Off Provincetown, MA. – August 8, 1975

Off Provincetown, Massachusetts – August 8, 1975

    On the evening of August 8, 1975, a Cessna 182, with a pilot and one passenger aboard, left Ellington, Connecticut, bound for Provincetown.  While on approach to Provincetown the aircraft crashed into the water about a mile off Race Point and sank.  The pilot was able to escape, but the passenger went down with the plane.  The pilot was rescued by the Coast Guard and transported to Cape Cod Hospital.   

     The aircraft and the body of the missing passenger were recovered the following day.

     Sources:

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “One Is Missing In Air Mishap”, August 10, 1975

     Providence Sunday Journal, (R.I.), “Divers Find Body Of Conn. Man In Plane Wreckage Off Cape”, August 10, 1975

 

Off Yarmouth, MA. – March 24, 1975

Off Yarmouth, Massachusetts – March 24, 1975

     On March 24, 1975, a Cessna 195 with three persons aboard left Nantucket Island and headed towards the Massachusetts mainland when while over the water the airplane developed engine trouble.  The pilot hoped to make it to Hyannis Airport but was unable to do so, and the aircraft went down in the water about a mile off the coast of the town of Yarmouth.  All three occupants escaped before the plane sank, and were rescued a short time later by a Coast Guard helicopter.  All were transported to a hospital for medical treatment.

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, “Copter Saves Three Victims Of Air Crash”, March 26, 1975.   

Fitchburg, MA. – August 29, 1975

Fitchburg, Massachusetts – August 29, 1975

     On August 29, 1975, a student pilot completing a solo flight was approaching to land at Fitchburg Airport in a Cessna 150.  Meanwhile, another student pilot and instructor were also approaching the same runway in another Cessna 150 from the same direction, and neither pilot was aware of the others presence.  As the two planes were about to land, the aircraft with the student and instructor aboard came down on top of the other aircraft, slicing into its fuel tank and becoming “locked” to the other plane.  Fortunately the lone student pilot kept calm, and landed with the other plane on top of his own.  There was no fire, and all three persons involved escaped without injury.    

     Source:

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Piggyback Planes Land With No Injuries”, August 30, 1975

Hinsdale, MA. – November 30, 1975

Hinsdale, Massachusetts – November 30, 1975

     At 3:30 p.m., on November 30, 1975, a Piper Comanche with a four people aboard left Marshfield Airport in Massachusetts bound for Ithaca, New York.  About 30 minutes later the aircraft began to experience engine trouble, and the pilot began looking for a place to make an emergency landing.   He sighted the open shoreline of Lake Ashmere, which lies on the border of Peru, Massachusetts, and Hinsdale, and attempted to set the plane down there, but the aircraft lost power and he was forced to set down in the icy water not far from shore. 

     Besides the 26-year-olf pilot, there was the pilot’s 25-year-old wife and infant son aboard, as well as a 23-year-old family friend.  The three adults escaped from the sinking plane and swam towards shore, with the pilot supporting his son above the water.   Some people on shore set out to assist them with small boats.   

     There were no serious injuries.    

     Source:

     Boston Herald – American, “Four Persons Escape Lake Plane Crash”, December 1, 1975

Barnstable, MA. – May 22, 1975

Barnstable, Massachusetts – May 22, 1975

     At 5:30 a.m., a red biplane took off from Branstable Airport and was seen to circle the area for about 40 minutes.  Apparently, during that time, the right landing gear struck the top of a utility pole in the nearby town of Dennis, leaving the wheel dangling from the wires.  At about 7:20 a.m., as ground fog began to clear away, the aircraft was found to have crashed in a wooded area adjacent to the airport. 

     The aircraft had suffered minor damage, and had not burned as a result of the accident.  The pilot, however, could not be found, and a search was instituted.  The search was called off two hours later when the owner of the aircraft appeared at the airport to report to police that his airplane had been stolen after he’d inadvertently left the keys in the ignition the night before.

     Source:

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Plane Is Found, Pilot Missing”, May 22, 1975

 

Westborough, MA. – September 4, 1975

Westborough, Massachusetts – September 4, 1975

     Aka Westboro, Mass.

     On the evening of September 4, 1975, a seaplane with two men aboard took off from Marlborough Airport in Marlborough, Massachusetts, bound for Lake Chauncy in Westborough.  The plane arrived over the lake at about 5:30 p.m. and the pilot came in to land on the water.  As the aircraft touched down it suddenly flipped over and began to sink.  The accident occurred about 300 yards off Old Lyman School Beach.  Fortunately the pilot and his passenger escaped without injury.  The aircraft was brought to shore a few hours later.

     Source:

     South Middlesex News, “Sea Plane Sinks In Westboro”, September 5, 1975

Wilmington, MA. – August 3, 1975

Wilmington, Massachusetts – August 3, 1975

     On the afternoon of August 3, 1975, a former U.S. Military AT-6 Texan trainer aircraft with the civilian registration of N66233, took off from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, with only a 45-year-old pilot from Belmont, Massachusetts, aboard.  The aircraft had been used by the Army Air Corps during WWII. 

     After flying several miles the pilot began to circle a residential area over the town of Wilmington before the aircraft was seen to crash. The plane came down in the back yard of a private home on Lawrence Street, crashing through a fence, and continuing on into the next yard where it slammed into two parked cars and burst into flames.   The pilot did not survive.

     One man told reporters he’d been sitting in his yard when the plane came though, and was thrown from his seat and briefly knocked unconscious.   The area where the plane exploded had been occupied by two children only moments before the crash. 

     Sources:

     Lowell Sun, “Belmont Pilot Dies As Plane Crashes Narrowly Missing Wilmington Homes”, August 4, 1975

     Boston Globe, “Pilot Dies As Plane Crashes In Wilmington Residential Area”, August 4, 1975 

     Boston Herald American, “Crash Kills Pilot” with photo of wreck aircraft. August 4, 1975.

     Lawrence Eagle Tribune, “Wilmington Plane Crash Kills One”, August 4, 1975.

 

 

 

Seekonk, MA. – July 26, 1975

Seekonk, Massachusetts – July 26, 1975

     Shortly before noon on the morning of July 26, 1975, a 52-year-old man from Cranston, R.I., was piloting his home-built BD-4 single-engine experimental aircraft over Seekonk when the engine began to run erratically.  According to one witnesses, it appeared that he was attempting to make an emergency landing on the first fairway at the Ledgemont Country Club, but after seeing that golfers were on the fairway, steered the craft towards the tenth fairway.  There the nose and one wing struck the turf and the plane flipped over and burst into flames.  Several caddies ran to assist, and dragged the mortally injured pilot out of the wreckage.   

     The pilot had taken off from North Central Airport in Smithfield, R.I., and was on his way to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, when the accident occurred.  He’d built the airplane at his home in Cranston in 1970. 

     Source:

     Providence Sunday Journal, Plane Crash In Seekonk Kills Pilot”, July 27, 1975.  (With photo of crash site.) 

Haverhill, MA. – November 9, 1975

Haverhill, Massachusetts – November 9, 1975

     On November 9, 1975, a twin-engine Grumman Widgeon amphibious aircraft was attempting to make an emergency landing on the Merrimack River in Haverhill, when, as one witness later told reporters, it “hit the water like a ton of bricks.”  The force of the impact tore the nose off the plane, and then the aircraft flipped over onto its back and began to sink. 

     The crash occurred less than a mile from the Groveland-Haverhill Bridge.

     John Walsh, 40, and Robert Eskel, 27, witnessed the crash from the boat yard of Abbott’s Marine Services less than one-hundred yards away.  The two of them ran to the riverbank and set out in a small rowboat towards the overturned airplane which was now starting to drift downriver in the current.

     The only persons aboard the aircraft were a 33-year-old father and his 4-year-old son.  Both had suffered broken legs and facial injuries. 

     When Walsh and Eskel reached the plane they pulled the boy aboard as the father clung to its side.  The added weight brought the boat lower in the water.  The airplane sank moments later.     

     Just after Walsh and Eskel had reached the victims, another amphibious aircraft came down and landed in the river and motored over to the boat, and the father was taken aboard the aircraft.

     Meanwhile, Ray Abbott, the owner of the boatyard, arrived on the scene with a motorboat and took the rowboat in tow to shore.  

     The man and his son were transported to a medical facility for treatment.

     It was reported that the Widgeon aircraft was one of 250 built  by Grumman Aircraft for the U.S. navy during WWII, and was worth about $65,000.  

     Sources:

     Boston Globe, “Pilot, Young Son Pulled From Merrimack After Crash”, November 11, 1975

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Father, Son, 4, Rescued After Plane Sinks”, November 10, 1975

     Boston Herald American, “Father, Boy Saved As Plane Crashes”, November 10, 1975

Hyannis, MA. – September 6, 1975

Hyannis, Massachusetts – September 6, 1975

     On the evening of  September 6, 1975, a civilian twin-engine Beechcraft was making its landing approach to Barnstable Municipal Airport when the aircraft struck a lighted instrument tower near the end of a runway and crashed in a parking lot several hundred yards away on Willow Street.  The plane exploded on impact and all three persons aboard were killed.  At the time of the accident, weather conditions were poor, and the pilot was attempting an instrument lending.   

     Sources:

     Boston Sunday Herald Advertiser,”3 Die In cape Plane Crash”, September 7, 1975, Section 2, page 25

     Boston Globe, “New England News In Brief-Cape Crash”, September 8, 1975, page 4

     Westerly Sun, (RI), Three Are Killed In Plane Crash”, September 8, 1975, page 3

     The South Middlesex News, photo and caption, September 7, 1975, page 14A

Edgartown, MA. – June 8, 1975

Edgartown, Massachusetts – June 8, 1975

 

P-51 Mustang – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 8, 1975, ten members of the North American Flyers club arrived at Katama Airport in Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard, to practice stunt flying.  There were five aircraft among the group, all former military fighter planes converted for civilian use. 

     Shortly before 1:00 p.m., a 43-year-old pilot from Southbury, Connecticut, was making some low altitude aerobatic maneuvers over the airfield in a P-51D Mustang, (Military Serial #44-74008), (Civilian registration #N76AF).   While the plane was at an altitude of about 1,000 feet it suddenly went into a spin and dove into the ground about twenty feet from the airport’s main administration building.  There was no fire or explosion, but the pilot was killed instantly.

     One witness to the accident was Edgartown’s chief of police who was standing near the adminsitration building at the time.  He later told reporters that he began to run when he saw the plane falling, and that the impact occurred about thirty feet away from where he’d been standing.  

