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Piedmont Airlines Flight 349

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Piedmont Airlines Flight 349
Piedmont flight 349 wreckage.jpg
The wreckage of Flight 349 in February 2002.
DateOctober 30, 1959
SummaryControlled flight into terrain due to pilot error
SiteBucks Elbow Mountain, Albemarle County, Virginia, U.S. (near Crozet, Virginia, U.S.)
38°06′15″N 78°43′53″W / 38.10417°N 78.73139°W / 38.10417; -78.73139
Aircraft typeDouglas DC-3
Aircraft nameBuckeye Pacemaker
OperatorPiedmont Airlines
Flight originWashington National Airport, Washington, D.C.
DestinationCharlottesville–Albemarle Airport
Survivors1 (Ernest P. Bradley)

On October 30, 1959, Piedmont Airlines Flight 349, a Douglas DC-3, crashed on Bucks Elbow Mountain near Crozet, Virginia, killing the crew of three and all but one of its twenty-four passengers. The sole survivor, 33-year-old Ernest P. "Phil" Bradley, was seriously injured and lay on the ground near the wreckage, still strapped in his seat.[1]

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The aircraft was on an ILS approach to Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport. While preforming an inbound turn the aircraft crashed into Bucks Elbow Mountain at 2,600 feet (790 m).[2]


The subsequent investigation determined the cause of the accident to be:

A navigational omission which resulted in a lateral course error that was not detected and corrected through precision instrument flying procedures. A contributing factor to the accident may have been pre-occupation of the captain resulting from mental stress.[2]


Phil Bradley died of pancreatic cancer on August 23, 2013, 54 years after the crash.[3]

Opposing view

The Air Line Pilots Association conducted its own investigation and came to a very different conclusion. Rather than missing the one turn on their flight, the pilot and co-pilot, according to ALPA, may have been led astray by faulty radio beacons. The ALPA report, citing numerous incidences of an intermittent signal at the beacon for the Charlottesville airport, found that the beacon for a private field in Hagerstown, Maryland, could have overridden and caused the collision with the mountain.[4]


The accident aircraft, named Buckeye Pacemaker, was registered as N55V and had construction number 20447. The aircraft had previously flown with Meteor Air Transport as N53593 and was sold to Piedmont Airlines in December 1956.


  1. ^ Kebabjian, Richard. "Accident Details".
  2. ^ a b Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-47A-90-DL (DC-3) N55V Bucks Elbow Mountain, VA". Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "Survivor's end: Bradley dies 54 years past Piedmont plane crash". August 27, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Hawes Spencer (October 8, 2009). "Alone on a mountain: the true story of Flight 349". The Hook. Charlottesville. Retrieved June 30, 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 October 2019, at 11:54
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