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MishapVP-16 MishapMishap


MishapsMISHAPs: 03 NOV 37 A/C: OJ Location: Seattle Strike: Yes BUNO: Unknown Cause: Camera gun practice [28NOV2012]

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraMishap Crew, etc. Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [28NOV2012]


MishapsMISHAPs: 01 NOV 44 A/C: PBM-3S Marina Location: Unknown Strike: No BUNO: 48207 Cause: Both engines quit in flight due to late fuel transfer, pilot made full stall landing at 50', 45mi.from Saipan Is;Minor damage Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 13OCT2003 | 26SEP98]

Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48207
Squadron VPB-16
Date: 1 Nov 44
Location: 45mi. from Saipan
Type: Night anti-submarine patrol

Pilot was on night patrol when emergency occurred. The gross weight was 42,000lbs, the center of gravity at 29% of the mean aerodynamichord. Both engines had been performing satisfactorily up to the time the trouble occurred. The engines were on auto lean mixture and were drawing fuel from the wing service tanks which had 150 gals apiece in them at that time. When the starboard engine started to cut out the flight engineer immediately shifted both engines to auto rich and fuel selector to the center hull which then had 250 gals in it. The starboard engine caught for about 20 sec during which time the co-pilot advanced the throttles to 45" of manifold pressure and the props to 2800rpm. Nevertheless, the plane dropped from 1500' to 850' of altitude during this time that this starboard engine cut out. At this point both engines cut out completely making emergency landing inevitable. The pilot turned into the wind, and making use of his radio altimeter broke his 90 knot glide at 50' indicated altitude. The plane was in a full stall position at 3 to 4' above the water and was landed without flaps.

The pilot states that the plane bounced about 50' into the air and then the port wing began to drop despite full right rudder and aileron. As a consequence the port float settled into the water on the first bounce. The plane left the water again and then settled down for a final landing. When the plane had come to complete stop, the port wing tip was about 4' under the water. By ordering the men out on the starboard wing the PPC, the port wing was raised from the water & the plane righted to an even keel. Further investigation revealed that the port vertical fin, port rudder, and starboard horizontal stabilizer were badly bent and out of alignment. This was the extent of visible damage at that time. The US ELLET arrived on the scene and rigged three lines respectively to bow pendant and to each eye bolt in the wind in order to tow the plane. Motor whale boat from the ELLET punched three holes in the tunnel while effecting the transfer of confidential gear. at 1645 the Tanapag Harbor Crash Boat relieved the USS ELLET and towed the plane from a point 2mi outside the submarine nets to the seaplane ramp. Four holes were punched in the starboard float to draw water from it and prevent the plane capsizing while being beached. A post beach inspection revealed wrinkles in the tunnel section between station 935-3/4 to 764-1/2. Repairable damage.

Crew Ok

Pilot:Lt(jg): James J. Dohney, AVN-USNR
ENS D. E. Klepinger, AVN-USNR
ENS K. E. Snyder, AVN-USNR
AMM2 F. L. Perkins, USNR
AMM2 R. J. O'Neal, USNR
AMM1 W. M. Howard, USNR
ARM3 T. R. Wall, USNR
S1 A. J. Selega (ARM), USNR
AOM3 R. A. Eilson, USNR
ACMM R. F. Chatard
ACOM C. A. McManns

UPDATE "...I was looking for a friend in VP-16 and came across a plane from that squadron that when down in the waters off of Saipan in 1944. Looking at the names of the crewmen on that plane I came across a " R. J. O'Neal", my brother. The crew all came out ok..." Contributed by O'NEAL, AO2 Bob Sr rmo@inetw.net [08MAY2004]

MishapsMISHAPs: 07 NOV 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: KOSSIL PASSAGE Strike: Yes BUNO: 45361 Cause: DISPERSAL TO AVOID BAD WEATHER/TYPHOON TAKE OFF ACCIDENT Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 13OCT2003 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 45361
Squadron VPB-16
Date: 7 Nov 44
Location: Kossol Passage, Palau Islands
Type: Dispersal to avoid bad weather

The squadron was operating from Kossol Passage, Palau Islands. All seaplanes at the base had been ordered to evacuate by the Task Force Unit Commander, due to an approaching tropical disturbance bringing with it winds velocities up to 70 kts. At the time VPB-16 was ordered to cast off from the buoy and take-off, the take-off conditions were dangerous, and only the urgency of evacuating Kossol Passage justified the risk involved in making the take-off's. 16-P-5 (BuNo. 45361) was at a speed of 45 kts when tossed into the air by a swell. It came down hard, and the pilot felt water coming in fast at the bow. By the time he cut the throttle he was at the top of his second bounce and while coming down at this time the plane plowed head-on into a swell. The port wing carried away.

Damage: Port wing float sheared off. Damage to hull (hole about 10" by 2') on port side of bombers window). Additional damage incurred by sea causing bow and nose of plane to strike the hull of the ship, etc. Complete loss of plane when sunk.

Crew Ok

Pilot LT Sheldon E. Gardinier, AVN-USNR
Lt(jg) Theodore E. Halm, USNR
ARM2 William J. MacDonald, USNR
ARM3 William C. Hugghins, USNR
AOM3 Thomas K. Julian, USN-I
AMM3 Francis J. Tilliman, USNR

MishapsMISHAPs: 29 SEP 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: SOUTHEAST OF PALAU ISL Strike: Yes BUNO: 48165 Deaths: 10/KILLED Cause: CRASHED Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 12OCT2003 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48165
Squadron VP-16
Date: 29 Sep 44 (0530)
Location: West Central Pacific Ocean
Type: Anti-submarine patrol

While on routine night anti-submarine patrol on the night of Sep 28-29, PBM-3, BuNo. 48165, crashed at sea south-east of Palau Islands. The plane had been airborne for approximately 13 hours, 3min, when the accident occurred. The pilot made his routine hourly "on station" report, at 0500-I, 29 Sep, and it is there believed that the crash occurred between 0500 and 0545-I.

