The Worst Plane Crash In The Grand Canyon Skies

The 1956 fatal plane crash over the Grand Canyon in the United States was the deadliest in the United States. All 128 passengers and crew on both planes were killed. However, it also had a massive impact on the aviation industry. The cause of the accident, which occurred on the morning of June 30, 1956, was widely believed to be the fault of the American air traffic control system. As a result, the United States even had to develop an improved aircraft control system at about $ 250 million.

Background to the fatal accident

On June 30, 1956, the sky was slightly above the Grand Canyon. Around 10.30 am, a heavy rain cloud had begun to form. The Lockheed Superconstallation L-1049A Model 2, owned by Trans World Airlines, was flying in that airspace at the time. Its pilot is Jack S. Gandy plane was brought to an altitude of 25,000 feet. This was flying from Los Angeles to Kansas, with 70 passengers.

Places where the two planes crashed- Popperfoto –

Capt. Robert F. Shirley United Airlines Flight No. 718 D. C. 7 was also operating in the same area. It was on its way from Los Angeles to Chicago. There were 58 passengers.


Both planes encountered a rain cloud rising over the Grand Canyon. The Constellation AIRcraft circled the rain cloud and saw its pilot Gandy again see a giant rain cloud in the northeast. Similarly, the other pilot, Shirley, successfully maneuvers his plane around the rain cloud and climbs it. Then, both planes begin to fly parallel to the ground again, and at once, Captain Shirley sees the constellation aircraft coming towards him.

Signs of the plane crash into Grand Canyon crater –

Terrified, he tried his best to get his DC7 off the tracks of the other plane. That effort has been quite successful. But, his efforts were thwarted at the last moment when the left corner of DC7 crashed into the small wing at the rear end of the Constellation.

D. which traveled at a speed of 300 knots. The collision of the C7 plane punctures the rear of the Constellation aircraft body and D.C. The left-wing of the C7 was also damaged. Both pilots cannot control both aircraft and crash into the Grand Canyon crater, killing all on board.

Removal of aircraft wreckage – National Park Service

Shortly after the crash, a plane belonging to Grand Canyon Airways flew over the area. It was flown by a pilot named Paylan Hudgens. He sees smoke billowing somewhere in the Grand Canyon. Guessing it could be the result of a forest fire, he goes on without much follow-up. However, after landing, it was reported that he had disappeared from the two planes.

He remembers the smoke he saw and soon meets his brother because he was scheduled to fly over the Grand Canyon that evening. Payne boarded his brother’s plane as a pilot, and the two of them saw the rear wing of the Constellation plane that had crashed in the Grand Canyon. They will immediately inform the relevant authorities about the accident.

Aircraft Collision Research –

Accident follow-up

Research into the plane crash at the Grand Canyon soon began. The Constellation was delayed by about half an hour and began its voyage. It had flown at an altitude of 21,000 feet in one place.

The pilots of both planes were not adequately aware of the aircraft approaching them, and the researchers’ finger was first pointed at the pilots. Researchers say they should be wary of planes coming at them, but most Americans are not ready to accept it.

They attributed the accident to a shortage of control centers, mainly due to the increasing number of flights and the fact that the aircraft owned by those companies were controlled by those companies and their online control centers, and the communication between the companies was not proper.

Experts say airspace should be done very carefully and efficiently, especially given the increasing number of flights. As a result, a U.S. $ 246 million five-year plan to control aircraft came to the fore, where the U.S. aircraft control structure underwent several innovative changes. In particular, policies and regulations were introduced to suit all airlines and aircraft, and intercommunication was strengthened.

Cover photo – a sketch of the 1956 fatal plane crash in the sky above the Grand Canyon