U S Army Air Force/8th Air Force/2nd Air Division/14th Bomb Wing/492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)
 492ndBombGroup.com home
follow the 492nd
Alamogordo Training Accident
Alamogordo Training Accident Summary
The Group had only one serious accident during its training days at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Thanks to our good friend Craig Fuller at aviation-archaelolgy.com we have the full 80 page report. The following is our condensed version.
All of the official reports clearly show the plane as being a B-24J #41-00106, but that serial number was assigned to a Stearman PT-17. A notation written within the official report cleared up this mystery. It corrected the serial number to read as 42-100106.
The day of the accident was definitely 15 Feb 44. We have other reports from the 492nd BG incorrectly stating the accident occurred on 24 Feb 44.
The exercise for the morning was a practice bombing in formation. The gunners were brought along so they could practice field stripping their guns at altitude. After the practice bombing, the crew was to return to base, pick up their gunnery instructor and run back out for afternoon gunnery practice. The accident occurred as they were returning from bombing practice.
Lt Taylor, the crew's regular bombardier, was on P.N.I.F. (perhaps a typo for D.N.I.F. - Duties Involve Not Flying) and another bombardier, Lt Mullins, took his place. We don't have any record of Mullins coming into the 492nd. The report said that Mullins had never bombed from a B-24 before. Therefore, the bombardier instructor, Lt Noyes, went with him. Even though it had already been decided to have Lt Lindsay, the navigator, do the bombing. This has nothing to do with what caused the accident, but does explain the loading list for the day.
According to all of the survivors on the crew, the plane lost power to two engines as they were coming in to land at the base. After a thorough study, Air Foce investigators concluded that responsibility for the accident was 60% material failure and 40% pilot error. They noted that the pilot's errors were a matter of technique and procedures taught but not learned. The Air Force accepted some responsibilty in that they felt emergency procedures and correct operations of engines needed to be stressed more in their training programs.
The investigators also found the maintenance at Alamogordo to be sub-standard. Many of the planes flying were not in full repair. The parts department was out of stock on many items. Even this plane, 42-100106, had things wrong with it and was waiting-on-parts. Pre-flight reports showed the number 1 carburator temperature gauge was out, the number 4 engine was cutting out, there was a hydraulic leak in the tail turret, all heaters were out, no oxygen bail out bottles, the center flourescent light was missing, no smoke grenades on board, and the camera hatch and bulkhead door latches were broken. Initially, the Loose Crew had been assigned a different plane, but it was found in worse condition than this one.
As Al Blue points out in his book, the 492nd while training at Alamogordo were operating as an air echelon only. In other words, they were borrowing other planes on the base. This particular plane was maintained by the 304th Airdrome Squadron. The 492nd didn't get their own planes until sometime in March.
The 492nd did have other accidents and close-calls at Alamogordo, but nothing as serious or fatal like this one. Many of the 492nd veterans have stories of frightening moments while flying in these borrowed planes.
More Info
Loose CCTS 1099
Roster for Training Accident 15 Feb 44
Name Rank Serial # Notes
Pilot Loose, Otis A 2nd Lt O-690126 Minor injuries in accident
Co-Pilot Luce, Douglas T 2nd Lt O-759698 Minor injuries in accident
MOS 1034
Lindsay, William B 2nd Lt O-699942 Killed in accident
Have seen name spelled Lindsey
Noyes, Russell C 1st Lt O-440526 Killed in accident
Bombardier Mullins, James C 2nd Lt O-698590 Killed in accident
Engineer Tetrault, Marcel O Sgt 12174255 Killed in accident
Have seen his name spelled Tetreault
Conner, William A Sgt 34663727 Major injuries in accident
Gunner Schaeffer, Warren B Sgt 35607675 Major injuries in accident
Have seen name spelled Schaffer
Gunner Brown, Jack R T/Sgt 14054449 Minor injuries in accident
Gunner Cox, Oscar B Sgt 38424797 Minor injuries in accident
Gunner Rodgers, Edwin P Sgt 16074978 Minor injuries in accident
492ndBombGroup.com — an Arnett Institute project
Page last modified Friday, February 16, 2007.