The plane was patrolling at 1000-ft altitude when one of the engines sputtered out, and immediately afterward so soon that the lone survivor does not even know which engine quit first, the second also failed. According to the survivor's testimony, the aircraft crashed during darkness. Sunrise was at 0557-I. The survivor reports a sensation of rapid descent, the plane struck the water. At this pint the survivor lost consciousness, and it is not known what happened. He regained consciousness to find himself in the water, without his life jacket and his shores, both of which had been securely on him prior to the planes impact. He heard explosions, which are presumed to be the planes depth charges. The only part of the plane visible above the water by this time was a wing tip and a wing tip float. Albanese saw a partially opened life raft floating nearby and swam to it. before he reached the raft he had seen Frost, E.E., AMM1c., also swimming in the water. Frost told Albanese that he had lost a leg. When Albanese looked for him after getting into the life raft, Frost had disappeared.

Just what did cause both engines to fail almost simultaneously, or what happened during the attempted landing is not, and probably never will be known.


Pilot LT Daniel U. thomas, A-V(N) USNR /Killed
ENS Wilburn R. Caudle, USNR /Killed
ENS Lourge L. Costello, USNR /Killed
AMM1 Evan E. Frost, USNR /Killed
AMM3 Willis W. Harris, USN /Killed
ARM3 Joseph S. Albanese, USN /Serious (shock)
ARM3 Edward B. Reavis, USNR /Killed
AOM2 William P. Muicahy, USNR /Killed
AMM3 Robert J. Gonzales, USN /Killed
AMM3 Harold G. Green, USNR /Killed
S1 Morris O. Hamilton, USNR /Killed

MishapsMISHAPs: 25 SEP 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: PALAU ISL Strike: Yes BUNO: 45282 Cause: LANDING ACCIDENT,HULL SPLIT,SANK 07-52-13N 134-34-20E Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 12OCT2003 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft Accident Card #44-15449
Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 45282
Squadron VPB-16
Date: 26 Sep 44
Location: 07-52-13N 134-34-20E
Type: Anti-submarine patrol

Sank following landing which wing tip float was torn off and hull split. Pilot took off on a routine anti-submarine patrol. Immediately after take-off, loose accessory port engine cowling made return to base necessary. At 1740-I, the pilot attempted a semi-power landing using 30 deg flaps and speed normal for a plane much less heavily loaded. The plane "dropped in" from approximately 12-ft, nose slightly low and wings level. It then bounced approximately 50-ft into the air. Power was applied to cushion the effect of the bounce, plane hit again in a flat attitude with starboard wing low. The starboard wing float was carried away. The men were immediately stationed on the port wing. In spite of this the plane listed to starboard at an angle of 45 deg in about 30 sec, causing the men to slide off the wing. The plane then rolled over on its back and sank in approximately 5 mins. The gross weight of the plane at time of landing was 54,000 lbs and the MAC-30.5%. The pilot landed into the wind on a heading of 255 deg, having the sun at time of landing was 3deg, 18mins. This position of the sun produced a bad glare on the water's surface and considerably reduced the pilots visibility. Plane sank in 17 fathoms of salt water. "Total loss"

Crew Ok:

LT R. R. Stoinoff (pilot), USNR
LT(jg). W. E. Drury, USNR
LT(jg). H. C. Culbreth, USNR
AMM1 A. A. Pilger, USN
AMM3 E. E. Maggiora, USNR
ARM2 H. G. Delaney, USNR
ARM3 W. F. Ullrich, USN
AOM3 J. J. Conner, USN
AMM3 H. A. laeger, USNR
S1 L. A. Henderson, USNR
S2 Lopez, USNR

MishapsMISHAPs: 27 JUL 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: 58mi. NW of Saipan Strike: Yes BUNO: 48208 Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [11OCT2003]

Aircraft Accident Card #44-15640
Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48208
Squadron VP-16
Date: 27 Jul 44 (0925)
Location: 58mi. NW of Saipan
Type: Anti-submarine patrol

Analysis: PBM-3D, BuNo. 48208, Lt. D. T. Felix,Jr. A-V(N), USNR, Patrol Plane Commander., was on a routine patrol at 2000-ft., 58miles NW of Saipan on the morning of 27 Jun 44. At 0850 K, the port engine began to vibrate and developed a considerable oil leak. The automatic propeller speed governor failed at the same time, and the manual control of RPM was also lost. All switches leads and circuit breakers within the plane pertaining to the propeller pitch control system, were checked and found in good order and proper position. On single engine with a windmilling propeller, pilot increased starboard engine manifold pressure to 38.5", rpm 2400. Bombs, bomb-bay tanks were jettisoned at this time. Air speed was reduced to 90-95 knots and plane continued to lose altitude at the rate of 200-ft per minute. At 0924 the necessity, for open sea landing was clear to the pilot, and he notified his base. A full stall landing, into the wind, air speed 64 knots, was made. The plane landed tail first, and the bow hit at wave which bounced the aircraft approximately 50-ft into the air. The port wing dropped and could not be raised due to the bad engine on that side, and the slow air speed. The plane in on the port wing was damaged as listed by landing. The crew left the plane in life rafts, the pilot leaving by walking off the starboard wing. The plane sank less that 90 seconds after landing. All hands were rescued at 1615 K of the same day by the USS BALLARD after another VP-16 plane had sighted the rafts.

Damage: Port wing carried away. Large holes torn in port side of, from beaching gear hatch aft to waist hatch.

