Lake Memphremagog, VT – June 28, 1942

Lake Memphremagog, Vermont – June 28, 1942

     Very little information seems to exist relating to this accident.  The information was released in a small Associated Press article that also included two other military plane crashes; one in Boston, and the other in Rhode Island. 

     On June 28, 1942, an aircraft piloted by C. N. Pate, of the Royal Canadian Air Force, crashed and sank in Lake Memphremagog, off shore from Newport, Vermont.  The pilot did not survive. 

     The type of aircraft, the pilot’s full name, and rank, were not specified.  Only that he had flown out of Hubert Field in Quebec.

     Lake Memphremagog covers about 40 square miles, and straddles the Canadian and United States border, most of it being in Canada.  

     Source:

     Nashua Telegraph, “Three Army Plane Crashes Add To Weekend Death Toll”, June 29, 1942

Update February 24, 2017

     The following information was supplied to New England Aviation History by Mr. David Archer.  Thank you Mr. Archer.

     The full name of the pilot was Roy Nelson Pate, age 22, of Toronto, Canada.  He was born June 12, 1920, and was only 16 days shy of his 23rd birthday.  He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on August 22, 1941, and is buried in Toronto (Resthaven) Memorial Garden; Ontario Canada. 

Source: Canadian Virtual War Memorial

     Mr. Archer also included the following (AP) newspaper article:

     R.C.A.F. Flier Killed In Vermont Crash

     Newport, Vt., June 28 (AP) – An airplane plunged into Lake Memphremagog within sight of this town today, and the body of a Royal Canadian Air Force flier was recovered later by a diver.  The plane went into the lake about four miles from here and a half-mile from shore, close to the Canadian border.  Oliver Packer, a Newport fire department diver, operating from a special diving raft towed by a United States customs boat, said he found the flier’s body jammed in the cockpit of the plane, which was submerged in thirty feet of water.  There was no indication that more than one man was in the plane.  

 

Burlington, VT – May 18, 1949

Burlington, Vermont – May 18, 1949

    

P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 18, 1949, a flight of twelve F-47 National Guard aircraft was scheduled to depart Burlington Airport for a formation training flight.  The formation was to be led by Major Carroll A. Prybylo, 28, piloting F-47 (#45-49545).

     The F-47 was the new designation assigned to the P-47 Thunderbolt used by the Army Air Force during WWII.  By 1949 they had been relegated to National Guard status.

     After pre-flight preparations, the flight was cleared for takeoff on runway 15, with Major Prybylo going first.  According to witnesses, it appeared that the major’s aircraft wasn’t traveling as fast as it should, and didn’t become airborne until it had used up 4,000 feet of runway.  Even then, the aircraft appeared to have trouble climbing, and only reached an altitude of about 24 feet.  It continued on for 608 feet from the end of the runway where the left wing and left horizontal stabilizer struck some trees 15 feet from the tops.  The wing and stabilizer were torn away and the plane crashed and exploded. 

     The plane crashed in an area of rough terrain which made it difficult for rescue and fire personnel to reach the scene.  Due to the total destruction of the aircraft and subsequent fire, investigators were unable to determine a definite cause of the accident.

    Major Prybylo was born in Walpole, New Hampshire, on December 17, 1921, and entered the service in March of 1942.  After receiving his pilot’s wings on January 4, 1943, he was sent to the European Theatre and flew numerous combat missions during WWII, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with numerous clusters, and other awards.  He was survived by his wife and daughter, and is buried in St. Mary’s cemetery in Springfield, Vermont. 

     Sources:

     Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #49-5-18-5

     Burlington Free Press, “Major Carroll A. Prybylo Of Essex Jctn., Perishes In Wreck Of F-47 Thunderbolt Which Crashes Near Burlington Airport”, May 19, 1949  

     (Unnamed newspaper) “Probe Of Fatal Plane Crack-up Now Under Way”, May 20, 1949

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #151212590    

 

 

Williston, VT – March 4, 1965

Williston, Vermont – March 4, 1965

    

F-89 Scorpion U. S. Air Force Photo

F-89 Scorpion
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On March 4, 1965, a Vermont National Guard F-89J Scorpion jet was approaching Burlington Airport when an onboard fire broke out.  The aircraft went down about three miles form the airport in the town of Williston, in an area known as Taft Corners, barely missing some trailer homes.

    

 

    

      Nether the pilot or the radar observer survived.  They were identified as: 

     (Pilot) Colonel Robert P. Goyette, 45, of Burlington, Vermont.

     (Radar Observer) Lieutenant Jeffrey B. Pollack, 28, of Burlington, Vermont.