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “Two Pilots Killed In Crashes”, June 9, 1975.  (The other accident referred to in the article occurred in Coventry, Rhode Island.)   

     Hartford Courant, “Southbury Pilot Dies IN Aerial Acrobatics Act”, June 9, 1975

     Unknown Newspaper, “Stunt Pilot Killed On Vineyard”, June 9, 1975.

     Evening Bulletin, “Two Pilots Are Killed- One In R.I., 2nd In Mass.”, June 9, 1975

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase #10557

Marlborough, MA. – November 29, 1975

Marlborough, Massachusetts – November 29, 1975 

     On the morning of November 29, 1975, a Piper Cherokee 140 with three men aboard lost power and crashed shortly after takeoff from Marlborough Airport.  The aircraft came down in a marshy area behind a business on Boston Post Road, (A.k.a. Rt. 20), about a quarter of a  mile from the airport, and 200 yards south of the road.    

     The aircraft’s fuel tank ruptured, but there was no fire.  The pilot and his two passengers were treated at Marlborough Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

     Source:

     South Middlesex News, “Marlboro Plane Crash Leaves Pilot Injured”, November 30, 1975, page 16A

Atlantic Ocean – August 30, 1972

Atlantic Ocean – August 30, 1972

 

     On August 30, 1972, a Beechcraft Musketeer took off from Provincetown, Massachusetts, bound for Beverly, Massachusetts, with four men aboard, and crashed into the water enroute.  On man was rescued, but the aircraft and the other three men remained missing.

     Three years later, on June 3, 1975, a fishing boat dragging its nets about ten miles off shore of Cape Cod brought up a portion of the fuselage.    

     Source: Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Fuselage Found 3 Years After Crash”, June 4, 1975.

Williamstown, MA. – October 4, 1975

Williamstown, Massachusetts – October 4, 1975

     On October 4, 1975, a glider took off from Harriman Airport in North Adams, Massachusetts.  A lone 34-year-old pilot from Mechanicsville, New York, was at the controls.  At some point the aircraft crashed into the side of Cobble Mountain in Williamstown, and was found by two hikers who notified authorities.  A helicopter used by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was enlisted to hover over the crash site to guide rescue workers.  The pilot did not survive, and the cause of the crash was unknown.    

     Source: Unknown Newspaper – Associated Press story “N.Y. Pilot Killed In Glider Crash”, October 5, 1975

 

Foxborough, MA. – July 6, 1975

Foxborough, Massachusetts – July 6, 1975

 

     On July 6, 1975, two Rhode Island men took off from the town of North Providence, R.I., in a hot air balloon.  One man was an experienced balloon pilot, and the other was taking his second flight in a balloon.  

     The balloon was carried by shifting winds to the northeast, and eventually the men found themselves approaching the town of Foxborough and running low on propane fuel.  The pilot lowered the balloon over an area of town known as Cocasset River Park, and both men jumped from the gondola and landed in the river.  They swam to shore without injury.

     Meanwhile, the balloon, relieved of their weight, rose again and continued its course, passing over the center of Foxborough before it came down in St. Mary’s Cemetery located at the intersection of Mechanic and Chestnut Streets.  Two concrete crosses were knocked over in the incident, but police described the damage as insignificant.  

     Source:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Two Jump Into River From Runaway Balloon”, July 7, 1975    

Montague, MA. – August 4, 1968

Montague, Massachusetts – August 4, 1968

     On August 4, 1968, a 17-year-old youth from Greenfield, Massachusetts, was at Turner’s Falls Airport to test his gyrocopter which he’d built himself from a manufactured kit.  (Turner’s Falls is an unincorporated village within the town of Montague.)    

     According to witnesses, the gyrocopter rose to a height of 300 feet before it went out of control and crashed.  The youth was transported to Farren Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

     Source:

     Boston Globe, “Turner Falls Man Dies In Own Plane”, August 5, 1968 

Scituate, MA. – August 27, 1967

Scituate, Massachusetts – August 27, 1967 

     On the evening of August 27, 1967, a Provincetown-Boston Airways twin-engine Lockheed Electra took off from Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, bound for Boston – a trip of about forty miles.  There was a pilot and thirteen passengers aboard.  While in-route the right engine began to malfunction, and the aircraft began to lose altitude.  The pilot made repeated attempts to gain altitude, but was unsuccessful, and was forced to make an emergency water landing about 200 yards off the shore of Scituate, Massachusetts.    

     The landing was smooth, and there was no panic aboard the aircraft, which remained afloat for about eight minutes before sinking.  Nearby pleasure boats raced to the scene to assist survivors.  Five passengers who couldn’t swim were rescued from the wing of the airplane.  Five others were rescued from the water, and four others swam to shore on their own.   There were no fatalities, and only one passenger required medical treatment.

     Source:

     New London Day, “All 14 Aboard Are Safe After Plane Is Ditched”, August 28, 1967 

Dedham, MA. – February 9, 1967

Dedham, Massachusetts – February 9, 1967

     At 1:30 p.m. on February 9, 1967, a lone 53-year-old pilot took off from Norwood Airport in a Piper Cherokee, (N9588J).  The weather was clear with a westerly wind of 10 to 20 mph. 

     Approximately fifteen minutes later, the aircraft was seen to be flying in an “erratic course” over a residential area near the West Roxbury-Dedham town line.  After several minutes the aircraft was seen to enter a “long shallow dive”.

     The aircraft came down and struck the roof of a two-story home at the intersection of Bonard Road and Winter Street, in Dedham.  It then continued on, crossed the intersection, and slammed into a home and garage on the opposite side of the street.  The pilot was killed instantly, but none of the occupants of the homes was injured.

     The accident occurred a short distance from the West Roxbury-Dedham line.

     Source:

     The Dedham Transcript, “Crash Cause Not Known Expect Six-Months Probe”, February 16, 1967.  

 

Taunton Airport – August 27, 1966

Taunton Airport – August 27, 1966

     On August 27, 1966, a 50-year-old Florida man piloting a small aircraft was attempting to land at Taunton Municipal Airport when he overshot the runway and crashed into several mounds of gravel.  The pilot was the sole occupant aboard.  He was seriously injured in the crash, and was transported to Morton Hospital where his condition was reported to be “poor”.   

     Source:

     Boston Sunday Advertiser, “Florida Pilot Hurt In Taunton Crash”, August 28, 1966

Waltham. MA. – March 16, 1966

Waltham, Massachusetts – March 16, 1966

Brandeis University Campus

     On March 16, 1966, a small airplane with a young couple aboard took off from Hanscom Filed in Bedford, Massachusetts, for a routine flight over the area. The pilot flew the plane over the nearby town of Waltham where Brandeis University is located.  While flying low over the campus, the airplane nicked the roof of the school’s Goldfarb Library building, and then glanced off the top of a tree, before it crashed into a concrete embankment of the campus reservoir and burst into flames. The couple did not survive.  

     The accident was reportedly witnessed by 30 to 40 people.     

     Source:

     New London Day, “2 Die As Plane Crashes, Burns At Brandeis U.”, March 17, 1966   

Winthrop, MA. – July 27, 1931

Winthrop, Massachusetts – July 27, 1931

     On July 27, 1931, U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Olaf Pierson of Caribou, Maine, and civilian Fred O’Neil of Buffalo, New York, were piloting an experimental aircraft over the Boston metropolitan area.  The aircraft, a converted monoplane, was owned by the Engineers Aircraft Corporation, and the purpose of the flight was to test its performance.  While engaging in a series of maneuvers, the safety belt holding the flyers in place suddenly broke and both men were hurled out into space while at an altitude of 4,000 feet.  Fortunately they were wearing parachutes, and both landed safely.  The aircraft plunged into the water off Winthrop and was destroyed.

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Two Fliers Thrown Bodily From Plane”, July 28, 1931

     Memories Of Maine –  Aroostook County Edition, “Pierson The Potato Prince”, By Aimee N. Lanteigne, www.memoriesofmainemagazine.com

 

 

 

Plymouth, MA. – November 19, 1982

Plymouth, Massachusetts – November 19, 1982

     On the morning of November 19, 1982, a single-engine Piper Cherokee took off from Plymouth Airport with a pilot and two passengers aboard.  This was to be a demonstration flight as the aircraft had recently been repossessed by a bank, and the passengers were considering buying it.   Shortly after takeoff, as the pilot was making a large loop around the airport, the airplane developed engine trouble, and as the pilot tried to make an emergency landing, the aircraft went down in a wooded area short of the runway.  The pilot and passengers all suffered serious-critical injuries, and were transported to Jordan Hospital.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Small Plane crashes In Plymouth; 3 Hurt”, November 20, 1982, page A18

     Westerly Sun, Photo & caption of crash, November 21, 1982, page 2

Buzzard’s Bay – October 31, 1979

Buzzard’s Bay – October 31, 1979

     On October 31, 1979, a 52-year-old man from Marion, Massachusetts, was piloting a Cessna 150 over Buzzard’s Bay at Cape Cod.  At 12:10 p.m., the pilot reported that his aircraft was loosing altitude.  At that time he was at 1,400 feet and about eight miles from shore, and advised he would try make an emergency landing on the beach. 

     Meanwhile the Coast Guard was notified, and the cutter Bibb, along with a rescue helicopter from Otis Air Force Base were dispatched to the area.   

     At 12:25 p.m. all contact with the pilot was lost. 

     Shortly afterwards the helicopter crew spotted the pilot’s body and wreckage of the aircraft floating about one mile south of Smith Neck in Dartmouth, Ma.      

     Source:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Crash Kills Marion Pilot”, November 1, 1979, page B2.

Westfield, MA. – October 3, 1986

Westfield, Massachusetts, October 3, 1986  

     On October 3, 1986, a Piper Cherokee with a lone pilot aboard left Barnes Airport in Westfield bound for LeFleur Airport in nearby Northampton.   

     After arriving safely at Le Fleur, the pilot took a husband and wife aboard as passengers.  The husband and the pilot were long-time friends.  The aircraft then took off from LeFluer headed back to Barnes, but bad weather had settled in and visibility dropped to near zero. 

     At 7:05 p.m. the pilot contacted the tower at Barnes and requested a “special VFR landing”, but was advised that another incoming aircraft had priority.  A few minutes later, after being granted clearance to land, the aircraft flew into a vertical cliff on the Westfield side of East Mountain.  The resulting fireball was observed by the air traffic controller at Barnes.

