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1957 B-52 Crash

(Note from webmaster:  This article appears on http://www3.gendisasters.com/air-disasters/11794/andover-nb-bomber-explodes-in-flight-jan-1957)

Andover, NB Bomber Explodes In Flight, Jan 1957

Posted March 9th, 2009 by Stu Beitler

B52 EXPLODES IN FLIGHT; SEARCHERS FIND 7 BODIES.

PILOT'S EYES SHIELDED IN TEST.

Andover, N.B. (AP) -- Frozen woodlands near here were searched today for one Air Force man still missing from the crew of an eight-engine B52 bomber which exploded in flight yesterday. Seven bodies were found and one man parachuted with minor injuries.
Hundreds of Air Force men, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and French - Canadian trappers and guides, warmly garbed against temperatures which went far below zero, hunted for the missing man.
A spokesman from the jet plane's Loring Air Force base at Limestone, Maine, said the man may have parachuted. He said two parachutes were reported seen by residents of the area but that "they lost sight of one of them."
The spokesman said Capt. RICHARD A. JENKINS, the commander of the craft and one of those killed, was at the controls, his head partially covered by a visor-type hood used in reflex tests. With the covering the pilot can see the instrument panel but cannot see outside the plane.
Six bodies were recovered in the wreckage or the deep snow yesterday. A seventh was found in part of the plane early today by searchers carrying portable lamps.
Several hours after the crash of the B52 jet bomber, an Air Force B29 crashed on landing at Bergstrom Air Force Base, near Austin, Tex., killing six crewmen and injuring three others.
The public information office at Loring identified five of the seven victims of the Andover crash as:
Capt. RICHARD A. JENKINS, the aircraft commander, Huron, Ohio.
Capt. WILLIAM C. DAVIDSON, Stockton, Calif.
Capt. JOHN E. McCUNE, Hayward, Calif.
Capt. MARQUID H. D. MYERS, Tracy, Calif.
T. Sgt. RAY A. MILLER, Racine, Wis.
All were married and all but DAVIDSON had children.
The only known survivor was:
1st Lt. JOE L. CHURCH, Charlotte, N.C.
A spokesman at Loring said a team of Air Force flight safety experts from Norton AFB near San Bernardino, Calif., and officials of the Boeing Airplane Co., would take part in an investigation of the crash. Boeing builds the eight-million-dollar, swept-wing B52s.
Brig. Gen. William K. Martin, Loring Commander, said in a statement "an unusual maneuver may have resulted in exceeding the flight limitations of the aircraft."
In Washington, the Air Force said the pilot was undergoing a reflex test wherein the flyer's eyes are partly shielded and the plane put into an "unusual position. The pilot then must right the craft.
The Washington spokesman said the plane apparently had been "placed in a position beyond its capability."
The plane was the fourth B52 lost by the Air Force on training flights since February 1956.

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