McClellan Air Base, CA Air Force Weather Plane, Apr 1952

TEN ARE KILLED IN PLANE CRASH.

Sacramento, Cal., April 6. -- (UP) -- An air force B-29 weather plane, returning from a 19-hour flight, crashed on a farm three miles short of the McClellan air base runway Saturday night, killing all 10 crew members.
An air force spokesman said the big bomber received routine landing instructions three minutes before it crashed and gave no indication of trouble at that time.
The four-engined plane apparently caught fire in the air and smashed into a pasture at a 45-degree angle. The main sections of the craft remained intact, but the wreckage was a roaring mass of flames by the time crash crews from the air base reached the scene minutes later.
The air force announced the names of the dead as:
Major BRUCE ACEBEDO, pilot, Del Paso Heights, Cal.
Captain GUILFORD A HOPKINS, weather observer, North Sacramento.
Captain L. E. WINSTEAD, navigator, Hardy, Ark.
Second Lieutenant AUGUST I. LAM, navigator, San Francisco.
Master Sergeant EDWIN M. FULIZ, radio operator, Milroy, Pa.
Technical Sergeant GEORGE R. SHOOK, flight engineer, North Highlands, Cal.
Staff Sergeant ELBERT E. KING, drop sound operator, Del Paso Heights, Cal.
Staff Sergeant HAYDEN C. SCHULZ, flight mechanic, North Sacramento.
Staff Sergeant CARLTON J. FOSE, Appleton, Wis.
Captain ROBERT L. KIZER, copilot, Sacramento.
Captain KIZER, whose home station is Travis Air Base, Cal., was getting flight time while serving on temporary duty at McClellan field. The B-29 was attached to the Fiftieth strategic reconnaissance squadron.
An eyewitness to the crash, EVERETT FURMAN, JR., confirmed the plane was afire before it struck the ground.
"I saw flames in the sky, and when I stopped my car I saw the plane come down at a 45-degree angle," FURMAN said. "If smashed into a pasture about half a mile from me."
GEORGE SHULER, a civilian member of the McClellan fire department, said he and fellow firemen saw the flames from the base and were en route to the scene before an alarm was sounded.
"When we arrived we found the plane mostly intact," he said. "It looked like it had just nosed down and started to burn. Some pieces of debris and bomb bay doors were scattered around the area but the main bulk of the plane was in one piece."
SHULER said the fire fighters were hampered by jammed traffic and crowds of spectators who were attracted to the scene by the flames.
An air force board of inquiry was slated to investigate the cause of the crash.

Billings Gazette Montana 1952-04-07

Comments

April 1952 B-29 crash McClellan AFB

This B-29 was in the 55th Strategic Recon. Sq. NOT the 50th.
I was a B-29 engine mechanic in the 55th at the time of this crash. I went to the crash site while the plane was still burning.
B-29s had a problem with engines catching on fire during a flight. When they did the pilot would put the fire out with a built in fire extinguisher built into each engine compartment. Then the propeller was feathered.(pitched changed so the propeller had it's edges toward the front of the airplane)
I was in inspection and engine overhaul at the time.
It was found during inspection of that propeller a small bolt had broken in the General Electric propeller mechanism making the propeller go into flat pitch that
caused the B-29 to descend very rapidly resulting in the crash.
I was stationed at McClellan AFB from May 1950 to Dec. 1952.
If you were there during that time write or e-mail me:
ktalb@sbcglobal.net

Ken Talbott; 819 E. Spring St.; Boonville,MO 65233

B-29 crash April 1952

I was a B-29 engine mechanic with the 55th Srategic Recon. Sq. at McClellan at the time of the crash. The B-29 was from the 55th not the 50th. I went to the crash site while it was still burning.
I worked in inspection and major overhaul of the B-29 engine( I had worked on the plane that crashed.
B-29s had a problem with engine fires, but could get the fire out with fire extinguishers built into each engine compartment. Then the pilot would feather the propiller. When the prop was inspected after the crash it was a small bolt in the General Electric prop mechinism had broken causing the prop to go into flat pitch that caused the B-29 to descend very rapidly.

B-29 Crash McClellan AFB Sacramento

The firefighter interviewed about the B29 crash on Apr 6. 1952 was George "Bud" Schluer, who later became my Assistant Fire Chief (and supervisor) at McClellan Fire Dept..
I hired on in 1972 and heard stories about this incident.
I was also told by the senior firefighters about:
Another B-29 (or B-50) Crash at the R/W 16 over run, bound for Hawaii. One fire fighter died in the line of duty, his last name was Morrell. Several others injured. Fire fighter Joe Bruscia was awarded for heroism for his life saving actions in dangerous conditions at this crash.
Other crashes I was told about include a B-25 circa WW2 or Korea off Watt and Myrtle ave in North Highlands, by the base; a B-66 which cartwheeled on the runway bursting into flames, F-104 crashes one on the runway, one on a golf course off base on a golf course before I80; an RC-121 crash off Watt and U streets in North Highlands, FB 111 crashed in Woodland, HH53 crash landed off PFE Road. T33 collided with another aircraft on the runway.
James Anderson
McClellan AFB Fire Dept (Retired)