     All three persons aboard the aircraft were killed instantly.

     The crash site was in a remote section of the mountain, and rescue workers had a difficult time reaching it.   

     Sources:

     Springfield Republican, “Three Bodies Recovered At remote Plane Crash Site”, October 5, 1986, page 1.  (Photo of crash site.) 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Pilot Ignored Weather; Three Killed In Crash”, October 5, 1986, page 12.

Off Martha’s Vineyard – May 23, 1986

Off Martha’s Vineyard – May 23, 1986

     At 2:00 p.m. on May 23, 1986, a blue and white Bell 206-Jetranger helicopter with three men aboard took off from Westchester County, New York, bound for Cape Cod.  All three men were in their 20s.  One was from Stamford, Connecticut, another from Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the third from New York City.  

     When the men weren’t heard from the helicopter was declared “missing” and a search was begun.   Authorities learned that the pilot hadn’t field a flight plan, so it was unclear where the helicopter was going.  Possible destinations included Nantucket, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Stratton, Vermont.  The search area included thousands of square miles of forested land,  rolling hills and mountains, and open water.  Coast Guard vessels, Air Force planes, and the Civil Air Patrol were brought in to assist.   

     On May 28th a Civil Air Patrol pilot thought he’d spotted wreckage in the woods of Bristol, Connecticut, but the debris turned out to be a garbage dump site.

     On May 30th the search centered on a swampy area in Southern Rhode Island after an oil slick was spotted from the air, but after a three day search nothing was found.

     On June 6 the Civil Air Patrol announced it was ending its search for the helicopter.

     On June 13, partial wreckage of the helicopter was recovered by a fishing vessel off Martha’s Vineyard.  Additional pieces were later recovered by another fishing boat several miles from where the first pieces were found.  The debris were turned over to the FAA, which later confirmed they were from the missing helicopter.         

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Region Scoured For Copter Missing With Three Aboard”, May 28, 1986, page C19.   

    Westerly Sun, “Third Day Of Search Continues”, May 28, 1986, page 23.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search Halted For Missing Helicopter And 3 Men Aboard”, May 29, 1986

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search For helicopter To Be Renewed Today In The Westerly Area”, May 31, 1986, page B-22.  

     Westerly Sun, “Search Efforts For Missing Copter Focus On Aguntaug Swamp Area”, June 1, 1986, page 1.

     Westerly Sun, “Search For Helicopter Continues”, June 2, 1986, page 8

     Westerly Sun, “Oil Found In Water Off Weekapaug May Be Clue In Search For Missing Helicopter”, June 3, 1986, page 6

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Town Police Continue To Search For 3 Aboard Downed Helicopter”, June 3, 1986, page D3.  

     Westerly Sun, “Helicopter Search Called Off”, June 4, 1986

     Westerly Sun, “CAP Ends Search For Missing Men”, June 6, 1986, page 14.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Wreckage Of Missing Helicopter Believed Found Off The Vineyard”, June 13, 1986, page C4

     Westerly Sun, “Debris Believed From Missing helicopter”, June 22, 1986, page 8.  

 

Leomonster, MA. – December 27, 1986

Leominster, Massachusetts – December 27, 1986

     At about 7:30 p.m. on December 27, 1986, a four-seat Pipe Archer, (N8720C), with two New Hampshire men aboard, was approaching Fitchburg Airport when the plane went into a stall and crashed in the area of Campbell Avenue, in Leominster.  As the aircraft came down it struck some wires, bounced off a narrow residential street, and came to rest after striking a private home.  There was no fire, and nobody in the home was injured.

     The men were transported to Leominster Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Sources:

     Providence Sunday Journal, “Small Plane Crahs Lands, Hits House”, December 28, 1986, page A4, with photo.  

     Westerly Sun, “Pilot, Passenger Hurt In Crash Landing Of Plane”, December 28, 1986, page 27.       

Boston Airport – April 21, 1925

Boston Airport – April 21, 1925

     On April 21, 1925, what was described as “a large plane, planned for use for commuting between this city and Martha’s Vineyard…” left Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard bound for Boston.  The pilot was identified as Lieutenant A. L. Edson, M.N.G.  While at Boston the plane experienced engine trouble and crashed in the mud flats near the airport.  The aircraft was wrecked, but the pilot suffered relatively minor injuries. 

     The exact type of aircraft is not given, but it was reported to have an OX5 motor.

     Flight Surgeon, Captain Lyle C. White administered first aid.

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Flew Boston To Edgartown”, April 24, 1925    

      Unknown Newspaper, “The Wrecked Aeroplane”, May 1, 1925    

Martha’s Vineyard – October 14, 1929

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – October 14, 1929

     On October 14, 1929, a student pilot from Brookline, Massachusetts, was piloting a Curtiss Robin practicing take offs and landings on Martha’s Vineyard.  As he was gliding in for a landing, the tail skid of the aircraft struck the windshield of Ford roadster that was parked at the field.  The lone occupant of the vehicle was badly cut by the flying glass.  (Automobiles of this era did not have safety glass.) After being given first aid by some at the airfield, he was taken to see Doctor Roswell H. Smith of Edgartown for treatment of his wounds.

     The student pilot later stated he hadn’t seen the parked Ford, and didn’t realize he’d hit anything until he felt a bump in the rear of the aircraft while landing.    

     This was reported to be the first case of an automobile being struck by an airplane on Martha’s Vineyard.

     Source: Vineyard Gazette, “Airplane Crashes Into Amidon Car”, October 18, 1929, page 1.

Northampton, MA. – July 27, 1952

Northampton, Massachusetts – July 27, 1952

     On July 27, 1952, a Stearman bi-plane with two men aboard took off from Atwood Airport on the Mount Tom Highway.  Just after becoming airborne the plane went into a stall and observers reported that the nose of the craft was pointing nearly straight up before the pilot could right it.  The plane then skimmed under some power lines and bounced onto the highway where it barely missed colliding with a passing car. It then went off the road and crashed into an embankment bordering the Boston & Maine Railroad.  The plane was wrecked, but the 28-year-old pilot, and his 22-year-old passenger escaped injury. 

     Police officers John W. Zalesky, James Shea, and Paul McHugh responded to the scene, and directed traffic while curious spectators snapped photographs.

     Source: Springfield Morning Union, “Two Survive Plane crash At Northampton”, July 28, 1952     

 

Nantucket, MA. – June 30, 1964

Nantucket, Massachusetts – June 30, 1964

     On the afternoon of June 30, 1964, a Beech Bonanza, (N782B),  took off from Martha’s Vineyard bound for Nantucket, with two newlywed couples aboard.  The couples had become friendly while honeymooning on Nantucket, where they had rented cottages next to each other on Surfside Road.  Earlier in the day, the four had flown from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard, and were on the return trip when something went wrong with the aircraft. The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing at an unused Nantucket golf course known as “The Links”, but the aircraft suddenly nose-dived into the ground.  All aboard were killed.

     One couple was from Warwick, Rhode Island.  The other couple was from Boston.

     Source: The Providence Journal, “Warwick Man, Bride Die In Plane Crash”, July 1, 1964   

Weymouth, MA – September 9, 1951

Weymouth, Massachusetts – September 9, 1951 

     On September 9, 1951, a Northeast Airlines DC-3 was en-route from Boston to New York when one of the engines caught fire. 

     The plane left Boston at 12:07 p.m., and the pilot, Wallace Robbins, declared an emergency fifteen minutes later.  He was directed to land at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, and began making his approach.  Unfortunately the field was primarily used for navy blimps, and didn’t have a runway long enough to accommodate a DC-3.  Therefore, Robbins knew he would have to make a wheels-up belly-landing.

     As the engine blazed away, the pilots put the plane into a side-slip so the smoke would blow away from the passenger cabin.  In fact, it was reported that the passengers weren’t even informed that the plane was on fire!  The stewardess, (flight attendant), did however make sure that all sixteen passengers had their seatbelts fastened. 

     Robbins brought the plane down as slowly as possible, easing it onto the field and allowing it to skid to a stop. The ship came to rest just before a peat bog, and all passengers and crew evacuated safely without injury.     

Source: New York Times, “19 Saved In Crash Landing”, September 10, 1951  

 

Off Provincetown, MA – October 17, 1949

Off Provincetown, Massachusetts – October 17, 1949 

     On October 17, 1949, a Piper Clipper belonging to the Cape Cod Flying Service left Boston Airport at 11:50 p.m. bound for Provincetown.  The 45-mile trip was to be made almost entirely over the water.   When the plane was about ten minutes from its destination, and about six miles off the coast, the pilot radioed that he had an emergency and would be going down in the water.

     The plane was carrying three adults and two young children.  The adults apparently got out of the Clipper before it sank taking both children with it.  Other aircraft of the Cape Cod Flying Service arrived over the scene and reported seeing survivors swimming in the water.  They continued to circle the area guiding the Coast Guard vessel Acushnet to the scene, but by the time the boat arrived the survivors had succumbed to hypothermia.  Coastguardsmen did artificial respiration on the three victims as they raced to port, but without success. 

    The dead were identified as:

The pilot, Daniel Lacey, 26, of Westwood, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Harold Keppel, 34, and her two sons, Paul and Bruce, all of New York City.

Mrs. Edward S. Davis of Provincetown, Mass. 

Sources:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “3 Killed, 2 Babies Missing At Sea”, October 18, 1949

The Spartanburg Herald, ‘Plane Crash Claims 3”, October 18, 1949

The Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman, “Five Are Killed Off Provincetown In Airplane Crash”, October 18, 1949

New York Times, “Five Die As Plane Crashes Into Sea” October 18, 1949

Yarmouth, MA – July 21, 1920

Yarmouth, Massachusetts – July 21, 1920

     On July 21, 1920, two men were killed when their aircraft fell 2,000 feet and slammed nose first into the gooey mud of a pond located in Horse Pond Wood.  The impact drove the nose ten feet into the mud, burying both men who were strapped in their seats.  It took several hours to free both men and machine from the muck.

     The dead were identified as George L. Hall, (pilot) of Mansfield, Mass., and C. Gould Weld, of Framingham, Mass. The two airmen were employed by the Aero Service Company and were flying a two-passenger aircraft described only as being “of Canadian make.”     

Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Aviators Killed At Yarmouth” July 24, 1920.

