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Mid-Air Crash Over SF Valley In Late 50's.  
User currently offlineDantiger From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 92 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9075 times:

I was attending Pacoima Jr. High in 58-59 and a DC-7 on a training flight collided with a jet fighter. The DC-7 hit our gym field killing the crew and several students. The jet went down in mountains to the east of the San Fernando Valley. Many other students received very serious injuries and burns. I can find nothing on this incident on AIRLINERS.NET. Does anyone have additional info. on this crash? Thanks Dan Brosamle, Long Beach, CA.

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineMfricke From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 286 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9049 times:

You can find a detailed description of the crash at thwe website http://members.aol.com/jaydeebee1/aviation.html or by simply googling "Notable California Air Disasters." What a trajedy, to have to crash during school hours. What it like at school when it happened? I have worked at a high school for ten years, and could not imagine such a disaster happening. I feel badly for the crew, students, and entire community of Pacoima who went through this trajedy.

ONT - Southern California's Ontario!
User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9041 times:

I found a brief description of the accident, but there's not much more there than you've already said. It doesn't look like any pictures of the aircraft are in the photo database either.

New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineMfricke From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 286 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 8930 times:

No, that was a different description. You have to go to the link that I had, and then click on 1950's. Here it is, cut and pasted:

Date / Time: Thursday, January 31, 1957 / 11:18 a.m.
Operator / Flight No.: Douglas Aircraft Company / Non-Commercial
Location: Near Sunland, Calif.
Details and Probable Cause: Midair collision. On the first functional test flight of the brand-new airliner before it was to be delivered to Continental Airlines, a crew of four was aboard the four-engine Douglas DC-7B aircraft (N8210H) as it departed Santa Monica Municipal Airport at 10:15 a.m. Co-pilot for the Douglas Aircraft Co. test flight was veteran flier Archie R. Twitchell, 50, who enjoyed a secondary career as an actor between flying stints and appeared in over 70 films, including “I Wanted Wings,” “Among the Living,” “Out of the Past,” “I Shot Billy The Kid” and “Sunset Boulevard,” among many others. That same morning, in Palmdale, a U.S. Air Force Northrop F-89J Scorpion jet fighter (52-1870A) took off at 10:50 a.m. on a similar test flight, one that involved a check of its on-board radar equipment. Both aircraft were performing their individual tests at an altitude of 25,000 feet in clear skies over the San Fernando Valley when, at about 11:18 a.m., a high-speed, near-head-on midair collision occurred. Investigators later determined that the two aircraft converged at a point in the sky approximately one to two miles northeast of the Hansen Dam spillway. Following the collision, the radarman aboard the eastbound twin-engine F-89J Scorpion, Curtiss Adams, was able to safely bail out of the stricken fighter jet and, suffering from serious burns, parachuted to a landing in Burbank. The fighter jet’s pilot, Roland E. Owen, died when the aircraft plummeted in flames into La Tuna Canyon in the Verdugo Mountains. The last reported message from the fatally crippled westbound DC-7B airliner was from co-pilot Archie Twitchell, who radioed, “Mid-air collision! Mid-air collision! Ten-How (the plane’s radio designation) . . . We’re going in . . . uncontrollable . . . uncontrollable . . . Say good-by to everybody.” With a portion of its left wing sheared off and while raining debris onto the neighborhoods below, the DC-7B continued westbound, then rolled to the left and began a steepening, high-velocity dive earthward. The aircraft broke up at about 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground and seconds later the wreckage slammed into a Pacoima churchyard near the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Terra Bella Street, killing all four crew members on board. Upon impact, portions of the DC-7B exploded into hundreds of flaming pieces that slashed across the adjacent playground of Pacoima Junior High School, where some 220 boys were just ending their outdoor athletics activities. Ronnie Brann, 13, and Robert Zallan, 12, were struck and killed by the flying blast of wreckage and debris from the crashing airliner. A third gravely injured student, Evan Elsner, 12, died two days later. An estimated 74 additional students on the playground suffered injuries ranging from minor to critical. A second F-89 Scorpion jet, being used as a radar “target” by the first one during the equipment tests, was not involved in the collision and its two-man crew did not witness the accident. The collision was blamed on pilot error: Failure of both aircraft crews to exercise proper “see and avoid” procedures regarding other aircraft while operating under visual flight rules (VFR). The catastrophe prompted the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to set restrictions on all aircraft test flights, both military and civilian, requiring that they be made over open water or specifically approved sparsely populated areas.
Fatalities: 8 -- 1 of 2 occupants of the F-89J Scorpion jet; all 4 crew members aboard the DC-7B airliner; and 3 junior high school students on the ground.

ONT - Southern California's Ontario!
User currently offlineDantiger From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 8833 times:

Thank you gentlemen for your help. Marty your report was amazing to me. It brought back so many memories. The church mentioned was where I had been baptized years before. Ronnie Bran was in my Social Studies class and a very nice kid. My mom was washing dishes and watched in horror as the fiery plane dove behind the houses and heard the terrible explosion. She didn't drive so ran with crowds about six blocks to the school, knowing both my sister and I were where the plane seemed to hit. My best friend was on the gym field and remembered seeing the DC-7 come at them and ran toward the high fence and began to climb. He didn't remember doing it, but he must have been blown over the top when the main fuselage hit and exploded and ran about ten blocks home. His mom drove to the school and never found him until she finally went back to their house and he was in his bed with the blankets over his head, still in his gym trunks that were soaked with oil. I had the divine luck to have been excused from gym to attend my sister's graduation in the auditorium. If not, I'd have been on the field. A close friend of my sister's was giving a speech and they played it over and over on TV. She was ending with the prophetic words "We all have but one life to live and when it is over." In the audio you could hear the plane diving closer and louder and her words got slower and slower as the rumbling of the building increased and then the hideous boom. The lights of course went out, but the concussion blew all the doors open. There was little panic as the 300 or so kids and teachers evacuated. I ran to the field where the black smoke was bellowing and when I got there stood in shock looking out at our place of fun and laughter that was now only debris, fire, smoke and my buddies.

User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2078 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8773 times:

Rent the Movie, La Bamba. The Richie Valens story. He was killed with Buddy Holly on February 3, 1959 after taking off from MCW in a snowstorm, but he was in the school yard that day the CO DC-7B came crashing down, and the crash is depicted in the movie.

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