Tag Archives: Southern Airways Flight 242

“The Bold and Complicated Life of Lyman W. Keele, Jr., First Officer aboard Southern Airways Flight 242” – my interview with Delta Airlines Captain Ron Crysler (ret.)

CD: Ron, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about Lyman W.  Keele, Jr. and the events surrounding his death after the April 4, 1977 crash of Southern Airways Flight 242. You worked together at Southern, and … Continue reading

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“From Muscle Shoals, Alabama to New Hope, Georgia: The Long Odyssey of Jimmy Johnson” – by Clifford Davids

Jimmy Johnson has scaled Olympian musical heights. He was the guitar player for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (aka “The Swampers”), as well as a member of two legendary hit factories: Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Al, and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio … Continue reading

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A Former Navy Attack Pilot Sets The Record Straight About His Father’s Service With The “Flying Tigers” – by Clifford Davids

It’s funny how some stories just come knocking at your door. Ron Crysler played an important role in the aftermath of the April 4, 1977 crash of Southern Airways Flight 242, a story I have written about extensively. After the accident, … Continue reading

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“The Tragic Tale of Robert St. Martin, the Flight Controller Tracking Southern Airways Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

Two months after the crash of Southern Airways Flight 242, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a five day public hearing at the Sheraton-Biltmore Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The witnesses included crash survivors, internal investigators, engine specialists, air traffic … Continue reading

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“Anatomy of a Crash Scene” – Action Photographs taken after the crash of Southern Airways Flight 242 – by Clifford B. Davids

The first responders were already gearing up for a fiery rescue in the moments before the co-pilot of Southern Airways Flight 242 lowered his landing gear and touched down dead center on a narrow strip of highway in New Hope, … Continue reading

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“A Dry Tomb Burial for Southern Airways Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

The exact spot where Southern 242’s wreckage is buried remains a mystery – but it can be found in a very public place. Early on into this oral history project I discovered that the remains were in fact quickly and … Continue reading

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“Crash Site Confidential” – The NTSB Photographs Of Southern Airways Flight 242 – by Clifford B. Davids

The National Transportation Safety Board is iconic. Everyone recognizes their intrepid investigators, clad in navy blue shirts emblazoned with the yellow “NTSB” logo, swarming all over the smoldering wreckage of airplanes, ships, and trains. Established in 1967, the Board is … Continue reading

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“How She Survived: Flight Attendant Catherine Cooper and the Lucky Few from Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

The tragic crash of Southern Airways Flight 242 is a cruel story of destruction, mayhem, and death. The captain died from his injuries, and the first officer expired while he was being medivaced to Kennestone Hospital. Twenty  passengers died from fatal … Continue reading

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“The Dead-Stick Descent of Southern Airways Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

The final moments aboard Southern Airways Flight 242 were chaotic yet controlled: the first officer was searching in vain for a suitable runway; the pilot was furiously trying to restart the disabled engines; and the two flight attendants were keeping the unnerved passengers calm and … Continue reading

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“Annette Snell: Soul Diva aboard Southern Airways Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

It was late in the morning on April 4, 1977, when a jubilant Annette Snell returned to the building at 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, Alabama.  She had spent the past week there recording her first album, and all of … Continue reading

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“Shock and Awe: William V. Gudaitis and the Military Secrets aboard Southern Airways Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

On April 4, 1977, William V. Gudaitis boarded the ill-fated Southern Airways Flight 242 in Huntsville, AL as he headed to a meeting at Raytheon Co. in Lexington, MA. He was a top scientist for the Redstone Arsenal, and his … Continue reading

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“The Daughter of Southern Airways Flight 242’s First Officer Finally Speaks Out” – by Clifford B. Davids

Lyman W. Keele, Jr. was a natural born aviator. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1966, he joined the U. S. Navy and received his flight training at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. He was assigned … Continue reading

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“A Forgotten Hero of Southern Airways Flight 242: New Hope Volunteer Fire Chief John R. Clayton” – by Clifford B. Davids

All of the chiefs in the Paulding County Volunteer Fire Department knew something had to change. The county had no formal fire protection program in place, and many of the men who volunteered as fire fighters needed more extensive training. … Continue reading

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“Jayne Mansfield and her Long Lost Navy Photograph” – by Clifford B. Davids

Jayne Mansfield was the classic Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950’s. In her prime, she was pursued by a voracious army of reporters and photographers quietly praying that one of her flimsy outfits might strategically slip off, or perhaps bust apart at the seams. Her … Continue reading

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“An Aerial View of the Southern Airways Flight 242 Crash Site in New Hope, GA” – by Clifford B. Davids

The intersection that marks the commercial heart of New Hope, GA looks perfectly unremarkable – at first. You can get an old fashioned shave at Pete’s Barbershop before picking up a few groceries down the street at Publix, or perhaps enjoy the … Continue reading

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“The Battle of New Hope Church and the Tragic Crash of Southern Airways Flight 242” – by Clifford B. Davids

The rural community of New Hope, Georgia has been the unwitting victim of catastrophic mayhem twice in the past. In 1864, it was caught directly in the path of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman as he pitched and fought his way from … Continue reading

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