Bellingham, MA – May 25, 1957

Bellingham, Massachusetts – May 25, 1957    

On May 25, 1957, Armand O. Bernier, 29, was flying a two-seater training aircraft 2,800 feet over Bellingham, when the motor stalled.  The plane crashed into a wooded area near Box Pond.  Bernier was able to climb out of the wreck on his own and walk to a nearby road where two men drove him to Milford hospital.  Bellingham police stood by to prevent souvenir  hunters from looting the plane.     

Source:

Woonsocket Call, “Hurt Bellingham Man Walks From Wreckage Of Small Plane”, May 25, 1957.

Springfield, MA – September 14, 1919

Springfield, Massachusetts – September 14, 1919 

   On September 14, 1919, a Curtis biplane crashed on takeoff from the Eastern States Exhibition Grounds in Springfield while the pilot was giving a passenger a ride. 

     The pilot, Thomas B. Haggerty, of New Haven, and his passenger, A. L. Litch of Springfield, were both injured when the plane hit a tree.  

Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Aviation Notes”, September 20, 1919

 

Harwichport, MA – October 20, 1924

Harwichport, Massachusetts – October 20, 1924 

     On October 20, 1924, an airplane used for advertising the Suburban Week, a publication based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, crashed at Harwichport, an upscale section of the Town of Harwich.  The pilot, G. A. Burnhame wasn’t injured, but a passenger, Albert G. Potts, required several stitches to close a wound.  The plane was reportedly wrecked, and was transported by truck to Providence for repair if possible. 

      Source: New York Times, “Advertising Plane Wrecked”, October 25, 1924     

Bourne, MA – May 11, 1930

Bourne, Massachusetts – May 11, 1930 

     On May 11, 1930, Lewis D. Parker was flying an amphibian type aircraft at an altitude of 3,000 feet when he attempted a normal spin, but ended up in a reverse spin instead.  Remarkably, he was able to bail out of the plane at 1,500 feet and parachute to safety while the plane augured into the mud near the shore of Buttermilk Bay and was destroyed. 

 Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Clears Plane In Reverse Spin”, May 15, 1930

Hyannis, MA – June 26, 1932

Hyannis, MA – June 26, 1932 

     On June 26, 1932, what was described as an amphibian aircraft crashed on the wooded shore of West Pond in Hyannis, about a quarter mile from Hyannis Airport.  The pilot, Foye M. Murphy, an attorney from Boston, was killed, and his wife was injured.  She remained trapped n the plane until found by searchers about thirty minutes later. 

     The cause of the crash was reported to be engine trouble.  

 Source: New York Times, “Plane Crash Kills Lawyer”, June 27, 1932.  

 

New Bedofrd Harbor – July 11, 1932

New Bedford Harbor – July 11, 1932 

     On July 11, 1932, a plane containing three men was returning to New Bedford when a sudden rain and hail storm forced the pilot to attempt an emergency water landing in New Bedford Harbor.  The aircraft hit the water a short distance from the New Bedford Gas Company pier and began to sink.  Almost immediately a boat was launched to help with rescue operations, but by the time it reached the wreck only one man was found clinging to a wing. 

     The dead were identified as Philip Mostrom, 24, the manager of Sound Airways, and Phillip S. Powell, an undertaker from New Bedford.  The third man aboard, Commander A. W. S. Agar, of the British Royal Navy, was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.  Agar was an officer aboard the H.M.S. Scarborough which was visiting New Bedford.

     Ironically, Powell had replaced another passenger who was to fly in the three-seater aircraft.  That person, George F. Almond, had decided to ride back to New Bedford in a car. 

Source:

New York Times, “Squall Hits Plane, 2 Drown, 1, Injured”, July 12, 1932

 

Vineyard Haven, MA – July 22, 1940

Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts – July 22, 1940 

     On July 22, 1940, a Sikorsky amphibian (No. 807) was landing in the inner harbor of Vineyard Haven, when the plane lost power and crashed into the water killing a husband and wife.  The accident occurred about 200 feet inside the entrance of the inner harbor, and was witnessed by the crew of a nearby Coast Guard boat.  

    The dead were identified as Mr. and Mrs. Julius Aderer of New York City.

    The pilot of the aircraft, Charles G. Fredericks of Flushing, N.Y. suffered multiple cuts due to breaking through a window to escape the half-submerged airplane.  A passenger aboard, Ruth Weckman, 8, was pulled unconscious from the craft, and rescuers used moth-to-mouth recessitation to reviver her.   

    The wrecked plane was towed to shore by the schooner Alice E. Wentworth.  

Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Two Killed In Seaplane Crash”, July 23, 1940.     

Boston Airport – January 17, 1931

Boston Airport – January 17, 1931

      On January 17, 1931, student pilot, Kenneth Ham was soloing at Boston Airport when his aircraft developed engine trouble.  He wrecked the plane crashing into a stone wall, but he was relatively unhurt.   

 Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Student Flyer In Plane Crash”, January 22, 1931

 

Nahant, MA – July 4, 1881

Nahant, Massachusetts – July 4, 1881

     On July 4, 1881, Professor George Augustus Rogers sailed in his balloon from Point-of-Pines in Revere, to Nahant, Mass. where his balloon suddenly deflated causing him to land on telephone wires.  It was reported that he received “injuries from which he never fully recovered.”

     Also see accident for Boston, Mass. – July 4, 1892 under Massachusetts Civil Aviation Accidents on this website for more information about Professor Rogers.   

Source: New York Times, “Three Balloon Accidents” July 5, 1892.

Bellingham, MA – July 4, 1902

Bellingham, Massachusetts – July 4, 1902 

 

Early postcard view of Hoag Lake, Bellingham, Massachusetts

Early postcard view of Hoag Lake, Bellingham, Massachusetts

     About a week before the Fourth of July in 1902, a friend of 17-year-old Mabelle Ward dared her to make a parachute jump from a balloon at the July 4th activities scheduled at Hoag Lake in Bellingham.   Ward’s friend said she wouldn’t have the nerve, but Mabelle accepted the challenge, and they wagered a box of candy. 

     On July 4th, both were at Hoag Lake where Mabelle received instructions on the use of the parachute.  The device consisted of a seat suspended beneath the balloon’s gondola on which a person would sit holding wrist straps.  At the proper altitude, the parachutist would pull a rope releasing the seat and the parachute, which was described as being “a network of ropes on an iron hoop.”

    The balloon rose just after 6 p.m. in view of 6,000 spectators, in command of  23-year-old Professor Andrew Charles Hillman. 

    At the altitude of only 300 feet, Mabelle released the parachute, and fell 200 feet before the device opened.  The jerk of the chute popping open shoved Mabelle from her seat leaving her hanging by the wrist straps.  When the chute was about 60 feet from the ground she lost her grip and fell, striking her chin on a 12 foot light pole, and thudding to the ground on her right foot.  She was taken unconscious to a nearby cottage before being sent by trolley car to a hospital in Woonsocket.  Here injuries were severe, and doctors were forced to amputate her right leg.  

     But this is not the end of the story.  On July 6, Professor Hilman made his first balloon ascension since Mabelle’s accident, with the intent of using the same parachute to jump with.  As the balloon was rising with Hilman sitting in the “parachute seat”, he suddenly struck a 30 foot tall pole used for anchoring his balloon.  (The pole had not been retracted by an assistant as Hilman had instructed before the flight.)  The impact sent the seat spinning, twisting the ropes, and making it impossible for Hilman to use the device.  He was forced to remain where he was as the balloon drifted off and came down on the roof of a barn about a mile away.  Hilman was uninjured, and managed to extricated himself from his position.  Relieved of its human cargo, the balloon floated off and was later found in some woods with damage to the fabric. 

     In the meantime, the same day as his accident, it was announced that Mabelle Ward would recover from her injuries, and when she did, she would marry Professor Hilman!  It was further revealed that Mabelle was of French Canadian extraction, and that her real name was Marie Girouard.  The family assumed the name of Ward, it was explained, because the last name was difficult for many to pronounce.

     Hilman was the owner of the Providence based Monarch Balloon & Amusement Company, and had come to Hoag Lake a few weeks earlier when he met Mabelle through her brother Louis, whom he had hired as an assistant. 

     Mabelle had been working at a mill in Milford, Massachusetts, but only days before had given up her position to be with Hilman and become a professional aeronaut.  Her first flight had been the one which ended with disaster.  Despite loss of her leg, she vowed to still pursue a career in ballooning.  

     Ironically, Miss Ward’s brother Louis had his own accident involving a balloon at the same park just five days earlier on June 29th.  He accidentally got his foot caught n a rope attached to a rising balloon and was carried a mile before the balloon came down.  (See Bellingham, MA – June 29, 1902, under Massachusetts Civil Aviation Accidents on this website for more details.)

     Silver Lake is a body of water that lies in the approximate geographical center of the town of Bellingham, Massachusetts.  At the dawn of the 20th century it was known as Hoag Lake, and was a popular tourist destination due to an amusement park located along its shores. The park was owned and operated by the Milford, Attleboro, & Woonsocket Street Railway Company, and it cost a nickel to ride the street car to get there.   Besides a large carousel and other rides, the park boasted a restaurant, a dance hall, a theatre, a beach, outdoor concerts, boat rentals, live animal acts, and the occasional balloon exhibition.

    Hoag Park remained in operation until 1922, when the property was sold to new owners.  The decline in trolley car use seems to have been a factor.   Unfortunately, the new owners were unable to bring the place back to its former glory, and over time the park, as an amusement destination, simply faded into history.  

Sources: 

Pawtucket Times, “Girl Aeronaut Falls 60 Feet”, July 4, 1902

Pawtucket Times, “Professor Hilman Almost Killed” July 7, 1902

Pawtucket Times, “Mabel Ward’s Mishaps Due To Disobedience”, July 8, 1902

Bellingham, MA – June 29, 1902

Bellingham, Massachusetts – June 29, 1902

      On June 29, 1902, a man identified as Professor Hilman was at Hoag Lake in Bellingham to give an exhibition with his balloon.  Just prior to takeoff, the balloon was being held down by assistants grasping on to ropes.  At the proper signal from Hilman, the ropes were released, and as the balloon rose upward.  Louis Ward, one of the assistants, somehow got his leg caught in one of the ropes and was suddenly jerked skyward – face down!   

     The balloon was rising fast, and the best Ward could do was to hold onto the rope to keep from falling.  Fortunately he had the ability get himself in an upright position which made holding on easier. 

     From the gondola beneath the balloon, Hilman shouted instructions, and then jumped with his parachute leaving Ward in his predicament.  

