dtwclipper
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NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:32 am

I heard on the radio yesterday that the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates is going to search again this summer for the wreckage of this DC-4 which crashed into Lake Michigan in 1950.

http://www.michiganshipwrecks.org/dc4.htm


'The team knew that locating the scattered remains of an airplane, probably in small pieces in deep water, far from shore, would be a difficult task. It could take years of research. While most airplane disasters leave major wreckage to assist officials in determining the cause of the crash, Flight 2501 left only the smallest of clues. Modern day black boxes that record every word spoken from the flight deck along with detailed instrument readings did not exist in 1950. Newspaper reports often were exaggerated, and eyewitnesses were not trustworthy.

If there is major wreckage on the lake bottom, it is likely to be the four massive Pratt & Whitney R2000 engines. These 14-cylinder, air-cooled behemoths were 59.66 inches long, 49.1 inches in diameter and weighed nearly 1,600 pounds each.'


I too was not aware of this incident, but it appears that this is one of the few accidents were no clear answer to the cause has been found.

"PROBABLE CAUSE: "Insufficient evidence upon which to make a determination of probable cause."

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19500623-0&lang=en
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WA707atMSP
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:11 am

There's a great article about the search for this aircraft's wreckage in this month's (May 2007) issue of Airways Magazine. Anyone interested in the crash should definitely buy a copy of the magazine!
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mspguy
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:43 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 1):

I read that article, sounds like he has a good clue of where it might be. I can not wait to hear if they have any luck.
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OPNLguy
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:12 am

I'd like to know what happened to the United 727-100 that went into Lake Michigan in the 1960s....
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charlienorth
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:40 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 3):
I'd like to know what happened to the United 727-100 that went into Lake Michigan in the 1960s....

They found most of it,some diver brought a piece of structure to the Boeing rep at UAL about 10 years ago and it was confirmed from that aircraft.
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OPNLguy
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:55 am

Quoting Charlienorth (Reply 4):
They found most of it,some diver brought a piece of structure to the Boeing rep at UAL about 10 years ago and it was confirmed from that aircraft.

I sorta meant "what happened" as in "what was the cause of the crash..."  Wink
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WA707atMSP
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:03 pm

I don't think they ever conclusively determined what caused the crash, but I think the theory was that the crew received several ATC descent clearances in quick succession, and lost track of how fast they were descending.

Robert Serling's excellent book Loud And Clear has a chapter about this crash and the two other 727 crashes in 1965, the AA crash at CVG and the UA crash at SLC. Although the book is out of print, it's readily available on Alibris and the other online out of print book websites.
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charlienorth
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:33 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 5):
I sorta meant "what happened" as in "what was the cause of the crash..."

Noted......A few years ago there was a news story where a man had a theory that the aircraft had a flame-out and the crew initiated a dive,similar to what they would do with a viscount to obtain a start,they had a memo from that era from another airline which addressed potential fuel control units with the 727's,never heard anymore about it,sounds more like a fishing for theories expedition.

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 6):
Although the book is out of print, it's readily available on Alibris and the other online out of print book websites

Got lucky..found it at a garage sale for a buck Smile
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richierich
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:38 am

Quoting Charlienorth (Reply 7):
Noted......A few years ago there was a news story where a man had a theory that the aircraft had a flame-out and the crew initiated a dive,similar to what they would do with a viscount to obtain a start,they had a memo from that era from another airline which addressed potential fuel control units with the 727's,never heard anymore about it,sounds more like a fishing for theories expedition.

A flame-out? On a DC-4? I don't think so....

WA707 points to pilot error for descending too quickly. That is always a possibility, but the fact that both of these were skilled pilots seems to make that a little harder to believe.

Turbulence is still the most likely cause, in my opinion, based on the weather at that time and other aircraft reports.

Either way, it was a very tragic loss and I'm glad that people have not forgotten or "given up" after almost 60 years.
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charlienorth
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:46 am

Quoting Richierich (Reply 8):
A flame-out? On a DC-4? I don't think so....

NOOO..that was the UAL 727 that crashed off Lake Forest in 1965..
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charlienorth
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:57 am

Quoting Richierich (Reply 8):
units with the 727's

Also read these words ,might give you a clue before leaping...
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OPNLguy
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RE: NW 2501 23 June 1950

Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 6):
about this crash and the two other 727 crashes in 1965, the AA crash at CVG and the UA crash at SLC.

Your mentioning the CVG crash rang a bell, as I was living there at the time, just 11, and already interested in aviation. The mental cobwebs have cleared such that I seem to recall the general 727-related issue (then new) of pilots letting high sink-rates develop and being unspooled, and expecting the engines to react to power changes more quickly, like the prop equipment they were formerly on did. I vaguely recall that the UAL 727 that crashed on the runway at SLC had a really sink-rate (2,000 fpm....

Back to the NTSB reports....

As an aside, TWA had a couple of accidents at CVG back in the mid-1960s, and the happened in quick succession. They were still investigating the first one when the second one occurred. One of the accidents (I forget which) only had a single fatality, but it happened to be a relative of my Dad's boss.
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