New Haven, Ct. – July 20, 1902

New Haven, Connecticut – July 20, 1902

     On July 20, 1902, aeronaut Charles Hillman was about to take off in a balloon at New Haven when it caught fire and was destroyed.  Hillman was not injured.

Source: New York Times, “Balloon Destroyed By Fire” July 21, 1902.


Haddam, CT – April 16, 1940

Haddam, Connecticut – April 16, 1940 

     At 11:10 p.m. on April 16, 1940, a small chartered aircraft carrying a pilot and three passengers left Boston Airport and at some point afterward crashed on the farm of Mathew Negrelli in the Higganum section of Haddam, Connecticut.

     State police were notified of the crash and went to the farm to look for the plane, but had not found it as of 2:45 a.m. In the meantime, Charles Smith of Marblehead, Massachusetts, was found wandering on the farm and was taken to Middlesex Hospital for treatment. 

     The others aboard the aircraft included Harry E. Noyes, a Mr. Rideout, and the pilot, John R. Hartwell.     

Source: New York Times, “4 Fall In Plane In Connecticut”, April 16, 1940 

Washington, CT – September 6, 1930

Washington, Connecticut – September 6, 1930 

     On September 6, 1930 a small plane carrying two men left New York headed for Bradford, New Hampshire.  The pilot was John A. Cooke, and the passenger was Mr. E. R. Booth of New York, who owned a vacation home in Bradford.  

     While over Washington, Connecticut, for reasons not explained, the plane caught fire, and Cooke attempted an emergency landing in an open field, but wound up crashing in a tree.   Cooke pulled Booth from the flaming wreckage, but Booth later succumbed to his injuries and died at New Milford Hospital.  Cooke too was admitted, but was expected to recover.   

Source: New York Times, “Dies Of Burns From Crash”, September 8, 1930


Woodstock, CT – July 6, 1967

Woodstock, Connecticut – July 6, 1967

     On July 6, 1967, a small plane carrying four people crashed on takeoff killing two and seriously injuring two. 

     The dead were identified as Antone Costa, 44, of Brooklyn, Connecticut, and Clifford L. Zajac, 24, of Canterbury, Conn.

     Injured were Diane Zajac, 19, and Joseph Costa, 67.  Both were taken to Day-Kimball Hospital.   

Source: New York Times, “2 Die And 2 Hurt As Plane crashes In Connecticut”, July 6, 1967


Candlewood Lake, CT – September 15, 1956

Candlewood Lake, CT – September 15, 1956

     On the afternoon of September 15, 1956, a four-seat seaplane was attempting to land on Candlewood Lake near Danbury, when unbeknownst to the pilot one of the wheels had not retracted properly upon takeoff when they left New York.  The protruding wheel caused the plane to flip over when it landed on the water.  Fortunately the pilot, John W. Lake of Long Island, N. Y., and his wife Dolly, were able to extricate themselves as the cabin filled with water, and were then rescued by several motorboats in the area.    

     Candlewood Lake is just over eight square miles in size, and borders the Connecticut towns of Danbury, Brookfield, New Fairfield, Sherman, and New Milford.  

Source: New York Times, “L.I. Pair In Plane Crash”, September 15, 1956. 

Groton, CT – September 18, 1948

Groton, CT – September 18, 1948 

Updated January 21, 2016

     On September 18, 1948, two men, Edward S. Brown, 29, of Dansville, N.Y., and Stephen E. Hyde, 40, of Wayland, N.Y., took off from Hornell, New York, in a trainer airplane on what was to be a navigational flight from Hornell, to Providence, Rhode Island, and back.   After arriving at Providence, they were heading back to New York when they encountered heavy thunderstorms over the Groton, Connecticut, area. 

     Witnesses reported that the aircraft circled the area at an altitude of about 500 feet before suddenly loosing power and crashing into the front yard of 37 Grand Street in the city’s Groton (Navy) Heights section.   Brown and Hyde were killed instantly when the plane exploded on impact. 

