Official Flight Path Analysis
Green circle – Good Springs, NV
Yellow circle – Mount Charleston
Yellow line – intended flight path
Red line – 318 magnetic bearing from Good Springs, NV to crash site
Blue line – Probable path of C-54 flight
Statement from Accident Report
Flight path moves upward in a northern direction. Burbank, CA is off the map toward the bottom left hand corner.
One of several narrations:
“Lt. Pappas started climbing to gain altitude to clear the surrounding terrain. The strong cross winds, which was reported in the vicinity of Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston), drifted him to an area east of where he thought himself to be. Wreckage of the aircraft indicates that he was using rated military engine power and ten to fifteen degrees of flaps, in an effort to get on top of the clouds as quickly as possible. From the position of the wreckage on the crest of the ridge to Charleston Peak, it is indicated that Lt. Pappas emerged from IFR conditions and saw the ridge only momentarily before crashing and attempted a maximum pull-up, which resulted in stalling the aircraft into the side of the mountain. The stall attitude of the airplane is substantiated by the fact that the aircraft slid only approximately 50 feet from point of impact and burst open on the ridge. The direction of the aircraft upon contact with the mountain was 240 degrees magnetic. This indicated that he was probably in a spiral climb to the left, which would have been the normal procedure used to get on top of clouds with the minimum possibility of striking any terrain, which he thought was to his right (east).”
See: Reconstructing the Accident
Accident Report – Crash Site Drawing
This is a drawing of the crash site made by the rescuers.
Official Weather Report
Low pressure over Las Vegas results in winds blowing in an eastern direction. Dot under “L” shows approximate location of Las Vegas/Mt. Charleston crash site.
Weather report on the morning of Nov 17, 1955