Paul Mantz “Flight of the Phoenix” accident

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Born in Alameda, California, on August 8th, 1903, Paul Mantz first learned to fly when he was 17. After spending several years barnstorming, and washing out …


Jeffrey Gold says:

Thankfully none of the people commenting here are working for the NTSB. Clearly, the plane made a hard first touchdown that caused the tail section to snap off (even though the ‘action’ of the structural failure is primarily off-camera, one can see that it was initiated at the time of the first touchdown), which would cause the front-heavy engine-bearing section to pivot forward around the front wheels (acting as fulcra). That’s what caused the plane to crash—not catching on a patch of dirt.

xiniks says:

structural integrity is for pussies!

TungstenKid says:

Who designed the flying Phoenix anyway, some teaboy on the back of an envelope? I’m surprised the Aviation people granted it a Certificate of Airworthiness!
Wiley Post was killed in an own-design in the 1930′s, he lashed two wrecks together to make a plane, Lockheed warned him it was a bad idea but he went ahead and it nosed in, killing him and a passenger.

375GTB says:

The 2004 film Flight of the Phoenix employed a C-119 instead of the C-82 Packet featured in the original 1965 film. The studio had been offered aflyable C-82, but the director favored the more graceful lines of the C-119 . A C-119G registered as N15501 was flown to Africa . Three ex-USMC C-119Fs were also used for the various wreck scenes.
An ex-RCAF C-119 water bomber also makes several appearances at the training base in the 1989 movie Always.

C-82s have P&W R-2800s

C-119s have P&W R-4360s

375GTB says:

The screened over intakes on each side of the engine, give it away.

Maybe a F4F or FM-2

R-1820 or R-1830…

The Fairchild C-82 and C-119 had different, bigger engines, off the top, here.

R-2600s or R-2800s, something like that…

375GTB says:


375GTB says:

Trust me you wanted to be thrown clear..

Like in early GP and Indy cars.

See Hans Hermann jumping from his cart wheeling car at the Avus-rennen

about 1955, here on YT..

375GTB says:


Those were Skids.

inhaleexhale says:

Paul Mantz was killed because he was flying a cobbled-together piece of junk. “Yep, the studio commissioned a plane that resembled bits and pieces of a Fairchild C-82 Packet, the model that crashes in the film. The private firm that engineered it used plywood, wire and even clothesline to give it a more “cobbled-together” look, scavenging parts from different planes and building others from scratch. In the end, that’s what sold the movie: watching the pile of junk lift off at the end is a catha

taketimeout2 says:

Martin Marauder,not Boston bomber, matey. Typical error at the time any school boy plane spotter could have corrected, if asked.
In fact the best spotters during the war were schoolboys (and girls) but were too young to serve. But on many occasions were sometimes asked to verify ‘unofficially’ when the grownups weren’t certain.

qoaa says:

Hello Vault Hunter

StormoTiger says:

That plane was drunk, Not Mantz.

1vdn992 says:

He touched down too hard and too fast, combination of pilot error and airstrip conditions.

Robert Reimer says:

You’d think a crash like that would jinx the movie. (which turned out a classic)

TungstenKid says:

Incidentally the non-flying mockup in the film unrealistically had skids but no wheels and that spoilt the film for me. I mean, skis work on ice, but on sand no chance!

Ward Kendall says:

It was built to look like flying junk – on purpose. It was the plane used in “The Flight of the Phoenix” (original version) that the movie’s characters tacked together from the wreckage of another plane. My dad (a WWII bomber pilot himself) knew Paul Mantz. Moral: even the best of pilots can be killed, if Fate Is The Hunter. – Ward Kendall, “Hold Back This Day” (

deullist says:

Wikipedia says he “hit a small hillock”? Looks to me like hit hit hard and the tail cracked just aft of the wing. When he gave it full power the engine torqued over. Bad design. Can’t see any stringers in that tail section.

jo smith says:

gravity fucked him good.

