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Last updated: 25 October 2021
Date:Friday 18 April 1952
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando
Operating for:Robin Airlines
Leased from:Air Charters
Registration: N8404C
MSN: 22466
First flight: 1945
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-75
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 26
Total:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:3 km (1.9 mls) E of Whittier, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ (PHX/KPHX), United States of America
Destination airport:Hollywood-Lockheed Air Terminal, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America
Flightnumber: 416W
The Curtiss C-46 had been cleared for a straight-in instrument approach. The crew were told to maintain 3000 feet until leaving the Downey marker. The aircraft descended below this altitude and crashed into a hill at 980 feet altitude. At the time of this accident Robin Airlines, Inc., was doing business as North Continent Airlines, although no authorization to change its name had been obtained from the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The action of the pilot in voluntarily descending below the minimum altitude for which he was cleared, and attempting an approach at an altitude too low to clear the terrain."

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» Air Britain Casualty compendium (pt. 54)
» CAB File No. 1-0027

Follow-up / safety actions
Robin Airlines was grounded the day after the accident because of 40 violations. The airline had gone out of business following a Dec. 20, 1951 crash but started trading as 'North Continent Airlines'.


photo of Curtiss-C-46F-Commando-N8404C
accident date: 18-04-1952
type: Curtiss C-46F Commando
registration: N8404C
photo of Curtiss-C-46F-Commando-N8404C
accident date: 18-04-1952
type: Curtiss C-46F Commando
registration: N8404C

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 Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ to Hollywood-Lockheed Air Terminal, CA as the crow flies is 589 km (368 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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Curtiss C-46

  • 3341 built
  • 754th loss
  • 149th fatal accident
  • 17th worst accident (at the time)
  • 30th worst accident (currently)
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