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Flight 19
C-54
Star Tiger
Samkey
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Southern Districts
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Bermuda Triangle Database       Flight 19        U.S.S. Cyclops

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As vast as it may seem, the Bermuda Triangle Database is only a fraction of Into The Bermuda Triangle, They Flew into Oblivion, A Passage to Oblivion and Distant Horizons.

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Missing Aircraft

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 Introduction

Maps

Missing Aircraft

Missing Ships

What is the
Bermuda Triangle?

MSQ
Flying Boxcar
B-25 N92877
Sting 27 1971

Cessna N8040L
Bob Corner
Saba Bank

   Two Year Crisis

   Introduction

1978
Fighting Tiger 524
Queen Air
Arrow III N47910
|Arrow N74801
Cherokee Six
Aero Comm.
Aztec N13986
Beech N4442
N407D 
Ted Smith N55BU

1979
Cessna 150 N60936
Cessna 172 N1GH
Piper N1435P
Musketeer
Aero Comm
Twin Bonanza

1980
Kallia III
s.s. Poet
N3808H
Baron 58 N9027Q

1982
Queen Air 65-B80
Navajo N777AA
Bonanza N5999

1983
Cessna 210
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1984
Cessna 402 N44NC

1985
Cessna 337D
Cherokee

1986
Navajo
Twin Otter

1987
Cessna 402C NZ652B

1990
Piper Flight Liner

1991
Cougar

1993
Cessna 152 N93261

1994
Aztec N6844Y
Cherokee

1996
Aero Comm.
 

1998
Archer N25626

1999
Aero Comm.
 

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Sudden Destruction— The Air Force C-54

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C-54

  Is that all there is to it? After all these years is it as simple as that? The plane flew into a squall between its route from Bermuda to West Palm Beach and simply disintegrated. One might be tempted to imagine this, if the facts of the incident were not at hand. They present some disturbing parallels with other missing ships and planes.

   I myself had never regarded this incident as particularly interesting. It merited little commentary in books 30 years ago. (John Spencer was the first in his Limbo of the Lost. But per usual with Spencer, he seemed loathe to admit bad weather existed, and never did.  Lawrence Kusche often “solved” an incident by refuting popular rumors about them. In this case he thought the plane was a B-29 Superfort near Bermuda. He merely “solved” a non existent flight in the wrong location.)

   However, I decided to get the Mishap Report from Maxwell AFB in Alabama. This mishap report reveals some interesting facts. For one, the airplane did fly through a squall. But a problem arose immediately: the squall was not on the airplane’s route; it had to have been far off course to begin with. And an after-the-fact examination of its position reports showed its erratic course began right after takeoff and continued

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Specs

Length: 93 feet

Wingspan: 117 feet 6 inches

Capacity: 4 crew

Max. Speed 275

Cruising Speed: 190

Range: 4,000 miles

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throughout its flight. It was never once on course, and apparently the pilot nor the navigator knew it.

   This big C-54 transport was a military version of the civilian DC-4, a  mainline airliner of its day capable of carrying 85 passengers. It left Bermuda on July 3, 1947, en route to Morrison AFB, Florida, under the command of Major Ralph B. Ward and 5 crew.

   Early on, the aircraft reported its position. Both the “A” and “B” position reports showed the aircraft was south of its intended course. Then later, its  C & D reports show that it had made a noticeable course change to north, passing its scheduled flight path by 50 miles before it turned southwest and paralleled it, keeping this distance north of it for the rest of the flight. By doing so, Ward was heading straight for the worst part of a squall he should have been able to avoid on his proscribed course.

   This odd course changing made the board vigorously investigate the navigator, who had been a last minute substitute before the flight took off. This only revealed he was a “Class 2” navigator and was therefore qualified for the trip. However, the flying of the plane was in the hands of Major Ward. And even if the navigator was bad this does not explain Ward flying straight into the eye of a thunderstorm.

   It is hard to explain how 2 members of the crew could lose or forget their training at the same time. Just a month or so before, general orders were passed around warning pilots to avoid flying through thunderstorms when they could avoid them. Yet Ward flew right into this one, apparently. The navigator, though qualified, sent the plane into the worst part of the weather front. The plane was clearly off course, and had been so to begin with after it left Bermuda. The fact is, the entire flight’s behavior cannot be explained.

   It is also hard to explain a garbled SOS that was received at Bermuda. This SOS was very low and faint, in sharp contrast to its last normal message. After a 45 second pause the faint SOS repeated, then was forever silent. Whoever was sending it, they transmitted no call sign. In fact, the operator at Bermuda, William Pentuff, thought it couldn’t have been from the plane because of this, although it also may have meant  there was simply no time.. He thought that some station was tuning and didn’t want to send its call letters in case it was overheard. In this context, however,  it is hard to explain why any station would use SOS to test their apparatus.

   Debris was located about 290 miles northeast of Florida. It consisted of a much publicized oxygen bottle and some other equipment, all of which argued for sudden and horrid destruction.

    After considering all available facts and existing weather conditions, it is the opinion of the Accident Investigating Board at Morrison Field, Florida, that the aircraft encountered violent turbulence and the pilot lost control of the aircraft.  It is possible that structural failure was a factor prior to contact with the ocean. No evidence of fire exists. There was no evidence of a ditching attempt and the debris found indicates that the crew compartment was torn apart on contact with the ocean. The last plotted position of the aircraft and the corresponding position of the frontal zone substantiates the weather assumption. Contributing factors to this accident were possible navigational error allowing aircraft to drift north of course to frontal zone and pilot error in that no apparent effort was made to circumnavigate the frontal weather.

  Hardly a simple or mundane crash.

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Exposure suits

The oxygen bottle

Paneling

Pillow and “Hell Hole” hatch

The first book in 25 years. The primer for a new generation.

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         500 Leagues of Sea

500 Leagues of Sea
Bermuda
Miami
The Bahamas
Andros & The Tongue
Exumas
Eleuthera & More!
San Juan
The Sargasso Sea
Sea of Expanding Shapes
Somewhere Between
Through the Electronic Fog
Fantastic Journey
The Eye

The “Lost Squadron”

Disappearance of Flight 19
The Real Flight of Flight 19
The PBM Mariner
Views of the Okefenokee

Flights of Fancy

Bad Navigation?
Flight DUI
A 6th Avenger?
Through the Hoaxing Glass

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Bermuda Triangle Database
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Swiftly to follow:

C-54
Star Tiger
Samkey
DC-3 NC16002
Star Ariel

The Classics

Navy Super Constellation
Southern Districts
Martin Marlin
C-133 Cargomaster
Marine Sulphur Queen
2 KC-135 Stratotankers
C-119 Flying Boxcar

Distant Horizons

The USS Cyclops
Ellen Austin
Carroll A. Derring
Gloria Colita

Minor Classics

3 in a Week
Great Isaac’s
Carolyn Coscio
Saba Bank

1970s Triangle Fever

Ray Smithers and the Voice
The Philadelphia Experiment

The “Eyewitness”
The Scientist
The Promoters

Debunking Debunkery

 

Rebirth

My Research
Missing Aircraft
List
Missing Vessels
List

Out of the Past
Oddities & Enigmas
The Enigma of Specter
First Reactions

 

 

 

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