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Flight emergency of the B-58 Near Disaster at Carswell AFB

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My father, Maj (Ret) Donald N."Neil" Fitzgerald was assigned to the 43rd Bomb Wing/63rd Bomb Sqdn (med), Carswell AFB, TX. He was then 1/Lt Fitzgerald, and was the planes defensive system operator. His other Crew mates were Maj James C. Via and Maj Orin K. Owen.

During takeoff, just prior to aircraft rotation the number 4 engine starter disintegrated. The metal partials raked the aircraft and ruptured the aft fuel pod. There was an immediate explosion which caused the aircraft to pitch up to a dangerously high angle and caused a violent roll to the right. By all rights the plane should have crashed had it not been for the flying skill of Maj Via.

feB58#4Eng.jpg (25843 bytes)

#4 engine fire


feB58Serie.jpg (43463 bytes)

The sequence of events captured on film, for a larger image of this, click here (will open a new copy of the browser that you will need to scroll up/down, right/left unless you have like a 30" monitor!


femissionp.jpg (41218 bytes)

For information on the combat crew(article), click here (will open a new copy of your browser to view this article).

For another article, entitled Great Balls of Fire, click here (will open a new copy of your browser to view the article).

Copyright 2003 by and the respective owners of their pictures.