The Broken Arrow Project: Visualizing the Dangers of Maintaining the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

August 5, 1950 - Fairfield Suisun-AFB, California

DOD: A B-29 carrying a weapon but no capsule, experienced two runaway propellers and landing gear retraction difficulties on takeoff from Fairfield-Suisun AFB (now Travis AFB). The aircraft attempted an emergency landing and crashed and burned. The fire was fought for 12-15 minutes before the weapon's high explosive material detonated. Nineteen crew members and rescue personnel were killed in the crash and/or the resulting detonation, including General Travis

CDI: The aircraft crashed near a trailer camp occupied by 200 service families. The explosion of 10-12 500 lb conventional explosive bombs shattered more than half of the fifty automobiles and trailers, blasted a crater 20 yards across and six feet deep and was felt 30 miles away. The fire could be seen for 65 miles. There were also 60 people hurt.

Fairfield Suisun AFB would go on to be renamed Travis AFB in honor of Brigadier General Robert F. Travis who died in the crash.

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