     The balloon began to descend and came down in a tree in Milford, Massachusetts, about a mile from Hoag Lake.   Ward was unharmed, but definitely shaken by his ordeal.       

     Ironically, Wards sister, Mabelle, was to have an balloon accident of her own at the same park on July 4, 1902.  (See Bellingham, MA – July 4, 1902  under Massachusetts Civil Aviation Accidents on this website for more information.)             

     Silver Lake is a body of water that lies in the approximate geographical center of the town of Bellingham, Massachusetts.  At the dawn of the 20th century it was known as Hoag Lake, and was a popular tourist destination due to an amusement park located along its shores. The park was owned and operated by the Milford, Attleboro, & Woonsocket Street Railway Company, and it cost a nickel to ride the street car to get there.   Besides a large carousel and other rides, the park boasted a restaurant, a dance hall, a theatre, a beach, outdoor concerts, boat rentals, live animal acts, and the occasional balloon exhibition.

 Source:

Pawtucket Times, “Miraculous Escape From Death By Fall”, June 30, 1902, Pg.1

 

Boston, MA – July 4, 1892

Boston, Massachusetts – July 4, 1892

 

      As part of some July 4th celebration activities, Boston city officials had organized a balloon ascension from the Boston Common. 

     Just after 4:00 p.m. Professor George Augustus Rogers of Malden, Maine, his assistant Thomas Fenton, and a reporter, Delos E. Goldsmith, stepped into the gondola of the huge balloon named the Governor Russell, and prepared for lift-off. 

     When the Governor Russell was released, it rose several hundred feet and began drifting towards Dorchester, but then the wind changed and carried it out over Boston Harbor. It continued on this course, steadily rising higher, and before long it became apparent the craft would be blown out to sea – a ballonist’s worst nightmare, for it meant almost certain death if rescue was not readily available.  As the balloon drifted towards Thompson’s Island, Rogers attempted to release some of the gas by opening the release valve, but had trouble doing so, and a lager tear in the fabric resulted.  As the gas rushed out, the balloon fell rapidly, crashing into the water and completely collapsing.  

     As the occupants floundered, Rogers sank beneath the waves and disappeared.  Fenton and Goldsmith managed to stay afloat and were rescued by men in a rowboat from Thompson’s Island.  A passing tugboat also gave assistance, and took both men to the mainland, but Fenton died before they reached shore from inhaling the poison gas from the balloon.  Goldsmith later recovered.     

     Professor Rogers was an experienced balloonist having made 112 ascensions since 1870.  Ironically, this wasn’t the professor’s first aviation accident.  On July 4, 1881, Rogers took off in a balloon from Point-of-Pines in Revere, Massachusetts, and arrived over Nahant, Mass. where the balloon fabric suddenly ripped, causing him to land upon some telephone wires.  It was reported that he received “injuries from which he never fully recovered.”   

     Rogers left behind a wife and family.  His body was recovered on July 15, found floating in the water near the L Street bathhouse. 

    Thomas Fenton, 34, was survived by his wife and six children. This was his first trip in a balloon.

     The accident left city officials wondering if balloon ascensions should be allowed in the future, with some going on record as stating any future requests would be denied. 

Sources:

New York Times, “Three Balloon Accidents”, July 5, 1892

New York Times, “The Boston Balloon Accident”, July 6, 1892

Burlington Weekly Free Press, (Burlington, VT.) “Aeronaut Rogers’ Body”, July 21, 1892

 

Newburyport, MA – April 22, 1910

Newburyport, Massachusetts – April 22, 1910

     On April 22, 1910, Greely S. Curtis of New York was making a flight in his Herring-Burgess biplane at Plum Island in Newburyport.  After flying for a distance of about 200 yards, he crashed on soft marshland.  The front of the plane was wrecked, but Curtis received only minor injuries.  At the time he crashed, the aircraft was only at an altitude of about 20 feet. 

Sources:

     (Woonsocket, R.I.) Evening Call, “Airship Damaged”, April 23, 1910, Pg.1 

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “New Biplane Plunges To Ground”, April 23, 1910

Nahant, MA – September 4, 1907

Nahant, Massachusetts – September 4, 1907

 

     At 8:30 p.m. on September 4, 1907, Boston aeronaut John J. Maloney, took off in his hot-air balloon from Nahant, Massachusetts, before a cheering crowd.  During night ascensions, Maloney liked to fly his balloon suspended from a trapeze.  On this occasion, as the balloon was rising, a sudden and unexpected foggy mist blew in and enveloped the balloon.  A current of cold air then carried it northwest over Nahant Bay towards Lynn and Swampscott.  The balloon came down in the water between Nahant and Lynn, about two miles off Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott.  High winds then pulled it back and forth across the water with Maloney holding on for his life for more than an hour. 

     Maloney’s cries for help were finally heard by several fishermen at Swampscott, Massachusetts, a town next to Lynn, and they headed out in their boats to search.   Word was sent to the Nahant Lifesaving Station which also sent a boat.  Maloney was located clinging to the fabric of his half-deflated balloon, cold and exhausted, but alive. 

     Once on shore Maloney related that the balloon had collapsed sooner than he’d expected while drifting in the cold breeze, for he’d expected to be in the air for about an hour. 

     Sources:

     (Woonsocket) Evening Call, “Balloonist Fell Into The Sea”, September 15, 1907, Pg. 7   

     The Lake County Times, (Hammond, Indiana), Evening Edition, September 5, 1907 

     New York Tribune, “Aeronaut Near Death”, September 5, 1907 

     The Washington Herald, “Balloonist Falls Into Sea”, September 5, 1907

Brockton, MA – October 4, 1905

Brockton, MA – October 4, 1905

     On October 4, 1905, Roy Knabenshue, was giving a demonstration of his airship at the Brockton Fair in Brockton, Massachusetts.  Almost immediately after takeoff the engine began to misfire and Knabenshue lost steering control.  The ship drifted into a flagpole atop a barn tearing the netting atop the gas bag.  Fortunately Knabenshue’s assistants came to his aid, and he dropped ropes which allowed them to bring down in for a safe landing.   

     The ship was repaired and flew again later.

 Source: 

(Woonsocket) Evening Reporter, “Air Ship Met With Mishap”, October 4, 1905, Pg. 2

Reading, MA – August 24, 1925

Reading, Massachusetts – August 24, 1925  

     On August 24, 1925, George Pigeon was flying his airplane about 1,500 feet over Reading, Massachusetts, when the aircraft hit an air pocket.  The plane fell several hundred feet before Pigeon regained control, and attempted an emergency landing on Park Street.  Witnesses said the plane barely cleared several trees before nose diving into a popular swimming hole occupied by more than a dozen boys.   Luckily one of the boys saw what was coming and shouted a warning.  The last boy scrambled out of the hole just as the plane splashed down.     

     Fortunately Pigeon and his passenger, Nathan Davis, received minor bumps and burses, but the plane was wrecked.

Source: Pawtucket Times, “Plane Dives Into Old Swimming Hole” August 24, 1925, Pg. 12     

 

 

Boston, MA – July 6, 1891

Boston, Mass. – July 6 1891 

     On July 6, 1891, 34-year-old Jennie C. Croker of Providence, (Professionally known as Nellie Wheeler) was giving a balloon exhibition at Waverly Park in Boston when an accident occurred.  After taking her balloon up to an altitude of 1,200 feet, she jumped using a parachute.  When she was within thirty feet of the ground it appeared she was going to land on some greenhouses which could have caused severe lacerations if she broke through the glass.  Therefore she let go of the parachute, and fell to the ground landing on her back.  She was transported to a nearby hospital where doctors felt her injuries were non-survivable.

 

Source: New York Times, “Mrs. Jennie C. Crocker’s Injuries”, July 6, 1891         

Mount Wachusett, Mass. – April 4, 1947

Mount Wachusett, Princeton, Mass., – April 4, 1947

     On April 4, 1947, two men rented a small airplane at Bolton (Mass.) Airfield for a sightseeing flight.  While circling the town of Princeton, Massachusetts, near the summit of Mt. Wachusett, the aircraft abruptly dove sharply and crashed into the south side of the mountain. 

     A witness to the crash stated he saw one of the men aboard wave to him a few seconds before the plane hit.  The plane exploded on impact and both pilot and passenger were killed.

     The dead were identified as David Wright, (20) the pilot, and Peter May, (23) the passenger.

     Source: New York Times, “Two Veterans Killed In Hired Plane Crash”, April 4, 1947.  

Springfield, Mass. – Sept. 21, 1929

Springfield, Massachusetts – September 21, 1929

On Sept. 21, 1929, Arthur E. Center of Springfield took off in an open-cockpit bi-plane to do some stunt flying over the city.  Earlier in the day he had been stunt flying with an instructor, but this time he was solo.  Unfortunately he had forgotten to wear his seatbelt, and while conducting a roll at 1,800 feet he fell out of the plane!  Fortunately he was wearing a parachute which he was able to deploy before hitting the ground.  He landed safely in a field off St. James Avenue.

The airplane dove into the same field where Center landed and was demolished.  It belonged to the Flying Club of Springfield.

Source: Woonsocket Call, “Chute Saves Life Of Aviator At Springfield”, Sept. 21, 1929, Pg. 3

Mendon, MA – August 2, 1931

Mendon, Massachusetts – August 2, 1931 

     On August 2, 1931, two men took off from an open field near the Pine Hill Cemetery in Mendon, Mass.  The aircraft was an older model American Eagle airplane.  The plane had barely left the ground when it struck a pole, and then a large pine tree, before it crashed onto Providence Street.  Both men escaped with minor injuries, although the aircraft had sustained serious damage.

     The pilot had landed in the field a short time earlier to make a quick repair.  

     Source:

     The Woonsocket Call, (R.I.), “2 Men Injured Slightly When Plane Crashes”, August 3, 1931, page 1.  

 

Orange, MA. – August 9, 1970

Orange, Massachusetts – August 9, 1970

Updated July 26, 2018

 

B-25 Mitchel bomber
U.S. Air Force photo

     On August 9, 1970, a World War II  B-25 Mitchel with a civilian registration was at Orange Airport in Orange, Massachusetts in preparation for delivery to a new owner in Rochester, New York.  The pilot was making a series of five touch-and-go landings to test the aircraft prior to making the journey.  On the second landing the aircraft suddenly veered to the left and cartwheeled onto the grass where it exploded and burned, killing the 36-year-old pilot.   As the plane went out of control, it barely missed striking a bystander watching the landings.

