Monday, November 2, 2009

55 YEARS AGO: Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation CF-TGG Crashes in Brampton

FOLKS, I'M GONNA' ask you one question, and one question only.

Does this look like a good place to put a large airliner down?

For a landing??

In 2009?


Yeah, that's what I thought.

But on December 17 in 1954, just beyond this, the boarded up Norman Breadner/Monkman farm storehouse… there were no other houses back then, only an empty farmer's field with snow on the ground, this was a great place to land!


So down swooped Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCAL) Lockheed Super Constellation (CF-TGG) L-1049E at 175 miles-per-hour, lights on, wheels down, landing configuration for the instrument approach for Runway 10 at Toronto-Malton airport. Returning from Tampa Bay, direct to Toronto… it's 9:32pm, local Brampton time. The large, brand spankin' new, luxurious, elegantly-designed, tri-tail Lockheed L-1049 Constellation ("Connie" to her pilots) turns slightly, and flies flawlessly, as she responds to Norman Ramsay, the TCAL pilot, at her controls.

She trusts him unconditionally.

Swoosh… touchdown.

Bang, bang, crunch, crunch… gee, this is a strange runway, pilot Norman Ramsay thought.

And no runway lights, either.

Skidding now for 2000 feet.

This can't be Toronto, Norman realizes.

It isn't. Runway 10, at Malton, is twelve miles away.

Somehow, Norman calculated Runway 10 was here, on the Breadner/Monkman farm.

As the roughed up Connie finally slows, it looks like things are actually going to be okay… when suddenly the Connie's wing tip hits a tree.

Damn luck—

What could have been a recoverable situation, now becomes a disaster.

As all pax and crew deplane safely, and without injury… the new pride of the TCAL fleet starts to burn slowly. But it's a miracle crash really. No one was killed, or even hurt.

But this airplane is now on fire, and that's aircraft fuel burning, so very quickly engulfing billows eat up the Connie's wing.

And soon the hopelessly stranded airplane burns to the ground, in the middle of that field that was posing as Runway 10.

From a distance, Brampton firefighters, locals, and the aircraft crash survivors look on, as firefighting equipment is also stranded on Chinguacousy Road, 1500 feet from the luxury airliner, with no way into the field…

The pilot, 34 year old Norman Ramsay was later found guilty of negligence by Ontario's transport department board of inquiry, and had his flying license suspended for six months.



THREE and a HALF YEARS LATER, Norman now flying for Maritime Central Airways crashed a DC-4 near Issoudon, Quebec on August 11, 1957.

Flying at an altitude of 6000 feet, Norman flew his propliner directly INTO a thunderstorm.

Severe turbulence, power disruption, and finally loss of control of his DC-4 resulted in 79, passengers and crew, perishing.

© 2009 Special Projects In Research, © 2009 Paul Cardin

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