The pilots at Turner Field were preparing to go home. Most of them lived in Turner Field Apartments adjacent to the Field. One of their fellow pilots, Richard Nunnelley (one of the two chosen as test pilots for this plane) was still in the air in his F-84 F.
Suddenly all eyes were turned toward the plane as it was approaching the field. Something was wrong. The pilot was obviously struggling to keep the plane in the air in an attempt to avoid hitting the apartments below. The pilot stayed in the plane rather than bailing out, striving to bring it down on the airfield. But the plane exploded before it hit the ground!
The crash investigator told the pilot's widow, the former Louise Brazier of Albany, that this was the only crash he had ever investigated that was 100% mechanical and no pilot error was involved. There had been a complete failure of the hydraulic system.
Richard Nunnelley, pilot, loyal American. Married December 30, 1953 - just six months prior to leaving the Air Force to return to the University of Alabama for his Senior year in college.
Nunnelley was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1929 and was laid to rest at Crown Hill Cemetery in Albany, Georgia on December 22, 1954.
Richard Nunnelley - We remember you!