All personnel safe:

LT Daniel T. Felix, Jr. A-V(N) USNR (pilot)
ENS H. J. Renolds
AMM1 G. E. Wilkinson
AMM3 E. Hinz
ARM3 E. R. Downard
ARM3 W. H. Locke
AOM2 W. J. Fassbender
AMM3 A. H. Herrmanon
AMM3 E. J. Tilton
AOM3 C. P. Hilding

MishapsMISHAPs: 22 JUN 44 A/C: PBM-3D Marina Location: Central pacific area Strike: Yes BUNO: 45216 Cause: Crew missing on patrol; Pilot; Lt.Cmdr.Flachs Barth, Ens.L.G.Ruth, Ens.L.E.Benson, AMM1c.Robert Wisk, AMM3c.Cecil H.Wiggs, ARM3c.James T.Greenfield, AOM3c.Walace B.Grant, AMM3c.Austin E.Hoskins, AMM3c.Alexander Hinton,Jr., AMM3c.Ray Morrman, and S1c.Lee R.Dougsas Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [11OCT2003 | 25SEP98]

Aircraft Accident Card #44-15449
Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 45216
Squadron VP-16
Date: 22 Jun 44
Location: Central Pacific area
Type: Patrol operations

Crew Missing:

Pilot LCDR Flachbarth, USNR
ENS L. G. Ruth, USN
ENS L. E. Benson, USNR
AMM1 Robert E. Wise, USNR
AMM3 George Plant, USNR
ARM3 Cecil H. Wiggs, USNR
ARM3 James T. Greenfield, USNR
AOM3 Wallace B. Grant, USNR
AMM3 Austin E. Hoskins, USNR
AMM3 Ray Moremann, USN
S1c. Lee R. Douglas, USNR

UPDATE "...VP-16 aircraft lost June 1944 BUNO: 45216..." Contributed by Phillip Fazzini phillip.fazzini@zoomtown.com [24JUN2014]

Reference: 12 O'Clock High - http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=2670&page=65

Just finished to study the case of the PBM of VP-16 shot down by US destroyers on 21 June 1944, signaled above, to include it on www.crashplace.de. Here is my final result, in case you're interested:

In the evening of 21 June 1944 US Navy Destroyer Divisions 92 (USS Boyd, Bradford, Brown and Cowell) and 104 were proceeding independently west of Marianas, about ten miles apart on parallel course, to rendezvous with a fueling group when at 2217 hrs radar contact was made with several unidentified aircraft, bearing 130°, distance 60 miles. The destroyers formed a column but at 2223 hrs the contact faded. At 2227 hrs another contact was made with one unidentified aircraft, bearing 055°, distance 30 miles.

At 2234, 2242, 2255, 2258 hrs the destroyers changed course to evade and give all ships clear firing bearing. Another radar contact made at 2241 hrs faded 5 minutes later. The closer unindetified aircraft was now orbiting close to the formation out of range, but then started a low level approach and at 2309 hrs it was at four miles, bearing 215° and closing. Permission to open fire was asked and granted if the plane approached within 10,000 yards. The plane continued its approach directly toward the division and fire was opened at 2310 hrs at about 8,000 yards, while the destroyer executed turn to avoid anticipated torpedo. All four destroyers fired, expending a total of 262 5’’ and 132 40mm shells and at 2312 hrs the aircraft was shot down by 15°06 N 139°20 E.

The Brown was sent to investigate crash. It found a wing float painted characteristic light and dark blue as US Navy planes. The crew attempted to get pontoon aboard for further identification but it proved too heavy to handle. The body of a man was reported sighted with a yellow life jacket similar to the one worn by Amerian aviators. An attempt was made to recover it but the ship was unable to find it again. A pilot aboard the destroyer saw a deflated rubber boat with C02 bottles and recoginzed it as US. A window curtain with spring roller marked in USA was picked up. Despite thorough search of area, no other identification material and no survivor was found. It was concluded that the aircraft had been a friendly PBM.

Earlier during the day the division had made contact with friendly patrol planes not showing IFF, and had been reminded at 1630 hrs that friendly submarines and search planes with IFF inoperative were in the area. This was reminded to the ships when the evening calls were made. A ship of DevDiv 104, USS Hunt, reported that plane’s motirs sounded familiar, and the Boyd was ordered to broadcast on all aircraft voice circuits "Any search plane investigating surface ships get away from the area because your IFF is not working", while Cowell reported hearing a test call on TBL. All ships of DesDiv 92 were asked if they had any indication that contact was firendly. All replied negative.

In DesDiv 92 report it was believed that the PBM thought DesDuvs 92 and 104 were enemy and was making an attack on DesDiv 92, but it is possible that he was investigating DesDiv 104 and was unaware of the presence of DesDiv 92. A message reporting that a search plane was investigating a radar contact was received in the Boyd at approximately the instant of opening fire.

The conclusion of the report was that in the situation described above the matter of self preservation demanded to DesDiv 92 to open fire: "This tragic indident is deeply regretted but it is felt that in the circumstances no alternative was open to Commander Destroyer Division 92 to act other than as he did."

The lost Mariner was from VP-16. This unit was operating from the open sea off the roadstead of Garapan Harbor, Saipan, since the 18th, being serviced by the ISS Ballard first and then the USS Pocomoke. Seven aircraft of this unit were flying night patrol operations this night and one, 16-P-13 (PBM-3D Buno 45216), did not return. His last transmission to the base was "Investigating suspicious vessel." His fate was unknow until the 23rd, when the report of the shooting down of a PBM by DesDiv 92 was received.

