B-47 Losses

This is a list of virtually all known known B-47 losses covering from 1949 through Dec 1965. From the XB-47 all the way through the years the B-47s flew.  Thanks to several who contributed to this list and are listed on the last page. A special thanks to Mike Bennett of the “Project Get Out And Walk” at http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/  for his work and helpful sharing. 


In memory of a plane crash
An Air Force bomber crashed on Emigrant Peak in 1962. Remembering the men who died has become one man’s mission

Emigrant Peak B-47 Crash Memorial – Montana from Homefire Productions on Vimeo.

65 thoughts on “B-47 Losses”

  1. I have been in contact with Earl McGill about the crash of B-47 52-0770
    on Oct.29, 1954 based at Forbes AFB Topeka KS. I am trying to locate the crash site with the hope to erect some sort of memorial as close to the site as possible. I know the general area and have driven around the rural roads
    close to the site with no luck. Newspaper accounts are not much help.
    If anyone in this group has information on this event I would like to hear from you.
    Thank you.
    Chuck Draskovich
    croast@swbell.net
    Cell # 913-406-1106 Mon. thru Fri. 9AM-3Pm CST

  2. I am the daughter of 1st Lt. John Wilson Smith, who was lost along with two other men when their plane went down February 3, 1959 in Little Rock, AR. I have the original newspaper accounts and information regarding that. My father died before I was born; my parents were only married six months. My mother never spoke of him and I never knew his side of the family; she remarried. If anyone who knew him or knew of him would contact me, I would greatly appreciate it. If I am posting in the wrong place on this site, I apologize. johnnags@gmail.com

    1. Hello Willie; I was stationed at Dyess 59 to 62 and was in the 341st.
      Yes there was a 47 that went down in or around Montana in summer of 62. I was working transiet alert at the time. This is about all I know of the incident. It was very hush, hush

  3. I was stationed at Dyess AFB, Tx back in the early 1960s. I was attached to the 341st and it later became the 96th Bomb Wing. While I was there we had B-47s and later B-52s. I was under the impression that we lost a B-47 somewhere in Montana in the 60s prior to going to the B-52. Can someone confirm this and any story thereto.

    Thanks,

      1. My father was the pilot of the B-47 that crashed in July 1962. There is going to be a memorial this July at the crash site to honor the 4 men that died.

    1. Willie
      Let me tell you a true story of exactly what hapened that fatefull day. The tail # was?? -0333 . It started with me just coming off of alert and I was making out my paperwork . when a master sgt said Stephens I need a crew chief to just get the bird off the ground & stupid me said ok. Simple just get A B47e off the ground 2 hrs at the most haha. Learned quick don’t volunteer for nothing.. When I got to the bird and read the forms and saw that the day before had problems with engine #3.So I checked all the engines for oil usage. The # 3 engine took 6 quarts of oil but engine shop had run the engine for 3 hours containously and they said and at all settings was fine no problems. But in the back of my mind a little mouse was telling me to start this engine as I was qualified to run engines. So we set up to start this engine . Then the flight crew arrived and we had to stop . I remembered this crew because the Navagator was wearing a pearled handled colt 45 slung under his arm. On engine start the pilot ran # 3 engine and I checked 3s after the run and only used 1qt of oil , which was perfect. So I pushed the ladder up and closed and locked the hatch. Led the bird out and especially watched its takeoff. At this time it was using equally the same amout of water alchol that was normal. That night I heard that we had lost one of our aircraft and he took 1000 ft of a montana Mountain. But it say what bird it was or if everyone had ejected ok. The next morning as Iwas preparing to start to work a man in civilian clothes was asking everyone their who was crew chief qualified and 3 of us raised our hands. He said if we had a change of clothing close. He led us to a bus and then said we were going to a crash site to Identify aircraft parts. That was a big lie were their to help find the BODYS, OR PARTS THERE OF. When we got to the site we were told that we would there with a medical person and if we found anything we were to put a red flag at the site and call for assistance. Still not telling us what the tail number was. And I really had any idea that I was in the HOT SEATas being the last person to see these people alive. Well I told my med tec that There was a trail up the mountain that I thought it might where one of the ejection seats might have left a trail. We followed the marks until they stopped and called for a shovel to dig and the first that we found at about 3 to five feet down was a HELMET BUT NO BODY . then I saw something very shiny in the dirt and it was a but of a gun pearled handed. THEN THERE WAS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND WHO WAS INSIDE THIS HELMET. As I later found out that a man that was over 6 four and 200 lbs was completely inside this helmet. WE BOTH CALLED THAT WE HAD FOUND A BODY OR WHAT WAS LEFT OF IT. I TOLD THE MEN THAT WERE IN CHARGE THAT I WAS THE CREW CHIEF THAT HAD LAUNCHED THIS BIRD THE DAY BEFORE. THEN TOLD ME THAT I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THERE PERIOD .But this was a little late, then called a military policeman who escorted me back to Mountain Home, and to forget what I had seen there period, and not to talk to anyone about what I had seen that day. There were at least 50 newsmen asking me what that I had found but this time I did what I was told to do keep my big mouth shut until the inquiry. This is not only true but I still have nightmares even after many years later.
      Retired SAC TEC SERGENT RAMOND STEPHENS.
      IF NEEDED .

