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Accident description
Last updated: 19 October 2017
Status:
Date:Sunday 31 January 1943
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (DC-3)
Operator:United States Army Air Force - USAAF
Registration: 42-15537
C/n / msn: 7332
First flight: 1942
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 6
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:10 km (6.3 mls) NW of Castaic, CA  (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Van Nuys Army Air Field, CA (VNY/KVNY), United States of America
Destination airport:Victorville Army Air Field, CA (VCV/KVCV), United States of America
Narrative:
The Douglas C-53 Skytrooper departed Van Nuys on a flight to Victorville. The aircraft was towing a Waco CG-4A glider (42-46327) with two crew on board.
After passing the San Fernando Valley both aircraft entered clouds and started picking up ice. Severe turbulence complicated the flight. Then suddenly the tail section separated from the fuselage and the C-53 crashed. The three passengers were ejected and deployed their parachutes. The crew died in the crash.
The glider pilots saw the tow rope going down and immediately released the rope. Unable to continue flight due to severe icing, both pilots bailed out of their CG-4A.

Classification:
Icing
Tail failure
Loss of control

Sources:
» Historic Aircraft Wrecks of Los Angeles County / G. Pat Macha
» Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research (AAIR)


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Van Nuys Army Air Field, CA to Victorville Army Air Field, CA as the crow flies is 110 km (69 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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