TRANSCRIPTION OF TWO MESSAGES FROM F.R. SWANSON LOCKHEED TECH REP AT THE 552ND AEW&C WING, McCLELLAN AFB, CA, RELATING TO AN INFLIGHT INCIDENT WHEREIN RC-121D 55-0128 (LAC 4401) LOST A COMPLETE QEC OVER WATER ON 2 DEC 1958

 

12-3-58

FRS/MCC/1825-W.TUESDAY EVENING DURING AN AOC MISSION COMPLETE LOSS OF NO. 3 QEC ON AIRCRAFT, LAC 4401, WAS EXPERIENCED. AIRCRAFT HAD BEEN AIRBORNE APPROXIMATELY TWO HOURS AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES AND WAS FLYING AT 4000 FT ALTITUDE WHEN A VERY SEVERE VIBRATION WAS EXPERIENCED FOR 2 TO 3 SECONDS FOLLOWED BY A BUFFETING CONDITION.

THE FLIGHT ENGINEER PINPOINTED THE VIBRATION PROBLEM TO NO. 3 POWER PLANT HOWEVER DURING FEATHERING OPERATION THE ENTIRE QEC APPARENTLY SEPARATED FROM THE NACELLE. DURING THE ENSUING PERIOD THE AIRCRAFT DESCENDED TO 500 FT ALTITUDE BEFORE SUFFICIENT CONTROL COULD BE GAINED TO HALT THE LOSS OF ALTITUDE. BY APPLYING NEARLY TAKEOFF POWER ON THE REMAINING ENGINES AND USING TAKEOFF FLAPS THE BUFFETING WAS MINIMIZED. FUEL WAS DUMPED AT THIS TIME AND AT THE REDUCED WEIGHTS THEY CLIMBED BACK TO 3500 FT AT WHICH ALTITUDE THEY RETURNED TO MCCLELLAN USING MINIMUM POWERS TO MAINTAIN THIS ALTITUDE.

NO SERIOUS TRIM OR CONTROL PROBLEMS EXISTED AT THIS TIME.

A NORMAL GEAR EXTENSION WAS MADE AND AIRCRAFT LANDED AT MCCLELLAN WITHOUT ANY FURTHER PROBLEMS.

AN INVESTIGATION INTO CAUSE OF INCIDENT IS PROGRESSING HOWEVER THIS IS HANDICAPPED BY FACT QEC WAS LOST OVER WATER. YOU WILL BE ADVISED OF ALL FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS.

F R SWANSON

125 P PST

 

12-4-58

FRS/MCC/1826-W.THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BEING FORWARDED IN ADDITION TO THAT SENT IN WIRE FRS/MCC/1825-W REGARDING LOSS OF NO. 3 ENGINE ON AIRCRAFT LAC 4401. APPARENTLY IT WILL BE CLASSIFIED AS A MAJOR ACCIDENT BY THE AIR FORCE AND THE INVESTIGATION AND REPORT WILL BE HANDLED AS SUCH. MR. DENNIS, HAMILTON STANDARD REPRESENTATIVE, ARRIVED THIS MORNING TO ASSIST REGARDING THE PROPELLER SYSTEM

1.     PILOT OF AIRCRAFT WAS CAPT. DONALD L. PARKER WHO HAD APPROX. 2500 HOURS IN THE RC-121.

2.     A FULL CREW OF 18 PERSONNEL WERE ABOARD THE AIRCRAFT DURING THE FLIGHT.

3.     NO. 3 PROPELLER PARTICULARS:

  1. SERIAL N192904
  2. TYPE 43E60-511
  3. BLADES SERIAL N648958, N648959 ABD N648960. TYPE 6903B-0 (THESE ARE ORIGINAL BLADES).
  4. TOTAL TIME ON PROPELLER IS 4609 HOURS WITH 918 HOURS SINCE OVERHAUL.
  5. ONLY SERIOUS PROBLEM IN HISTORY OF PROPELLER WAS A CRACKED SPIDER WHICH WAS REPLACED DURING OVERHAUL AT 2394 HOURS.

4.     TOTAL TIME ON AIRCRAFT WAS 4002:55 HOURS.

5.     NO. 3 ENGINE, SERIAL W560048, HAD A T.T. OF 2514:40 HOURS AND A TSO OF 317:40 HOURS. NO ENGINE DISCREPANCIES PRIOR TO INCIDENT WERE REPORTED.

6.     ALL SYMPTOMS POINT TOWARDS A PROPELLER BLADE FAILURE AS THE INITIAL TROUBLE AND THE INVESTIGATION WILL FOLLOW THIS THINKING. WITH NO POSSIBILITY OF RECOVERING THE NO. 3 POWERPLANT, HOWEVER, THIS CANNOT BE A POSITIVE CONCLUSION.

7.     SINCE THIS IS POSSIBLY THE SECOND PROPELLER BLADE FAILURE WITHIN SIX MONTHS EXPERIENCED BY THE 552ND WING CONSIDERABLE AGITATION FOR CORRECTIVE MEASURES ARE EXPECTED.

F R SWANSON

230 P PST

 



[1] Swanson was killed in the crash of TC-121C 51-3842, 22 March 1961