     The pilot was identified as Roger N. Lopez, of Northfield, Massachusetts.

     Witnesses reported that the aircraft appeared to be having engine trouble as the pilot was attempting the second landing.   

     Firefighters from several surrounding communities responded to the accident.  One firefighter from Orange was slightly overcome by fumes.

      Source:

     The Providence Journal, (R.I.), “World War II Bomber Crash In Mass. Kills Pilot.”, August 10, 1970, (Two photos with article.)     

 

 

 

Newburyport, MA. – August 8, 1914

Newburyport, Massachusetts – August 8, 1914

 

     On Saturday, August 8, 1914, a balloon ascension was scheduled to take place in an open area near the North End Boat Club in Newburyport, and a large crowd had gathered to see the event.  The balloon was anchored between two 40-foot-tall poles as it was being prepared for flight.  A wind was blowing, and at one point a strong gust hit the balloon sending it against one of the poles.  The pole snapped three feet from the ground, and fell directly into the waiting crowd seriously injuring a man and woman, and killing an 11-month-old baby who was in a carriage.   

     Source:

     The Barre Daily Times, (Vermont), “killed At Balloon Ascension – Baby In Newburyport Crowd Crushed By Falling Flag Pole.”, August 10, 1914, page 3.      

 

Gloucester, MA. – August, 1915

Gloucester, Massachusetts – August, 1915

     The following newspaper article appeared in the Norwich Bulletin, (Norwich, CT.), on August 26, 1915.

     ANOTHER BALLOON ACCIDENT

     Harold Cates, the aeronaut who figured in the fatal balloon accident at Woodstock fair, and who a few days ago figured in a similar accident at Gloucester, seems to be unfortunate, to say the least.  The following relative to the recent accident appeared in a Boston paper: The parents of John McNeil, the boy who was entangled in a rope attached to a balloon, carried 30 feet into the air and dropped into a tree during the Gloucester day events last Tuesday, entered suit today against the committee in charge of the celebration, asking for $10,000.   The boy was at first believed to be fatally injured, but physicians now say that he will recover and be none the worse for the accident.

     The parents are Mr. and Mrs. John McNeil of 6 Acacia Street.  William A. Pew appeared in court as their attorney.  He attributed the accident to carelessness on the part of agents of the Gloucester day committee and demanded compensation for the boy’s injuries and the anxiety and suffering of his parents.

*********   

     The fatal accident at the Woodstock Fair, (Woodstock, Connecticut), mentioned in the article refers to an incident that occurred on September 16, 1913, in which 13-year-old George Bernier was carried aloft after becoming entangled in a rope attached to the balloon.     

Millis, MA. – November 20, 1974

Millis, Massachusetts – November 20, 1974

     On the morning of November 20, 1974, a Cessna 150 crashed in a wooded area about 1/4 mile north of Norfolk Airport near the Millis/Norfolk town line. The plane was destroyed and was found hanging in a tree, but the pilot and his passenger escaped serious injury.

     Source:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crashes; R.I. Pilot Survives”, November 21, 1974, page C-11.  

Boston, MA. – November 5, 1974

Boston, MA. – November 5, 1974

Logan Airport

     On November 5, 1974, Allegheny Airlines Flight 884 was en-route from Chicago to Boston with a crew of four, and 33 passengers aboard. The aircraft was a Douglas DC-9. 

     The flight had made stops in Pennsylvania before proceeding to Boston.  While 11 miles out over the ocean – not far from Boston – an electrical fire developed in the cockpit and an emergency was declared. 

     The plane blew a tire on landing, and taxied to a stop at the intersection of runways 4R and 15.  Passengers then exited the airplane through doors and emergency exits.  Firemen boarded the aircraft and extinguished the small smoldering fire. There were no reported injuries.      

     Source:  (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “37 escape DC-9 Fire At Logan”, November 6, 1974, page C-1

 

New Bedford, MA. – September 9, 1974

New Bedford, Massachusetts – September 9, 1974

     At 6: 50 p.m. on the evening of September 9, 1974, a lone pilot took off from New Bedford Municipal Airport in a single-engine Piper Cherokee, (#N4088W).  Just after take-off the aircraft lost power and crashed in a field off Church Street about a mile north of the airport.   The pilot was transported to Union Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  The cause of the crash was blamed on engine failure.  

     Sources:

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Pilot Killed In Crash”, September 10, 1974, page B-5.

     Westerly Sun, “Pilot Killed In Plane Accident”, September 10, 1974, page 12.

Atlantic Ocean – July 17, 1974

Atlantic Ocean – July 17, 1974

     On July 17, 1974, a Bellanca airplane with two men aboard was flying from Hyannis, Massachusetts, to Martha’s Vineyard, when it went into the ocean about five miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.  Both men were wearing life vests, and were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter, and each suffered only minor injuries.  The aircraft sank in deep water. The cause of the crash was not stated.

     Source:

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Mass. Plane Crash Being Investigated”, July 18, 1974, page 20.     

Norwood, MA. – July 4, 1974

Norwood, Massachusetts – July 4, 1974

     On July 4, 1974, a husband and wife, along with their four young children, took off from Norwood Airport bound for Martha’s Vineyard in a Republic Seabee aircraft.  Just after becoming airborne the oil line burst causing the engine to stop.  The plane came down in a wooded-swampy area about 300 yards off the end of the runway.  Remarkably, there were no serious injuries, and the plane didn’t catch fire.  The family was transported to Norwood Hospital for first-aid treatment.  Afterwards, the family returned to the airport and left for Martha’s Vineyard in another plane. 

     Source:

     Boston Herald American, “Walpole Pilot, Family Prove Plane Stubborn”, July 5, 1974, page 4.   

Off Falmouth, MA. – June 9, 1974

Off Falmouth, Massachusetts – June 9, 1974 

     On June 9, 1974, a Stinson 108 Voyager aircraft, (N97154), crash landed in deep water off Monument Beach in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, Cape Cod. The man and woman aboard escaped with minor injuries, and were rescued.  The aircraft was towed to shore by the Coast Guard.    

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, June 10, 1974, page A-22, photo with caption.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, June 10, 1974, page A-6, photo and caption.

Tewksbury, MA. – May 20, 1974

Tewksbury, Massachusetts – May 20, 1974

     On the afternoon of May 20, 1974, a Piper Arrow with a lone pilot aboard took off from Runway 3 at Tew-Mac Airport.  One eyewitness stated that just after becoming airborne the aircraft banked to a 45 degree angle which he explained was routine for that airport.   While this was happening, another aircraft, a Grumman American AA-5 with two men aboard, was approaching the airport.  The two planes collided in mid-air and broke apart, scattering debris over a wide area.  The collision occurred over a wooded area about 2-3 miles north of the airport.  There were no survivors.

     Sources:

     Boston Herald American, “Tewksbury Air Collision Kills 3”, May 21, 1974, page 1.

     Providence Journal, “Two Planes Collide; 3 Killed”, May 21, 1974, page A-10 (Photo)

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Mass. Crash Kills 3 Men”, May 21, 1974, page B-1, (Photo)

 

 

Logan Airport – April 20, 1974

Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts

     At about 8 p.m. on the evening of April 19, 1974, a Trans World Airlines L-10-11 wide-bodied jet airliner arrived at Boston’s Logan Airport and parked at Gate 17 of the north terminal.  Everyone left the airplane without incident.  Shortly after midnight, the rear portion of plane was discovered to be on fire.  Nobody was aboard at the time.    

     Logan Airport and Boston fire crews arrived at the scene, but the flames spread quickly and the entire fuselage was gutted, with the fire inside burning so hot it melted holes through the metal along the top.  Although there was fuel in the fuel tanks, the tanks were unaffected, and there were no explosions.  One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.

     The plane was valued at about 22 million dollars.  The fire was believed to have started in an auxiliary power unit at the rear of the plane, but the cause was not immediately known.

     The plane was towed to a remote section of the airport where authorities could continue their investigation.

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “TWA Jet Burns At Logan”, April 21, 1974, page A-21, (with photo of burning plane) 

Easthampton, MA. – January 27, 1974

Easthampton, Massachusetts – January 27, 1974

     On January 27, 1974, a small airplane with a father and son aboard left Turners Falls, Massachusetts bound for Westfield, Massachusetts.  While passing over the town of Easthampton, a piece of the rudder fell off, and the plane went down in a wooded area.  Both occupants were treated at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

     The aircraft was a Mooney M-20. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Father, Son Hurt When Plane Crashes”, January 28, 1974, page B-1.

     Aviation Safety Network, ASN #124337, Aviation-Safety.net

Nantucket Sound, MA. – April 2, 1974

Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts – April 2, 1974

     On the evening of April 2, 1974, a Piper Aztec N-23 turbo with four men aboard left Nantucket Island bound for Hyannis, Massachusetts.  While over Nantucket Sound the aircraft abruptly disappeared from radar, and went down between Hyannis and Handkerchief Shoals.   A search and rescue operation was initiated, and one body was later recovered, along with some debris from the aircraft.  The main portion of the plane was not recovered.  The suspected cause of the accident was a faulty altimeter. 

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “4 On Plane Sought Off Hyannis”, April 3, 1974, page A-11

     Providence Journal, “Body Found Near Ocean Air Crash Site”, April 4, 1974, page A-19 

     Westerly Sun, “Suspend Search Off Cape Coast”, April 4, 1974, Page 10.  

Spencer, MA. – October 10, 1973

Spencer, Massachusetts – October 10, 1973

     On October 10, 1973, a Piper Aztec airplane, piloted by a 63-year-old pilot, and carrying two relatives as passengers, was making a west to east ILS approach to Worcester Airport when it disappeared from radar.  The plane crashed in a heavily wooded section of Spencer, Massachusetts, a town about five miles to the west of Worcester.  All aboard perished in the accident.  

     Source: Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crash Fatal To Three In Bay State”, October 11, 1973, page 52. 

 

Lakeville, MA – December 22, 1973

Lakeville, Massachusetts – December 22, 1973

 

     On December 22, 1973, a Cessna amphibious aircraft took off from Plymouth Airport, in Plymouth, Mass. with three men and a boy aboard for a routine pleasure flight.  While landing on Long Pond in the town of Lakeville, the plane hit a wave and flipped over.  All aboard were able to get out safely and sit atop the pontoons while awaiting rescue.  The four people were rescued a short time later and treated for exposure. The aircraft floated near shore and was tied up to a dock until it could be recovered. 

