Revisiting History: American Air #723 Crash, Colonie, NY

by Marilyn J. Muir, LPMAFA

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I belong to a Facebook group that posts the history of the upstate New York general community in which I was raised, i.e.: photos, monuments, pretty pictures, etc. I was quite surprised when an old newspaper: The Knickerbocker News headline and column was posted about an airline crash in 1953, perhaps fifteen or so miles from my home town. I was there! A teenager, yes, but I was there! I have no recall of a plane crash that took out two radio towers near our airport and crashed, killing all 28 occupants. Dumbfounded, I Googled the world’s largest library, the internet… and there it was, plus a few other ones as well. I had to harness my Gemini rising to investigate only one of them; my Ascendant wanted to dive right in and do them all. Ever wonder about the dialogue between your Sun and Ascendant? My Scorpio Sun said “Do this one well; the others will have to wait!”

On September 16, 1953, a commuter plane left Boston, MA headed for Chicago, IL. It was to make several stopovers on the way to its destination. A 1950’s commuter flight could be like an elevator that stops at every floor. It made its first stop in Connecticut and headed for Albany. It was early morning, heavy fog, poor visibility. When it arrived at the Albany, NY airport, landing was out of the question. Several planes preceded the 723, circling for safety; it joined the holding pattern parade. Attempts to land were made but aborted. Finally, the tower signaled that the sky was clearing, and landings could be resumed. That’s when the tragedy happened, apparently the ground was not clear enough. When American Air #723 attempted to land, it struck two of a grouping of three radio towers 365’ up, demolishing the plane, crashing it to the ground near a trailer park, explosion, fire, scorching trailers, scaring the residents half to death. The crash killed all onboard, but none on the ground.

One resident reported the crash was within ten feet of her trailer, but the fog was so bad she could not see the plane (the explosion/fire was not addressed). I am not skilled in weather conditions, but I was raised in that area. When we had heavy fog, you could not see anything for even a few feet. Could the conditions several hundred feet off the ground be better? Possibly, but I am wondering if the “clearing” conditions call was premature. The three radio towers were apparently not visible to the pilot and tragedy ensued.

The newspaper article was screen-snapped and saved, and said the crash was 9:45 AM EDT and the trailer park was 3/10ths of a mile from the airport, in Colonie, NY. My first chart attempt is always speculative. Note the Ascendant is 29 Libra 10 about 3.5 degrees past Saturn 25:47 and Neptune 22:31. That suggests the chart is too late, the accident would have occurred 3.5˚ times 4 minutes on the clock (1˚ = 4’)* or 14’ earlier for the crash, 6˚ 39’ earlier for the fog (6˚39’ x 4 minutes on the clock = 26 minutes earlier than the speculative Ascendant).

Add to that picture Uranus is square at 22 Cancer 18, timed by our clock as one minute earlier. Calculations would put the crash itself (Ascendant conjunct Saturn) around 15 minutes earlier than the newspaper reported, with fog even earlier than that. That is not uncommon in accidents; usually there is initial reporting and then corrections on the fly.

Note also the Midheaven 5 Leo 16 was past the conjunction to the lunar South Node 1:51 by 3˚25’ and would have been exact 14’ earlier on the clock (3.5 x 4’ per degree).* I think we are on to something here. It is my experience (45 years and counting) that events usually (not always) occur as aspects are applying to perfection, particularly when angles are involved. The corrected Midheaven/South Node is still off by 14’ of arc, or 1’ on the clock (15’ total). My obvious reaction was this accident happened about 15 minutes earlier; back to the library sources.

I looked up the references at the bottom of the online articles and hit pay dirt. There was an official radio cablegram sent to authorities that the crash took place at 9:30 AM, not 9:45. There’s our 15’! Saturn is behind the Ascendant by 29’, approximately 2’ of clock time. The corrected chart is labeled natal and is trustworthy within one-two minutes of clock time. Both charts reflect the general activities of those last moments, but one is more specific.

What else is visible here? Fog, limited visibility, the circling of several planes overhead, each waiting its turn to land. Flight 723 joined a veritable parade of planes all wanting desperately to get on the ground safely. Sound like Saturn/Neptune on the Ascendant squaring Uranus to you?

Think about the three radio towers hiding in that fog, 365 feet in the air. Look at the symbol for Uranus (three vertical bars), correctly placed on the Midheaven of the natal chart. The plane hit two of the three towers, and the crash was resultant from the hit. How long does it take for the plane to hit two towers, tear the plane apart, fall 365 feet, hit the ground, explode into fire, scorch a trailer park, and send residents scrambling? One minute? Two minutes? Because it happened so fast, I hope and pray the passengers and crew, some of whom were ejected, others trapped, perished quickly. It does sound like fire and fury of short duration to me. Cardinal signs: acute and sudden, stressful (square) but short-lived experience.

I also wondered about the death aspect here. Note Libra rising, the eighth house crash cusp is Taurus, both Venus-ruled. Where is lady Venus? At 20 Leo 50 conjunct Pluto 23:53, close and applying in the tenth house of mission or goal for that chart. The lord of the underworld and death is holding hands with his lady, the ruler of both life and death for that moment at that location (time, latitude and longitude).

Look back at the Midheaven (goal) conjunct the south Node exact at 9:30 AM. I often see the nodal axis active in charts where mass deaths are involved. For whatever reason, the timing for a moment of hell was there and a plane flew into it. Why that plane, why not one of the others circling? We would need two items to help us with that question. One: the departure times for the original take off (Boston) and the second takeoff from Hartford, CT. They might be located. It would give us two earlier natal charts to compare by applying the crash chart to each launch (later chart to earlier charts). The other unlikely alternative would be the maiden flight of that particular aircraft. That would give you additional information about the life journey of the plane itself. Only once was I able to find the delivery time and maiden launch for another deadly flight, but the info was very difficult to access.

For our purposes, we can see cause to back up the news-reported time. It is important to realize charts can be timed more accurately simply by being willing to trust that chart to point out any discrepancies, followed by the necessary research. Stay sensible and logical but don’t be afraid to speculate. We learn by doing. Label such charts as speculative until proven (rectification). Charts are willing to divulge far more information, but you have to be open to possibility and diligent in calculation. And they say this stuff doesn’t work!

* Midheaven correction is 1˚ = 4’ on the clock (or four minutes of time)

Ascendant corrections vary by sign and latitude and range from 1˚ = 3’ to 7’ on the clock (signs of long and short ascension)


Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer Aug 2018 vol 80 #8, republished with slight editing.

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