Tom in NO
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TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:04 am

Don't know if this article reached the a.net forums over the weekend.....if it did, please ignore this (and mods can delete).....if it did not, this article discusses how the TWA/United mid-air over the Grand Canyon in 1956 helped begin the overhaul of the air traffic control system.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedi...-me-aircrash3jun03,1,4919000.story

As an aside, the 50th anniversary of the disaster is on June 30.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
PHXANTHEM
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:23 am

Thanks for posting this Tom. After lurking on the site for a couple years, this post finally made me join a.net.

I flew for the first time in 1959, 5 stops from MSP to SFO. Ahh, the good old days of airline travel.
 
PanAm747
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:25 am

Barely four years later, a United DC-8 (one generation removed from the DC-7) and a TWA Constellation (Star of the Seine) collided over Staten Island, killing the same number of people - 128 - in both planes, plus six on the ground.

It sadly takes casualties to make changes in our world - Doppler radar has become very commonplace, but four major accidents (EA 727 @ JFK, 1975, PA 727 @ MSY, 1982, DL L-1011 @ DFW, and US DC-9 @ CLT, 1994) finally got the FAA to install it around the country.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
bigphilnyc
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 am

Quoting PHXANTHEM (Reply 1):
Thanks for posting this Tom. After lurking on the site for a couple years, this post finally made me join a.net.

Welcome!!

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 2):
Barely four years later, a United DC-8 (one generation removed from the DC-7) and a TWA Constellation (Star of the Seine) collided over Staten Island, killing the same number of people - 128 - in both planes, plus six on the ground.

Didn't a little girl survive the crash for a couple of days, and then die, almost mysteriously?
Phil Derner Jr.
 
EWRCabincrew
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:49 am

Quoting PHXANTHEM (Reply 1):
Thanks for posting this Tom. After lurking on the site for a couple years, this post finally made me join a.net

Fellow PHX resident here too...a warm (110F) welcome to you here.

We were just talking about this on the airplane the other day. Didn't realise it happened around this time.
You can't cure stupid
 
D950
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:53 am

Nothing mysterious, it was a little boy, Scotty Balzar or something like that. He kept the entire city full of hope for several days, before succumbing to his massive injuries. He was thrown from the DC8 into a snow bank, and when found, said "my name is Scotty" I believe.
Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
 
F9Animal
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:02 am

Excellent article. The pics really opened me up to the scale of this disaster. I worked for a Grand Canyon Airline out of LAS for about a year. I took a tour over the canyon during my employement with this company, and the pilot pointed out the wreckage for us. This certainly peaked my interest of the crash, and sure opened hopes of one day visiting the actual crash site.

I am working on going to a WCA crash site outside of PDX in a few months. A majority of the wreckage is still there. Perhaps morbid, but very interesting to see for myself. I wonder if any chills will crawl up the spine.
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isitsafenow
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Tim

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:03 am

Quoting Bigphilnyc (Reply 3):
Didn't a little girl survive the crash for a couple of days, and then die, almost mysteriously?

It was a boy apx 10 years old. He died a couple of days later of the flames and smoke that seared his lungs.
The connie was from CMH bound for LGA and the DC8 was from ORD was going to Idlewild, now called Kennedy.
The collision was near Staten Island where the TWA L1049 super connie fell. The DC 8 lumbered along for a while as the crew tryed to put in down in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It fell about 1/2 mile short and the jet came to rest at 7th Ave and Sterling place, Brooklyn. The famous photo shows the UA tail sitting in the middle of the intersection. My cousin lived at 5th Ave and Park Place, about two blocks from the crash site.
He is now retired NYPD and lives in Staten Island.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
F9Animal
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:23 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 7):
It was a boy apx 10 years old. He died a couple of days later of the flames and smoke that seared his lungs.
The connie was from CMH bound for LGA and the DC8 was from ORD was going to Idlewild, now called Kennedy.
The collision was near Staten Island where the TWA L1049 super connie fell. The DC 8 lumbered along for a while as the crew tryed to put in down in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It fell about 1/2 mile short and the jet came to rest at 7th Ave and Sterling place, Brooklyn. The famous photo shows the UA tail sitting in the middle of the intersection. My cousin lived at 5th Ave and Park Place, about two blocks from the crash site.
He is now retired NYPD and lives in Staten Island.
safe

I bet with todays technologies, the boy could have survived to tell all what it was like. That must have been a scary ride.

