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Capt James Hedrick Sanders
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Birth: Apr. 4, 1921
Abilene
Taylor County
Texas, USA
Death: Sep. 1, 1961
Clarendon Hills
DuPage County
Illinois, USA

Pilot of Doomed TWA Flight 529 -
The deadliest single plane disaster in U.S. history at the time


Trans World Airlines' Flight 529 out of Boston made stops at New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles before arriving in San Francisco. But on September 1, 1961, one of the aging Constellations assigned to this route crashed halfway through the flight, killing everyone aboard, all because of the loss of a 5/16 inch bolt!

Piloting the airliner was Captain James Hedrick Sanders, age 40, a brave Texan, a World War II veteran from Aibilene, who had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air medal, and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. The plane was the "Star of Dublin," a Lockheed Constellation L-049 propliner, registration N86511. At 02:05 a.m., 4 minutes after takeoff from Midway Airport in Chicago, something went seriously wrong. The airliner crashed killing all 73 passengers and 5 crew on board.

An investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Board concluded that the probable cause of the crash was the loss of a 5/16 inch bolt vital to the control of the aircraft. The bolt fell out of the elevator control mechanism during the climb from Chicago, resulting in a violently abrupt pitch up followed by a stall. The plane veered north from its southwest heading as James fought to recover from the stall. But it fell to the earth, skidded in flames, and disintegrated leaving debris over an area 200 feet wide and a half mile long across a field of corn and soybeans. In a matter of moments, seventy-eight hearts had stopped beating. It was a tragic loss of life.

Turning back the clock...On the eve of World War II, James Hedrick Sanders was a teenager working in a filling station. Following in the footsteps of his father, who served in World War I, James enlisted in the Second World War, learned to fly, served valiantly as a Captain in the Army Air Forces, and then came home after the war and went to work as a youthful airline pilot. By the age of 26, he was routinely co-piloting airliners for TWA to exotic places like Cairo Egypt, Madrid Spain, Geneva Switzerland, and Paris France.

Three Sample Flights for TWA at age 26:
1. Crew Manifest- New York Passenger Lists
Name: James Hedrick Sanders, Co-Captain
Address: 1310 Poplar St, Abilene, TX
Age 26, b. abt 1921 at Abilene, TX
Originated at: Cairo, Egypt
Departure: Madrid, Spain
Arrival: New York, New York, 10 Feb 1948
Airline: Transcontinental and Western Air

2. Crew Manifest- New York Passenger Lists
Name: James H Sanders, Co-Captain
Address: 1010 Washington St, Wilmington, Del
Age 26, b. abt 1921 at Abilene, TX
Originated at: Geneva, Switzerland
Departure: Paris, France
Arrival: New York, New York, 11 Mar 1948
Airline: Transcontinental and Western Air

3. Crew Manifest- New York Passenger Lists
Name: James H Sanders, Co-Captain
Age 26, b. abt 1921 at Abilene, TX
Departure: Paris, France
Arrival: New York, New York, 27 Mar 1948
Airline: Transcontinental and Western Air

Family
Son of James Henry & Essie Shaw Sanders
1930 Census, Abilee, Taylor, TX, ED14, p 3B
-Jas H Sanders, 33, married age 22, b. TX, parents b. AR, laborer city Water Dept, WWI veteran.
-Essie Sanders, wife, 35, married age 24, b. TX, parents MS, WV
-Jas* H Sanders, son, 8, b. TX, parents TX
-Laura Eaves, mother-in-law, 56, b. VW, parents WV

1940 Census, Abilene, Taylor, TX, p 4A, ED 221-17; 1310 Poplar St; in 1935 lived in same house.
-James H Sanders 43, b. TX, mechanic for tractor dealer
-Essie Sanders, wife, 45, b. TX
-Jas* Hedrick Sanders, son, 18, b. TX, attendant filling station

Biography written by
GreenHills Stones Calling 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Henry Sanders (1897 - 1966)
 
 Children:
  James Carroll Sanders (1942 - 2007)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
James H Sanders
Texas
Captain Army Air Forces
World War II DFC-AM & 3 OLC
April 4 1921 - Sept 1 1961

Note:
Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, Air medal, & 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
 
Burial:
Green Hills Memorial Park
Rancho Palos Verdes
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Ocean View, 371, F
 
Maintained by: GreenHills Stones Callin...
Originally Created by: Warren Weimer
Record added: Jun 28, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 72142054
Capt James Hedrick Sanders
Added by: B.J. Waters
 
Capt James Hedrick Sanders
Added by: B.J. Waters
 
Capt James Hedrick Sanders
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Warren Weimer
 
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- Row Walker
 Added: Apr. 17, 2013
Rest in peace.
- B.J. Waters
 Added: Oct. 18, 2012
Rest in peace, Captain James Hedrick Sanders
- GreenHills Stones Calling
 Added: Oct. 17, 2012
 
 
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