Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Remembering 62014 Crash at Goose Bay

Thanks to Dick Quimby, helped by the ever alert and knowledgeable Cal Taylor, we've connected with a very determined friend in Canada, Chris Charland. Dick noticed a listing in his Nov, 2014, issue of AF magazine about an event Chris had planned for the 50th Anniversary of that tragic loss.

Cal added: "That notice concerned Chris Charland's long-time effort to have a plaque installed at Goose to memorialize the crew on that crash. In the end, it did not come about...  He still wants to see it happen. Chris was a 12-year old boy scout returning from a hike when he saw the crash."

Here's what Chris had to say about it:

G’day Gentlemen

The ceremony was supposed to held in November, but we had a pair of terrorist attacks here in Canada that put everything on hold.  The ops tempo accelerated and Defcon went up a notch.  My plan now, is to have the ceremony in June of this year.  That gives plenty of lead time for some of the dignitaries that said they would have attended with a bit more notice.

I have talked to a female cousin of the children of Guy (Vassalotti, AC of the 1st ATS crew lost in the crash) and hope to talk to them sometime in the near future.

Take care and look forward to hearing from you all.


Chris Charland
4722d/722d SUS
June 1991 – May 2003

Later, he added:

I designed the plaque which is 8 1/8 by 12 inches and made of brass.  It is already mounted as part of the memorial at the museum at Goose Bay.  I am not going to change the dedication date.

Dedicated to the crew of  MATS 1st Air Transport Squadron          C-133 Cargomaster s/n 56-2014 on the 7th of November 2014 at

5 Wing Goose Bay'

Aircraft Commander - 1st Lieutenant Guy L. Vassalotti

Co-Pilot - Captain Charles L. Jenkins

Flight Examiner - Major Frank X. Hearty

Navigator - 1st Lieutenant Douglas H. Brookfield

Flight Engineer – Technical Sergeant John. A. Kitchens

Flight Engineer – Technical Sergeant Norman H. Baron

Loadmaster – Airman 1st Class Shelton Toler

                       “Forever Remembered”

A bit of trivia for you all.  2014 was the 50th anniversary of the crash.  It is also the last four digits of the aircraft’s serial number.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like I have a special bond with the fallen airmen and their families.

And here's Chris' first hand account of the crash:

The Crash of USAF C-133 Cargomaster at Goose Bay

by Chris Charland

They say that every person experiences a certain event in their lives whether it be good or bad that leaves an indelible mark on their psyche.  Mine came at 16:49 hours on the 7th of November, 1964.

The day had been relatively an uneventful one for myself and fellow Boy Scouts.  We were slowly making our back way home to Spruce Park after a day of hiking and survival training north of R.C.A.F. Station Goose Bay, Labrador.  It was a calm evening with light snow falling. Our hike homeward bound took us along a path just below Hamilton River Road and north of the fuel tank area where 100,000-gallon overhead tanks were located.  There was a van waiting on Hamilton River Road to take us the rest of the way back to our homes in Spruce Park   

As I was getting ready to climb inside, I instinctively looked skywards when I heard the sound of an approaching aircraft.  I had no idea of the impending doom as I followed the navigation and landing lights down after it had taken off from Runway 09.   In a heartbeat, there was a terrific flash of light, the likes of which I had never experienced before or since.  The monster fireball lit up the sky from horizon to horizon.  The first thing that instantly came to my mind was a nuclear bomb. You have to understand the Cold War mentality at the time.  The United States and Russia both had their fingers on the button ready to launch weapons against each other at a moment's notice.  Tension between them was akin to a large rubber band being pulled to its maximum length.  Any more and it would have snapped.

There was a dull thud of the aircraft impacting followed by a loud
whooshing sound as the fuel ignited.  The wreckage came to rest close to one of the 100,000-gallon tanks.   We were just about back into Spruce Park when the first of the emergency vehicles passed us.  Later at home, the T.V. station located on the American side, known as Goose Air Base, was broadcasting an appeal for all off duty emergency personnel to report to their respective units to assist with the crash.  The sky stayed lit up for hours after.  

The ill-fated aircraft that crashed was a Douglas C-133A Cargomaster s/n 56-2014 from Military Air Transport Service’s 1st Air Transport Squadron, based at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.   It arrived at Goose Bay 01:55 hours local time.  After a 15-hour crew rest, they proceeded to depart enroute to Thule Air Base, Greenland with a stop enroute at Sondestrom Air Base, also in Greenland.  They were loaded with meat and other provisions
   The first departure attempt was delayed due to a technical issue. The aircraft sat for a period of time without being de-iced before making a second try.  At between 120 and 150 feet, the aircraft’s starboard (right) wing suddenly dropped 20 to 30 degrees.  The aircraft commander managed to momentarily regain a level attitude.  The aircraft then rolled to the left.  The port wing dropped even more quickly and was almost vertical.  The aircraft commander was unable to do anything.  At 16:49 hrs local time, the Cargomaster struck the ground in a left wing down, nose high attitude. 

