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Braniff to VARIG

Braniff received their fourth Lockheed Electra 10, 1028, on June 25, 1935, bearing registration NC14939. The aircraft likely flew on the airline's mainline from Chicago to Brownsville with stops in Kansas City, Dallas and Galveston. After a few years flying for Braniff the plane was sold to Mid-Continent Airlines, based out of Kansas City, Missouri. On July 9, 1942, the aircraft was pressed into service by the USAAF and the registration was changed to 42-68362; three years later, August 25, 1945, the aircraft was returned to commercial use. Around this time it was sold to the Brazilian carrier VARIG where registration was changed for the final time to PP-VAS. On March 7, 1948, while operating as a cargo flight from Sao Gabriel to Porto Alegre the aircraft crashed. While taking off from Sao Gabriel, the aircraft's left engine failed. Pilot Carta attempted an emergency landing, however, because the landing gear had already been raised the aircraft made a belly landing on a hill side just past the end of the runway. Both crew members were uninjured, the same could not be said for the Electra which was damaged beyond repair. Following an investigation into the crash it was discovered that the cause of engine failure had been a result of a clogged air intake; the cause of the clog was found to be an owl. On take off the noise of the aircraft had scared one of the local owls causing it to fly at the worst moment possible. The poor animal was sucked in and its body clogged the intake, causing engine failure and leading to the crash.

PP-VAT, 1029, which we'll be looking at on Monday. This gives the perfect example of how PP-VAS would have looked while flying for VARIG (Ed Coates collection)

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