Antonio Pietaro says:

A 12 year old.

shotfirer1972 says:

Paul Manz flew with pancho right?

thundercloud47 says:

I agree. I would also bet that the repeated touch and go landings probably overstressed the makeshift airframe. I wonder who they hired to design it?

DjangosBurntFingers says:

Paul Mantz was not under the influence of snything accordings to the people on set. His blood alcohol level was because of missunderstood chemistry in the 1960′s. People should not slander this man’s name.

klatu1956 says:

some one forgot to bolt that tail on securely

klatu1956 says:

Like 007 said it hit the ground too hard and the tail snapped off. Bad luck Paul!The plabe was a C-117 Flying boxcar and appartently wasent strong enouf for flying and not tested enoughf before filmiming

TungstenKid says:

Who designed that flying junk heap anyway?
And it looked like a downwind landing which can’t have helped

magic591 says:

It would take more then a pint to get me in that death trap.

carmium says:

I’m sure it was an “experimental” that didn’t require certification.

Gary Anderson says:

Talk about your gravel face wash.


Hard to believe they got that contraption certified…..


THe ditching of the 17 was textbook perfect…..

Scrapheap71 says:

’twas a pretty good joke, took me a second to get it. :-]

Malfango says:


I like your style. ;-)

Scrapheap71 says:

baa dup dup CHING!!

Malfango says:

…he wasn’t French, drunk or not.

Malfango says:


frisk151 says:

Would you not call that pilot error? As you said, “It would not have touched the ground if Mantz didn’t want it to.”.. And any pilot worth their salt would know exactly what they were flying.. Wait, what did Mantz and Co. do? Build planes for the movies? He was a great pilot but let’s not misjudge this.. It was pilot error plain and simple, and as many reports cover it, his judgement may very well have been impaired by alcohol.. Regardless, Props to a legend…

wordreet says:

A sad day indeed.

Scrapheap71 says:

…and they had the gaul to accuse him of flying while drunk.

suzycreamcheesez says:

lol SeikiBrian well said! thegoosebrain is probably a jr high kid.

christopher phillip skeates says:

I AM REVELATIONS 12 wo to man for sin against woman …skeatesy1 mulls at womans expense ..

SeikiBrian says:

thegoosebrain wrote: “Your full of sh…”

I think you mean “You’re full of…” as in “You are full of…”

“Your” is another possessive, as in “YOUR grammar is very bad. YOU’RE not winning points by calling someone else an ass when he is correct.”

SeikiBrian says:

thegoosebrain wrote: “Their is the proper usage in this instance…”

Actually, no, it’s not. You wrote, “Graveyards are full of these guys that think their not mortal.”

It should have been, “Graveyards are full of these guys that think they’re not mortal,” with “they’re” being a contraction of “they are.”

“Their” is a possessive, like “his” and “her.”

Graveyards are full of guys who think THEY ARE not mortal. THEY’RE wrong in THEIR beliefs; all men are mortal.

25slim82 says:

Is this Phoenix going to rise from the ashes?

Charleybones says:

From what I have been reading on the subject, the aircraft was a makeshift plane put together with various scraps from other planes specifically built to look flimsy – and it was. The second slow mo video of the crash from the left side clearly shows the fuselage splitting in two after the initial hard touchdown with the front landing gear. If the plane had been built properly for normal use it would have been required to withstand that impact.

mockneyreject says:

enough death already! how about some sex? who’d like to see a video of my dick? come on boys, don’t be shy, you know you want to!!!!!!!!

ohger1 says:

Mantz’s touch was too hard considering the aircraft had no suspension on the gear. Had there been some suspension, or had the airframe been sturdier, this would have been a non-event. Perfect storm leading to a tragedy.

ducklady says:

I do believe you mean “you’re” full of sh*t

Write a comment


Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Notice: It is important to also note that Crash Accident Videos is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,,,, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.