Power Failure Causes VP-6 Plane To Crash
Contributed by “Bob” Leland Moore
A Navy P2V Neptune plane, attached to Patrol Squadron Six, crash landed and burned at this station Tuesday evening, May 6, at 6:25 p.m. None of the seven man crew aboard the plane was injured.
Shortly after take-off, the aircraft's pilot, Ens. Fred S. Etherton, noticed a power failure on the starboard engine and seconds later the engine burst into flames.
Skillfully making a crosswind landing, the pilot brought the plane safely to the ground.
When asked about how it feels to land an airplane that's on fire, Ens. Etherton said "he was too busy getting his plane down and getting the crew into ditching positions to worry about anything."
Lt. (j.g.) G. E. Nuber, co-pilot of the plane stated that "another minute of flight would possibly have caused the fire to burn the main support of the starboard wing causing the wing to fall off."
On landing, the plane swerved, crashing into two parked planes and caused minor damage to the two aircraft.
Flames from the starboard engine engulfed the side of the plane. The crash crew and fire fighters of the naval air station went to work immediately and soon had the flames under control.
Caption: BLAZING FURIOUSLY...the starboard engine of the ill-fated Neptune P2V which crash landed on the evening of May 6, drops to the ground. Members of the naval air station's crash crews and fire department keep a steady stream of CO2 and fog spray directed at the blaze. After the flames had been extinguished, it was revealed that the plane was a strike.