Glastonbury, CT. – May 28, 1944

Glastonbury, Connecticut – May 28, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter Aircraft
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of May 28, 1944, a flight of four U.S. Army P-47s were flying in formation over Glastonbury when two of the aircraft collided with each other.  One aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-8285). was piloted by 2nd Lt. Richard H. Ullman, Age 19, of Atlanta, Georgia; the other, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-22269), by another 2nd lieutenant.  The flight had originated at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Ct.

     Lt. Ullman was killed when his aircraft crashed and exploded in a wooded area.  The other pilot managed to successfully bail out of his stricken airplane and landed safely.  Meanwhile his airplane crashed and burned in a neighborhood known as Welles Village near the Glastonbury-East Hartford town line.  A wing of the aircraft struck the roof of one home, but there were no reported injuries. 

     Lt. Ullman is buried in Crest Lawn Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.  To see a photograph of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #126643026.     

     Source:

     The Hartford Courant, “Crashes Kill Two Airmen, Third Hurt”, May 29, 1944.  (The article also refers to two other army plane crashes.)         

Greenwich, CT. – July 2, 1945

Greenwich, Connecticut – July 2, 1945

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of July 2, 1945, 1st. Lt. George S. Fitch was piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-8296), on a ferry mission from Michigan to Bradley Air Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  At about 4:20 p.m.  he encountered severe weather over the area of Greenwich, Connecticut, and crashed.  According to a statement released by Greenwich police, the right wing was found about a mile from the crash site.  The plane came down on the farm of  R. Lawrence Oakley, off Dingletown Road, and narrowly missed the house.  The debris field reportedly stretched for hundreds of feet.  Lieutenant Fitch was killed instantly. 

     Lieutenant Fitch had recently returned from overseas duty where he had served as a B-25 bomber pilot with the 489th Bombardment Squadron.  He’s buried in Rushville Cemetery in Gorham, New York.

     To see photographs of Lt. Fitch, visit www.findagrave.com, Memorial ID 78306938.   

     Sources:

      The Greenwich Press, (Greenwich, CT.), “Army Flyer Killed When Plane Crashes Here” – “P-47 Forced Down In Storm, Misses R. L. Oakley House”, July 3, 1945, page 1.   

     www.findagrave.com

     The Hartford Courant, “Storm Sends Plane Pilot To His death”, July 3, 1945

     The Hartford Courant, “Pilot Killed In Crash At Greenwich Identified”, July 4, 1945 

Coventry, CT. – May 30, 1943

Coventry, Connecticut – May 30, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     Shortly after 10:00 a.m. on the morning of May 30, 1943, an army pilot from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, was on a training flight over central Connecticut in a P-47B aircraft when a fire developed in the engine.  The pilot, who was not identified in the newspaper, managed to bail out of the burning aircraft, but when he did so was struck by the rear stabilizer, and suffered a severe injury to his thigh.  The aircraft crashed on the eastern side of Grant Hill Road in the northern portion of the town of Coventry, Connecticut.  The pilot landed safely in the area of Coventry’s Creaser Park, near Case and South River Roads.  He was attended to by a passing motorist before being transported to Manchester Memorial Hospital.   

     Source:

     The Hartford Courant, “Two Army Planes Crash, One Killed, Another Hurt,”  May 31, 1943, page 1.   (The article refers to two separate plane crashes.)

Stratford, CT. – September 15, 1974

Stratford, Connecticut – September 15, 1974

Sikorsky Airport

     On the evening of September 15, 1974, an experimental helicopter containing four men and one woman was taxing onto the airfield at Sikorsky Airport when it suddenly exploded.  The helicopter, a YCH-53E (Sea Stallion) prototype, was about to begin a demonstration test flight in the hopes of gaining a contract with the U.S. Navy or Marines.

     All five persons aboard suffered severe injuries and burns.

     By the time the fire was extinguished only the nose and tail section remained.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Copter Blast”, September 16, 1974, page A-6   

     Providence Journal, “4 In Copter Blast Reported Fair”, September 17, 1974, page B-2 

 

Long Island Sound – June 29, 1945

Long Island Sound – June 29, 1945

 

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

     In the early morning hours of June 29, 1945, Lt. (Jg.) George H. MacBride was piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78176), on a radar mapping flight over Long Island Sound off the coast of Connecticut.  He was part of a three aircraft flight that had left Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Charlestown, Rhode Island. 

     At 1:40 a.m., while flying over the area of Fisher’s Island, south of New London, the pilots of the other two aircraft observed an explosion on the water followed by a fire.  (The location was about two miles southwest of Fisher’s Island.)  A rescue PBY aircraft was sent from Charlestown NAS and arrived on scene within twenty minutes, and rescue boats arrived at about 3:00 a.m., but neither Lt. (Jg.) MacBride or his aircraft were recovered.  The cause of the accident could not be determined.

