Accident Republic F-84B Thunderjet 45-59580, 22 Apr 1948
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 255271
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Time:15:58 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic f84 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Republic F-84B Thunderjet
Owner/operator:49th FS, 14th FG, USAF (49th Fighter Squadron, 14th FG, United States Air Force)
Registration: 45-59580
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1 mile from Deblois Flight Strip, Washington County, Maine -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Dow AFB, Bangor, Maine, USA (GBR/KBGR)
Destination airport:Deblois Flight Strip, Washington County, Maine (43B)
Republic F-84B-16-RE Thunderjet 45-59580, 49th FS, 14th FG, USAF: Written off (destroyed) April 22 1948 when Ran out of fuel and wrecked in a forced landing one mile from Deblois airstrip, Washington County, Maine. Pilot 1st Lt Herbert F Hawes Jr was killed.

At 1:55 p.m. on April 22, 1948, a USAF P-84B Thunderjet, (45-59580), piloted by 1st Lt. Herbert F. Hawes, Jr., 27, departed from Dow Air Force Base for what was to be a local transition flight. At some point during the high altitude flight, Lt. Hawes was blown off course. The reason, according to the Air Force investigation report, may have been due to strong high-altitude winds, for the report stated in part: “Winds aloft for the general area, at altitudes the mission was flown, were reported as being from a westerly direction and varying from 39 to 62 miles per hour.”

At approximately 2:45 p.m., Lt. Hawes contacted Dow tower and requested a homer bearing. He was advised to switch to “F” channel for further instructions.

At 3:00 p.m., he was given a heading of 273 degrees. Eight minutes later he asked the tower for a recheck as he was still uncertain of his position, and advised he was beginning to run low on fuel. Successive headings were given at three to five minute intervals.

At 3:20 p.m., Lt. Hawes reported his altitude to be 26,000 feet with 60 gallons of fuel remaining, and asked Dow tower how far he was from the base. Dow tower replied that by their estimate he was fifty miles out.

At 3:36 p.m. Lt. Hawes advised that he was still unable to orient himself to his location. At that time he was given a course correction to 276 degrees. Ten minutes later Lt. Hawes had descended to 16,000 feet and found himself over Deblois airstrip in Deblois, Maine, with 25 gallons of fuel remaining. At about that time Hawes was in contact with a captain who was piloting another P-84 in the vicinity. Hawes asked him for advice, and the captain advised to “throttle back to idling fuel pressure and establish a glide of 170 mph.”

Lt. Hawes also contacted Dow tower and asked for instructions, and was advised to attempt to make it back to Dow AFB, which is about 40 miles distant from Deblois. Another captain piloting a P-84 in the area contacted Hawes and advised him to attempt to land at Deblois, but Lt. Hawes elected to head for Dow AFB instead.

At 3:58 p.m., while still about 19 miles east of Dow AFB, Lt. Hawes reported he was now out of fuel and was going down. Instead of bailing out, he elected to remain with the aircraft and aimed towards a small open field amidst hilly and wooded terrain. With no engine with which to guide the aircraft, he crashed about one mile short of the field and was killed.

The crash was witnessed by the P-84 pilot who had advised Lt. Hawes to attempt an emergency landing at Deblois airstrip. [Deblois Flight Strip (FAA LID: 43B) is a public-use airport located two nautical miles (3.7 km) southeast of the central business district of Deblois, a town in Washington County, Maine, United States. The airport was built by the United States Army Air Forces about 1942 as an emergency landing airfield for military aircraft on training flights. It was closed after World War II, and was turned over for local government use by the War Assets Administration (WAA)].

At the time of this accident Lt. Hawes was assigned to the 14th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Squadron, then based at Dow AFB in Bangor, Maine. This was the first fatal accident for the 49th FS since its activation on December 21, 1946.

Lt. H F Hawes is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Cemetery at West Point.


1. Report Of Special Investigation Of Aircraft Accident Involving P-84B, No. 45-59580.
2. The Hangman’s News, (The Official Publication Of The 49th Fighter Squadron Association), “From Props To Jets Part 4 – 1 Apr. 1948 To 30 June 1948”, by Paul Scoskie, September 2008, Vol. 6, Issue 3.


Revision history:

02-May-2021 08:49 ASN archive Added
25-Jan-2023 18:13 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Category]
25-Jan-2023 18:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
29-Jan-2023 12:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator]

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