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Last updated: 1 December 2021
Date:Friday 27 June 1958
Type:Silhouette image of generic K35A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 56-3599
MSN: 17348/38
First flight: 1957-12-18 (6 months)
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney J57-P
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Total:Fatalities: 15 / Occupants: 15
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Springfield-Westover AFB, MA (CEF) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 73 m (240 feet) amsl
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Springfield-Westover AFB, MA (CEF/KCEF), United States of America
Destination airport:Brize Norton RAF Station (BZZ/EGVN), United Kingdom
Four US Air Force KC-135 tanker planes were attempting to set a world speed record New York-London v.v. Tanker 56-3599 was the third plane to depart. After takeoff the airplane apparently stalled because the crew failed to retract the flaps from 40 to 30 degrees during climbout. It skidded across the Massachusetts Turnpike and disintegrated in flames. The fourth KC-135 was ready for takeoff at that moment. This flight was cancelled.

Loss of control

Follow-up / safety actions
Originally, there was a 40° flap setting for take-off on the KC-135, but after this accident, this was deleted.


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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 Springfield-Westover AFB, MA to Brize Norton RAF Station as the crow flies is 5232 km (3270 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Boeing C-135

  • 820 built
  • The first loss
  • The first fatal accident
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 11th worst accident (currently)
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