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Hendersonville, NC Jet - Private Plane Collision, Jul 1967


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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Flight 22

My first cousin, Debbie Davis, was hostess on this plane. She was 20 years old and a beautiful girl. She was to be a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding on August 20, month and one day from the date of the crash. I never fail to think of Debbie on July 19. She was found, still strapped in her seat, in the median of I-26, by a Highway Patrolman. He knew it was Debbie because he had recently been transferred to Hendersonville from our hometown of Yadkinville, NC and was a friend of my uncle and aunt.

Mr. Farmer, I lived my first

Mr. Farmer,

I lived my first 18 years in Marshall, and was working at an Asheville funeral home when the crash occurred. Glad to provide an 18-page transcript of jet & tower's radio traffic.

Glad to send 18-page

Glad to send 18-page transcript of radio traffic.

Flight 22

My dad was one of the passengers aboard the Piedmont plane. I know live outside of Hendersonville in Marshall and would be interested in any info you can share with me about this tragic day.

I remember that day too. I

I remember that day too. I was about six and we heard about it and drove out to the site and there were airplane parts everywhere and I clearly remember most of the bodies had been recovered and there was one place in a field with the impression of a body, like someone was reclining. My brother said there were still some in seats in the trees around the crash site.
I am an Aviation Safety Professional and seeing this tragedy in my childhood may be the reason.

R. W. Stephens

My grandfather, R.W. Stephens, and his colleague Gus, from Bonaker Brothers in Tampa, FL were also traveling to the Stokely Van Camp meeting forty-six years ago today. I remember my Grandmother first heard about the crash when the soap operas that day were interrupted to announce that a plane carrying residents of Tampa, FL had crashed in NC.


I have audio footage of this incident.

asheville hendersonville tradegy

I ,too was a small child in west Asheville, about 9 or 10, then, I was home sick, that day, and heard the liner change "pitch" and heard the boom, I told my mom "that plane dosen't sound right.". She sort of just brushed off my comment, until just a few minutes later, when channel 13 news began to cover it.. It was a grisly crash, and there were tons of horror storys..A school friend of mines dad worked for the "emt", (they weren't called that, back then, but did the same job). Who told us one woman survived intact, and had plumented through a roof, they found her sitting on a couch, like she was watching t.v. but, when they went to move her, she was like "jello" (his dads description)....i will remember that day, probably forever..


I have the original David Brinkley report from NBC that was recorded off the radio on the day of the crash.

I am a Hendersonville

I am a Hendersonville native, and was 7years old at the time this crash occurred. The night before the crash, I had a dream, of 82 airplanes falling from the sky. Similar to the scene from Pink Floyd, The Wall, just airplanes falling straight down, like upside down crosses.

The next day, I was playing alone in the yard, underneath my grandfather's parked aluminum boat, when the two planes "popped" loudly in the sky in the sky above me. Just seconds later I heard a booming explosion, and the ground under my feet shook so strong that I fell down on my face.

Within about 30 seconds, the sireens of the Blue Ridge Fire Department sounded, and maybe 30 seconds later my Daddy came running out of the house, and grasped me up with one arm, and tossed me in the car. My Mom was running quickly behind.

My Dad raced through the community of Dana at 80 MPH in his Ford Fairlane to the scene of what was to be at the time, the world's third deadliest air crash in the history of aviation.
My Dad finally stopped at the edge of my uncle's chicken farm, Oscar King, and we got out of the car. We were only a hundred meters or so from ground zero.

My last memories were of seeing body parts, arms, legs, and torsos hanging from the limbs of trees and strewn about the ground. Fire, black smoke and the sound of sirens everywhere.

I don't remember more, just the stories later from friends in school who live close to the crash, who told of body parts in their yard, or had fallen on their house.

I am 52years old today. And this is what I remember from this tragedy.

article | by Dr. Radut