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Last updated: 5 December 2021
Date:Friday 23 February 1945
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-3-277
Operator:American Airlines
Registration: NC18142
MSN: 2138
First flight: 1939
Total airframe hrs:17296
Engines: 2 Wright R-1820-G102
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 15 / Occupants: 19
Total:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 22
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:9 km (5.6 mls) SW of Rural Retreat, VA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Washington-National Airport, DC (DCA/KDCA), United States of America
Destination airport:Nashville-Berry Field, TN (BNA/KBNA), United States of America
Flightnumber: 9
American Airlines Flight 3 en route from New York to Los Angeles departed at 21:39 on February 22, 1945. Departure from Washington had been at 00:11 on February 23. The last radio message from the flight was at 02:05 at 4,000 feet over Pulaski, Virginia. The DC-3 continued, passing through rain and clouds and encountering considerable turbulence. The airplane flew over mountainous terrain and struck the wooded summit of Glade Mountain at approx 3910 feet amsl.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's failure to properly plan the flight and remain at a safe instrument altitude under existing conditions. A contributing cause of the accident was the company's laxity in dispatching and supervising the flight."

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» CAB File No. 875-45


photo of Douglas-DC-3-277-NC18142
accident date: 23-02-1945
type: Douglas DC-3-277
registration: NC18142

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Washington-National Airport, DC to Nashville-Berry Field, TN as the crow flies is 896 km (560 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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Douglas DC-3

  • ca 13.000 built
  • 1578th loss
  • 525th fatal accident
  • 60th worst accident (at the time)
  • 306th worst accident (currently)
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