    2. Willie: My name is Kent Mosdale. I was in Launch and Recovery at the time if the incident. All I remember was a maj. Spaulding, an I/P Stanboard came back and told us that we had lost one of our planes. He said the plane was desending on initial entry for a low level bomb run and hit the mountain in front of him…That’s all I remember…

      1. Kent – perhaps you are the same Mosdale that I was at Dyess when this accident occurred. I was in the 341st OMS when we first got to Dyess and transferred to the 96th OMS when the 341st was disbanded.

        I was with Tony Bozewicz,Don Chaney, Rick Marshall and that bunch.

        Like to hear from you if you’re the same guy.

      2. Kent – I think I was at Dyess with you. My name is Tony Pirrello and I hung around with Don Chaney,Rick Marshall,Tony Bozewich and that group.

        Like to hear from you.

  4. Dont know if any of you guys know…my dad James Diamond lost his fight with cancer july 3 2014.We all knew our Dad was very proud of his service with all of you guys in the Air Force.We will all miss him very much Love you Pop,your boy Curtis

    1. I knew your Dad by email correspondence over many years. I was unaware of his condition and got a shock at news of his passing. We were “electronic” friends if you can call it that. A good one too.

  5. January 9th 1961, the pilots name way Byron Foster,not Bryson…He was a good friend of my dads who also flew the 47…I remember hearing stories of this terrible accident as a child…just thought you might want to correct it…thanks

    1. I knew Bryron Foster when I was a navigator in the First Bomb Squadron at Mt. Home AFB, Idaho. He was a charming guy and a good pilot. I was sad to learn of the crash that killed him. By that time he had transferred to another base and I was flying with the USAF reserve at March AFB, California.

    2. Yes, the name is Byron Foster–not Bryson. I noted this several weeks ago when I first saw the list.

      He was a blood relative of mine and a big hero of my youth. I remember the shock of hearing about the accident and I’ve thought of him many times over the years.

      Day before yesterday, I called his older sister and told her about what I’d found. We talked a long while about his career and I learned lots I didn’t know. (A timeline of his career is on her todo list.) When I read her the crash description, she said it wasn’t what the family was told.

      Anyway, both of us want to see the name corrected here and she has eagerly accepted the task. I’m quite sure she’s more than capable of getting the fix done.

      I will let her know about your comment; I’m sure she will appreciate it.

  6. Thanks for all your work on this listing. My father was the pilot on the accident listed February 5, 1956 out of Walker AFB. The reason for the crash was debated; both my father and the a/c commander differed with the USAF. However, neither explanation matches the one reported here. Happy to report all crewmembers survived the crash. Plane crash landed in the snow, a highly unusual occurrence in New Mexico! Thanks.

  7. I found a wing from 53-2119 which crashed on 1-16-62 on a training run from Plattsburgh this summer. It is fairly good shape, measured the section to be 33ft long,
    I am also looking to find a Sgt Roden who was at the AFB then if anyone has contact info please give him my contact info.

    1. I had a teacher in Austin TX in 1965 who was a widow whose husband was killed in an airplane crash, I just knew her as Mrs. Roden, they had just one child, a daughter born about 59 or 60.

