James Ellison Glattly
398th Bombardment Squadron, Army Air Forces, 21st Bombardment Group
The following is a statement of account of the accident in which James E. Glattly was involved. It was a statement from Private Ervin Leshner, the only survivor, Sept. 10, 1942 who was on the B-26B bomber when it crashed:
I was sitting in the Navigator's seat looking at the altimeter when the plane crashed. There was a 5 point difference in amperes when the trip started and when the plane started to descend at a high speed, I noticed a difference of 20 points. Without orders, I attempted to start the "putt-putt." There was considerable carburetor trouble at the start of the trip. I did not know that it was an emergency landing but during the descent, the right motor was running cold. The right wing was up at the time of the crash, the plane hit the ground and then there was a burst of flames. I was unaware that a tree had been hit before the final crash and do not know how I left the wreck.
The plane was piloted by Lt. Armstrong, Lt. Weston as Co-pilot, and Cpt. Glattly a passenger. I feel that the B-26 is a highly satisfactory plane and that no fault can be placed in the ship itself. I compare the B-26 to a racing automobile and an ordinary mechanic can no more service this type of plane anymore than an ordinary garage mechanic can condition a racing care.
Private Ervin Leshner
Report from the 398th Bombardment Squadron, Army Air Forces, 21st Bombardment Group
MacDill Field, Tampa, FL Sept. 11, 1942
Subject: Crash of Army Bomber #41-17618 on the night of Sept. 8, 1942.
To: Operations Officer, 21st Bomb. Group
1. On the night of Sept. 8, 1942, from take-off position, I observed B-26B Airplane #41-17618 making an approach to the field after calling in to the MacDill Field Tower for emergency landing.
2. The Pilot made a normal approach and started his let down for a landing. The plane settled rapidly and was soon dangerously close to the tree tops.
3. The Pilot then evidently advanced the throttles, for the plane lifted momentarily, and then started a steep turn to the left. As the left wing dropped, it struck several trees and the plane plunged to the ground immediately bursting into flames.
Hollis H. Wood
2nd Lt., Air Corp
Pilot, 398th Bomb SQ.
Technical Report of Aircraft Accident Classification Committee
Date of Accident: Sept. 8, 1942 Time 2215
Purpose of flight: Night Transition
The committee finds; that the pilot called in for emergency landing. On his final approach, he undershot the runway by about 1500 ft., striking a tree with the left wing tip, shearing off the left wing tip. The airplane then struck the ground, leaving the aileron 300 feet from the tree, scattering misc. parts for a distance of 600 feet from the first point of contact.
The fuselage split in half, the rear section came to rest to the left of the front section and motors. Both engines were ripped off their nacelles, fire broke out in scattering areas except in the aft portion of the fuselage. Judging from the inspection of the engines conducted by the MacDill Field Sub-Depot, two exhaust valve springs were found to be broken, and valve clearances out as much as .030. Points on both magnetos were badly burned and contact springs and magnetos missing. Although some of this engine damage is due to the crash, a great deal could have been caused by poor maintenance and shabby inspection. The engineer was a Private who admits he knows very little about the maintenance of the B-26 type airplane. It is believed that a lack of sufficient power and not Pilot's ability caused him to undershoot the runway.