Stafford Springs, CT. – October, 1888

Stafford Springs, Connecticut – October, 1888

     An advertisement in the Morning Journal and Courier of New Haven, Connecticut, stated a fair would be held in Stafford Springs on October 16 and 17.  The following article appeared different newspapers around the country.

Straight Down For 2,000 Feet Before His Parachute Opened

     A exciting incident took place in connection with the balloon ascension at Stafford Springs, Conn., last week.  “Professor Hogan, the parachute “artist” who had been engaged to make a balloon ascension, had waited all day for the wind to die down.  About 5:30 o’clock, before 3,000 spectators, he inflated his monster machine and ascended gradually to a height of 4,000 feet, or nearly a mile.  At that enormous height the balloon with its occupant appeared to be about the size of a frog.      

Balloon ascending with parachute attached to the side.

     According to his programme, the aeronaut at this point fixed his balloon so that it would fall to earth alone, and prepared to make his daring descent by means of the parachute which was attached to the side of the balloon by a small cord.  The parachute, when inflated, is a sort of cone shape, the base of which looks like an umbrella, the sides being numerous cords and the apex being a small iron ring, to which the Professor hangs by the hand.

    Mr. Hogan jumped from the basket at that terrible altitude with the iron ring in his hand.  The cord attaching the chute to the balloon at once broke, leaving the dare-devil with his flimsy apparatus nearly a mile from earth.

     A terrible thing now happened.  The cords had become entangled and stiffened by the rain, and prevented the great chute from expanding it broad surface in the air, through which the aeronaut was now falling with frightful speed.  The people below, looking up with wide-open mouths, could see nothing but a dark line becoming longer at each instant, and coming toward the earth with the speed of lightning.  “My God,” cried a looker-on, “Hogan’s gone.”  A woman clutched frantically a strange man at her side as the body in the air was seen to careen to one side as if unstable.  At this point, when fully one-half of the descent had been made in but a few seconds, and when not one of the 3,000 spectators expected aught else but a catastrophe, the great surface of the chute was seen to expand and thence there was only a graceful, easy fall that turned every groan into a smile.

     When the performer reached the ground he said that at the beginning of the descent he realized his danger, but could do absolutely nothing but clutch the ring.  He was unable to breathe, his head began to swim, faintness overtook him, and his sensation was that his fingers were relaxing their hold.  At this point, however, the entangled cords that held in-closed the folds of the chute were snapped by the enormous pressure of the air, and he was saved from certain death.

Source: The Sun, (N.Y.), “Straight Down For 2,000 Feet Before His Parachute Opened”, October 28, 1888, page 5,   (From the Springfield Republican)           

 

West Haven, CT. – July 25, 1894

West Haven, Connecticut – July 25, 1894

 

     On the afternoon of July 25, 1894, a balloon ascension – parachute drop was scheduled to take place at Railroad Grove near Savin Rock, in West haven, Connecticut.  Miss Louise Bates, it was advertised, would drop from a balloon using a parachute.  2,000 spectators reportedly arrived to watch the event. 

     The ascension was scheduled for 4 p.m., but for unspecified reasons was delayed until after 5 p.m.  When the balloon was finally released, it floated very slowly upwards.  When it reached an altitude of about 150 feet, it was caught by a slight breeze and began to sail off in an easterly direction over some trees and towards the Ocean Inn.  At that time Miss Bates made her drop, but due to the low altitude of the balloon, the parachute didn’t have time to open properly.  She fell rapidly and landed in the upper branches of a tree which broke her fall.  Fortunately she was not seriously injured, and was rescued a short time later.  Meanwhile, the balloon sailed off on its own without a pilot, and was recovered later in the evening near City Point in the neighboring town of New Haven.

     After her ordeal in the tree, Miss Bates stood with her manager, Mort McKim, before some of the spectators.  Mr. McKim explained that the reason the balloon had failed to rise was due to a pole which had fallen against it when it was released.  The pole had created a tear in the balloon which had allowed gas to escape.  Miss Bates had decided to make her drop anyway so as not to disappoint the crowd.  

     Despite the explanation, comments were made about the disappointing quality of recent balloon ascension given in the Savin Rock area.  Such ascensions, it was hoped, would draw crowds and boost local economic ventures.

