Airplane Crash - Near Sunland, California 01/31/1957

Details of airplane crash/ shootdown - Near Sunland, California

LocationNear Sunland, California
OperatorDouglas Aircraft
RouteSanta Monica - Santa Monica
TypeDouglas DC-7B / U.S. Air Force F-89J
Cn/In45192 / 4447
SummaryMidair collision between a DC-7 and F-89J Air Force fighter. The DC-7 crashed into a playground of a school killing 3 junior high school children 3 miles northwest of Sunland. The F-89 crashed into the mountains. Four crew members on the DC-7 were killed. One crew member aboard the F-89 was killed and the other ejected to safety. The high rate of near head-on closure at high altitude, which together with physiological limitations, resulted in a minimum avoidance opportunity during which the pilots didn't see each other's aircraft. It was the first test flight of the DC-7B. One of the 3 students killed in the accident was the best friend of singer Richie Valens, who died in an airplane crash two years later. Archie Twitchell, test pilot and actor, 50, killed. The high rate of near head-on closure at high altitude in a minimum aviodance opportunity during which both pilots did not see the other aircraft.

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