Crew (all missing):
Lt.Cmdr Harry R Flachsbarth, USNR (pilot)
Ens Lyman E. Benson, USNR
Ens Larsen G. Ruth, USN
ARM3c Cecil Hertford Wiggs, USNR
AMM3c Austin Earl Hoskins, USNR
AMM3c George Plant, USNR
AMM1c Robert Eugene Wise, USNR
ARM3c James Terry Greenfield, USNR
S1c Lee Roy Douglas, USNR
AMM3c Alexander Hilton,Jr.
AMM3 Ray R Moorman, USN (not in VP-16 war diary, but in all other sources)
AOM3c Wallace Blackwell Grant, USNR

All are commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Philippines.

Quite a great deal of trouble was experienced by VP-16 with IFF equipment during the first 10 days of operations at Saipan because of the following reasons:
(a) Rough water take-offs and landings with the heavy loads on the open sea on the leeward side of Saipan undoubtedly jarred the IFF equipement out of adjustment.
(b) the IFF equipement had apparently not been properly serviced by Hedron, Fleet Air Wing Two, at Kaneoke Bay, T. H.
(c) Although the proper equipment for testing and checking the IFF was on board the USS Pocomoke, it had not been set up for use and no one on board was qualikied to set it up. This was overcome when ACRT Parry arrived on board and set up a test bench for IFF. The delay on his arrival coupled with the failure to provide similarly qualified people in the PATSU, was the direct cause of the loss of the above crew.

COMDESDIV 92, Report of shooting down of friendly aircraft on 6/21/44, West of Marianas (http://www.fold3.com/image/277072603/#277072467/)
VP-16 War Diary, June 1944 (http://www.fold3.com/image/279790195/#279790176/)
"The fighting flying boat: a history of the Martin PBM Mariner", by Richard Alden Hoffman. ISBN 1-59114-375-6

By the way by reading VP-16 war diary I discovered another case of friendly fire, on 19 June 1944 a PBM of this unit was attacked by USN fighters. It was not lost but one crew was fatally wounded. See: http://www.fold3.com/image/279790195/#279790183/.

Best regards

Laurent Rizzotti
21st June 2013, 10:16

MishapsMISHAPs: 19 JUN 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: TANAPAG HARBOR,SAIPAN Strike: Yes BUNO: 48173 Cause: ACCIDENT WHILE MOORED, SUNK BY GUNFIRE Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [11OCT2003 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48173
Squadron VP-16
Date: 19 Jun 1944 (1130)
Location: 15-12-12N 135-38-54E
Type: Refueling

At 1130 K, on 19 Jun 1944, aviation fuel barge #2, of the USS POCOMOKE was sent to refuel subject aircraft which was moored at buoy located four miles off shore in the open roadstead, off Tanapag Harbor, Saipan. The method of refueling at that time was for the Browser boat to tie alongside of the plane to be refueled. In attempting to do this the Bowser boat coxswain became convinced it would be advisable to pull away from the plane, because the sea was to rough. In pulling away, the screw of the Bowser boat became fouled with the mooring pendant of the buoy. While trying to get clear, the stern of the boat struck the planes side, venting the seams and puncturing the hull from the port bow hatch aft to the port beaching hatch. Men on board the plane attempted to stuff holes with rags, pillows and steel wool. This was ineffective. An electrical bilge pump (capacity 10 GPM) and hand bilge pump were also utilized.

The plane shipped water faster that it could be taken out. Water tight hatches were closed but it was impossible to isolate the damage because the holes were both forward and aft of the only watertight bulkhead in the plane between the bow compartment and forward end of the after bunkroom. Word was sent to the ship and additional pumps and personnel were dispatched by the tender. The gasoline pumps they brought were of an insufficient capacity to keep up with the leaks. It was impossible to hoist the plane on board the USS POCOMOKE, because the only hoisting sling in the area was, at that time, installed on another aircraft which was in a sinking condition due to gunfire and was being towed toward the USS POCOMOKE. A nearby Destroyer passed a line to the sinking plane, but it was to large to be rove through the tail towing eye. By the time a smaller line could be obtained and made ready, the plane was bow down and sinking rapidly. Plane sank in two minutes after crew abandoned.

Pilot: ENS H. C. Culbreth, A-V(N) USNR

MishapsMISHAPs: 10 JUN 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: HOWLAND ISL Strike: Yes BUNO: 48199 Cause: ENG FIRE, FORCE LANDED & BEACHED AT ACFT BURNED Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 10OCT2003 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft Accident Card #44-15357
Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48199
Squadron: VP-16
Date: 10 Jul 1944
Location: Howland Island
Type: Movement to advance area

From statements of the pilots corroborated and amplified by personal interviews it appears that this aircraft was proceeding normally on an extended flight at position 02-15N 175-55W, approximately 150 miles NW of Howland Island, the nearest land, at about 2300GCT, and about this time and position, a bad oil leak developed in the port engine, which necessitated single engine operation within ten minutes. Prior to feathering the port propeller and before jettisoning any fuel and gear, the total weight of the aircraft was approximately 50, 580 lbs. Conduct of the emergency procedure, is believed to have been suitable and complete. A total weight of 10, 430 lbs. was thrown overboard. The starboard bomb-bay tank had been jettisoned prior to going on single engine, and there was nothing in the port bomb-bay. After feathering the port propeller, the pilot used settings of 38" and 2400rpm, reducing speed to 100 knots, in an effort to hold altitude. At 7500-ft altitude the plane was settling at the rate of approximately 200-ft per minute. The pilot then ordered all loose equipment except personal luggage to be jettisoned. Speed was decreased to 95 knots, and power settings increased to 40" and 2500rpm. At 1500-ft altitude the plane was settling at the rate of 150-ft per minute, and the pilot commenced jettisoning gasoline from hull tanks. At 1000-ft all personal gear was thrown overboard. The plane continued settling until at altitude of 200-ft was reached.

