TBF-1 Landing Mishap aboard USS CARD, December 9, 1942
West Coast Report
FLEET AIR WEST COAST
Naval Air Station, San Diego, California Dec 14,1942
FIRST ENDORSEMENT to
From: Commander Fleet Air, West Coast
Subject: USS CARD (ACV-11) - Alteration to Barriers and Yielding Elements of Arresting Wires
Reference: (a) Comfairwestcoast conf. desp. 132231 December
l. Forwarded in connection with reference (a), which recommended that the height of barriers numbers two and three be increased from five feet to six feet on auxiliary carriers of this type. TBF-l airplanes are being assigned to practically all of them. It is apparent that the present barriers will be the cause of serious damage when an accident such as described herein occurs while other airplanes are parked forward of the barriers.
2. No change in the height of the number one (after) barrier is recommended, as this barrier is not used for TBF operations.
3. The recommendation that the yielding elements of numbers five to nine arresting wires be replaced with higher elements is worthy of favorable consideration. This office does not know why this feature was not incorporated in the original installation, but it appears extremely desirable. The change would evidently involve new yielding elements, as well as modification of the stops limiting their movement. The work is beyond the capacity of the ship's force, but would not require much time if done at a Navy Yard, particularly in the cases of ACV's not yet delivered.
At 1019 on 9 December, 1942, Ensign J. C. Forney, A-V(N), USNR., crashed on deck while making a refresher landing.
During the approach the airplane was slightly off center to starboard and when given the "cut" signal, the pilot skidded slightly to port. The airplane may have been slightly fast but none of the above deficiencies would have prohibited a normal landing. The tail hook should have engaged number two wire but bounced over number two, three, and four wires. Some question arises as to whether or not wires five, six, seven, and eight were up or down.
It is believed that at least two of these wires were lowered by the operators in the mistaken belief that the hook had engaged a wire. Number nine wire was up. Number one barrier (aft) was down and two and three barriers were up. The airplane struck the two barriers, parted the top wires on both barriers and rolled at least one of the two lower wires under the wheels, see enclosure (C-1).
The top wires sheared immediately without much run-out. After passing the barriers the propeller struck the deck, the airplane veered to starboard and stopped astride the forward 1.1 Machine Gun, both wheels resting inside the gun mount protective plating, see enclosure (C-31.
There were no injuries to the pilot or ship's personnel.
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Regardless of the fact that the hook bounced over three wires and some doubt exists as to whether or not some of the arresting wires were down, the airplane crashed through two barriers at fairly high speed.
The yielding elements as installed in this vessel give a maximum height of wire above the deck of 5". Had the hook in this case not bounced quite so high, or had the cross-deck pendents been higher (as installed on older carriers) the airplane would have been arrested by either two, three, or four wires or probably stopped by number nine wire.
Reference (a), Chart M-9, shows upper wire height allowable at the stanchion to be 70". The barrier stanchions on this vessel are 60", in height with no provisions made for readjustment.
It is urgently recommended:
1. That adjustable 10" yielding elements be installed in place
of the 5" yielding elements on wires number five, six, seven,
2. That the Naval Aircraft Factory be directed to immediately
3. That the barrier system be modified to increase the height
U.S.S. CARD December 10, 1942,
From: Ensign J. C, Forney, A-V(N), USNR.
To : Aircraft Trouble Board.
Subject: Crash of TBF-1 Airplane, Bureau Number 01743.
l. On December 9, 1942, I was making landings on the U.S.S. CARD for a refresher qualification.
2. Coming around in my approach, I received the following signals, as I remember. Roger, fast, low dip, roger and the cut. I was slightly off center of the deck to the starboard side when I got the cut. I made what I thought was a normal carrier landing but failed to hook a wire, I bounced off the deck and, not slowing down any, I gave it a slight push over and then tried to get the tail down on the deck, which I think I did, but bounced again into the first barrier. I did not use my brakes, as I should have, before hitting the barrier. Going through the first barrier turned me to the starboard side and the second barrier turned me a little more and also nosed the plane over into the deck. At this time I was riding the right brake trying to miss a man in front of the left wheel. I found out later the right brake cord was cut when I hit the barrier so at no time did I have the brakes on.
3. I ended up on top of the 1.1 gun emplacements on the starboard side of the deck just forward of the island.
/ s / J. C. Forney
U.S.S. CARD December 10, 1942,
From: Landing Signal Officer.
To : Aircraft Trouble Board.
Subject: Barrier Crash of TBF-1 Airplane, Bureau Number 01743.
1. Subject airplane piloted by J. C. Forney, Ensign, A-V(N), USNR., made a normal approach to the carrier. At the time of the "cut" signal, the plane was slightly fast and to the left, The landing was made between the number one and number two wires, wheels first and the plane continued up the deck in a skid to the left with the hook bouncing over wires number two, three, and four, after which it appeared that the tail was at such a height that it was impossible for the hook to engage any of the remaining wires. The plane then crashed through the number two and number three barriers about fifteen feet inboard of the port stanchion, coming to rest in the starboard bow, 1.1 gun gallery.
/s/ E. T. DEACON,