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15th of March 2001

Updated: Mar 15

A 1944 built Douglas C-47A-80-DL was operating a cargo flight between Panama City-Bay County International Airport (Florida, USA) and Albany-Dougherty County Airport (Georgia, USA), onboard the Captain and Co-pilot. After take-off and climb-out, the aircraft had settled at its cruise altitude of 1500 feet (450 meters)

The damaged wing as a result of losing the engine (© Steve Leonard)


During the cruise, a load "Bang" was heard from the left and when the crew quickly checked visually they saw the reflection of what appeared to be an engine fire in the engine nacelle. Shortly thereafter the co-pilot confirmed the fire in the right-hand engine. The right-hand engine two Pratt & Whitney R-1530-90D, (1200 horsepower) was shutdown in accordance with the valid procedure, however, the propellor did not feather. When releasing the fire extinguishing agent for the #2 engine the whole engine separated from its mounts, and all hydraulic pressure was lost.


An emergency was declared and a diversion to Donalsonville was initiated. The following single-engine emergency landing on runway 18 at Donalsonville Burnmarks on the wing (© Steve Leonard)

was uneventful.


The right-hand engine was found 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Donalsonville. in the backyard of a farmhouse.

The engine was recovered from the farmhouse for examination by the NTSB ((National Transportation Safety Board)


During the examination of the Pratt & Whitney R-1530-90D the following observations were made;

  • #12 cylinder had failed and separated from the crankcase.

  • #12 connecting was bent and fractured at the piston pin

  • Oil from the #12 cylinder was found all over the engine, including the exhaust system.

  • Traces of fire were evident along the trail of engine oil.

  • #7, #8 and #9 Cylinder separated from the engine case

  • The engine was seized and could not be rotated.

  • TSO (Time SInce Overhaul) for the engine was determined to be 506 hours.

The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) concluded in their report;

"the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure and separation of No.12 cylinder from the engine case that resulted in an in-flight oil-fed fire; and the subsequent separation of the right engine from the airframe."

The NTSB report is available by clicking here.


The damaged wing (©Steve Leonard)


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