At this time, the pilot increased settings to 43.5" manifold pressure and 2700rpm. Speed was decreased to 88 knots. Starboard engine cylinder temperature was above 240deg and oil inlet temperature had risen to 89deg. A safe landing was made at 0145GCT, one mile off shore of the leeward side of Howland Island. Total weight at time of landing was 38,820lbs. A careful survey by a landing party in one of the planes life rafts, revealed a shallow coral shelf around the Island extending from 400 to 500-ft from the Island, and terminating at its seaward end by an abrupt drop into water over 175-ft in depth. This shelf was covered by breakers in the surf having a depth of about 3-ft around the Island.The Naval Air Facility at Canton was kept in formed of developments and notified that no anchorage for the plane could be located. A request for parts thought necessary to fix the engine was also radioed to Canton. Meanwhile the plane was being held off shore by use of starboard engine. Just before sundown, when being started in order to taxi closer to shore, the starboard engine caught fire. Fire was extinguished without difficulty, but from that time on the starboard engine ran only on the rear bank of cylinder's running roughly, and raising doubts in the pilots mind that it would continue to run for very long. Wind and sea became stronger, and it became increasingly difficult to hold the plane out of the surf. The pilot finally decided to beach the plane to preclude possibility of being drifted out to sea during the night in case the starboard engine should quit, as he expected it to do.

He sent most of his crew ashore with one of the pilots in a rubber boat carrying all of the planes emergency equipment and at 0040GCT, ran the plane aground on the beach. There were no inhabitants on the Island, and the crew established camp for the night. The next morning Kennedy had all removable undamaged equipment of value removed from the plane. He received a note dropped from a plane that the USS Balsam was enroute from sea to rescue him and his crew. He informed the pilots of the squadron, who were flying overhead, that it was impossible to float the plane and that a boat could not get through the surf to carry away salvaged parts. The could offer no alternative to destruction of the plane because best information available at Canton corroborated Kennedy's opinion as to the inaccessibility of Howland Island beaches. All confidential gear was destroyed by means of a hand axe. At 2600GCT, Kennedy placed a Mark VI parachute flare under the radar transmitter and another under the radar receiver in the plane setting them off. The resulting fire destroyed the plane intirely. Rescue was finally effected by means of an LCM from the USS Balsam. The LCM could not get through the surf to the beach, it was found impossible to bring a loaded raft through safely and so it became necessary to destroy all gear salvaged from the airplane. It was possible to bring personnel safely through the surf in life rafts by means of a line shot from the LCM to the life rafts.

The Board is of the opinion that the material failure which caused this accident was in the BMEP unit; that either the failure resulted from deterioration which could not be detected in the routine inspection made on the engine, or that the torque piston was not secured tightly enough after holes had been drilled to blank out the BMEP unit. A re-design of the BMEP unit for the R-2600-22 engine is recommended.

All personnel rescued safely:

Pilot LT Jefferson Kennedy, Jr. USNR
ENS J. W. Hines
ENS W. M. Jones
AMM1 K. C. Weber
ACCM R. J. White
ARM1 J. D. Chambers
AMM3 S. B. Bestaeka
AMM3 E. E. Carpenter
AMM3 L. E. Apel
AOM1 W. C. Scholtzer
AMM3 J. Beirth
ARM3 R. Long

MishapsMISHAPs: 11 APR 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: FERRY NAS ALAMEDA TO NAS KANEOHE,HI Strike: Yes BUNO: 48202 Cause: 9hrs. INTO FLIGHT, FORCE LANDED AT SEA, ALL RESCUED Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 09OCT2003 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft Accident Card #44-13673
Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48202
Squadron VP-16
Date: 11 Apr 1944
Location: Pacific Ocean
Type: Extended ferry flight

Approximately 9hrs, 45minutes after take-off the starboard engine developed a bad oil leak, losing oil at the rate of 15 gallons per hour. The propeller governor was found to be inoperative. Oil pressure and temperature and other engine readings normal. Oil appeared to flow from the nose section, covering the complete propeller fan assembly and engine nacelle. The source of the leak could not be determined because of the fan assembly. Engine was left in operation until the oil supply was down to 15 gallons at which the prop was feathered and engine stopped. Engine could then be restarted in case of open sea landing became inevitable. The plane was put on complete single engine operation at 6700-ft. Due to adverse weather conditions the pilot descended to, and maintained level flight at 1800-ft altitude using 2400 RPM and 38.5" manifold pressure on port engine, gross weight was 43,000 pounds.

After about two hours and twenty minutes of single engine operation the exhaust valve seat on #11 cylinder, port engine, failed. This was indicated by pieces of metal striking the wing, followed by long continuous flame coming from that section of the engine. Backfiring occurred, resulting in a fire being started in the accessory section aft of the firewall. This fire was extinguished by putting the carburetor mixture control in idle cut-off position, stopping the flow of gasoline to the carburetor, which also stopped the engine. The pilot effected a landing with two dead engines at night on the open sea. Plane landed into the wind (estimated to be 10 knots) and into swells (about 10-ft high), the plane bounced once and upon striking the sea the second time, the port wing float was torn off. The landing weight was 39, 000 pounds, and center of gravity, was 31% of MAC. The plane sank about one and one-half hours after time of landing. Due to rough seas, the pilot deemed it inadvisable to station the men on the starboard wing to keep the port wing out of the water. Port wing gradually filled with water, rolling the plane over on its back, filling the hull with water. Plane sank in this attitude.