Also, I heard there were about 10 survivors from the connie. They all later died. What an awful accident.
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D950
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:36 am

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 8):
Also, I heard there were about 10 survivors from the connie. They all later died. What an awful accident.

The connie dropped like a rock, I do not recall any survivors.
Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
 
isitsafenow
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Tim

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:37 am

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 8):
Also, I heard there were about 10 survivors from the connie

No true..They all died in the collision or on impact with the ground.

I was a sophmore in high school when that happened and remember the news articles. I may have an old newspaper on the accident in the basement somplace.. The date was Dec 16
1960. I remember that without looking it up.
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
Tom in NO
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:46 am

Quoting D950 (Reply 5):
Nothing mysterious, it was a little boy, Scotty Balzar or something like that.



Quoting D950 (Reply 5):
said "my name is Scotty" I



Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 7):
It was a boy apx 10 years old.

Good memories everyone, and you're close on his name.....according to Robert Serling's "The Probable Cause" his name was Stevie Baltz.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
F9Animal
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:54 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 10):
No true..They all died in the collision or on impact with the ground.

I was a sophmore in high school when that happened and remember the news articles. I may have an old newspaper on the accident in the basement somplace.. The date was Dec 16
1960. I remember that without looking it up.

Interesting. I read a plane crash book that said they found at least 10 from the connie that were still alive and breathing when rescue teams arrived to the crash. They said they all died a short time later.
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PanAm747
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:40 am

I have two sources to cite on this:

"Eyewitness To Disaster" by Dan Perks:

Quote:
Eleven-year old Steven Baltz of Wilmette, Illinois, was a happy youngster the morning of December 16, 1960, when he boarded United Air Lines flight #826...

Of 128 people aboard the planes, the sole survivor was one small boy - Steven Baltz. Six other people died on the ground...

Young Steven was thrown from the tail section of the jetliner and hurled into a snowbank, his clothes aflame. Police and several others rushed to the youngster's aid. They rolled Steven in the snow to put out his blazing clothing.

Steven was rushed to a nearby hospital, in critical condition from burns, broken bones, and other injuries. While in the emergency room, he told doctors that he had held onto his seat as the jet hurtled toward the ground. "That's all I remember until I woke up here" he said.

But the joy of Steven's parents over his survival would be short lived. The youngster died of injuries 24 hours later.

The other book is "The People's Almanac" by David Wallachinsky and Irving Wallace:

Quote:
Flight 266 fell on Miller Field, Staten Island. Five victims were extracted from the wreckage alive, only to die en route to a hospital.
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milesrich
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:52 pm

The other coincidence between the two collisions is they both involved TWA L-1049 Super Connies, (not Turbo Compound Super G's), of which TWA only had about ten aircraft, the remaining ones being retired in 1961, shortly after the NYC accident.
 
antskip
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:53 pm

I have a copy of the 4th volume (The Propeller Age. Aerospace Pub 2001) of Macarthur Job's "Air Disaster" series that has a chapter (p.69-79) on the Grand Canyon disaster. Although the Canyon incident happened way back in 1956, he points out (p.78) that in the 10 yr period between 1959 and 1968 there were 223 mid-air collisions to U.S.-registered aircraft, with 528 fatalities. And most of them were in visual conditions.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:15 pm

A couple of comments:

1. That 1960 mid-air collision over New York City was probably a major reason for the demise of Convair as an airliner manufacturer. It forced the development of very tight airborne hold procedures around busy airports, which essentially erased the speed advantage of the 880 and 990 models.

