Capital Airlines Flight 75 Crashes

Just three minutes later the aircraft lost control in an area of severe turbulence and entered a steep descent.

The aircraft probably reached an airspeed of 335 knots, which is 15 percent in excess of the Viscount never-exceed speed or about 5 percent in excess of VD, the maximum speed demonstrated in certification. At an altitude of approx. 5000 feet both horizontal stabilizers simultaneously failed downward separated. Following separation of the right and left stabilizers the aircraft pitched down violently so that all, four engine nacelles broke upward from combined inertia and gyroscopic loads. Immediately thereafter both wings were subjected to extreme downloads under which the right separated and the structural integrity of the left wing was destroyed. With the nacelles, right wing, and stabilizers gone, drag induced by the left wing yawed the fuselage violently to the left. Forces to the left tore off the vertical fin with portions of the fuselage attached, the latter already weakened when the left stabilizer stub tore away. During the subsequent gyrations the left wing broke up, its fuel cells were opened and the flash fire occurred. At the saw time the remaining fuselage disintegrated.

Capital Airlines Flight 75 was a domestic scheduled Capital Airlines flight operating between La Guardia Airport and Atlanta Airport. A Vickers Viscount flying the route crashed in Chase, Maryland, on May 12, 1959, with the loss of all onboard. The crash was the second of three involving a Capital Airlines Vickers Viscount in as many years; the other two were Capital Airlines Flight 20 and Capital Airlines Flight 67.

A Capital Airlines New York-to-Atlanta Viscount turboprop plane, flying through squally weather, exploded in flight about 15 miles east of Baltimore late Tuesday, killing all 27 passengers and four crewmen.

And 280 miles to the west, another Capital Airlines four-engined plane -- a Constellation -- plunged over a 200-foot embankment near the end of the runway on landing at Kanawha Airport near Charleston, W. Va., and burst into flames. Two were killed and six were hospitalized of the 44 aboard.

First reports said the plane which blew apart near Baltimore apparently had been struck by lightning. However, the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington said it had no record of any airliner ever having been exploded by lightning.

Veteran fliers and flight engineers, who would not be quoted, speculated that the plane was caught in either a sudden downdraft or updraft which ripped off part of a wing, tearing a fuel line. The spilled fuel was ignited by an engine. The rip of the wing and the resulting combustion would be almost instantaneous, they thought.