Monday, September 17, 2012

Opinion > Columnist: The other air crashes

Robert Tuck
The other air crashes

Originally published September 17, 2012

The 30th anniversary of the mysterious crash of an EC-135N aircraft on an Advanced Range Instrumented Aircraft training mission from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, that fell from the skies over Walkersville, was duly noted and recounted by The Frederick News-Post in its May 8, 2011, edition. Two other notable aircraft tragedies have occurred in Frederick County.

Whatever happened aboard a Republic F-84 Thunderjet, just shy of 10 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 1950, seems either to be undetermined, or, at least, officially undisclosed. It was a routine weather training mission of two jets assigned to the District of Columbia Air Guard's 121st Tactical Fighter Squadron.

The sultry late summer air temperature was 80 degrees, and cloud cover measured about 80 percent at the time. After passing south near Gettysburg, Pa., the F-84C, piloted by 2nd Lt. Michael E. Alkire, abruptly exploded in midair at tree height, less than a mile south of the Pennsylvania border. Hence, the crash has been dubbed the "1950 Mason-Dixon Line F-84 crash."

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