     Source: Providence Journal, “Amphibious Plane Flips In Landing”, December 23, 1973, page A-27    

Logan Airport – December 17, 1973

Logan International Airport – December 17, 1973 

 

     On the afternoon of December 17, 1973, Iberia Airlines Flight 933, arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport from Madrid with 168 people aboard.  (14 crew, 154 passengers.) The aircraft was a DC-10 jetliner. 

     At the time of the flight’s arrival, the weather consisted of a 300 foot cloud ceiling with rain falling and thick low-lying fog which created a situation of very low visibility.   The pilot was given clearance to make an instrument landing approach on Runway 33L.   As the aircraft was about to land it struck the light bar on an instrument landing approach pier which was located in Boston Harbor a short distance from the end of the runway.   When the plane touched down on the wet runway it struck a row of runway approach lights and went off the tarmac.  The aircraft then skidded across the ground for another 200 yards before coming to rest in a marshy area.   A section of landing gear was torn away, and the plane’s tail section broke apart just in front of the rear engine.  The plane’s left engine caught fire and began to burn. 

     Fortunately there was no panic, and all passengers and crew were evacuated safely via the inflatable emergency escape chutes.  Sixteen people were reportedly taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.        

     This accident was the third major accident at Logan Airport within five months. 

     On November 3, 1973, a Pan American Boeing 707 cargo plane crashed killing three crewmen.

     On July 31, 1973, a Delta Airlines DC-9 crashed killing 89 persons.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “168 Survive Jet Crash At Logan”, December 18, 1973, page 1 (Photo of plane)   

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “168 Survive Crash At Logan Airport”, December 18, 1973, page 6

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “16 Injured In Third major Logan Crash In Five Months”, December 18, 1973, page 1.  

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Runway Wreck In Hub Probed By Safety Bd.”, December 19, 1973, page 35

 

Logan Airport – July 31, 1973

Logan Airport – July 31, 1973

Boston, Massachusetts

 

     On the morning of July 31, 1973, Delta Airlines Flight 723 left Burlington, Vermont, bound for Manchester, New Hampshire, and Boston’s Logan International Airport.  The aircraft was a DC-9, (N975NE).  At the time it left Burlington there were 57 people aboard.

     The flight would normally have been non-stop to Boston, but on this day the plane made a detour to Manchester to pick up 32 additional Delta passengers who had been left stranded when their earlier flight to Logan had been cancelled due to bad weather. 

     After the additional passengers boarded at Manchester, the plane taxied out to await clearance for take off.   One of those who had boarded at Manchester was a man who had a 2:00 p.m. business meeting in New York City.   It was while the plane was awaiting take off that he realized he wouldn’t make it to his meeting on time and asked the hostess to be let off the plane.  When she hesitated, he asked to speak with the pilot, and was allowed to do so.  The pilot graciously honored the request and brought the plane back to the terminal, where it was announced that anyone else who wished to deplane could now do so, but nobody else got off.        

     The DC-9 then left Manchester bound for Boston with 89 persons aboard. 

     The weather at Boston consisted a cloud ceiling of only 400 feet, and thick heavy ground fog which created a very low visibility situation.  Therefore the crew would need to make an instrument landing.   

     The last radio communication from Flight 723 came at 11:08 a.m., as the aircraft approached Logan Airport’s Runway 4R.  As the passenger jet came in to land it’s underside struck a concrete seawall at the end of the runway tearing away some of the fuselage.  The plane then slammed into the ground, broke apart, and erupted into flame.  The debris field was scattered for hundreds of feet beginning at the seawall and leading to the runway.    

     The official time of the accident is listed as 11:09 a.m.    

     The fog was so thick that the crash wasn’t observed by those in the control tower, nor by personnel stationed at the terminal, therefore the airport fire department wasn’t immediately notified.  

     The only witnesses to the accident were two airport construction workers who raced to the scene in their pickup truck.  They tried notifying the tower via the truck’s two-way radio, but discovered it wasn’t working.  Aware that there would be other incoming flights arriving shortly, one worker drove to the airport fire station about a mile away while the other stayed behind to search for survivors.    

     As with the control tower, the fire department was unaware of the crash for the thick fog also obscured their view of the runways.  At 11:15 a.m. the fire chief ordered “Box 612” struck, which notified fire and rescue personnel in 26 surrounding communities in the Boston area to send help.  

     An Eastern Airlines jet had landed without incident on Runway 4R just prior to the crash of Flight 723.   At the time of the crash, two other airliners scheduled to land after Flight 723 were beginning their long distance approach to Runway 4R.  Due to the heavy fog the incoming pilots couldn’t see the burning wreckage.   Miraculously the pilots of both aircraft executed “missed approaches” thus avoiding further disaster.  Other incoming aircraft were diverted to other airports.  

     Only six survivors were located amidst the debris and all were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, but four were pronounced dead on arrival, and a fifth passed away later in the day.    

     The sixth survivor was 20-year-old Air Force Sergeant Leopold Chouinard, who was sitting towards the back of the cabin.  He managed to escape the burning tail section by crawling though a window, but in doing so suffered severe burns over 80% of his body.  Despite the best medical care available, he passed away on December 11, 1973.    

     The crash of Flight 723 became the worst civilian-air disaster in New England.

     This wasn’t the only accident involving an airliner to occur at Logan Airport.  On October 4, 1960, an Eastern Airlines, Lockheed Electra, (Flight 375), crashed on take off into Winthrop Bay killing 62 of the 72 people aboard.     

      Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Jet crashes In Fog At Logan; 88 Die- DC-9 Hits seawall And Disintegrates”, August 1, 1973, page 1

     Providence Journal, “Crash Scene: ‘No Way To Describe It'”, August 1, 1973, page 1

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Probe Opens Into Logan Air Crash”, August 1, 1973, page 1 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Pilot In Crash Was R. I. Native”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “He Got Off Plane At Manchester”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Green Handles Diverted Traffic”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Sergeant Survived Severe Auto Crash”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     The Providence Journal, “2 Ex-R.I. Residents Killed In Air Disaster”, August 2, 1973, page 2

     Boston (AP) “Probers Find Water In Jetliner’s Engines”, August 3, 1973.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Ex-Pilot Was Retraining – Crash Ended His Hope”, August 14, 1973, page 9

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Survivor Remains Stable, Critical”, August 14, 1973, page 9

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Widow Sues In Jet Crash”, August 24, 1973, page 10

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Crash Survivor Fights On”, August 29, 1973, page 1

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Sergeant Testifies He Climbed Out Window”, August 29, 1973

     Providence Journal, “Probers Note Complaints Of Delta Crews”, August 30, 1973, page 15

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “2 U.S. Boards Disagree On Limiting Delta DC9s”, August 30, 1973, page 25

     Providence Journal Bulletin, (no headline) September 19, 1973, page 6 – partial pilot testimony.

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “New England: Air Controller Testifies At Crash Hearing”, September 20, 1973, page 2 

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “N. E. News: Pilots Testify At Hearing”, September 21, 1973, page 5 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Public hearing Ends On Boston Jet crash”, page 7

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Reports Conflict On Delta Plane”, September 22, 1973, page 2

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Lone Crash Survivor Is Still Fighting Pain”, October 23, 1973, page 10

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Lone crash Survivor Dies After 4 Months”, December 12, 1973, page 36

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Worst N. E. Air Disaster Was A year Ago”, July 31, 1974, page B-9

Martha’s Vineyard, MA – July 10, 1973

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – July 10, 1973

 

    On the evening of July 10, 1973, a Piper Cherokee 180 left North Central State Airport in Smithfield, Rhode Island, bound for Martha’s Vineyard Airport.  There were two men aboard.  The pilot, a Providence doctor who held a commercial pilot’s license, and a passenger, an instructor for North Central Airways.  The purpose of the flight was to practice instrument landings in foggy conditions so the doctor could gain his instrument certification rating. 

    At about 8:05 p.m., as the aircraft was approaching Martha’s Vineyard Airport in low lying clouds, it suddenly went down in a wooded area of state forest land about 1800 feet short of the runway.  The plane did not burn.  The doctor was killed instantly, and the instructor was transported to the hospital in critical condition.  

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Plane Crash Kills Providence Man”, July 11, 1973, page 1.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crash Kills Providence Dentist”, July 11, 1973

Agawam, MA – June 2, 1973

Agawam, Massachusetts – June 2, 1973

 

     On June 2, 1973, a 43-year old man and his son were killed when their twin-engine airplane crashed just after takeoff from Bowles Airport in Agawam.  The plane came down eighty feet away from a private home and exploded.  The portion of the tail section was recovered about 50 feet from the crash site.   

     Bowles Airport was located at Shoemaker Lane and Silver Street in Agawam.

     Source: Providence Sunday Journal, “Father, Son Die In Mass. Plane Crash”, June 3, 1973, page C25.

Methuen, MA – May 9, 1973

Methuen, Massachusetts – May 9, 1973

     On May 9, 1973, a Beechcraft Bonanza with four people aboard left Pontiac, Michigan, bound for Lawrence Airport in North Andover, Massachusetts.  As the aircraft was passing over Methuen, a town just to the northwest of North Andover, it developed engine trouble. 

     One witness stated he saw the plane from his front yard on Farley Street.  He looked up when he heard the engine not running right, and observed the plane go back up into the clouds, but just as it did the engine ceased, and the plane came spiraling down.  

     The plane crashed and exploded in the backyard of a combination private home and drive-in diner at 374 Merrimack Street, not far from the intersection of Merrimack Street and Route 113.  All four persons aboard were killed.  

     Sources:

     Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, “Methuen Plane Crash Kills 4”, May 10, 1973, page 1  (photos of crash scene)

     Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, “Two Of Crash Victims Had Andover Ties”, May 10, 1973, page 1

     Providence Journal, “4 Men Identified In Plane Crash At Mass. Airport.”, May 11, 1973 

Princeton, MA. – April 16, 1973

Princeton, Massachusetts – April 16, 1973

     On April 16, 1973, a 27-year-old pilot from Rutland, Vermont, was piloting a single-engine Cessna at tree-top-level over the town of Princeton when he stalled the aircraft while suddenly pulling up to avoid a rise in the terrain.  He was killed when the plane crashed vertically into the ground.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crash Fatal”, April 17, 1973   

     Providence Journal, “Crash Cause Given In Death Of Pilot”, May 24, 1973

Fall River, MA. – April 19, 1973

Fall River, Massachusetts – April 19, 1973

     On April 19, 1973, a Piper Cherokee, (N7577R), with two men aboard, a student-pilot, and his instructor, were making a training flight over the city of Fall River when the fuel supply in one tank ran low.  When the instructor attempted to switch to the other fuel tank he discovered the switching device was broken.  The instructor then attempted to glide the plane towards an open sand pit area, but towards the end of the glide the plane began glancing off tree tops about 150 feet from the pit.  The plane then nosed over and dove into the ground, tearing the wings off in the process.  Both men were injured, but not seriously.

