Chesapeake Bay, MD (off Patuxent) Navy Jet Bomber Crash, Dec 1955

Martin Seamaster Bomber.jpg


Patuxent, Md. -- (UP) -- Navy aviation experts began an intensive investigation Thursday into the crash of a new Navy Seamaster jet bomber which was considered a potential forerunner of an atomic-powered airplane.
The 600-mile-an-hour plane exploded in air and crashed in flames into Chesapeake Bay Wednesday during an experimental flight.
One crew member was killed in the crash and three others were missing and presumed dead.
A salvage barge bagan pulling the plane's wreckage from 55-foot-deep waters of the bay Thursday. Divers searched for the bodies of the missing men.
The Navy had fostered great hopes for the new plane. It was hailed as the world's first multi-jet seaplane and compared favorably in range and speed with modern land-based bombers.
The Air Force was interested in the Seamaster as possibly being capable of carrying the first atomic plane engine when it is developed.
An atomic plane would require an extremely heavy airframe and broad areas for takeoff and landings. The Seamaster would have almost limitless ocean runways on which to operate.
A second Seamaster fitted out with complete military equipment, will be ready to enter the water for initial taxing tests near Martin's Baltimore plant later this month. A company spokesman said he saw no immediate reason to postpone the tests.
Three of the crew members aboard the crashed plane were Martin employes and the fourth a naval officer ovvicer. Maryland State Police identified the man whose body was recovered as JAMES HENTSCHEL of Baltimore, flight test engineer.
The Navy identified the missing as MAURICE BERNHARD of Towson, Md., the pilot; HERBERT SCUDDER of Chase, Md., senior flight engineer, and Lt. Cmdr. VICTOR UTGOFF of the Patuxent Naval Air Station, Navy project officer.

Las Vegas Daily Optic New Mexico 1955-12-08