  8. I am struck with the crash list. That’s a lot of airplanes of the same mark to crash. I’m sure other types have similar records, but it stuns when you read the list..

    1. What is your crash list? One I saw was at that time at Lake Charles crashed on take off. For some reason it turned upside down crashing at the end of the runway it belonged to the 44th.

  9. 18 August 1955; B-47B 50-029. Richard M. Lunning, Instructor pilot; Charles K. Taylor, Pilot; Oswald E. Barnes. Compressor stall number 2 engine, after a touch-n-go. Was able to make close pattern and land. Fire destroyed the engine and totaled the aircraft.

      1. I saw the 035 go down as I was working on the flight controls of another B 47. It seemed to be in a normal landing pattern when it suddenly rolled into the banked wing. and crashed a few hundred yards from the Cessna Aircraft Factory. I was a B-47 hydraulic mechanic assigned to the 3520th field maintenance sqdn

  10. My name is Joe. My Pop was a pilot with the 100th between 58 and 63, IIRC. I was just a kid of 8 in 63. I remember living on 31 Birch Drive on base. There was a large explosion and the sky lit up on the night my Pop was returning from one of many Reflexes he went on. My Mom went nuts and immediately called base ops. Turned out my friend’s father’s plane landed short and went into the golf course that night. I saw the burned out hulk the next day. He survived but was so badly burned his wife took the kids and split. He attempted to chase her but died when he crashed the car. I think his name was Bob Lundeen or Lundine. I’m hazy on that now. I remember one or two more such incidents where father’s left families behind. Those are my memories of the B-47. My Pop retired in 63. I have his orders and awards from that time. His navigator was Bill Coffee and his CP was a guy I only knew as a Frenchman named Walsh, everyone called Frenchie.

    1. joe my name bill evans i was stationed at pease afb in the 100th bomb wing 350th bs. i also remenber the golf course crash it was from the 509th bomb wing returning to roswell nm. from what i understand they were on alert at pease but didn’t refill the forward ax tank which made an unbalanced cg it went nose high stalled he did drop one of his tip tanks but that didn’t help god bless all of them men i was at portsmouth afb from 1956 to 1962 there were other at p[ease that had problems b-47 that aircraft was a great a/c but also a widow maker

  11. Throwback Tulsa: B-47 jet broke apart, raining debris on east Tulsa in ’58

    Found this article on Tulsa World’s site today. Thought some might find it interesting. Don’t forget to check out the 15 images in their gallery.

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/throwback-tulsa-b–jet-broke-apart-raining-debris-on/article_4ff393dd-d055-5446-acd1-cd1c7184ae20.html

    On May 2, 1958, the Air Force announced it had found a serious structural defect with the sleek, swept-wing aircraft. At least 14 B-47s had crashed in the first four months of 1958, resulting in 34 casualties.

    1. I was 3yrs old………just today…did inquiry of the crash…have had dreams…..suppressed memories………remember driving w/my mom……looking @ the wreckage….sad…as one was lost…..God bless our heroes.. john williams….spring texas…

  12. I was a witness to the B-47 crash at Dobbins AFB on 17 Feb 1969. This A/C was being modified by the Lockheed Aircraft Company at Marietta. My job at the time was as a weather observer supervisor at the base weather station. It was my job to report to the control tower to supervise the weather observing whenever we received word of an aircraft emergency. This B-47 was manned by 4 people, An AF officer in command and another AF officer as co-pilot. and a third as navigator. A Lockheed technical representative was the 4th occupant. The Pilot reported his #6 engine out and was on final when I got to the control tower. The Aircraft touched down about 1/3 the distance down the runway with the first contact on the forward main landing gear Immediately, the plane began to “bounce” on that gear with rear main gear still in the air. This phenomenon is known as “porpoising”. I believe the proper response is to deploy the drag chute. However, the pilot elected to add power to the remaining 5 engines and attempt a go around. As the nose lifted the aircraft stalled and rolled into it’s right wing, which made contact with the ground. As the aircraft continued, the right wing began to separate from the aircraft, and bounced over the occupied GCA shed to the right of the runway. As the aircraft began to roll to the right, the navigator ejected and was still in his seat as it bounced across the left side of the runway. He never left his seat, and I am sure was killed on impact with the ground. The aircraft continued to roll to the right and slid part way into a small lake to the right of the runway. At that point the aircraft exploded in a ball of fire, indicating that no one survived. I instructed the duty observer to take his observation, but felt quite nauseated at what I had just witnessed.

