Accident North American F-51D Mustang 44-63869,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 174114
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Date:Wednesday 7 January 1948
Type:Silhouette image of generic P51 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
North American F-51D Mustang
Owner/operator:165th FSqn Kentucky ANG USAF
Registration: 44-63869
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:5 miles southwest of Franklin, Kentucky -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Marietta AFB, GA
Destination airport:Standiford Field, Louisville KY
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
A flight of four F-51Ds of the Kentucky Air National Guard took off from Marietta AFB on a ferry flight to their home base at Louisville.

While cruising at 5,000 feet near Godman AFB at 1452 CST the flight leader, Captain Thomas Mantell, was called on VHF from the ground and advised of a mysterious object bearing 220 degrees from the Godman tower at a high altitude and was asked if he had the fuel to investigate.
Captain Mantell replied that he did and began to climb at maximum rate in the direction indicated, accompanied by two other Mustangs. The pilot of the fourth fighter considered that he was getting low on gas and, with permission, continued on to Standiford Field on his own.

As this was a journey intended to be conducted below the altitude (14,000 feet) above which the use of supplementary oxygen was required by USAF regulations, none of the Mustangs had fully charged O2 bottles and only one pilot, Lieutenant Clements, had a mask available anyway.

By 1509 CST the three Mustangs had reached an altitude of 22,400 feet and one of Captain Mantell's two wingmen was feeling the effects of hypoxia, and escorted by Lt Clements, turned around and began to descend to a safer level, both of them losing sight of their leader.

At 1518 CST Capt. Mantell's fighter mushed into the ground at a low forward speed but at a high rate of descent on a farm southwest of Franklin, Kentucky.
The Mustang was completely wrecked by the impact, but there was no fire.
Captain Thomas Mantell was found dead in the cockpit.
The canopy was still latched closed so it appears that no attempt was made by the pilot to bail out.
The throttle lever was 1/4 open and the mixture control was at ' Idle Cut Off ' suggesting that Thomas Mantell had recovered from his hypoxia induced loss of consciousness to some degree, and had made an attempt to recover control of his aircraft and may have been trying to make an emergency landing.


Revision history:

25-Feb-2015 09:14 angels one five Added
25-Feb-2015 09:27 angels one five Updated [Source, Narrative]
05-Apr-2015 01:13 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
17-Apr-2015 08:50 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
12-Feb-2020 13:07 Iwosh Updated [Operator, Operator]
16-Oct-2021 09:58 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
07-Oct-2023 17:03 angels one five Updated [[Narrative]]

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