Northwest Airlines Flight 2 Crashes into the Bridger Mountains, Killing 10
Northwest Airlines Flight 2, registration NC17388, was a Lockheed 14H Super Electra aircraft which crashed into the Bridger Mountains about 12 miles northeast of Bozeman, Montana, on January 10, 1938.
All ten on board were killed in the accident, which was the first fatal crash of both a Northwest Airlines aircraft and a Lockheed Super Electra.
Flight 2 was en route from Seattle, Washington to Chicago, Illinois, with intermediate stops at Spokane, Washington, Butte, Montana, and Billings, Montana. The flight had just left Butte and was flying over Belgrade, Montana when it diverted to the north to avoid a dust storm over Bozeman Pass. The first officer contacted the Northwest Airlines radio operator at 3:05 PM Mountain Standard Time to advise that Flight 2 had reached the cruising altitude of 9,000 feet at 2:53 PM.
The aircraft crashed 12 miles northeast of Bozeman after experiencing structural failure of the tail. There was severe turbulence reported in the area at the time of the accident. The structural failure of the upper vertical fins and rudders due to flutter "natural resonance, or period of vibration" which resulted in the separation of the rudder and fins and loss of control of the aircraft.