Plymouth, Massachusetts – August 13, 1912
On August 12, 1912, two army lieutenants, identified only by their last names as Kirtland and Arnold, took off from Marblehead, Massachusetts, in a “hydro-aeroplane” bound for an army maneuvers field situated along the Housatonic River in Connecticut, to take part in war simulation games. The distance between the two points was about 200 miles, which was quite considerable for the time.
The men had only gone as far as Duxbury, Massachusetts, when the plane developed engine trouble forcing them to land and make repairs. After spending the night in Duxbury, they resumed their flight the following morning on the 13th. While attempting to negotiate a turn over Plymouth Bay, the aircraft “volplaned” and fell into the water. Fortunately the plane came down in shallow water and neither man was reported to be injured. However, the aircraft suffered a broken propeller, pontoon, and other damage rendering it inoperable, and it had to be towed to shore.
Source: (Providence, RI) The Evening News, “Army Aviators Give Up Flight”, August 13, 1912.
Although the first names of the lieutenants were not stated in the article, it’s possible, given the date of the accident, that their full names were Roy C. Kirtland, and Henry H. Arnold, both of whom were military aviation pioneers. Kirtland Air Force base in New Mexico is named for Colonel Roy C. Kirtland, and General Henry “Hap” Arnold was the Commander of the United States Army Air Forces During World War II.