After an intensive investigation, the accident investigation board determined the primary cause was a power stall.  The most probable reason was structural icing of the wing and /or vortex generators that had accumulated ice over the 15-hour layover.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Once again, there was a posting on Facebook saying that the C=133 was built to carry ICBMs. As the old radio program had it, "T'ain't so, McGee!" I know this is an old topic but part of my intention when writing my book was to address various C-133 myths.

My research has shown that, if anything, the ICBMs were sized to fit into the C-133. The C-133 design was frozen BEFORE final design of any of the ICBMs. The first purchase contract for the C-133 was dated 1 Sep 53. The C-133 Definitive Contract AF33(600)-22452 was dated 17 May 54. Convair got the first Atlas contract on 14 Jan 55, for a missile 10 feet in diameter. Whether this design change was related to the C-133 as a potential ICBM hauler is unknown. This was smaller than the initial Convair design of Atlas in 1953. Atlas D was the first operational Atlas ICBM, making its first flight on 14 Apr 59, three years after the first flight of the C-133. Titan was contracted to Martin in Oct 1955. Minuteman design studies began in 1956 and Saturn grew out of studies in 1957 by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. Saturn was too big for C-133 transport, though its engines were moved by the Cargomaster. It is clear that the C-133 design was set well before that of any of the ICBMs. The closest sizing of the C-133 to the missiles to be carried was the modification of the aft cargo doors to make a larger opening and easier loading of the ICBMs. This was the C-133B. Interior cargo compartment dimensions remained the same, however, as in the C-133A.

Cal Taylor

Monday, September 1, 2014

Master Model Builder Mentor


Here are some pictures of Skip Mast's electric C-130. 130 inch span.

He was with me when I took the pictures of 2008 in Dayton back in 2001.  Remember, I had told you that he was going to build the C-133 with me but had to back out of the project because of family issues. Skip was my mentor in RC scale. He is responsible for me building all these large planes.

Happy holiday,


PS Later today from George:


Just to let you know that Skip maidened the 130 this afternoon.  All went well.  He said it flew better than any of his other 130s.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Legacy Lives!

Anyone, ever associated with a USAF C-133 Heavy Cargo Transport shares a unique bond. Flight crews, ground crews, families of crews, all have a living connection, not just because it was a unique airplane. But the airplane itself is the ultimate symbol of uniquely shared experiences.

This blog post attempts to sample the memories of those experiences through three dramatic moments, "The Last Flight" of the real thing in Aug, '08, when a "very old girl" C-133A S/N 61999 flew from her "commercial home" in Alaska (known in her commercial after-life as N199AB) back to California to become the "Travis Bird" in her final resting place.

Here was the post on this blog on 30 Aug 2008: "...the airplane launched on its final flight. Takeoff at McChord was 0800 and landing at Travis at 1101 PDT. At shutdown, the airplane had logged some 18,250 flight hours with more than 6,100 landings. Thanks to all those who made this last flight possible. It will be an excellent display in the Travis Museum."

 And here's the same "old girl" in live action in May, '68, with a memory from Fred Dietsch (as posted on this blog on 22 Apr 2010): "I am attaching a photo of 61999 which I believe I took while flying between Andersen, Guam and Mactan, Philippines. My pilots were Capt Stan Bryk and Capt Bill Gilbert. We left Andersen on 18 May 68 in 62010; 61999 was right behind us so we made some lazy "S" turns and waited for them. They were cleared 2000 feet above us. When they caught up we flew loose formation to Mactan. The other Nav. (I think it was Jim Woody) and we took turns navigating."

To view the spectacular 5:48 video, "The Last Flight," be sure to click on HD, Full-screen, and crank up the sound to relive (as Jimmy Ratcliff, 1st ATS A/C in the 60s, says in the Comments) "Sweet music to old ears!"

Click on:

Then come back to this blog post for more memorable connections! 

OK, Memorable Moment #2 was in May, 2014, when Master RC Model Builder George Maiorana brought his Magnificent Replicate of C-133A S/N 62008 on display at the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB to our Crew Colleague Reunion in Dover, and taxied it around the apron in front of our own C-133B S/N 60536:

Click on: 

 And here are two photos of the model inside the cargo compartment of 0536, and with the remarkable builder, George Maiorana, in front of 0536:

The final Memorable Moment came in July with the Maiden Flight of George's model in Muncie, IN, where he achieved National Champion status:

And here is the message just received from George with the link access to a 12:40 video of The First Flight! Again, click on Theater Screen or Full Screen & turn up the sound! AMAZING!!


 Here is quick link to the video:

There will be an article on the plane in the October issue of Model Aviation magazine. Their video of the maiden flight will be posted on their site when the issue is released.

Fair skies,


We just heard from Randy Chambers, the grandson of a former 133 Crew Chief:

He said...

"What a beautiful model! My grandfather Cmsgt Jack Chambers was Crew Chief on the C-133 2008 when it set the weight lift record."

