CRASH OF AN A20G-20-DO HAVOC
AT MACKAY, QLD
ON 17 JANUARY 1944

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A-20G-20-DO Havoc of the 312th Bomb Group, V Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force, made an emergency forced landing at Mackay Airfield on 17 January 1944. The crew for this aircraft was:-

2nd Lt. Jesse D. Sowell )-804750 (pilot)
S/Sgt Raymond G. Weaver 7026653 (gunner)

After about 1.5 to 2 hours out of Brisbane (APO 923), the pilot 2nd Lt. Jesse Sowell noticed a definite drop in oil pressure in the left engine. The pilot started to ease up on the left engine but the oil pressure continued to drop eventually reaching zero. The cylinder head temperature rose as well as the oil temperature. When the pressure reached zero, 2nd Lt. Sowell feathered the left propeller and continued on his travel flight. When he was about 5 miles north west of Mackay he decided to land at Mackay Airfield as he had lost considerable altitude in the process of nursing the left engine.

On the turn to the base leg, Sowell attempted to unfeather the left propeller but was unsuccessful. On the approach he lowered the wheels and flaps and began to glide to the Mackay airfield. The right engine kept pulling the aircraft over and when he was at about 5 - 10 feet above the runway, the left wing dropped, resulting in a sideward blow on the left wheel, causing the wheel to collapse. The aircraft then ran off the runway and crashed.

In his statement crew member S/Sgt Raymond G. Weaver said that oil was leaking from the lower cylinders of the left engine.

The Accident Repot indicated that the pilot used poor technique in landing and the aircraft crashed. The cause of the accident was listed as "Power plant - lubrication".

The left wing, landing gear and fuselage, left engine and left propeller were damaged in this crash.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Nev Allan for providing me with a copy of the Accident Report.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

Rampage of the Roarin' 20's
The Illustrated History of the 312th Bombardment Group during World War II

Lawrence J. Hickey
Michael H. Levy
with Michael J. Claringbould

 

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This page first produced 1 July 2009

This page last updated 31 January 2010