North American TB-25J Mitchell
44-31183 29 January 1946
Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma
Excerpts from the crash report
Assigned 348th AAFBU, Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma
|Smith, Robert R.
|Beeson, Duane W.
|Shepherd, Raymond D.
History of the flight:
The aircraft had been cleared on a local training flight. The
pilot had been checked out in the B-25 within the last three days [ed
note: Col. Smith had 774 hours total flight time (153 of them actual combat time) but only 5 hours 50 minutes logged in B-25 aircraft prior
to the crash]. The Co-Pilot was not qualified as [B-25] 1st Pilot, and
had only two previous flights in that type aircraft [ed note: Col.
Beeson had 859:50 hours total time (230 actual combat hours) but only 5 hours 30 minutes logged in B-25 aircraft prior to the
crash]. The Engineer had just been placed on flying status
although he had done some flying as engineer previously [ed note:
Sgt. Shepherd had been removed from flight status due to a reaction to
sulfa drug and had just recently been returned to flying].
The engines were started and the aircraft taxied out to Runway 17 for
takeoff. The engines were run up and tested in the usual manner,
no malfunctions being noted at the time. Wing flaps were not used
for takeoff. Power check above thirty-seven inches M.P. [Manifold
Pressure] was not made by pilot before taking off.
The takeoff run was made using only 42 inches of manifold
pressure. It was not until the aircraft was airborne and the gear
had been retracted that anything abnormal in its performance was noted
by either the pilot or co-pilot.
Engine instruments were checked for any abnormal readings. The
instruments checked then do not include the carburetor air temperature
gauge, and consequently a reading of that instrument cannot be given at
As speed and altitude could not be increased the pilot attempted to
return to the field by starting an easy turn to the left. Unable
to reach the field, the condition growing worse, the airplane was
landed wheels-up in a pasture. The aircraft first touched the
ground in a nose high attitude, skipped approximately 150 yards and
came to rest in the shallow pond shown [in the photograph].
Upon examination of the wreckage the carburetor air scoop gates were
found closed. The carburetor air exhaust scoops were found
open. The carburetor air scoop gate control handles were found in
the neutral position.
The crew chief's statement points out that the carburetor air scoop
gates were closed and the controls returned to neutral after preflight
that morning. The pilot did not check operation of carburetor air
temperature mechanism before takeoff as outlined on checklist.
The pilot did not check the airscoop gate or exhausts visually.
The control handles for carburetor heat were only checked for neutral
On the takeoff run it was observed by the tower operator that the
aircraft was having trouble. Abnormal puffs of black smoke were
It is possible that carburetor airscoop gate creeped closed during
takeoff due to possible malfunction of the system. T.O.
01-60GE-27 which provides the correction had not been complied
As no previous creepage had been reported the board discounts the theory that creepage occurred on the flight.
From the above facts, the board concluded the cause of the accident was
loss of power in both engines due to the detonation caused by the
carburetor airscoop gates being closed.