airplane ran off the runway to the right, striking some parked vehicles, The undercarriage collapsed and fire broke out in the port engine almost immediately. The wreckage was consumed by fire and no examination was possible. It is believed material failure was responsible for the accident. The brake lever cable probably broke when pilot applied brake to straighten his roll. Since no braking resulted because of this failure, the aircraft ran off the runway out of control. Damage. airplane demolished and burned.
5 December 1944, 3 miles west of leValon Airdrome, France, time 1322 hours, Beaufighter Mk V ND296, 414th Night Fighter Squadron. Pilot, Lt. Joseph E. Davis. Major injury.

Weather: Good. Cleared from leVallon for local test flight. At 1322 hours, Wastenot 78 took off to the northwest in Beaufighter ND296. He continued straight ahead for a while then made a turn to port. The starboard engine blew up. One section of the ring cowling was seen to blow off starboard engine. Pilot feathered starboard prop and attempted to circle and land. Just as the tower operator glanced down the runway at the next plane about to taxi out, Wastenot 78 called in and spoke of coming on on single-engine. The tower radioed the runway was all clear for him and the Beau about to takeoff stayed clear. The crash wagon and ambulance drivers warmed up their engines. Sighting 78 through binoculars, the tower operator noticed his starboard engine was dead and that he was losing altitude. Hoping for a successful belly landing, the plane descended and crashed (roughly10 miles to the west of the tower. He hit the ground and flames leaped up immediately. The crash wagon and ambulance had already pulled out for the scene and operations were notified.

The absence of one section of cowling and failure of one engine made aircraft aerodynamically unstable and caused loss of altitude and crash. Failure of cowling cable caused loss of cowling. Damage: complete loss due to crash and fire.