      One businessman was quoted as saying, “Well we don’t want any more so-called balloon ascensions.  None of them have been successful and we don’t think such fizzles help the shore any.  Again we cannot understand why the ascension is made in such an out of the way place.  Here we have a large base ball grounds with accommodations and seats for several thousand people and yet the management  sees fit to have the balloon inflated and the ascensions made from a spot way off in the woods.  In this way the crowd is taken away from the grove and no benefit is derived by anyone.”

     This accident wasn’t the only close call Miss Bates experienced during her parachuting career.  About five years earlier, on July 6, 1889, Miss Bates was scheduled to make a parachute drop at Deal Lake in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  The balloon had drifted over the water, and was at a height of 1,500 feet when it suddenly began to loose altitude.   Miss Bates dropped with her chute, but it failed to open properly, and she splashed down into the lake narrowly missing a rowboat.  She then became entangled in the parachute lines and almost drowned before being rescued.  

     Sources:

     The Daily Morning Journal And Courier, (New Haven, CT.), “Parachute Did Not Work”, July 26, 1894     

     The Sun, (N.Y.), “An Aeronaut Falls Into A Lake.”, July 7, 1889

Danielson, CT. – November 9, 1974

Danielson, Connecticut – November 9, 1974

Danielson Airport

     On the morning of November 9, 1974, a lone pilot from Massachusetts was attempting to take off from Danielson Airport in a Cessna 172, (N46656).  Strong gusty winds were blowing at the time, and as the aircraft was becoming airborne it veered off the runway area, went over an embankment, and slammed into a tree.  The plane was wrecked, and the pilot was transported to Day Kimball Hospital with serious injuries.    

     Sources:

     Providence Sunday Journal, “Student Pilot Hurt In Connecticut Crash”, November 10, 1974, page 3.

     Hartford Courant, “Injured Pilot Still Listed As critical”, November 12, 1974, page 6.

     Hartford Courant, “Crash Victim Off Critical List”, November 14, 1974, page 10.

     Aviation Safety Network

Roxbury, CT. – September 1, 1974

Roxbury, Connecticut – September 1, 1974

     At 1:30 a.m., three young men left Block Island Airport, (Rhode Island), in a four-seat, single-engine, Grumman Air Traveler A-5, (#N7114L), bound for Danbury, Connecticut.  All three men were from Ridgefield, Connecticut, and all were 21-years-old.  When they failed to arrive at Danbury the aircraft was declared missing and a search begun.

     A man in Roxbury, Connecticut, a town located about fifteen miles northeast of Danbury, reported hearing an explosion around 2:30 a.m. The following day searchers found the wreckage of the plane on a wooded ridge.  There were no survivors.  Despite reports of an explosion, investigators found no indication the plane had exploded before hitting the ground.  One investigator was quoted as saying, “Indications are that it flew right into the side of the ridge”. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Plane With 3 Aboard Missing”, September 2, 1974, page C-1 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Air Crash Site Found; Three Dead.”, September 3, 1974, page B-4 

 

 

Ashford, CT. – April 26, 1974

Ashford, Connecticut – April 26, 1974

     On the morning of April 26, 1974, a 27-year-old male pilot took off from Ellington, Connecticut, in a rented two-seat airplane.  At 8:44 a.m. the aircraft crashed into a small home in the town of Ashford.  The plane nosed almost straight down as it came crashing through the center of the roof and destroying the living room area, and then plowing  through to the basement where the nose struck the cement floor.  There was no fire or explosion. 

     Inside the house was a lone 57-year-old woman who was just coming out of her bedroom when the accident occurred.  The aircraft reportedly missed hitting her by about 12 inches.  Remarkably, the pilot was not seriously injured, and managed to free himself from the cockpit. 

     The cause of the crash was not stated.

     The house was later torn down.

     Source:

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Plane Rips Conn. Home; Pilot, Woman Live”, April 27, 1974, page 2 

 

 

New Milford, CT. – September 8, 1973

New Milford, Connecticut – September 8, 1973

     On September 8, 1973, an Aeronca amphibious type aircraft, (N3901E), with a man and woman from Washington, Connecticut, aboard, crashed and burned in a wooded area roughly 200 feet from the shore of the Housatonic River in New Milford.  The couple did not survive. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Couple Killed In West Conn. Plane Crash”, September 9, 1973, page A-20

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Victims of Plane Crash Identified”, September 11, 1973, page 12

     Aviation Safety Network, https://aviation-safety.net,  ASN Wikibase Occurrence 3134

Killingworth, CT – June 25, 1973

Killingworth, Connecticut – June 25, 1973 

 

     On At 6;20 p.m., on June 25, 1973, three men left East Haddam, Connecticut, in a Piper Cherokee, (N6427), bound for East Windsor, Connecticut.  One man was left at East Windsor, while the other two left to return to East Haddam.  It was now night time and weather conditions had deteriorated with low visibility.   

