Hillsgrove Air Field
Warwick, Rhode Island – December 21, 1941
On the morning of December 21, 1941, an army 2nd lieutenant was piloting an O-52 observation aircraft, (#40-2714), from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to Hillsgrove Field in Warwick, Rhode Island.
At 9:23 a.m. the pilot radioed Hillsgrove Tower and received permission to land on runway 4. As the pilot was making his approach, he received instructions from the tower to land on the grass to the left of the runway because a flight of three P-39 aircraft were also approaching the same runway. The pilot altered his approach and landed on the grass.
As he taxied along the grass, two of the three P-39s came in for a landing on runway 4. As he watched for the third to land, one of the P-39’s (#41-6744) moved off the runway and into the path of the O-52, and parked with its propeller still turning. Due to the configuration of the O-52 while on the ground, with its nose high and its tail low, the lieutenant couldn’t see the P-39 in his “blind spot” until it was too late. The prop of the P-39 cut the wings off the O-52. Neither pilot was injured.
The O-52 was assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron.
Source: U.S. Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, #42-12-21-14