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Post-WW2 Military and Naval Aviation Please use this forum to discuss Military and Naval Aviation after the Second World War.

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Old 16th May 2018, 13:34
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Richmond NAS, Florida - fire destroys 365 a/c - Sept 1945

On 14 Sept 1945 fires destroyed the three blimp hangars at Richmond NAS, Florida, while a hurricane swept by.

The fire wrecked some 25 USN blimps and about 365 airplanes, of which 125 private and 240 military, mainly USN. Numbers vary however: another source says 183 military and 153 civil.

Even so, is there a more detailed tally of what (types of) aircraft were lost?
There is talk of Corsairs, Hellcats, P-51s. It also appears that 61 "torpedo bombers" (Avengers?) had flown in from Opa-Locka, so these must likely be among them as well.

The high airframe loss due to storing many of the air assets in S. Florida in the large hangars instead of sending them north when a hurricane approaches, as is usual now.

Any info welcome, thanks.

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Leendert
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Old 16th May 2018, 14:30
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: Richmond NAS, Florida - fire destroys 365 a/c - Sept 1945

There was an article about this disaster in the May/June issue of the 1996 Naval Aviation News. Apparently the base commander had offered shelter to civilian aircraft as well.

I have not attempted to identify all the aircraft lost but know of about 6 TBMs and 60 F6F(N)s from the night attack training unit (NACTU) at Key West that took shelter in the hangars and were lost.
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Old 16th May 2018, 20:57
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Richmond NAS, Florida - fire destroys 365 a/c - Sept 1945

Thanks for further info.

Among the civil aircraft (many) Stearmans of the Embry-Riddle Aviation School.

USN aircraft had come from NAS Fort Lauderdale, NAS Key West and NAS Opa-Locka.

Blimps lost were 14 K-Ships moored, plus 11 deflated to give space to parked a/c.

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Leendert
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Old 17th May 2018, 12:56
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Richmond NAS, Florida - fire destroys 365 a/c - Sept 1945

Just to add that fold3.com seems to have pages with USN loss details:

https://www.fold3.com/document/300759817/ (COMUTWINGLANT War Diary Sept 1945)

https://www.fold3.com/document/300849518/ (NAS Key West war diary Sept 45)

Not a member myself, but of course you're invited to have a look.

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 17th May 2018, 21:04
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: Richmond NAS, Florida - fire destroys 365 a/c - Sept 1945

I'm not a member either so haven't seen these diaries.

Assuming most of the aircraft lost were trainers and in view of the fact that it happened just after the War had ended, it is likely that most of them would have been discarded anyway within the succeeding few months.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 23:04
edwest2 edwest2 is online now
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Re: Richmond NAS, Florida - fire destroys 365 a/c - Sept 1945

At the time, the hangars were considered hurricane-proof. See page 6 of 13 of the following PDF.


http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/te...77/77_1_03.pdf
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