All personnel rescued:

Pilot LT W. R. Briggs, AVN USNR
LT J. Rowley, AVS
ENS J. S. Musial, AVN
ENS H. W. Babin, AVN
ENS J. B. Courtney, AVN
AMM2 J. Placxek, USNR
AMM3 G. Plant, USNR
ARM3 J. T. Greenfield, USNR
ARM3 H. D. Paterson, USNR
AOM2 W. L. Pinette, USNR
S1c W. E. Nelson, USN
S1c L. A. Henderson, USNR
AMM1 D. L. Stubblefield, USNR
S1c R. S. Beattie, USNR
AMM3 A. O. Bright, USNR
ARM2 D. C. James, USNR

MishapsMISHAPs: 11 APR 44 A/C: PBM-3DMarina Location: COLUMBUS, NM Strike: Yes BUNO: 48222..." Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 09OCT2003 | Updated 02JAN2001 | 16MAR98]

Aircraft Accident Card #44-13078
Aircraft: PBM-3D BUNO: 48222
Squadron VP-16
Date: 11 Apr 1944
Location: 15 miles east of Columbus, New Mexico
Type: Extended flight

Subject plane flying in company with four other PBM-3D aircraft. The section was flying at an indicated altitude of 7500-ft above sea level which was about 3300-ft above the terrain. At about 1745, position 15miles to west of Columbus, New Mexico., 16-P-14 called the section leader reporting trouble with starboard engine and requested information in regard to the nearest available water for landing. The Section Leader suggested a lake in Mexico, about 20miles to the south. 16-P-14 called the section leader again, inquiring if any other water was available. The Section Leader replied that another body of water was indicated on the map directly ahead, but it was very likely was unsuitable for a seaplane landing. 16-P-14 called again and asked Section Leader to check on the second body of water. The Section Leader called Columbus radio requesting information in regard to nearest available water for seaplane landing. The Section Leader had considerable difficult in understanding Columbus radio and asked for several repeats. About 30 seconds after 16-P-14 reported his first trouble, he called and stated that he was on single engine and proceeding to the lake in Mexico. While the section leader was in communication with Columbus radio, 16-P-13 was in communication with 16-P-14.

Peter 13, called Peter 14 and asked he had determined his trouble. Peter 14 replied that he though it was the #8 or #6 cylinder that was causing the difficulty. Peter 14 called Peter 12 and stated that he was unable to maintain altitude. Peter 13 called Peter 14 and asked whether he had jettisoned his bomb-bay tanks and personal gear. Peter 14 replied that he had jettisoned everything. At that time Peter 13 advised Peter 14 to burn gasoline from one of his other tanks; to restart the starboard engine if possible; exceed engine limitations on the good engine if necessary; that he could fly at much lower speed than he was accustomed to. Peter 13 also advised the pilot against lowering his flaps in an effort to hold altitude. Peter 14 called Peter 13 and thanked him for the above information. 30seconds later Peter 14 crashed and was burning fiercely. Pilot of 16-P-6 witnessed the crash and stated that Peter 14 was in a normal flying attitude when it struck the ground, his observation was made from an approximate altitude of 3000-ft. The ceiling and visibility was unlimited. There was very little if any, wind.

The aircraft departed Eagle Mountain Lake, Tx., for NAS San Diego, California, at a gross weight of 50,100 pounds. Squadron doctrine called for using 300 gallons of gasoline from rear hull tank then shifting to bomb-bay tanks. Assuming that the pilot was carrying out the movement order, his gross weight after jettisoning bomb-bay tanks would be 43,600 pounds which is well under single engine operating weight of this type of aircraft. Failure to close bomb-bay doors, on failure of port engine are possible reasons for the pilot not being able to maintain altitude to reach nearest body of water (10 miles distant).

An inspection of both engines by A&R NAS San Diego, California, revealed no mechanical failure. Ignition and fuel systems were so damaged by crash and fire that tests on these units were impossible. On basis of this report, the findings of the Trouble Board is that the starboard engine failed, cause unknown, leading to loss of aircraft and personnel on board.

Crew and passengers killed:

Pilot LT R. K. John,Jr. USN
LT W. F. McIndoo (co-pilot), AVN USNR
ENS N. R. Boyce
ENS L. R. Bradshaw
AMM3 C. C. Kisielewski, USN
AMM2 Donald M. Wilmot, USN
ARM3 Frances M. Horwedel, USNR
AOM3 Pasquale J. Pittore, USNR
AMM2 William F. Jacobs, USNR
Sea1 George O. Rizzolo, USN
AMM2 Francis S. Waldron
ARM1 Frank J. Reisz.

UPDATE "...In the second volume of the History of Naval Squadrons, for Squadron VPB-16 it notes that on 11 April 1944, Lt. Briggs was forced to land his PBM in the Pacific ocean. Lt. Briggs was a great pilot. In the dark, under heavy overcast, and in a heavy sea, Lt Briggs dead stick landed his aircraft without a single casulty. Yet on the same day, 11 April 1944, VPB-16 would lose another PBM. Due to engine failure a second PBM would crash while attempting to make a forced landing in the desert near Columbus, New Mexico. But, in this case all eleven crew members would die. Indeed it was a day of tragedy for Squadron VPB-16. For over fifty years my family belived that the pilot of the second PBM was my cousin Lt. Ralph Karl John Jr. In fact even in this web site, Lt. John is listed as the pilot of that failed aircraft. However, from a VPB-16 Squadron history, from written records of squadron members, and from discussions with squadron members such as the late John Carr and "Dutch" Kloeckener, I learned that Lt. McIndoo was the pilot of the crashed PBM. Even though almost sixty years have passed since that fatal accident, I wanted to include this information. I also would note that Lt. McIndoo did all that he could to land that PBM safely. Unfortunately, PBMs were meant to land at sea not on land. When Lt. McIndoo set the plane down on the rough desert surface, the plane flipped over on its back and burst into flames. I think Lt. McIndoo did all that he could possibly do. I have the highest regard for him and all the members of VPB-16..George Searles gsearles@uchicago.edu..." [02JUL2003]