August 10, 2014 at 10:59 PM 

Monday, July 21, 2014

World's Tallest Symbol of Freedom & Hope

Thanks to Andrew Fleming for this inspiring video:

Standing 400 feet tall, the new Acuity Insurance Flagpole is the tallest flagpole in North America.  Located on the Acuity Insurance headquarters campus in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, along Interstate 43 between Milwaukee and Green Bay, the pole supports a 60-foot-wide by 120-foot-long American flag.  Located at the base of the flagpole is a brick paver patio featuring the names of Sheboygan County residents killed in active duty.

Flagpole Facts:
400-foot flagpole weighs approximately 420,000 pounds
There are two versions of the 60- by 120-foot flag:
- 220 pound flag is flown during normal conditions
- 350 pound flag is flown during harsher weather
Each star is 3 feet high and each stripe is 4 1/2 feet wide
680 cubic yards of concrete used in foundation
Over 500 gallons of paint cover the pole
11-foot diameter at base tapers to 5 1/2-foot diameter at top
Three pendulum-style tuned mass dampers reduce movement and vibration
Designed to withstand a low temperature of -42°F

Click on:

Monday, July 14, 2014


Congratulations to George Maiorana!! Your Dover 133 Fan Club is thrilled by your achievement!! And so proud to have had the privilege of meeting you and seeing your baby up close and personal at our Reunion. Thank you for sharing it with us!


What a wonderful week we had with the C-133. Here are some pictures of her flying. Dave flew her about 16 times from Thursday's maiden till the end of the contest on Sunday afternoon.

We took first place in our division (Team Scale). Because I had many problems with my 3 blade props we had to fly with 2 blades. I'm sure there are better pictures out there and video also.

More to come when available.

Smiles all around here.  :))


                                                 Dave, our pilot 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Maiden Flight

Just got the following from our Giant 133 Model-maker, George Maiorana. And below is his full power, ground run-up photo (tethered to the fence) on 7/05.

Check out the NATS event in Muncie, IN, where he’s making his Maiden Flight: . Click on Nats Schedule, to see George’s category, 2014 RC & CL Scale Nats.

Dick H.

From: George
Subject: C-133 maiden flight
Date: July 10, 2014 at 6:59:07 AM CDT


All packed and off to the NATS to tempt fate :-)

Back Monday.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Classic 133 Incident

Breaking news from Giant 133 Model-maker George Maiorana!

Does this bring back more memories or what???

Hi Guys,

Well it's been a traumatic week here. I was running up the C-133 to full power and checking static thrust (19.5 lbs) when #3 threw a blade. The resulting instant vibration tore the motor off the fire wall and took a chunk out of the cowl. It was a moment that I reflected upon for an hour or so.  The good part of the problem is that the blade went into the garage about 30 feet and not thru the fuse or me. Had to count my blessings. Another blessing is that it happened here and not in the air (total disaster if it had occured in the air).

I took all 6 of my props and did a complete mod B to them. Yesterday I ran all 6 props in a "bunkered" test stand for 4 minutes at WOT. All survived. The motor mount and cowl are repaired and I just came in from running up the plane teathered to a fence. What an awesome sound.  No problems!  So I'll begin getting all my ground support equipment sorted out ready for the trip to the AMA NATS.

The "plan" is for me to arrive at the site Thursday afternoon (July 10th) and set the plane up ready for the maiden. My pilot, Dave along with his wife Vicki, plans to be at the site Thursday afternoon around 6 PM and take her up. If he gets there early enough and all goes well we may be able to get a second flight in.  Friday we will get the plane static judged and fly some more.  Contest is Saturday and Sunday with two judged flights each day.

Here is a link to the AMA NATS news and you can keep track what is going on during the contest.

Cross your fingers :-)


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Computer Simulation of Model 133 Flight

Paul (Gus) Ogushwitz connected with me a couple of years ago when he discovered our CargoMasterRaster blog, and we were planning another Reunion. His background and interests collided with our very special "Giant 133 Model Maker" George Maiorana, who created such a sensation at our Reunion with his model. The following message from Gus, and the material he has provided via links is self explanatory. Enjoy the amazing story of Gus' background and his computer simulation of George's model.

Gus predicts that George's model 133 can fly successfully in Muncie, Indiana next month.

Note his interest in hearing other stories. I will pass along any feedback from our list.

Dick Hanson

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Paul R. Ogushwitz"
Subject: C-133 Model Simulations
Date: June 26, 2014 1:53:05 PM CDT
To: "Mr. Richard Hanson"

Hi Dick,

Here is link to my long-overdue report on computer simulations George's model C-133:

I wrote the report with the    community in mind.  If you see fit to post the link there, please do so before George flies the model.  Last I heard, maiden flight scheduled for 9 July 2014.

Also, you might like to include the link to my article about a C-133 mission to Easter Island:

I would love to read other C-133 stories that our colleagues might write.  Turns out to be very easy to sign up and post items on DropBox.  If you get some responses, then I respectfully suggest you start another list -- like "C-133 War Stories" or whatnot -- on the right side of the blog (where "Book Reviews" and "Blog Archive" are located).

Best regards,

Saturday, June 7, 2014