California Polytechnic State Football Team Plane Crash

Crash Experts yesterday examined the twisted wreckage of a plane which was a flaming death trap for nearly half the 35 members of a college football team.

The chartered twin-engine C46 with the California State Polytechnic College (San Luis Obispo) team aboard plunged down Saturday night seconds after takeoff in a dense fog at Toledo Express Airport. It snapped in two and burst into flames, snuffing out the lives of 22 of the 48 occupants.

The C-46 was chartered to transport the California State Polytechnic College football team from Santa Maria, California to Toledo, Ohio and return. The aircraft took off from Toledo Express Airport on the return flight to San Luis Obispo, California, weighing approximately 2 000 lb more than its maximum certificated gross weight of 47 100 lb. The aircraft crashed approximately 5 800 feet from the threshold of the take-off runway, caught fire and was destroyed.

The Cal Poly football team plane crash occurred on October 29, 1960, at 22:02 EST, when a twin-engine C-46 propliner, registration N1244N, operated as a domestic charter flight by Arctic Pacific, carrying the California Polytechnic State University football team, crashed on takeoff at the Toledo Express Airport in Toledo, Ohio. The aircraft, a veteran of World War II, broke in two and caught fire on impact. Twenty-two of the forty-eight people on board were killed, including sixteen players, the team’s student manager and a Cal Poly football booster.

The CAB investigated the accident and concluded that the aircraft had been overloaded by 2,000 lbs above its maximum certificated gross takeoff weight of 47,100 lbs, and that there was a partial power loss in the left engine prior to the crash.

Prior to takeoff the weather at the airport steadily deteriorated; at 7 pm the visibility was 3/4 mile, at 8:37 the visibility was down to 1/16 mile, and by the time of the accident the visibility was zero. The CAB accident report states that stemming from the crash, the FAA published a notice in the Airman's Guide that prohibited takeoff for commercial aircraft when the visibility is below 1/4 mile, or the runway visual range is below 2000 ft.