     Around 10:25 p.m. people living in the area of Hemlock Drive in the town of Killingworth reported hearing a plane in distress, and one man thought he heard a crash.  (Killingworth is southwest of East Haddam) 

     A search was instituted, and the plane was found the following morning in a thickly wooded area off Route 81.  The aircraft had suffered severe damage, and it’s two occupants were found deceased inside.     

     Source:

     The Middletown Press, (CT), “Two Men Die In Air Crash”, June 26, 1973, page 1.  (Photo of Airplane)

 

Ridgefield, CT – June 10, 1973

Ridgefield, Connecticut – June 10, 1973

     At approximately 1:30 a.m. on June 10, 1973, a Piper Cherokee 140 aircraft with four people aboard left Danbury Airport bound for MacArthur Field in Islip, New York.  Shortly after takeoff the plane crashed in a thickly wooded area of the Pine Mountain section of Ridgefield.  The plane was heavily damaged, but there was no fire.  (Ridgefield is a town that borders Danbury to the south.) 

     The four occupants of the plane, all from Long Island, New York, survived the crash and spent the night with the aircraft, and at first light began hiking back to the airport. 

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “Plane Crashes In Connecticut After Takeoff”, June 11, 1973, page 21.

Haddam, CT – June 9, 1973

Haddam, Connecticut – June 9, 1973

 

     In the early afternoon of June 9, 1973, a Piper Cherokee 150  carrying four people took off from East Haddam Airport. (Also reported in one newspaper to be the Bradway Airport, which had been operating since 1963.)  The weather that day was reportedly hot and humid.   Just after takeoff, the aircraft began crossing the Connecticut River, and after passing over the East Haddam Bridge it began loosing altitude.  The plane made it across the river and to the shoreline of the neighboring town of Haddam where it came down between two trees and its wings were torn off.  The fuselage then struck two cottages and burst into flame. 

     One man began spraying the wreckage with a garden hose while two others rescued occupants of the plane.  One passenger was able to free himself.

     One of the cottages was unoccupied at the time of the crash.  In the other, a birthday celebration was in progress.  One partygoer reportedly suffered leg burns, but everyone else was unharmed. 

     One cottage was reportedly destroyed, the other suffered significant damage. 

     Of the plane’s occupants, the 60-year-old pilot was killed.  Of the three passengers, one was admitted to the hospital with a broken arm, the other two were treated and released.   

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Passenger Dies As Plane Hits Cottage Porch”, June 10, 1973

     The Middletown Press, “Probe Pushed In crash Of Airplane In Haddam”, June 11, 1973,  (Two photos)

 

 

Ledyard, CT. – April 27, 1973

Ledyard, Connecticut – April 27, 1973

 

     On April 27, 1972, a New York doctor left Tweed-New Haven Airport in a single-engine Mooney MU-2 airplane bound for Fishers Island, New York.  He was alone at the time. Fishers Island is located in Long Island Sound, off the northern fork of Long Island, N.Y., not far from the Connecticut shore.   

     When the plane reached Fishers Island it was unable to land due to poor weather conditions, and was re-directed to Trumbull Airport in Groton, Connecticut.  The cloud ceiling was at 400 feet, and it was raining as the doctor made his way towards Groton.  Sometime around 7:00 p.m. radio contact with the plane was lost and it disappeared from radar screens.      

     A woman reportedly witnessed the plane crash and explode near her home in Ledyard around 7:00 p.m., but didn’t report it.  The following day she told her son about it and he notified police.  Troopers found the wreckage of the plane about 2:30 p.m. on April 28th, in a wooded area off Gallup Hill Road. 

     The Providence Journal, “Doctor Is Killed In Conn. Crash Of Light Plane”, April 29, 1973, page A-8 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Doctor Killed In Ledyard Plane Crash”, April 29, 1973, page 17.

 

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