Ayer, MA. – July 14, 1944

Ayer, Massachusetts – July 14, 1944

Ten miles north-west


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On the morning of July 14, 1944, Ensign Beeman Falwell took off from the Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Ayer in a F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 40748), for a training flight.  When he was about ten miles north-west of the field, at an altitude of 6,000 feet, he began to experience a loss of power to the engine.  As the airplane began loosing altitude, the pilot began looking for a place to make an emergency landing.  Then a fire erupted in the engine, and the pilot knew he would have to jump.  He noted he was still over a populated area, so he decided to stay with the aircraft until it was over woodlands.  At the time he left the aircraft he was at the minimum level to jump and still have an expectation that the parachute would successfully open.  The parachute had just billowed open when the pilot landed in some trees sustaining injuries in the process.

     The aircraft crashed in a wooded are and was demolished.

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report dated July 14, 1944

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