UPDATE (AUGUST 24TH, 2014)
My Fall semester began last week and since I had the weekend off from work I decided to take a ride back to the C119G crash marker to see if I can find the site of the airplane crash. Big thank you to the commenters who informed me that the trail has been maintained and new trail blazes are up to follow.
To get here, you will want to find your way to Three Square Hollow Road within Tuscarora State Forest. This can be reached from many directions. Since I was coming from Harrisburg, I chose to enter the forest from Cumberland County, which is probably the most direct route from paved roads. The exact coordinates of the airplane crash are N 40°13’14.0 W077°33’43.9, elevation of 1775 feet (captured with my Garmin Nuvi). From the marker along the road, the trail leads you to the left and down the north side of the mountain for 0.5 miles to the crash site. The trail is marked with orange blazes and the crash site is marked with two orange blazes on a tree.
Here are photos from my hike today so you know what to expect if you decide to head out and investigate the site. Keep in mind that several people lost their lives here, so be respectful.
I love to discover thing. Especially when I find these things nearby. In this case it’s the site of an airplane crash in the area where I grew up. The accident occurred on October 26th, 1956 in Toboyne Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania. The marker sits along Three Square Hollow Road which is a forestry road north of Newville, Cumberland County.
The only information I can find on this crash is from a PennLive article talking about the monument. Here are some of the information from the Air Force at the time:
“Air Force aircraft number 51-8026 departed Sewart Air Force Base, Tenn. at [9:17 a.m.] on Oct. 26, 1956 via airways to Olmsted Air Force Base, [Middletown] Penn. on a cargo airlift mission.”
“The gross weight on takeoff was 63,152 lbs. with a C.G. position of 26.8% MAC which is within authorized limits.”
“After a routine flight, the aircraft reported over Altoona, Penn. at 9,000 feet with an estimate of [1:30 p.m.] at Harrisburg. The pilot was cleared to descend en route and was cleared for approach at [1:48 p.m.]”
“The weather at Olmsted Air Force Base at [1 p.m.] was reported as 1,300 scattered with 2,200 overcast and a visibility of 14 miles. This weather was fluctuating rapidly in rain and fog and, at the time the aircraft passed over the field, was below minimum with one-half mile visibility in fog.”
“At [2 p.m.] the pilot reported a missed approach and was cleared to the Lancaster beacon. He was further cleared to climb to 5,000 feet and gave an estimate at Lancaster of [2:14 p.m.].”
“Olmsted Air Force Base was reported to be then above minimums and the pilot requested another approach. He was cleared to the Harrisburg omni at 6,000 feet and left Lancaster at [2:26 p.m.], estimating Harrisburg at [2:40 p.m.] His clearance was changed en route to hold west of the New Kingston Fan Marker and he arrived, over the New Kingston Fan Marker at [2:38 p.m.] at 4,000 feet.”
“After holding he was cleared to descend to 3,000 feet and left 4,000 feet at [2:40 p.m.] At [3:06 p.m.] he was cleared for a straight-in approach from New Kingston Fan Marker to the Olmsted airport. At [3:09 p.m.] he reported leaving the New Kingston Fan Marker inbound and at [3:11 p.m.] he reported leaving 3,000 feet.”
“The aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain 22.5 nautical mile west of the Kingston Fan Marker at approximately [3:15 p.m.]”
I walked back a trail behind this monument in hopes of finding some sort of crash site even though I’m sure the wreckage was removed long ago. The trail just came out on the road about half a mile away. It would be fun to try to find the exact location of the crash site. But after 50+ years I don’t think there would be anything distinguishable.
An interesting note in the PennLive article is the mention of another airplane crash site on the Conococheague Mountain in 1941. I have absolutely no knowledge of that site. But I would be interested in finding that location too.
Crew members killed in the crash:
- Pilot: 1st Lt. Robert Siegfried Hantsch
- Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. Walter Beverly Gordon Jr.
- Crew Chief and Flight Engineer: Tech. Sgt. Marvin W. Seigler
- Flight Nurse: 1st Lt. Gracye E. Young
Location of crash site: North slope of Blue Mountain, Toboyne Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania
Crash site elevation: 1,980 feet
Mission: Cargo airlift
Flight Plan: Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)