     Playing in the yard at the time were 4-year-old Gerald D’Aquilla, and 13-year-old Valerie Maltby.  Just before the crash, Gerald’s mother Emily D’Aquilla, 27, hearing the plane circling overhead, came outside the house fearing for the children.  Just as she did so the plane exploded, dousing her with flaming gasoline.  The force of the explosion blew Gerald into the next yard, but fortunately he only suffered minor injuries.  Valerie Maltby was relatively unhurt, but Mrs. D’Aquilla suffered severe burns and was rushed to a nearby hospital.  Her husband, Nicholas, D’Aquilla, a navy serviceman assigned to the submarine base in Groton, was also burned when he came to the aid of his wife and put out the flames.      

     The aircraft involved was reported to be a BT-13, a former U.S. Army trainer plane.   

     The accident was investigated by the Connecticut State Police.


     New York Times, “Two Fliers Die In Crash” , September 19, 1948 

     (New London, CT.) The Day, “Two Die In Groton Plane Crash; Navy Wife Is Critically Burned.” September 20, 1948 



Willington, CT – March 22, 1947

Willington, CT – March 23, 1947

     On March 22, 1947, a small rented aircraft bound for Worcester, Massachusetts, crashed in the woods near Tolland Road in Willington, Connecticut.  Both persons aboard, Leslie J. Halen Jr. 21, and Beverly Holmes, 18, were killed in the accident.  Area residents reported seeing the plane circle a large clearing in the woods before the engine stopped.     

Source: New York Times,”2 Die In Plane Crash”, March 23, 1947

Sharon, CT – December 6, 1970

   Sharon, Connecticut- December 6, 1970

     On December 6, 1970, a Piper Cherokee left Poughkeepsie, New York, bound for Westfield, Massachusetts.  When the plane didn’t arrive it was reported overdue to authorities.  The following day the wrecked aircraft was found in Sharon, Connecticut, with the bodies of two men inside.  State Police identified the victims as Carl Turner, 56, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.,  and Norbert A. Tessier, 37, of Wappinger Falls, N.Y.   The plane belonged to the Lazy 8 Flying Club of Poughkeepsie. 

Source: New York Times, “2 Men Are Killed In Crash Of A Plane In Connecticut”, Dec. 8, 1970.  

Airship Into Sound, CT – 1908


June 13, 1908

     On Saturday, June 13, 1908, aeronaut Charles Hamilton of New York took off in his airship from Savin Rock Amusement Park in West Haven, Connecticut, bound for New Haven.   Upon his arrival at New Haven, he passed over Yale University where a baseball game was in progress between Princeton and Yale.  From there he circled the dome of City Hall before moving on towards Union Station where he suddenly began loosing altitude.  As the airship was coming down, Hamilton was carried over Union station barely missing the roof, and came down hard in the switch yard.  Neither he nor his ship suffered any real injury, and within an hour he was ready to take off again.  Once aloft, he encountered heavy winds and his ships helm wasn’t responding like it should.  Before long he found himself being blown out into Long Island Sound where he would be at the mercy of the winds and the elements.   Acting quickly, Hamilton put the ship down in relatively shallow water just off New Haven, where he was rescued by a passing boat. 

Source: New York Times, “Airship Falls Into Sound”, June 14, 1908

Niantic, Ct., – July 16, 1921

Niantic, Connecticut – July 16, 1921

Updated June 5, 2017


     On July 16, 1921, pilot Wesley L. Keough of Springfield, Massachusetts, and George Phillips of Providence, Rhode Island, left Westerly, Rhode Island, in a two passenger Curtis aircraft bound for Niantic, Connecticut.  Keough had been at Pleasant View Beach in Westerly for the previous few weeks giving rides in his airplane.  On this particular flight, Keough and Phillips were flying to Niantic where the “Governor’s Foot Guard” were encamped. 

     As the plane neared Niantic at an altitude of 2,500 feet, a connecting rod in the engine suddenly broke and the engine came to a stop.  Keough was an experienced flyer and calmly put the aircraft into a glide hoping to land in an open area on the campground, but as it neared the ground it struck an air pocket and began to fall.  Keough shouted to Phillips to jump, and both did so as the plane was reportedly barely twenty feet from the ground.  Both men hit the ground and began tumbling and rolling, but when they came to a stop they discovered they were relatively unhurt.  The plane continued on and slammed into a trolley pole at Station #8 and came to rest on the tracks, with its wings crumpled and its landing gear wrecked.          



     Hartford Courant, “Keough Leaps For Life From Disabled Plane”, July 17, 1921

     New York Times, “Fall 2,500 Feet In Plane”, July 17, 1921   

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