MishapsMISHAPs: 00 MAY 53 A/C: P2 P Neptune "...Another incident was the controlled ditching in the Atlantic Ocean, off of Bermuda, they lost the P2V, but the pilot did not get his feet wet! Another incident was when the nose gear would not release, and the Plane Captain took the fire ax, and chopped into the nose wheel well, and released the hung up gear, and the ship landed without icident, possibly in Scotland? Made the newsreels that time...." Contributed by Chet Strother bozstraw@yahoo.com [05MAY99]

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-16 History "...Calmness Prevails As VP-16 Crew Ditches Bomber In Mid-Atlantic - JAX AIR NEWS - VOL 10 - NO 47 - NAS Jacksonville, FL - 12 MAY 1953..." WebSite: University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries http://ufdc.ufl.edu/ [15JAN2011]

UPDATE VP-16 P2s Thumbnail "...#9 Pane. As mentioned, it flew into Oslo with the wind and stopped only after it crashed into one of their hangers..." Contributed by Ray Jobes RAYJOBES@AOL.COM [13DEC99]

MishapsMISHAPs: 27 FEB 53 A/C: P2V-2 P Neptune Location: Between Kindley AFB, Bermuda and NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal Strike: Yes BUNO: 39357 Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [08OCT2003]

UPDATE Naval Aviation News May 1953 "...CG Cutter Saves P2V Crewmen - Page 18 - Naval Aviation News - May 1953..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1953/may53.pdf [29JUL2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Pilot Statement:

HH #7 BUNO 39357 was on a schedule deployment flight between Kindley AFB, Bermuda and NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal. This flight continued normally, cruising at 11,000-ft in accordance with assigned ATC clearance, power settings as follows: High blower, alternate air, 145 BMEP, normal mixture, 1850RPM, 31" manifold pressure, IAS 150 knots. At 1332z sudden power loss occurred on starboard engine, BMEP dropping from 145 to 70 and manifold pressure 31" to 17", all engine gauge units read normal on starboard engine. Left this power on starboard engine as 17" manifold pressure, will give a small amount of thrust. Gave starboard engine carburetor alcohol in case of icing, but without results. Shifted starboard engine from high blower to low blower without an increase in power. This led me to believe that a failure had occurred in the impeller drive gear assembly or gear train.

Almost immediately after power failure, I made the decision to return to Bermuda taking into consideration the following:
    (A) Cold frontal conditions between the 1331z position of 35-41W, 46-20W and the Azores.

    (B) Impossibility of maintaining 9000-ft minimum enroute altitude.

    (C) That SAR Units from Bermuda could, reach us in a shorter time than from the Azores.

    (D) If additional emergencies occurred, Ocean Station "ECHO" could be utilized.

    (E) Less mileage from 1331, DR to Bermuda, than on to the Azores.

    (F) The only advantage on continuing to the Azores was that of utilizing tailwind of 40 knots at 11,000-ft.
At time of power loss, navigator's Howgozit showed 1600 usable gallons of fuel aboard and a gross weight of 55,107 pounds. Gave order to commence jettisoning gear. Did not jettison bomb bay tanks at this time as I realized that the bomb bay tanks would be required for single engine endurance. Commenced transferring bomb bay tanks to inboards at 1340z. Between 1331 and 1340, radioman contacted WSY New York Overseas for an IFR clearance of 3000-ft. Shifted port engine from high blower to low blower while passing through 10,000-ft. A rate of descend of 300-400 RPM gave a comfortable 130-135 knots IAS, with 40" and 2400 RPM on the port engine and 17" & 1850 RPM on the starboard engine. WSY gave approval of 3000-ft IFR request and I continued with descend. At 1352z starboard engine built up to 20" manifold pressure and commenced severe backfiring: both engines were still in alternate air while letting down through IFR conditions, carburetor alcohol to the starboard engine did not eliminate engine cutting out and backfiring.

At 1354z feathered starboard engine. upon assuming single engine flight, I directed the radioman to contact WSY and inform them that we were on single engine and for WSY to request SAR Units, NAS Bermuda, to meet and escort Navy 9357 in. This request rogered for. LtCmd. BATTLE was endeavoring to contact Ocean Station "ECHO" on 118.1MSC and established contact at 1400z, advising them of our situation, and requesting Ocean Station "ECHO" to verify if SAR Units were enroute. At 1400z ECHO did not have us on radar. The planes radar was secured because of gas fumes from the bomb bay transfer pump. I ordered the radioman to contact WSY for DF fix, and WSY requested a frequency change to 8538 KC. At 1445 while maintaining 3000-ft IFR, I was notified by Plane Capt that port engine was smoking and throwing oil. Port ail quantity gauge at this time read 40 gallons. At 1331z both oil quantity gauges indicated 60 gallons each. Then I realized that ditching was inevitable and doubted our efforts to locate Station ECHO. The ADF was giving average to reliable indications on Station ECHO's homer of 362 KCS. Station ECHO advised us of a ceiling of 1500-ft, visibility 10 miles, wind 220 degrees/29 knots. I then commenced descent from 3000-ft IFR to VFR. The ADF showed that Station ECHO bore 220 degrees True and I subsequently advised Station ECHO that my position was North East of them.

