Charles H LaFountain

Birth:  Jun. 12, 1925
New York, USA

Death:  Jun. 5, 1948
Kern County
California, USA

Lake Luzerne Cemetery
Lake Luzerne
Warren County
New York, USA
Plot: Section C, Lot 8


Muroc Air Base, Calif., June 7 (AP) -- The first major mishap of the giant flying wing bomber, costing five lives in a desert crash, was under investigation by the air force today.

COL. J. C. MOORE, acting commandant of the Muroc proving grounds, named a probe board including technical experts from the Air Material Command at Wright Field, Dayton, O.

The five victims, identified by Wright Field, were:
MAJ. DANIEL H. FORBES, JR., pilot, son of Mrs. Hattie Forbes, Topeka, Kans.
CAPT. GLEN W. EDWARDS, co-pilot, son of Claude Edwards, Route 1, Box 267, Lincoln, Calif.
LT. EDWARD SWINDELL, flight engineer, husband of Mrs. Edna Swindell, Virginia Beach, Va.
CLARE C. LESER, son of Henry Leser, Sr., Joliet, Ill.
CHARLES H. LaFOUNTAIN, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leo LaFountain, Hudson Falls, N.Y.

LESER and LaFOUNTAIN were civilians. All of the five were attached to the Flight Test Division of the Air Materiel Command.

The huge eight jet engine craft crashed and burned Saturday near here without radioing a distress signal, Muroc officers said. Built by Northrop Aircraft, Inc., and redesignated the YB-49, the tailless wing has been described as perhaps the world's fastest bomber.

It was one of five, each weighing 44 tons and spanning 172 feet across, at Muroc Air Base. Northrop is scheduled to build 10 more.

Kingston Daily Freeman New York 1948-06-07



Muroc Air Force Base, Calif., June 5. -- The jet-propelled bomber YB-49 "Flying Wing" one of America's top military air secrets in the subsonic range, crashed today during a test flight and killed its crew of five.

The Air Force announced that the ponderous appearing giant, whose eight jet engines were capable of pushing it over 600 miles per hour, plunged into the ground 10 miles northwest of this air base. It was officially known as the world's longest range, most powerful jet aircraft.

The crash in a remote sector of Muroc Dry Lake bed, over which tests of subsonic and supersonic aerial speeds are being conducted, completely demolished the weird-appearing ship, the Air Force said. There were no witnesses to the crash, Air Force officials said.

Ground parties which reached the scene reported debris was widely scattered and that the plane apparently exploded and burned when it hit the ground.

Air Force officials said only that the plane "ran into difficulties" before it crashed. Several days of investigation will be needed before the cause of the wreck could be ferreted out, Air Force officials said.

The crew had not radioed any report of trouble before the crash, officials said.

Names of the victims were withheld by air force authorities pending notification of next of kin.

The craft was all metal and tail-less, a radical departure from conventional fuselage type ships. A jet-propelled counterpart of the propellor-driven flying wing B-35 bomber, its engines were capable of producing a thrust of 32,000 horsepower.

See also "YB-49 Flying Wing Mishap" and "Flying Wing' crash victims to be honored today"