Not Widely Knowns about Flight 19

People reading about the disappearance of Flight 19 are always mesmerized by the mystery behind the circumstances. It’s what drew me to it when I was a kid.  Though it is highly unlikely that anything super natural can be associated with the loss of the planes.  There are several little known and little talked about facts about the case.

1.) All the Pilots and most of the crews were part of an advanced training unit all having been transferred from Naval Air Station Miami to Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale including the Instructor. Taylor was the Navigational Instructor at Miami NAS.

2.) According to Larry Kusche a Flight – 19 investigator in his book “The Disappearance of Flight – 19 The Flight Leader and Instructor Lt. Charles Taylor had trained and flown the Florida keys and Bahama areas for months previous to Dec 5th as part of a Anti -Submarine Patrol flying the OSU-2 Voight King Fisher.

3.)All the aircraft were fitted out with different radio and direction finding equipment. Some of the planes even had radar!

4.)Because of the growing desertions in the ranks, and the morale problems created by slow repatriation of servicemen at the end of the War, personnel strength was at a low and aircraft and equipment were not maintained to standards.

5. There were three Bogue Class Escort Air Craft Carriers in the area during the search for Flight 19.  These “Jeep Carriers” as they were called were assisted by Two Destroyers and at least several Escort Destroyers .

It is interesting to note that there were many other vessels in on the search including Army Transport ships and Planes (Yes, the Army had ships) Navy Pt-Boats, Coast Guard Cutters and a myriad of Merchant Mariners and Civilian Ships.  They even used amphibious craft and believe it or not a helicopter to search the coast line for survivors!

6. It was a moonless night, the sun went down approximately at 5:20 PM and there was inclement weather moving in at just about the same time as takeoff.

7. The planes had no marker lights. The Only lights would have been the muted colors from the instrument panel and the flames shooting out of the exhaust.

8. Several crashed Avenger Aircraft have been located over the years from 1948 up to the present time. None have been listed as part of the missing flight. Dozens of Navy aircraft are purported to be sunk off the coast of Florida dating from the War Years.

9. Florida in the time shortly after the War was divided aerially into Two districts North to South.  One Naval, the Eastern Shore and One Army Air Corps (Air Force) the Western Shore. Both were covered by Coast Guard Air Sea Rescue.

10. Again, according to Larry Kusche, Taylor’s first introduction as a training pilot at Ft. Lauderdale was two familiarization hops neither being Navigation Problem 1.  The Flight -19 training hop was his first on that mission plan. The pilots did not have maps with them and after the loss there was a Navigational Plotting board found with a watch in Taylors room.  (Pg 159)

11. His was the only compass reported to be operating erratically.

12. According to Thomas J. Cutler a former Lt. Cmdr U.S.Navy and a prestigious professor at the U.S.Naval Institute in his book, ” A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy 2005 (Pg 197) re: The Triangle, ” One of the most interesting facts about this Triangle is that…..where there is no compass variation – both gyro and magnetic compasses are perfectly aligned in this area.”   Basically there is no variation between True and Magnetic North. These lines are known as Agonic Lines.

But of all of these only the vessels with radar are of interest to me at this stage. So I leave you pondering as I have been, why didn’t they find anything?

The Board of Inquiry Report Flight-19 February 1946

To all of you following me on my book research adventure ” Welcome and Bienvenue.”   I came across a piece of gold last night. No not literally. I discovered the location of the USS Solomons CVE-67 Dec 5th, 1945. While reading radio logs I found a transmission giving the coordinates and speed of the vessel. It’s one of the foundation pieces to my research. What’s also indicated, and it’s just an interesting fact, but US Navy Aircraft carriers don’t travel alone. There was at least a small escort of two sweepers of some kind, and an oil replenishment ship nearby as well. None but the Solomon’s seem to have had radar, but there was more likely a destroyer or destroyer escort nearby which may have.

Onto the next page.