     Today there is a memorial on Rt 2 in the town of Williston honoring these two men, located at GPS coordinates 18T E 65336  N 4922338. (This is not the site of the crash.)

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Vermont Air Guard Officers Die In Jet Crash”, March 5, 1965

     Schenectady Gazette, “2 In Vermont Air Guard Die In Jet Trainer Crash”, March 5, 1965  

       

    

Hawks Mountain, VT – June 14, 1947

Hawks Mountain, Vermont – June 14, 1947

In the Town of Perkinsville, Vermont

    

B-29 Super Fortress U.S. Air Force Photo

B-29 Super Fortress
U.S. Air Force Photo

      Shortly after midnight on June 14, 1947, a U.S. Air Force B-29A bomber, (44-62228), crashed into the southeast side of Hawks Mountain and exploded.  All twelve men aboard were killed, and to this day the incident remains the worst aviation accident to ever occur in Vermont.  

     The flight had originated the previous morning when the plane took off from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, for a navigational training mission to the east coast.  The plane was scheduled to land at Andrews Field (Later known as Andrews Air Force Base) in Washington, D.C., but due to bad weather was diverted to Pittsburg Airport where it arrived at 3:07 p.m.  After refueling, the aircraft proceeded towards Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts, where it was to remain overnight before flying back to Arizona the following day.  However, the weather grew worse, and with poor visibility and darkness falling the crew became lost, ending up over Vermont instead of Massachusetts.   

    Just before midnight the B-29’s radio operator tried making contact with Boston, but was unsuccessful.  The transmissions were picked up by Corporal Wendell J. Adams monitoring the radio at Grenier Field in Manchester, who contacted the aircraft to ask if he could be of assistance, to which he was told that he could not.  

     Not long afterwards citizens of Perkinsville reported hearing the B-29 circle low over the town just before the engines abruptly stopped and a huge fireball erupted on Hawks Mountain.  The time was set at 12:14 a.m.

     One witness to the crash was Mrs. Neil Pike, the town telephone operator, who immediately notified authorities of the crash.  “I saw a big glow like a bonfire,” she told reporters, “The whole sky was lighted up.”

     The B-29 was part of the 64th Bomb Squadron assigned to the 43rd Bomb Group. 

      The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Robert G. Fessler

     (Co-pilot) 2nd Lt. Wilfred E. Gassett

     (Observer) 2nd Lt. Ceasare P. Fontana

     (Crew Chief) Master Sgt. D. D. Jack

     T/Sgt. Paul H. Fetterhoff

     T/Sgt. Clayton K. Knight

     Staff Sgt. Oliver W. Hartwell

     Staff Sgt. Sylvester S. Machalac

     Staff Sgt. John J. O’Toole, age 23.

     Cpl. Harry C. Humphrey

     Cpl. Robert Clark

     Pfc. Robert M. Stewart

     Lieutenants Fessler, Gassett, and Fintana, as well as sergeants Fetterhoff and Macalac, are all buried together at Long Island National Cemetery in East Farmingdale, New York, plot number M-25563. (See www.findagrave.com  memorial # 59350421)

     Staff Sergeant John O’Toole is also buried in the same cemetery, but not with the others. (see www.findagrave.com  memorial  #2777950)

     According to Corporal Harry C. Humphrey’s tombstone, he was born June 11, 1930, which means he had just celebrated his 17th birthday at the time of his death.  He’s buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  (See www.findagrave.com memorial # 83945570) 

     Pfc. Robert M. Stewart is buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery in Connellsville, Penn. (See www.findagrave.com  memorial #86342395)

     Sources:

     New York Times, “”12 Killed As Army B-29 Hits Vermont Mountain In Storm”, June 16, 1947

     Lowell Sun, “Plane Only 12 Feet From Clearing Peak”, June 16, 1947

     The Hawks Mountain B-29 Crash/Vermont’s Worst Aviation Disaster, By Tom Hildreth, 1997

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

      

Kirby, VT – February 2, 1989

Kirby, Vermont – February 2, 1989

    

FB-111 U.S. Air Force Photo

FB-111
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On February 2, 1989, an FB-111 out of Plattsburgh, N.Y., was on a training flight over Vermont, when a problem with one of the fuel tanks forced the crew to bail out.  The pilot, Captain Randall F. Voorhees, 31, of Upper Darby, PA, and his radar navigator, Captain Len J. Esterly Jr., 30, of Reading, PA, parachuted to safety with only minor injuries.

     The aircraft crashed and exploded in a wooded area about a mile off Route 2, in the town of Kirby, Vermont.   