At 1586 Station ECHO advised that we bore 014 degrees True, distance 16 miles by radar plot and that they were on a northeasterly course at flank speed at 1513z, at 1513z Ocean Station ECHO in sight. I ordered radioman to transmit a S.O.S. message to WSY with our D.R. position. WSY rogered, and then I ordered the radioman to tie his key down. ocean Station ECHO turned into the wind and advised they thought my port engine was on fire. Checking again, the port engine was only smoking and throwing oil. Station ECHO advised waves 7-10-ft with 10-ft between swells, wind 220degress/29 knots. I ordered escape hatches to be jettisoned and the crew to there ditching stations. I then circled Station ECHO three tines, studying the waves and swells and decided to land directly into the wind. Advised Station ECHO at 1528z that I was downwind and would ditch on the approach off there starboard bow. Port oil quantity read 20-25 gallons.

Commenced approach one miles astern from 700-ft, IAS 110 knots, 20degree flaps, at 200-ft placed flaps full down, broke glide at 100 knots at last glance, at IAS 90 knots pulled nose up and held the aircraft off as long as I could, cutting the power as we touched the water. The landing shock was hardly noticeable, the aircraft contacted the water slightly tail first, then nosing slightly while de-accelerating. All hands left the aircraft in compliance with ditching drill in an orderly manner. The life raft, Mk-7, handle was pulled by at lease three people at three different positions in the aircraft after it came to a stop. I counted 10 people and gave the order to proceed to the raft. Through the swifthand timely action of LCDR BATTLE and AD3 Evans, W. V. the Mk-7 raft was manned and the connecting line to the aircraft broken. Myself and three other's of the crew managed to swim to the raft while the other four crew members failed to reach the raft; one of the four that failed to reach the raft was trying to inflate one of the spare Mk-4 rafts that were carried. His efforts were unsuccessful. I saw the power surf boat from the CGC Coos Bay cast off and within twelve minutes of ditching times of 1531z, the four men adrift in there inflated life jackets were taken aboard the surf boat and taken to the Coos Bay. The remaining six men in the Mk-7 raft were aboard the CGC Coos Bay at 1600z.

Crew and Passenger OK: LCDR J. R. Bird (Pilot), LCDR G. M. Battle (Co-Pilot), ENS A. P. Marking (Navigator), AD1 J. C. McDonald (Plane Captain), AD3 W. V. Evans (2nd Mechanic), AL1 J. K. Smith (1st Radio), AL3 F. M. Horn (2nd Radio), AD2 B. A. Cooley (Ordanance), ATAN W. C. Sumpter (Radar Technician), and AE3 T. F. Gramling (Passenger).


MishapsMISHAPs: 27 JUL 65 LOCATION: NAS Bermuda TYPE: Collision Ground STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 04 BUNO: 151380 CAUSE: Pilot

UPDATE History Thumbnail "...My uncle, Michael George Nation, was a member of VP-16. He was either the pilot or the co-pilot on July 27, 1965 when P-3A Orion 151380 crashed. He was 10 days shy of his 25th birthday..." Contributed by Jeremy Nation nation45@comcast.net [14MAR2024]

UPDATE "...My Dad, David George, served with VP-16 . He was killed in a Mishap (July 27, 1965) at NAS Bermuda when I was only 2 years old. I would love to hear from anyone that knew my Dad. Would it be possible to get a copy of his medical records? Thank you for taking the time to read this...Diana Padgett hotwheels62@webtv.net..." [22JAN2003]

UPDATE "...I was second tech of VP-16 Crew 2 deployed to Kindley AFB in July of 1965. Four of my crew were killed while doing touch and goes. The pilot was the officially listed cause of the accident, but a recent discussion with a fellow crewmember who took part in the accident investigation indicates that the wrong fuel cut-off switch was activated more likely by the flight engineer who had been up late drinking the night before. It has been 36 years but I still feel the loss of those men. It is my belief that the two worst enemies of Naval Aviation are boredom and alcohol...Don R. House drhouse@nadcom.com..." [25DEC2000]

UPDATE "...Under blue skies and light winds, 150 USN aircrew were inducted into the VP International Book of Remembrance during a ceremony held at the VPI Memorial at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Except for the USN aircrew who died in the Mishaps identified below, we believe that the Book of Remembrance contains the names of all Maritime Patrol aircrew who died during MP flying duties since 1 January 1947. The names of 1602 aircrew are recorded.

We ask all visitors to this site to review these Mishaps and if possible provide us with names so that they may be recorded in the Book of Remembrance:

11 May 64/VP-7/P2V/10 fatalities/ Rota Spain
27 Jul 65/VP-16/P-3/4 fatalities/ Bermuda/BuNo 151380

We have identified two aircrew for the following Mishaps:

27 Jan 59/VP-56/P5M/4 fatalities/ Willoughby Bay, Virginia/ CDR R.J. Murphy
4 Jul 66/VP-19/P-3A/4 fatalities/ Battle Creek, Michigan/BuNo 152172, PE-5/LT W.E.Xiques

Please send any information to Norm Donovan n.don@ns.sympatico.ca, VPI Compiler..." [18OCT2000]

MishapsMISHAPs: Mishap "...This LF 5 after a wheels up landing in NS Rota, Spain. Look Ma no Radome!!!!! Taken in mid or early 60s... Half the squadron went to NAS Keflavik, Iceland for that deployment..." Contributed by Felix J. Roberson CHIEFROBIE@aol.com [12OCT98]

UPDATE "...I was a member of the crew of that aircraft although I was not on that flight. That was a one hour test flight after a major check of the aircraft. The members of the crew that I can remember are PPC LCDR Thompson, Plane Captain AMH2 Homer Johnson, AT2 Freddy Ray Tipton, AT3 John Klink, These are the only members of the crew that i am sure that were on that flight. The aircraft in the picture that you supplied was an P2V5F (SP2V5F) LF5 Tail No. 128365 ..." Contributed by Richard H. Allen ra237@mindspring.com [25APR2000]

"VP-16 Summary Page"