Since the invention and then the utilization of airplanes by the military, there have been fatal plane crashes involving service personnel. The military does complete a report of each crash to see if there was a problem with the plane or pilot which contributed to the crash. From such knowledge it is hoped future occurrences will be minimized.
For the families of those killed, injuries or luck enough to survive in such plane crashes the events surrounding the crash are not always known, even years later. The Accident-Report.com online site provides an invaluable service for family historians investigating the details of a crash involving an ancestor while serving in the military.
The site traverses the years of 1918 to December 31, 1955 with a database of 90,000 accident reports which represent some 300,000 names. The military branches covered are United States Army Air Force, the U. S. Air Force, the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. Besides the known crashes there are also reports on those airplane crews reported as missing and never located. The crashes are not just of airplanes, but also helicopters and balloons.
The methods of searching on the site are varied. One is to go to the USAF / USAAF section (1918 to 1955) where you can browse indexes based on crew members' names, serial numbers of aircraft and missing air crew reports for the USAAF. The other index is the USN and USMC section (1920 to 1952) with pilot and crew, aircraft accidents and the USN / USMC registers. The USAF / USAAF section of crews also categories the crashes by years.
Once an individual’s name or their craft is located the full reports are not on the site. Rather the company running the site can be contacted and the researcher can order either printed copies of the complete accident report mailed for a set price or have the report scanned and emailed to the researcher. Photos of the crash sites are usually in the report and copies can also be obtained.