2. All those mid-air collisions was the impetus for the development of TCAS airborne collision warning systems, especially here in the USA. That's why airborne collisions are rare nowadays, especially with commercial airliners (a tragedy like that collision between a PSA 727 and a private plane in 1978 and an Aeromexico DC-9 and a private plane some years later would not likely have happened if the planes had modern TCAS warning systems).
 
SeeTheWorld
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:29 am

There was also a collision on April 21, 1958 between a United DC-7 and an Air Force jet over Sloan, Nevada. My great-uncle, Ed Nollenberger was killed on that flight. This crash was also responsible for some safety changes.

http://www.thetracon.com/air%20radio%20service%20diamond.htm

According to the site:

"On April 21, 1958, while the CAB's Bureau of Safety Regulation was meeting with Air Force General Counsel representatives to discuss lowering the positive control route floor of 24,000 feet to 15,000 feet, an Air Force jet T-33 descending into Nellis AFB collided with a United DC-7, at 21,000 feet near Las Vegas. One of the victims was Ed Nollenberger, of the Los Angeles Regional Office's Air Traffic Division. Within 15 minutes after resuming the meeting, the positive control route proposal was adopted."

Does anyone know anything more about this? I know that my mother would be very interested. She recalls vividly the moment she found out that her uncle had been killed in this plane accident.
[Edited 2006-06-06 18:30:25]

[Edited 2006-06-06 18:31:37]
 
F9Animal
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:33 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 13):
Quote:
Flight 266 fell on Miller Field, Staten Island. Five victims were extracted from the wreckage alive, only to die en route to a hospital.

It is sometimes so difficult to be half right! LOL! No, I just remembered reading something like that, and I thought for a minute my memory was going as I get to be an old man! None the less, it was still an awful tragedy.


One thing that struck me on the Grand Canyon collision was how a team of pilots flying over the United wreckage could identify the United Fuselage, and how intact it appeared. If memory serves correctly, I read that the pilot was attempting to crash land the plane. If this is the case, it makes you wonder how close he came to being successful?
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OB1504
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:52 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 16):
1. That 1960 mid-air collision over New York City was probably a major reason for the demise of Convair as an airliner manufacturer. It forced the development of very tight airborne hold procedures around busy airports, which essentially erased the speed advantage of the 880 and 990 models.

In addition, this crash was one of the driving forces behind the implementation of the 250 KIAS speed limit while flying below 10,000 feet.
 
Archer
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:10 am

It's amazing, this AM I remembered it would be 50 years ago that the TWA and UAL
collided over the Grand Canyon on June 30. I was almost 14 years old and we were
on our way to Cape Cod from the Albany NY area when we heard about it on the (AM)
radio. I've heard they don't let people go to the crash sites but I've always wondered
how they would know.
Makes one realize alot of time has passed.
 
airbus3801
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:49 am

How did the two A/C hit. Was it a head on, t-bone or something else? Even without radar, it is odd how the two A/C would not have meneuvered around each other.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:55 am

Quoting Airbus3801 (Reply 21):

Both planes left LAX apx 5 minutes apart. UA for MDW and TW for MKC.
The DC7, a faster plane, overtook the connie from apx the 5 oclock position or the 7 oclock position and from above.
You have to remember both plane diviated from their course to show the pax the canyon through the clouds, which played a major part in the mid-air.
The 7, as near as can be determined, came out of a cloud and...bang, into the connie.
No radar was on either plane, or in use at the time. After the tragady, the then CAB, directed all commercial planes to be equipted with radar and USE it.
safe.
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
Minnahoco
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:03 am

Tom,

It looks like you got two lurkers off the sidelines on this one. I just joined so I could respond also.