  13. Hi, I am preparing a presentation to a group of DNR retirees in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on May 31, regarding the rescue of the members of the B-47 that crashed in northern Saskatchewan on February 12, 1955. Some of these retirees were involved with the rescue efforts. I would appreciate hearing from any of the flight crew that survived (or their surviving family members) of Lt. Col. Kenneth McGrew, Cpt. Lester Epton, Cpt. Thomas Pittman and Major Robert Dowdy.
    Les Oystryk
    Box 362
    Creighton, Saskatchewan S0P 0A0
    Phone 306-688-6572

  14. Bill Williams

    I was a survivor of B-47 #50-081 crash in Marianna Florida in the 1950’s.

    B-47 aircraft tail number # 50-081, flight crew…. Command Pilot … Maj. Frederick “Fred” E. Ewing, Co-Pilot … Capt. Oscar W. Yon, Pilot….Capt. James H. Foreman and Observer….Capt. Richard E. Francis were killed from a mid-air explosion and crash. Two young children, Peggy D. Williams and Rufus F. Williams also died at the crash site.

    I watched this aircraft on fire come apart with many pieces (wings, engines, wheels, etc.) falling to earth between my house and my neighbors house. I felt like I was trapped in hell from the fumes of fuel, flames like a napalm bomb and explosions all around me. Unfortunately I watched my brother and sister burn to death and retrieved their burning bodies from the flames.

    A member of the Historical Society recently informed me they were considering the placement of a Historical Marker at the site of crash in honor of the crew and the civilians that died.

    I have been told that fragments and other pieces of the aircraft are still found in residents yards.

  15. I was a witness to, and assisted at, the crash site at Upper Heyford in May of ’64. I was on reflex from Lockbourne (air police) and was assigned to the first plane in the Christmas treed area. My buddy, on the next plane, and I were talking when we noticed the plane coming in fairly fast but we lost sight of it on the other side of the hump on the runway. when we next sighted it it was attempting to lift off again when it cartwheeled off and slid between two other aircraft that were on ready status. I won’t go into other details only to say it was a very close encounter and a horrific sight.

  16. The 1963 midair collisipn has a sad error. Leonard Theis did not survive. He was a classmate of my father Roger Tetzner.

    1. Len and I shared a house together for 6 months at Lake Charles. I was in England when the crash happened. He was married to a Lady from near Lake Charles. Len was the best of the best. He had many friends. hope his wife is well and imagine she has remarried. Can’t recall her name now. Gary Clark B-47 Pilot from 1955 to 1964 Lake Charles and Lockbourne. I have saved SAC messages of descriptions of over 100 B-47 crashes.

  17. As to the 10 April 1962 loss by 384th BW, you have a question about whether or not the CP (Wilson) ejected. Yes, he did and he survived, I was told the AC, Goodman, ejected but struck part of the aircraft during ejection and was killed. Not sure if the nav, McComb, was able to eject or not. We heard they were attempting a loop but that info might not be accurate. It was tragic and we were not given many details. I was a nav in the unit & on Reflex at the time of the accident.

    1. Where did this crash take place? When my father was stationed at Stewart AFB in the early 60’s, he, my brother and I were the first on-scene to a crash that I believe was a B-47. Both cockpit seats were empty, but there was a leg in a boot and flight suit pant leg hanging from a crook in a tree…won’t ever forget that. We lived in a trailer right outside the back gate (you could see the SAGE bldg and crash dump)…any info on such a crash??? Thanks!

  18. I was given a 1,500 hour B-47 pin by the Boeing. I am very proud of what we all did … ” Wiskey Delta ” I believe to this day that the B-47, aircrews, ground crews, support personnel and our flight operations was a major reason, we won the COLD WAR…

  19. I am appalled at the accidents suffered by the B-47 during its short lifetime. My father was a navigator in the B-47 thru the 50’s and into the 60’s. I know the accidents were high because the crews would talk and the wives would cry and whisper and the children would be quiet. My family suffered through the losses and I lost friends whose fathers were killed and they moved away. Through all of that I had no idea it was as bad as I just read. Wow, somebody should have been shot.

