Note: In 1951, the PB4Y-2 was redesignated the P4Y-2.
In July 1956, PB4Y-2 BuNo 59695 stationed at Sand Point was flown to Hawaii on a two-week training mission. On August 25, 1956, the aircraft was flown on an uneventful training flight. The following day, on August 26, 1956, the aircraft crashed into the Lake shortly after take-off on a routine training flight.

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Navy Accident Report
Lt. Thorson, pilot, and Lt. Shook, co-pilot, were scheduled for a local 2 ½ hour training flight in P4Y-2 BuNo 59695 at 9:30 a.m. on August 26, 1956. Due to marginal VFR conditions, they were briefed to conduct GCA
runs and remain in the local pattern until the weather improved. The pilots completed the engine run-up and the take-off checklist (inadvertently missing the flaps). the tower informed the aircraft that the field was VFR and cleared the aircraft for take-off.

The aircraft became airborne just prior to reaching the end of the runway in a near level attitude, no more than one to two feet in the air. As it passed the end of the runway and over the waters edge, a drop of about 10 feet, the loss of ground effect caused it to settle immediately. The aircraft settled to the water at full power about 300 feet from the end of the 5,000 foot runway. The aircraft planed on the main gear and belly and settled to a stop about 5,000 yards past the point of initial impact. An orderly ditching procedure followed. All personnel were out of the aircraft in approximately 45 seconds and in life rafts shortly thereafter. The aircraft sank in 175 feet of water in approximately 2 ½ minutes. The personnel were rescued by the NAS Seattle crash boat about 4 minutes later. Lt. Shook and one crewman received minor injuries while vacating the aircraft.

During the run-out on the water, the bomb bay doors ripped open and one bomb bay tank was torn loose from the aircraft. All propeller blades were slightly bent from impact with the water. No other damage is believed to have occurred to the aircraft.

Salvage operations commenced on August 28, 1956, and the aircraft was raised to the surface on August 31, 1956. However, a shackle pin to the hoisting sling broke while attempting to tow the aircraft ashore and the aircraft again sank to a depth of 210 feet. Lines had been secured to the two inboard engines and the engines broke off at the mounts when the sling shackle pin gave way. Further efforts to salvage the aircraft were abandoned as uneconomical.

It was concluded that the primary cause of the accident was pilot error in attempting a no-flap take-off. It was also concluded that the pilot and co-pilot did not take corrective action soon enough during take-off to successfully abort the take-off.



Navy use of land-based patrol planes began before the Pearl Harbor attack and our entry into WWII. With the need for longer ranges and increased use of land-based types, particularly for Arctic and other northern wintertime operations, the Navy acquired Army B24's, redesignated as PB4y-1's, beginning in September 1942. Operation of these aircraft dictated several changes to meet most Navy patrol-bomber needs: high altitude capability pf the B-24 was not necessary, additional crew space and electronics installation were required, and the single plane operations in the Pacific theater necessitated increased armament.

To meet these requirements a much modified version of the Liberator evolved as the PB4Y-2 Privateer. With a longer nose, an additional top turret and new waist-powered turrets, the new model was also designed with a single vertical tail in place of the B-24's twin tails, The first XPY4Y-2 flights were made in late 1943 with the twin tail configuration prior to single tails being installed. The Liberators turbo superchargers were deleted, and mechanically supercharged P&WR-1830s installed with higher power ratings at the lower altitudes at which Navy patrol missions were flown. While initial PB4Y-2s had a Liberator-type nose-turret, most were modified as were PB4Y-1s, to have an Erco ball turret installed in the nose.
Production PB4Y-2s were delivered to Navy squadrons beginning in May 1944 with VPBs 118 and 119 taking their Privateers into Pacific theater combat operations in January 1945. From this time on, PB4Y-2s, augmented and gradually replaced the Navy's Liberators in VPB squadrons. Some Privateers were equipped to carry and launch two Bat-guided glide bombs as PB4Y-2Bs, and these were also in operation service in the spring of 1945.

When Privateer production was terminated at war's end, 840 had been built including the three prototypes. With some modified for weather flying as PB4Y-2Ms, the Privateers were the mainstays of the Navy VP squadrons in the post-war period. Some were modified with improved AWS systems as -2S's before they were finally replaced by P2V's and placed in desert storage.     from: