November 29, 2020, 02:27:31 am

Aircrash Records

Started by Falling Hare, January 19, 2019, 02:51:28 pm

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Falling Hare


I have had an inquiry for detailed "files" for an civilian light plane crash that happened over 40 years ago, in  which the crash was never located.

I am confident that these kind of details do not reside in my Wing's historic files (inquiry pending).   I assume that any details for this case would
be in the AFRRC case files under the assigned mission number; at this late date probably in the archives at Maxwell AFB.  To which particular office should I direct this individual?

I am also directing him to local newspaper archives, warden service, state police  etc. for additional research  I doubt the FAA regional office wouild have anything.

Any suggestions?


January 20, 2019, 08:08:31 pm #2 Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 12:16:06 am by Live2Learn
NTSB records prior to about 1980 are VERY sketchy.  Purged NTSB and other agency files might??? be available through the National Archives, but it is highly unlikely they would be easily searchable.  Some historical files from the post war years of might also exist in the National Archives if the OP wants to go back that far.

I've had limited success locating NTSB or even news reports predating the mid to late 70's.  If the location, date, and other details about the accident are known to the person who is searching odds of finding something increase.  I've found some records (CAP and other) in historical society files, online news archives, and similar places.  Some old records might also exist in State Aviation archives, but again it's unlikely they are in digital form. 

For CAP mishaps OPS or the CAP Historian at NHQ might (big 'might') be helpful.  If access to CAP archives is granted it is possible (very probable?) that personal time and money would be invested in travel and searches. 



This thread validates the value of Captalk - thanks all!



Quote from: OldGuy on January 19, 2019, 03:10:44 pm

I've had good luck with the top link, even before 1982. You just have to be careful of which search fields you are trying to use. Simple is frequently better.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

Falling Hare

I believe that the AFRCC purges records of civilian search cases after seven years.  Military cases are maintained pretty much forever.

There are one or two commercial sites that have original sources for USN / USAAF crash investigation reports for virtually every wreck from WW2 through the 1950s (even X-planes).  They will send you a photocopy for a reasonable fee (worth it if you have ever struggled through piles of microfilm reels).

If a date range is available; usually newspaper files will give very good details on aircraft searches; agencies involved, course and outcome of search, etc.


Quote from: Live2Learn on January 21, 2019, 12:18:21 am
Quote from: TheSkyHornet on January 20, 2019, 09:04:23 pm
Try ASN:

These are interesting civil aviation records, though with few to no GA events.

ASN's wikibase is a lot more inclusive than their other database, although shallower in depth of content and detail.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right...