  20. Al Berube. I was also at McConnell. I was also in Field Maintenance, but in Aero Repair. While I was at McConnell,1954-57, there were two aircraft lost. I was out picking up pieces of the one the nose dived into the ground. The crew was lost and aircraft parts was scattered over five miles.

    1. Did you work the crash site of 52-0770 southwest of the Olathe Naval Air Station? I am researching the crash site location with the purpose of putting up a memorial to the air crew. I have the USAF crash report but am still having a hard time with the location. This crash was on Oct 30,1954. Any information would be helpful.
      Thank you.

  21. We have never honored those who died fighting the ” COLD WAR ”
    We should … they died – some shot down…defending our County.
    Neil Cosentino
    USAF, Retired
    1,500 Hours in the B-47
    372 the Bomb Squadron – 307th BW Lincoln AFB NE
    1st BS – Mountain Home AFB ID

    1. Neil, did you by chance know my father. His name was Walter Brown. A lot of the guys called him “Brownie”. He was a B-47 squadron commander stationed at Lincoln, Later a DCO. I am his son John, we were stationed at Lincoln 6 years.

      1. I arrived at Lincoln AFB early 1959 as a 2nd Lt. Copilot. I flew the B-47E after training at Forbes in the RB-47. At Lincoln I was in the 345th BS, 98th BW. Also at Lincoln was the 307th BW. I too have the Boeing 1000 hour pin. It has been many years, and names have slipped from my memory. We lost many aircraft. One name I remember was Lt. Col. Ledbetter. He was a navigator and was killed while evaluating a flight crew. The accident report indicated engine failure and the engine came loose and crashed into the ailerons, causing the plane to roll and then parts of the wing came off and they crashed in Dakotas. One I observed was off the end of the runway. The crew has miscalculated the CG (center of gravity) and after breaking ground stalled and crashed. Remember the “slip stick” we used to calculate the CG? We (my family) served at Lincoln for 6 years. During my check out as Aircraft Commander my instructor (Lt. Col. Wilson (?) was making a night, back seat landing. He hit the forward wheels first and we started the Bounce. After two contacts with the runway I looked around and could see the night stars in every quadrant. I thought, “This is not good!” I popped the drag shut and we stopped with a BANG. The maintenance report we left noted, “Hard Landing” which meant a complete check of the airframe.
        The biggest issue we had was “chunk failure” of the turbine. Due to the tandem wheel base, you do not feel the “yaw” due to engine failure until you break ground. Then the slight roll (either side) on a swept wing aircraft drops the wing and CAN contact the ground. Several losses noted this.
        Court Braden, B-47, C-130, and B-52. Lt. Col., Retired

  22. Our whole crew survived a B-47e crash at Plattsburgh AFB on 2 Feb. 1964. Aircraft was damaged on takeoff when the top raft panel came off and antenna wire wrapped around empanage. AC No. 53-1868 belonged to the 308 BW. We were attempting an overweight landing in heavy turbulence and crosswind. We escaped with minor injuries but the aircraft was a total loss.Crew was Maj. George Byrum, Capt.Larry Ontiveros, and Capt. Bernie Stiles.

  23. The Nov. 30, 1956 crash in Canada of B-47E 52-3360 was of a Barksdale bird from the 301st BW, not one from Lake Charles. The sole survivor of the crash, then- Major Robert Slane, was a friend of mine. He later served as a full bird as the last base commander of Barksdale, before that function was rolled into the duties of the CC of the host bomb wing.

    1. Mr. Prime:
      I had opportunity to come across the crash site back in 2009 and an article was written up in a magazine in Canada called “Canada’s History”. I would be glad to email you a copy if you advise email address. Fred Johnson johnsonfb@tbaytel.net

      1. Note please that the “B-47 losses” listed on the website doesn’t show names of the three aircrew lost 30 Nov 1956 when 52-3360 crashed. Killed were Lt. Richard Martin – co-pilot, Lt. Donald Petty – navigator and Lt. Max Workman – spare navigator along for training. Information can be found in book written by Robert M. Slane called “Jorney To Freedom And Beyond”. Colonel (then Major) Slane was the only survivor of the crash. Fred Johnson
        johnsonfb@tbaytel.net

