ASN Aircraft accident Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando N1669M Des Moines, IA
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 22 May 1953
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando
Operating for:Resort Airlines
Leased from:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: N1669M
MSN: 22536
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:6867
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-75
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:18 km (11.3 mls) NE of Des Moines, IA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Cheyenne Airport, WY (CYS/KCYS), United States of America
Destination airport:Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD/KORD), United States of America
The aircraft arrived at Cheyenne, Wyoming at 00:38 on a Civil Air Movement flight from New York International Airport. The aircraft departed Cheyenne at 01:32, on an instrument flight plan to Chicago at 7,000 feet. The C-46 progressed uneventfully until it reached Omaha. The pilot contacted Omaha INSAC and requested a change of altitude to 3,000 feet. This was denied because another flight proceeded at 2,600 feet between Des Moines and Omaha. The aircraft flew then into a severe thunderstorm in the vicinity of Des Moines. The aircraft lost control and subsequently the right wing panel failed at the attach angles to the center section due to a strong downward force which exceeded the design strength of the wing. The wing panel then struck the tail, causing it to disintegrate.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Separation of the right aileron tab motor from its support bracket due to loss of its outboard trunnion while the aircraft was in the severe turbulence of a thunderstorm. These conditions resulted in a tendency to roll erratically, and in conjunction with the extreme turbulence, caused loss of control and subsequent overloading of the wing to the point of failure."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Wing failure
Loss of control

» CAB File No. 1-0034
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 39-AN/34 (80-83)


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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 Cheyenne Airport, WY to Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL as the crow flies is 1398 km (873 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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