American Airlines' Flagship Missouri Crashes, Killing 11

Flight 63 originated at Cleveland at 17:56, 17 minutes later than the scheduled departure.

Intermediate stops were made at Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, and at Louisville. Accumulated delay at the time of departure from Nashville amounted to one hour and 38 minutes. The DC-3, named "Flagship Missouri", climbed to 6000 feet and the pilot reported cruising at this level at 22:59. At 23:06 the flight called Nashville and requested permission to climb to 8000 feet, which was approved. However altitude was lost until the DC-3 descended into the thickly wooded southern slope of a hill which rose to a height of about 75 feet.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Inability of the aircraft to gain or maintain altitude due to carburetor ice or propeller ice or wing ice of some combination of these icing conditions while over terrain and in weather unsuitable for an emergency landing. CONTRIBUTING FACTOR: Weather conditions which, had their nature been anticipated, should have precluded the dispatch of the flight in an aircraft no equipped with wind or propeller deicing equipment."

American Air Lines said early today it would "have to assume" an accident had occurred to one of its passenger planes five hours overdue here from Nashville, Tenn., with 10 persons aboard. Capt. B. Payne, chief pilot for the Memphis area, made the statement at 5 a.m. after an earlier announcement that the missing ship had enough gas to keep it aloft only until 2:35 a.m. (CWT). Payne said army planes from Memphis and Nashville would join in a widespread search shortly before daybreak. The army declined to reveal the number of planes but Payne said there would be "quite a few." He added that two company ships and the civil air patrol also would participate. The plane is believed to have gone down in the Tennessee River area, about mid-day between Nashville and Memphis, Payne said. He described that location as "pretty rough" for a forced landing.

American Airlines Flight 63 was an American Airlines DC-3 nicknamed the Flagship Missouri that crashed on October 15, 1943 near Centerville, Tennessee after ice formed on its wings and propeller. All eight passengers and three crewmembers perished. This was the second fatal crash of Flight 63, occurring two-and-a-half months after the crash of the Flagship Missouri’s sister ship, the Flagship Ohio.