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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 105536
Last updated: 16 October 2021
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Type:Douglas B-18 Bolo
Owner/operator:50th RSqn /11th BGp USAAC
Registration: 36-446
MSN: 1747
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Kohala summit swamps west of Waimanu, Hawaii Island -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Hickam Field, Hawaii
Destination airport:
On 25 February 1941 the B-18 36-446 of 50th RS, 11th BG, USAAC, took off at 1900 hrs from Hickam Field, Hawaii, one of the four B-18s despatched for a training flight for inter-island night navigation on instruments. While flying on instruments at 10,000' over Hawai'i island., it suffered a main bearing failure in the left engine and crashed into the Kohala summit swamps west of Waimanu, in an isolated mountain valley at 3,500'. The crew only suffered minor injuries and waited at the crash site to be rescued.

The next morning, 24 bombers from Hickam Field searched for the missing B-18 and located it at 0900 hrs. A flag waved vigorously by the crew members confirmed their safety in response to a note dropped yesterday from an army plane, requesting such a signal if all were unhurt. Later in the afternoon they dropped supplies to the crew including blankets and hot coffee.

Scouting pilots reported that a slight miscalculation would have sent the big ship shattering against the cliffs that surrounded the valley and the newspapers reported that only masterful flying by the pilot, Captain Boyd Hubbard, Jr., saved the crew.

At dawn on the 27th, a rescue team departed from Upolu (Suiter Field). On horseback, they followed the Kohala Ditch Trail from Kaukini Camp for 2 hours, then had to cut a new trail on foot for eight miles through marshland and heavy brush for another four hours before nearing the crash site. The rescuers fired revolvers into the air and then listened for a reply. They were about to give up, when they finally heard a burst of machine gun fire and flares which guided them to the crash site, and they reached the crash scene at noon.

Captain Boyd Hubbard, Jr. (pilot, from Adair, Iowa)
2nd Lt Francis R. Thompson (co-pilot)
S/Sgt Joseph S. Paulhamus (flying engineer)
Pvt William Cohn (radio operator)
Pvt Fred C. Seeger (passenger)
Pvt Robert R. Stevens (passenger) WIA

This aircraft was built by Douglas, with the constructors number 1747, and was the last B-18 built in the "36-" series. It was accepted by the US Army on 15 April 1938 and later assigned to the 50th Reconaissance Squadron (RS) with the aircraft number 81. At the time of its loss, if had a total of 1,023 hours 15 minutes of flight time.

When the crew was rescued, only the bombsight and instruments were salvaged. Further salvage was impossible due to the remote location. Decades later (during 1980s?) Gary Larkins visited this site and photographed it with top turret intact. Internal fittings and the top turret were removed, including the retractable top turret and nose cone. These parts went to the USAF Museum for use in their restoration of B-18A Bolo 37-469, but the turret did not fit their aircraft.

Today, the wreck remains 'in situ' on the Laupahoehoe Nui LLC property, Hamakua, Hawaii on Kohala, north of Mauna Kea.

Corvallis Gazette-Times from Corvallis, Oregon, 27 February 1941 (available online at

Revision history:

06-Jan-2012 10:59 Uli Elch Updated [Cn, Location, Phase]
26-Jan-2018 19:56 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Mar-2020 18:46 DB Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Operator]

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