Air Safety

February 26, 1947

Report Outline
Rising Public Concern Over Air Crashes
Prewar and Postwar Growth of Air Transport
Accident Record of American Airlines, 1930–1946
Measures for Improvement of Air Safety
Special Focus

Rising Public Concern Over Air Crashes

Recent Fatal Accidents on American Airlines

Air accidents during the winter of 1946–47 have taken the lives of a large number of airline passengers and pilots, and resulted in the complete destruction of costly aircraft, both in the United States and in other parts of the world. The mounting concern over air safety has brought investigations by committees of both houses of Congress, a sharp decline in the number of persons traveling by air, and a public demand that quick steps be taken to reduce the dangers of air transportation.

Present experience is a repetition on a larger scale of that during the winter months of last year. Two dramatic crashes on scheduled domestic air lines in January, 1946—the first at Cheshire, Conn., and the second at Elk Mountain, Wyo.—resulted in the deaths of all 38 persons aboard the two planes. Twenty-seven persons were killed in March when an American Airlines plane crashed into a mountain near San Diego, Calif.

The summer months were free of fatal crashes on the scheduled domestic airlines, but as bad weather set in the frequency of air accidents increased. When the wing of a United Air Lines plane struck the ground during an attempted landing at Cheyenne, Wyo., in October, 43 persons suffered injuries, but only two persons were killed. The fatality rate jumped sharply in some subsequent accidents. On Nov. 13 and Dec. 24, all persons aboard two Western Air Lines planes were killed when the craft struck mountains in California. And 18 out of 19 persons aboard an Eastern Air Lines plane died in a crash near Galax, Va., on Jan. 12, 1947.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 07, 1962  Troubles of the Airlines
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Feb. 26, 1947  Air Safety
Jun. 08, 1944  Domestic Air Transportation
Apr. 08, 1944  International Air Transport
Mar. 02, 1939  Transatlantic Air Commerce
Jul. 14, 1927  Commercial Aeronautics
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Air Safety and Security