DC-4 Accident in Pisa

On the morning of January 27, 1952, N1512V, a Seaboard DC-4 named Tokyo Airtrader departed from Frankfurt, Germany for Milan, Italy with a load of cattle. En route, the crew was notified that the Milan airport was QGO, or unfit for landing. They changed their destination to Pisa where several inches of rain had recently fallen. The weather at Pisa was reported as ceiling 430 meters (1,410 feet), visibility 1 to 2 km. (½ to 1 mile), wind calm.

The captain executed a routine instrument approach and touched down normally. He applied the brakes normally and thought they felt spongy. He asked the co‑pilot to try the brakes from his side and he reported the same. By that time, the aircraft had entered the part of the runway that consisted of PSP (pierced steel planking). PSP was notoriously slippery when wet. The captain later reported that the wheels appeared to be locked and skidding.

The aircraft ran off the end of the runway and into a ravine. A fire started in the number 2 engine. The captain exited the aircraft through the left cockpit window, the co-pilot through the right cockpit window, and the radio operator and cattle handler via the crew door on the right side of the forward fuselage. Neither the crew members nor the cattle handler were injured but most of the cattle died. The aircraft was destroyed

The crewmembers were:

CaptainBob Snowden
Co-pilotW.C. Hammond-Adler
Radio OperatorGustave Bergstrom
Cattle Handler 

Note: The information on this page was taken from Capt. Snowden's handwritten report. In it, he wrote, "Two or three cows ambled out the burned side [of the aircraft] into the ravine which was full of water. They were burning and subsequently shot and I understand sold in the market."


Reproduction of any material on this Web site is prohibited without prior written consent

home_page.gif