Hendersonville, NC Jet - Private Plane Collision, Jul 1967
SMALL PLANE HITS JET, 82 DIE.
No Warning Before Crash.
By Fred Girard
HENDERSONVILLE, N. C. (AP) - The newly named secretary of the Navy, business executives, their wives and at least 10 children were among 82 persons killed in the flaming collision of a big jet airliner and a small private plane.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the small twin-engine private plane "was about 12 miles south of where it should have been," in the crash Wednesday over western North Carolina mountains.
Wreckage and bodies showered down over a wide stretch of the resort area near the city of Hendersonville in the Blue Ridge foothills.
The main part of the airliner missed a crowded youth camp by only 50 yards.
No one on either plane survived.
There apparently was no warning before the crash, witnesses said.
The smaller craft swept out of the mountain haze and ripped a huge gash in the airliner's side. The smaller plane blew up, some of it welded to the fuselage of the bigger craft.
The collision occurred at 12:01 p. m., just three minutes after the Piedmont Airlines 727, carrying 74 passengers and a crew of five, took off from the Asheville airport en route from Atlanta to Washington. The smaller plane, a Cessna 310 heading for Asheville, carried two Missouri businessmen and its pilot. JOHN T. McNAUGHTON, 46, who was scheduled to become secretary of the Navy in about two weeks; his wife, SARAH, and their 11-year-old son, THEODORE, were aboard the airliner. THEODORE had been attending a summer camp, and his parents had come to take him back to Washington.
The passengers included about 30 food brokers from across the country. They had gathered in Atlanta and Asheville for the flight to White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., for a convention of the Stokely Van Camp. Co.
Hours after the crash, a team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, headed by ex-Gov. JOHN H. REED of Maine, recovered the airliner's flight, and voice recorders. He said both instruments appeared to be intact. They were sent to Washington for study.
HAROLD ROBERTS, FFA tower chief at the Asheville airport, said the small plane, piloted by DAVE ADDISON, about 40, of Lebanon, Mo., was on an instrument flight plan. But he added the plane was about 12 miles south of where it should have been.
Witnesses said the airliner pilot, Capt. R. F. SCHULTE of Norfolk, Va., father of four girls, apparently attempted to avoid the collision, then fought to control the huge craft after the impact.
Losing power quickly, he seemed to be trying to make it to nearby Interstate Route 26, a four-lane artery where an emergency landing might have been possible.
But the airliner came apart. One witness said there were two big sections "and a thousand little pieces" as plane parts, bodies and luggage plummeted to earth, about two miles from Hendersonville, about 20 miles from Asheville.
"The little plane just gave a jerk upward just before they hit," said CLARENCE HYDER, 33, a Hendersonville sign painter. "The airliner flew on a bit, turning toward the interstate, but then it turned over on its back and came apart." HYDER said he heard two explosions.
Aboard the smaller plane, in addition to ADDISON, were RALPH REYNOLDS, about 40, vice president of Lansair, Inc., owner of the craft, and ROBERT E. ANDERSON, about 42, a consultant for Community Development Consultants, Inc., both of Springfield, Mo.
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