In April of 2012 a book with a different view of the deadly 1956 air crash over Grand Canyon was published. Its author, Mike Nelson, had multiple reasons for researching and writing this remarkable document. Among them was the fact that his uncle had lost his life in that disaster. The book introduces new facts and eliminates many misconceptions.
There are many online articles detailing the incidents that lead to the crash. If you haven’t read any of them you may want to consider skimming a couple of them so you are familiar with what is available out there. Then you may want to purchase Mike’s book and compare it to the views of others.
Northern Arizona University, due to being in close proximity to the crash site, has an extensive collection of photographs and information concerning the crash. Unfortunately, you have to have a password to get to it. However, Arizona State University has a nice article featuring some NAU’s photos.
Another article goes into great detail and even includes a map and a list of the crew and passengers who died there. It shows pictures of both aircraft and the flight plans of both planes as well as a map showing where each crashed.
Credit: NAU Cline Library Collection: Mike McComb Call No. NAU.PH.2006.29.34
On the 50th anniversary of the crash an article was written for the Grand Canyon Association Newsletter. It is similar to the other articles in the facts it contains but is a shorter version. This famous disaster is credited with being the catalyst for getting our current air traffic control system in place.
Mike Nelson’s book does not begin as the articles do; stating facts about the airplanes and how their schedules and flight patterns were so close. It begins with a personal story about his grandfather and the grief he went through after the death of his son, Jack Groshans. It will draw you in and make you want to learn the details of the day that became a nightmare for him. You begin to understand why Mike felt he must write this book.
”Uncle Jack died in an airplane crash. On June 30, 1956, a United Air Lines DC-7 and a TWA L-1049 Constellation collided in midair over the Grand Canyon. Uncle Jack was on the DC-7. All 128 persons aboard the two planes lost their lives.
This book tells their story. My attempt is to present a purely factual account. I have reported the truth as I found it, without altering it for convenience, fluidity, cohesiveness, or dramatic effect. The story in this book is true and is more than dramatic enough and involved enough to be in no need of fictionalizing…”