Baron 56

baron56-crash2On 21 November 1972, the EC-47 aircraft, serial number 43-49771, call sign BARON 56, took off from its base at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, on an Airborne Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) mission. Upon the return from its mission, BARON 56 was cleared for landing.

According to statements from crewmembers, the touchdown was normal with perhaps a slight bounce, but the aircraft then began a gradual movement to the left, nearly departing the runway; the aircraft commander applied high power to the left engine and the aircraft then swerved sharply to the right, departing the right hand side of the runway approximately 1800 feet from the approach end at a 45 degree angle.

Power was applied to go-around; the path of the aircraft went just to the right (north) of the 6000 feet remaining runway marker, crossed a ditch, and became airborne after the right main landing gear struck the west (far) side of the ditch embankment. After becoming airborne the aircraft cut a wire to the base perimeter lights and also contacted a tree along the west base perimeter. Apparently some damage was done to the Number One (left) propeller or engine since the third pilot, sitting in the flight engineer’s seat noticed that the propeller disc was erratic instead of flat as it is normally. Also, other crewmembers thought the Number Two propeller or engine was not functioning properly, causing vibration, and noticeable slowing down. All crewmembers recall vibrating or knocking throughout the airframe at approximately this time; the aircraft was momentarily in a shallow left bank attempting to clear the trees and parallel the runway.

Approximately three fourths of the way down the runway a shallow right turn was begun and the aircraft commander, who had noted a power loss of failure of the Number Two engine, ordered the Number Two engine feathered. The aircraft was just above the trees at this point still in a shallow right turn. The navigator thinks he heard the co-pilot acknowledge the order to feather the Number Two engine. The aircraft commander then initiated the emergency procedure for engine failure by stating “throttle – closed” and at approximately this time the third pilot states he saw the Number one propeller slow down and a blade pitch change occur. Also crewmembers agreed that at this point no sound of engine power was heard from either engine. Shortly after this, at 1740L, the aircraft impacted the trees and crashed approximately 3.7 KM beyond the base perimeter.

The pilot, Capt. Robert A. Kohn, and communications analyst, MSgt. John W. Ryon, perished in the crash.


6994th Security Squadron

  • MSgt John W. Ryon – Communications Analyst – Killed
  • SSgt Paul W. Weyandt – Radio Operator
  • Sgt Thomas E. Way – Radio Operator
  • Sgt Charles F. Fidroeff – Radio Operator
  • Sgt Laurent A. Morin – Radio Operator
  • Sgt Claude W. Pennell Jr. – Radio Operator

361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron

  • Capt. Robert A. Kohn – Pilot – Killed
  • 2nd Lt. Edgar H. Hirshouer III – Co-Pilot
  • 1st Lt. Michael G. Danielle – Third Pilot
  • Lt. Col. Howe L. Vandegriff – Navigator