On March 20th, 1953, the four-engined
Douglas C-54G was carrying 30 airmen and a crew of five bound for the Pacific island of
Guam. It left from Roswell, New Mexico, for the American
protectorate, but was making an intermediate stop at Oakland
where the plane was scheduled to make a
Transocean's chief pilot and one of America's most experienced
flyers, was at the controls, and the airmen on board were all maintenance specialists from Walker Air Force Base
in Roswell, bound for a tour of duty with the 509th Bomber Wing. The
crew of five -- three pilots and two stewardesses -- were civilians.
After departing Roswell the flight progressed in a
routine manner and at 2:51 in the afternoon, when in the vicinity of Winslow, Arizona,
the Defense VFR flight plan was changed to Instrument, but still flying at least 500 feet
over the top of the clouds. At 6:19 PM, the flight reported over the Newark,
California, compass locator and fan marker at 8,000 feet where it held
for 11 minutes.
At 6:27, Oakland Approach Control cleared Flight
942 for a straight-in range approach, to descend in the holding pattern
to cross the Newark compass locator at 3,500 feet and to report leaving
each 1,000-foot level. Three minutes later, at 6:30, the flight
reported leaving 8,000 feet, and subsequently reported leaving each
1,000-foot level. Lastly, at 6:36, it reported being at 3,500 feet leaving the
Newark compass locator inbound.