I worked for UAL and I was a relative newcomer on June 30, 1956. I was a young man of 19 and I worked in a corporate office called payload control, which was located at the Stapleton Airport (Denver). We shared space with system wide Crew Scheduling, Aircraft Scheduling and Maintenance. On my way to work that afternoon I heard that two aircraft were "missing". At work, it was obvious one of the missing was "ours". I will never forget the stress that the entire UAL family went through over the next several weeks. This room was truly the "hub" of all operations, and while my roll was purely clerical, I grew up pretty fast over this period.

Thanks for the bitter sweet memory.

Tom in Boise
 
isitsafenow
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:12 am

Quoting Minnahoco (Reply 23):
two lurkers

so.......what's a lurker?
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
Minnahoco
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:39 am

Webster:

lurk: 1. to stay hidden, ready to spring out, attack, etc.; lie in wait. 2. to exist undiscovered or unobserved; be present as a latent or not readily apparent threat 3. To move furtively.

In other words, we've been on the sidelines reading posts, but no one new we were there until today.
 
Tom in NO
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:48 am

Quoting PHXANTHEM (Reply 1):
Thanks for posting this Tom. After lurking on the site for a couple years, this post finally made me join a.net.



Quoting Minnahoco (Reply 23):
It looks like you got two lurkers off the sidelines on this one.

Welcome to the group, guys.....and thanks for adding your memories and other thoughts to the thread and a.net in general.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
timz
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:31 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 22):
After the [1956] tragady, the then CAB, directed all commercial planes to be equipted with radar and USE it.

Use it to avoid collisions with other aircraft? I thought it was just weather radar that was required after 1961 or whenever it was.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:40 am

Quoting Timz (Reply 27):
Timz

Well, the directive gave the carriers a few years to equip their existing fleets.
I believe the DC 7 had radar(from the factory) and it's a mystery why the collision took place. It is possible the radar was off, but don't remember the "probable cause" and official CAA findings.
Perhaps someone can research the net.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
timz
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:50 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 28):
I believe the DC 7 had radar(from the factory) and it's a mystery why the collision took place.

What's the mystery? They were flying side by side on converging courses-- neither was in front of the other until the last seconds, if at all, and the radar only looks forward, doesn't it?

Does weather radar even show other aircraft?
 
antskip
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Tim

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:25 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 28):
the "probable cause" and official CAA findings

Macarthur Job, in his 4th volume of his "Air Disaster" series (The Propeller Age. Aerospace Publications 2001. ACT, Australia. p.69-79), writes that the CAB gave the cause as "the pilots did not see each other in time to avoid the collision" (!). According to Job, CAB listed the contributing factors as follows:
1) intervening clouds reducing time for visual separation
2) limitations of cockpit visibility
3) preoccupation with other matters (e.g. providing passengers with views of Grand Canyon)
4) physiological limits to human vision, reducing time available to see and avoid the other aircraft
5) insufficient enroute travel advisory info.

Job suggests that passengers in both aircraft may have seen the other plane for a while, but assumed their aircrew knew also.

I suppose the planes would would have closed quite slowly, being almost on parallel courses - increasing the likelihood of passengers seeing the other plane?

[Edited 2006-06-07 03:40:02]
 
isitsafenow
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:33 am

Quoting Antskip (Reply 30):
Antskip

Thanks for that....much appreciated!
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
antskip
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:48 pm

I have found a fascinating account on-line about the circumstances of the tragedy, along with modern pictures of the TWA crash site site:
http://www.aircraftarchaeology.com/t...a_united_airlines_grand_canyon.htm
 
F9Animal
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RE: TW/UA Grand Canyon Collision Article In LA Times

Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:48 pm

Quoting Antskip (Reply 32):
I have found a fascinating account on-line about the circumstances of the tragedy, along with modern pictures of the TWA crash site site:
http://www.aircraftarchaeology.com/t...n.htm

Great article! Looks like a tough hike to the crash site. It would be worth it. When I go visit the WCA crash of a DC-9 outside of PDX later this summer, I will include a report and pics. Anyone in this area up for it?
I Am A Different Animal!!