      2. Sorry, error in typing – book by Col. Slane is called “Journey To Freedom And Beyond” and deals with the 30 Nov 1956 crash of B-47 # 52-3360 and other military experiences of Slane. Fred Johnson johnsonfb@tbaytel.net

  24. I was a propulsion engineer working at Tinker AFB from 1960 through 1963 and assigned to support the J-47 among other jet engines. In January I was assigned to a team investigating the accident at March AFB on January 5, 1962. My assignment was to determine if an engine had failed on take off. One eye witness report stated smoke trailing from an outboard engine during take off roll. The aircraft was #2 of a SAC three aircraft minimum interval take off (MITO). The crew chief arrived late for the briefing and was ordered to stand down by the aircraft commander. This was a SAC training mission and everything was by the book. All aircraft were full of fuel including the out riggers for the mission. The first aircraft took off without delay. The second aircraft, the accident aircraft, rolled into position and began the take off roll. It reached the end of the runway where the pilot “pulled” the aircraft off the runway, cleared trees at the end of the runway and immediately settled back into the ground breaking up as it hit an irrigation ditch and continuing into the dirt bank of a bridge abutment. All three crew members perished. The accident team determined that the pilot had pulled the circuit breaker on the water injection pumps versus the nacelle heat circuit breaker. Pulling the breaker on the nacelle heat was often done by the crew following a nacelle heat check by the crew before take off. Ground personnel would give a “thumbs up” if the nacelle was warm followed by the pilot turning the heat off. Some pilots pulled the nacelle heat circuit breaker to make sure it did not come on. In this case the wrong circuit breaker was pulled. This loss of engine water injection during take off significantly reduced thrust resulting in loss of take off speed. The aircraft failed to accelerate during the various take off runway check points but due to a SAC “demerits” for failing to make a take off on time the crew continued to take off roll.

  25. I was a Crew Chief and or Asst. Crew Chief on B47’s 1957-1959. I witnessed several crashes at March Air Force Base 22nd Bomb Wing, 2nd Bomb Squadron. Tail #53-2053 crashed and all killed. One exploded on the ground while loading oxygen. another crashed on landing final 7 miles from the base. 5 were lost doing the Hair clipper maneuver out over Catalina Islands. Another crashed while landing with a 20K lb Nuke on board and as the real gear touched the ground one rim broke and that caused the gear to collapse and one big explosion blew the plane apart and all were killed. Another took off and all 3 left engines quit and it rolled over and crashed killing all. Man this was a sickening site when we had to collect the body parts. More on this later Walt Wilson.

  26. My husband, Charles Wilson, was at Chenault AFB in 1958 when a B47 with a nuclear bomb on board (Broken Arrow) jumped the chaulks, caught fire, and crashed at the end of the runway. Does any one have any details of that Crash? Would appreciate any information you might have. Thanks, Doris Wilson

    1. Doris Wilson
      My name is Jack Sinclair, I was at Chennault and saw the accident. I
      have a copy of the accident report. I could send you a copy if you’ed
      like.Just post on this site as to where you want me to send it and I will.

  27. 50296 was in a bomb run on LA JUNTA BOMB Plot failed to make a combat turn Turbine seperated from engine AC parts landed in JOHN MARTIN which was dry at that time ac was at high alt. After nav landed he found two parkers this area was very isolated and loaded with rattlesnakes. now the bottom of a lake

  28. A b 47 crewmember was killed in a landing accident at RAF GreenhamCommon in 1962 or 63 while I was stationed there , does anyone recall this incident.? His name was Richard West.

  29. My name is Jack Sinclair, I was a crew chief at Chenault AFB and was very close by changing a refrigeration unit on my aircraft when the aircraft jumped the chocks. When the crew put external power on the aircraft the 30 jato bottles went off and caused the aircraft to jump the chocks. The navigator was in the aircraft and got badly burned but survived. The aircraft commander was on the entrance ladder going up to perform his preflight inspection. He was thrown off the ladder and was run over by the aft gear.The co-pilot was still doing the outside preflight and was not injured. The aircraft had a nuke on it because it was on alert.

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Preserving the legacy of the Boeing B-47 StratoJet Bomber