     Source: National Archives, 54-45, TD 450629CT, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I. 

East Haven, CT. – May 23, 1945

East Haven, Connecticut – May 23, 1945

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

      On the morning of May 23, 1945, a civilian test pilot took off from Bridgeport Airport in Bridgeport, Ct., in a U. S. Navy F4U-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 81778), for a production test flight.  At an altitude of 12,000 feet the engine began to misfire, and the pilot radioed that he would be making an emergency landing at New Haven Airport.  At approximately 3,000 feet, and while making a turn to begin his final approach, the aircraft caught fire and smoke and flames began to fill the cockpit.  While attempting to turn off the fuel selector valve the pilot received minor burns on his left wrist and both ankles.  At 2,000 feet the pilot bailed out and parachuted safely, coming down in the middle of  a creek.  He was assisted from the water by some local residents who took him to New Haven Airport where he was treated for shock and minor burns.

     Meanwhile, the unmanned aircraft crashed 75 feet from a home in the area of 263 Short Beach Road in East Haven.  There were no injuries to those on the ground, but the plane was completely destroyed.    

     Source: National Archives, ATR-1 (revised), TD450525CT, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I. 

Ledyard, CT. – May 6, 1945

Ledyard, Connecticut – May 6, 1945

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of May 6, 1945, a flight of seven navy Corsair fighter airplanes took off from Groton Naval Air Station in Groton, Connecticut, for a training flight.  About eight miles north of the air base the pilots began practicing a series of various maneuvers and formation flying.  At one point the flight leader initiated a “follow the leader” exercise.  One of the pilots, Lt. (jg.) David Lee Johnson, 23, of Jamaica, Long Island, N.Y., was the last man in the first flight division.  As the line of planes were going through a series of rolls at 3,000 feet, Johnson’s aircraft, an F4U-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 81395), suddenly nosed over and crashed.  The aircraft exploded on impact and Johnson was killed. The aircraft came down on a farm in Ledyard, impacting just fifty feet in from the roadway.      

     Lt. (jg.) Johnson was assigned to VBF-152.

     Source: National Archives, TD450506CT, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.    

Preston, CT. – February 2, 1945

Preston, Connecticut – February 2, 1945

 

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

     On February 2, 1945, Ensign Nelson L. Hazard was piloting an F6F-3N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70211), over Connecticut on a routine training flight.  After using up the fuel from the right main tank, he turned on the emergency fuel pump and switched to using the fuel in his droppable fuel tank suspended beneath the aircraft.  The engine ran normally for about five minutes before it abruptly stopped.  Ensign Hazard then switched to his reserve fuel tank but the engine wouldn’t start.  He then tried switching to the left main tank but with no results.  The aircraft was at 6,000 feet at this time, and Hazard decided to remain with the aircraft and attempt an emergency landing. 

     After seeing an open field below, Hazard aimed for it, and came in with the wheels up.  At the edge of the field the plane scraped over the top of a tree which ripped away the droppable fuel tank.  The tank fell against a boulder and exploded.  Meanwhile, the aircraft hit the ground and skidded for 100 yards before coming to rest.  A small fire erupted on one wing, but burned itself out.  The pilot was not injured.

     The location of the crash was in a field off Brickyard Road in the town of Preston.     

     Source: National Archives TD 450202CT, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Bradley Field, CT. – April 19, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – April 19, 1944 

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the evening of April 19, 1944, 2nd Lieutenant Horace W. Cotton was piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-8021), from Bradly Army Air Field when he developed engine trouble and requested clearance for an emergency landing.  Clearance was granted, and as Lieutenant Cotton was attempting to make it to runway 33,  his aircraft crashed about 100 yards short of the tarmac, and he was killed.   

     Lieutenant Cotton is buried in Fairmont Cemetery, in Denver, Colorado.  

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-4-19-30

     www.findagrave.com

Bradley Field, CT. – May 28, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – May 28, 1944 

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of May 28, 1944, 2nd Lieutenant William A. Benson, was piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-74853), as part of a four aircraft, high altitude, training flight.   Soon after take off from Bradly Field, Lieutenant Benson radioed the flight leader that he had gasoline coming into his cockpit, and he was cleared to return to base.  At this point the flight was about ten miles distant from Bradley Field.

     Lieutenant Benson called for an emergency landing and was given clearance by control tower personnel.  It appeared to those in the tower that Benson’s aircraft was making a normal approach to the runway, when flames suddenly erupted from the right side of the engine and then engulfed the cockpit.  The aircraft then nosed over and crashed and exploded 200 yards short of the end of the runway.  

     Lieutenant Benson had received his pilot rating on March 12, 1944.

     Lieutenant Benson is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Saginaw, Michigan.  To see a photo of Lieutenant Benson, go to www.findagrave.com,  Memorial #99788097. 

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-5-28-15

     www.findagrave.com

 

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