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FASS v. UNITED STATES

January 27, 1961

Estelle M. FASS, as Executrix of the Estate of Maurice I. Fass, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Defendant. Alma S. RUBRECHT, as Administratrix of the Estate of Larry John Rubrecht, Deceased, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCHHAUSEN

These actions are brought to recover damages for the wrongful deaths of Larry John Rubrecht and Maurice I. Fass who were killed while passengers in one of the defendant's B-25 airplanes that crashed in Greenfield Cemetery, Long Island, New York, on September 13, 1955. The case was tried before this Court, without a jury. Both actions were brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1346(b), 2671 et seq.

It is not disputed that the B-25 aircraft was owned by the defendant and was operated and maintained by defendant's personnel.

Stipulated Facts

 The following facts were stipulated:

 On September 13, 1955, a TB-25N twin-engine aircraft bearing Serial No. 45-822A took off from Runway 30 at Mitchell Air Force Base, New York, at 7:30 a.m., E.S.T.

 There were six people on board the aircraft, three were members of the flight crew, and three others, not members of the flight crew.

 The aircraft was carrying 1,083 gallons of fuel.

 After takeoff, the following conversation was had between Mitchell Tower and the B-25:

 'From B-25 to Mitchell Tower: We are returning into the pattern -- we got one bad engine here.

 'Tower: How bad are your difficulties?

 'B-25; Looks like we have a stack blown. We are losing a little bit of oil.

 'Tower: Are you going to declare an emergency?

 'B-25: We are going to feather this engine.

 'Tower: Request amount of fuel and number of people on board.

 'B-25: We have got a full load of fuel and six people on board.

 'Tower: Full load and six people. 822 request which engine, right or left.

 'B-25: Right engine, tower, right engine.

 'Tower: Check the base, you are number 1.

 'Tower: 822, are you coming on Runway 5?

 'B-25: High pitched scream sounding like We are going to hit.'

 The aircraft made a left turn after takeoff in an attempt to return to Mitchell Field.

 The highest altitude reached by the aircraft, after takeoff, was approximately 1,000 feet.

 The aircraft struck the ground in a nose-down position from approximately 200 to 300 feet. It struck the ground on its nose and left engine first.

 The amount of time the aircraft was in the air between takeoff and crash-landing was ...


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