 

 

 

FB-111 U.S. Air Force Photo

FB-111
U.S. Air Force Photo

Source:

(Nashua, New Hampshire newspaper) The Telegraph, Associated Press article by Jill Arabas, “Air Force To Probe Fighter Plane Crash In Vermont”, February 3, 1989, Pg. 6.

Rutland, Vermont – June 24, 1934

Rutland, Vermont – June 24, 1934

     At about 11:30 a.m., on June 24, 1934, Captain H. H. Mills of the 118th Observation Squadron of the Connecticut National Guard was piloting a Douglas observation plane over the new municipal airfield in Rutland, Vermont, as part of the field’s dedication exercises. 

     At the same time, a Bellanca monoplane with two men aboard was also in the area on a photographic survey mission for the government. 

    For reason’s not determined, the two aircraft collided head-on at an altitude of 5,000 feet over the airport.   The impact ejected Captain Mills from his aircraft and he found himself hurling through space dazed from an head wound.  Fortunately he was able to release his parachute and land safely.  His airplane came down in the center of the airport and was destroyed.

     The Bellanca disintegrated as it came down, dropping its engine and two occupants before striking the ground on a farm about a mile from the airport.  Both men were killed. 

     The dead were identified as W.H. McMullen, the pilot, and R.L. Oakes, the photographer.  Both were from New York City.   

Source: New York Times, “Two Die As Planes Crash at 5,000 Feet”, June 25, 1934 

South Mountain, Vermont – October 24, 1945

South Mountain, Vermont – October 24, 1945

 

SB2C Helldiver U.S. Navy Photo

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 24, 1945, a U.S. Navy Helldiver left Burlington, Vt., headed for Quonset Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, when it crashed into South Mountain at the 2,300 foot level, cutting a wide path and scattering wreckage over a large area.  Both men aboard were killed.  

     150  searchers found the wreck site after two days.     

     The pilot was Ensign Walter G. Smith, Jr., 22, of Kansas City, Mo.   

     The passenger was 28-year-old Lt. Cmdr. Maurice M. Stone of Raleigh, North Carolina.  Stone was the executive officer of a squadron based at Quonset Point, and had arrived in Burlington with his squadron for Navy Day exercises.   At some point his hand became infected, and he was being flown to R.I. for treatment when the accident occurred.  

     Stone was a veteran of the first aircraft carrier based attack on Tokyo, Japan.  He was survived by his wife Maureen (Smith) Stone. He’s buried in Savannah, Georgia.

Sources:

Providence Journal, “Bodies of Two Quonset Aviators, Wrecked Plane Found In Vermont”,  October 27, 1945, Pg. 1    

North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-100 & 45-101

Camel’s Hump Mt. – October 16, 1944

Camel’s Hump Mountain, Vermont- October 16, 1944

B-24 Liberator  U.S. Air Force Photo

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 16, 1944, a U. S. Army B-24J Liberator (#42-51067) crashed into Camel’s Hump Mountain killing all but one crewman aboard.  The sole survivor was Aerial Gunner James W. Wilson who was found by members of the Civil Air Patrol a short distance from the wreck.  Investigators found the wreckage near the top of the 4,083 mountain, covering more than an acre of land.   

 

 

 

 

 

     Sources:

     Woonsocket Call, “Single Member Of Crashed Bomber’s Crew Found Alive Near Vermont Mountain Debris”, October 18, 1944, pg. 1

     Aircraft Info supplied by Lawrence Webster – Aviation Historian

     New York Times, “Bomber Wreck Found On Vermont Mountain”, October 18, 1944

 

Vergennes, Vermont – November 4, 1959

Vergennes, Vermont – November 4, 1959

     On November 4, 1959, a twin-engine Army plane on its way to Fort Monmouth, N.J., developed engine trouble and crash landed on a farm injuring one of the passengers aboard, Brig. General Charles M. Baer, who suffered cuts to his head and face.  The others aboard, Lt. Col. Herbert F. Hartzel, Captain Charles McGee (pilot) and co-pilot Louis Galambos were uninjured.

Source: Woonsocket Call, “General Hurt In Vt. Crash Of Army Plane”, November 5, 1959, Pg. 3  

Montpelier, Vermont – November 1927

Montpelier, Vermont – November 14, 1927

     At 11 a.m. on November 14, 1927, a small plane carrying Reuben S. Sleight, and piloted by Lieutenant Franklin Wolfe, was attempting to land at Montpelier Field when it crashed and flipped over, killing Sleight.

     Mr. Sleight was an assistant to then Secretary Herbert Hoover, and was on his way to prepare for a meeting between Secretary Hoover, Governor Weeks, and Attorney General Sargent on flood relief problems in the area.   

     Source: New York Times, “Hoover Aide Killed In Vermont Flight”, November 15, 1927

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