Cranston, Rhode Island – September 8, 1925
On September 8, 1925, 1st Lt. Clarence J. A’Hearn was piloting a Curtiss JN-4 bi-plane (Ser. No. 24-100) out of Boston on a training flight with 2nd Lt. F. S. James as a passenger. While over Rhode Island they encountered heavy cloud and fog conditions and lost their way. (This was an era when aircraft weren’t equipped with modern navigational equipment.)
Lt. A’Hearn decided to land so as to determine their location, and discovered they were in Cranston, Rhode Island. (Cranston is about an hours drive from Boston using modern interstate highways.) He then topped off the fuel tank with commercial gasoline, but evidently there was something wrong with the gas for when he tried to take off for Boston the engine lost power and the plane began settling back to the ground. As it did so the lower wing struck a fence causing the plane to hit the ground and roll onto its back. Neither A’Hearn or James were injured.
The aircraft was repaired and put back into service. However, it was wrecked in another accident at Boston Airport on December 19, 1925. In that incident, while attempting to land, the plane’s landing gear struck a stack of iron pipes at the end of a runway. The wheels were torn away and the plane crashed on the pavement and broke in two. The pilot suffered serious injuries.
Sources: U.S. Air Service Aircraft Accident Reports, dated September 8, 1925 , and January 11, 1926.