     The plane crashed about 300 yards off Bell Rock Road in the eastern portion of the city.  Fortunately there was no fire, and the instructor was able to walk to a nearby house and ask for help.  

     Source:

     Fall River Herald News, “Two Men narrowly Miss Death In Plane Crash”, April 20, 1973, page 1 (with photo) 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), Two Men Injured In Plane Crash” April 20, 1973, page 8 

 

Taunton, MA – February 3, 1973

Taunton, Massachusetts – February 3, 1973

     At 2:25 p.m. on February 3, 1973, blue and white single-engine Cessna 150 took off from Mansfield (Mass.) Municipal Airport bound for Taunton. The pilot was a 40-year-old English teacher at Attleboro High School, making a solo flight.  About twenty minutes later the plane crashed in a remote marshy-wooded area about half-a-mile north of Route 44, in the Westville section of Taunton. 

     The first to reach the cash site was an off duty police officer who reported that the pilot was still alive, but unconscious.  Unfortunately the pilot passed away by the time he reached the hospital.         

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Teacher Dead In Plane crash”, February 3, 1973 (Photo of accident.)

     The Providence Sunday Journal, “Plane Crash Kills Seekonk Man”, February 4, 1973

     Taunton Daily Gazette, “National Safety Board Probing Fatal Private Plane Crash Here”, February 5, 1973  (Two photos of accident)

 

Agawam, MA. – October 24, 1970

Agawam, Massachusetts – October 24, 1970

 

     On October 24, 1970, a small aircraft carrying four persons, all from Connecticut, was making a landing approach at Bowels Agawam Airport when it overshot the runway and crashed into a tree 35 feet beyond and exploded.  All four persons were killed.  

     Bowels Agawam Airport was located on Shoemaker Lane at Silver Street.

     Sources:

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Cause of Plane Crash Which Killed Four Sought”, October 25, 1970

     Providence Journal, “4 Persons Killed In Plane Crash At Agawam, Mass.”, October 25, 1970

Norwood, MA. – October 25, 1970

Norwood, Massachusetts – October 25, 1970

     On the afternoon of October 25, 1970, a pilot-instructor and his student were practicing take offs and landings at Norwood Airport in a Piper Cherokee aircraft.  At one point, as the pilot was preparing to make a landing approach to the airport, the engine suddenly stopped and could not be restarted. The aircraft was over the center of town at the time, and the pilot wasn’t sure if he had enough altitude to make the air field, so he turned the plane around and away from the densely populated town center, and aimed towards Norwood High School hoping to land on the football field.  However, as he approached the school he saw that a football game was in progress, and instead aimed for the streets of a nearby housing development hoping to land there.  The aircraft came down on Dorset Street, and would have made a perfect landing except that the wing struck a telephone pole and some wires which flipped it on its roof.  Both pilot and student scrambled out and were not injured.  There was no fire.

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “R. I. Pilot Lands On Mass. Street”, October 26, 1970

Sterling, MA. – February 12, 1970

Sterling, Massachusetts, Airport – February 12, 1970 

 

     On February 9, 1970, a small aircraft with two men aboard took off from Sterling Airport bound for Nashua, New Hampshire, and disappeared en-route.  A search was instituted which involved Civil Air Patrol Aircraft. 

     Three days later, on February 12, a Civil Air Patrol Aircraft taking part in the search took off from Sterling Airport.  The pilot was Stewart C. Woodworth, 50, of Weston, Mass., and his observer was Stephen Nottonson, 33, of Newton, Mass.

     According to a witness, just after leaving the ground, the aircraft circled back toward the runway, and upon landing, collided with another airplane (with nobody aboard) that was parked on the runway.  The C.A. P. aircraft burst into flame, and two onlookers ran forward and managed to rescue Nottonson before the flames drove them back.  Mr. Woodworth perished in the accident.

     The missing plane was later found by snowmobilers taking part in the search.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search Pilot Dies In Fiery Crash”, February 13, 1970   

     Providence Journal, “Missing Plane, 2 Dead Fliers Found In Mass.”, February 13, 1970 

 

 

Princeton, MA. – February 9, 1970

Princeton, Massachusetts – February 9, 1970

     On February 9, 1970, two men left Sterling, Massachusetts, airport in a small airplane bound for Nashua, New Hampshire.  Not long after take-off the aircraft crashed in a wooded section of Princeton, Mass. about two miles off Route 140.  Both men were killed.

     A search for the downed aircraft was instituted, but the effort to locate it resulted in a second fatal accident.  Three days later, on February 12th, a Civil Air Patrol aircraft taking part in the search crashed and burned at Sterling Airport.  The pilot, Stewart C. Woodworth Jr., age 50, of Weston, Mass., was killed.  His observer, Stephen J. Nottonson, of Newton, Mass., was severely injured.     

     The crash site was eventually discovered by snowmobilers taking part in the search.  

     Source: 

     Providence Journal, “Missing Plane, 2 Dead Fliers Found In Mass.”, February 13, 1970

Hull, MA. – August 5, 1919

Hull, Massachusetts – August 5, 1919

     On August 5, 1919, two aircraft were performing a mock air battle over Nantasket Beach before a crowd of spectators.  (Nantasket Beach is in the town of Hull, Massachusetts.) 

     One aircraft was piloted by Wesley L. Smith, the other by Mark C. Hogue.  Both men had served as pilots in the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I. 

     At one point during the “battle”, Smith’s plane went into an uncontrolled spin and crashed into the water not far from shore.  The plane received considerable damage, but Smith was only slightly hurt, and was rescued by several beach goers.     

     Source:

     The Oklahoma City Times, “Aerial Battle Ends In Fall Of Plane”, August 5, 1919

 

Springfield, MA. – October 18, 1910

Springfield, MA. – October 18, 1910

     On October 18, 1910, aviator Louis G. Erickson, 32, was piloting a Curtiss biplane over Springfield.  At one point, as he was making a turn, the aircraft suddenly dropped from an altitude of about forty feet and fell into the top of a tree.  Erickson was tossed clear by the impact, and fell the rest of the way to the ground.  He was unconscious when help arrived, but he later recovered. The aircraft was reported to be “considerably damaged”.     

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Aviator Falls In Springfield”, October 19, 1910 

Pittsfield, MA. – July 4, 1911

Pittsfield, Massachusetts – July 4, 1911

     On July 4, 1911, aviator Charles C. Witmer was piloting a Curtiss biplane over Pittsfield when he encountered a sudden thunder and lightning storm that was producing severe winds.  A sudden gust of wind caught his airplane and capsized it in mid-air while he was at an altitude of 400 feet.  This caused Witmer to lose control, and the aircraft plunged to the ground.  Witmer was taken to House of Mercy Hospital with internal injuries, but it was reported that he was expected to recover.

     As a point of fact, Witmer did recover, and lived until 1929.  To find out more about Charles Witmer, see http://earlyaviators.com/ewitmer.htm

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Biplane Capsized; Aviator Badly Hurt”, July 5, 1911    

Boston, MA – July 4, 1879

Boston, Massachusetts – July 4, 1879

 

     On July 4, 1879, Aeronaut George A. Rogers and four companions, Baldwin, Kater, Bradley, and Donahue, made a balloon ascension from the Boston Common.  The balloon then drifted eastward, passing over Faneuil Hall, then over part of Boston Harbor, and then over East Boston, Winthrop, and towards the open sea.  Not wanting to be pushed out to sea, a drag rope and grappling hook were thrown out.  Unfortunately, the grappling hook broke as soon as it hit the ground, and there was nobody in the vicinity to grab the drag rope. 

     Before long the men found themselves out over the open water, and as they were passing Deer Island they encountered a “pop-up” thunder shower.  The heavy rains pelted the balloon and caused it to abruptly drop towards the water. 

     Off in the distance crewmen aboard the steamer, Samuel L. Little, and the tug boat, Camilla, saw the plight of the aeronauts and each gave chase.  Meanwhile, the sloop-yacht, Magic, was heading inbound returning to Boston, and its crew saw the balloon being blown seaward in their general direction.  The Magic’s commander, Captain, Edward C. Neal, set an interception course and within a few minutes was able to throw a line to the balloon which was now very low to the water and six miles at sea.  The line was secured, and Captain Neal ordered a small boat into the water to be rowed directly under the balloon.   

     As this was being done, strong winds were buffeting the balloon, causing it to twist and sway while tugging on the rope.  Professor Rogers climbed into the hoop of the balloon to direct rescue operations and open the release valve, while Bradley climbed into the netting ready to grab any other lines that might be tossed.  Meanwhile, Kater and Donahue were pulling sandbags of ballast from the bottom of the gondola and throwing them into the sea.   Then without warning,  Baldwin was suddenly pitched from the basket, but managed to grab hold of the outside and hang on.  Then the rope leading to the Magic suddenly snapped and the jerk of the balloon that followed caused Baldwin to lose his grip and fall into the water.

     Fortunately by this time the Samuel L. Little had arrived on scene and managed to secure the balloon’s drag rope, thus preventing it from being blown away, however, as the drag rope became taunt it pulled Bradley from the netting and sent him falling.  As luck would have it he landed squarely in the small boat that had been launched from the Magic.  Although badly bruised, Bradley was able to assist in rescuing Baldwin from the water.  Fortunately he was quickly rescued.

     Now that the balloon had been relieved of the weight of two occupants, it suddenly shot upwards as far as the drag rope secured to the Samuel L. Little would allow.  As the balloon bobbed a few hundred feet in the air, Rogers managed to open the emergency valve and release some of the gas to escape from the balloon.  As the balloon dropped back towards the water, Rogers and the others were taken aboard the Samuel L. Little.   

     The balloon was also salvaged from the water and brought aboard the steamer.

     As a point of fact, this had been Professor Rogers 38th ascension.   

     Sources:

     The Cincinnati Daily Star, (Ohio), “Aeronautic Adventures – Mishaps That Befell Some Balloonists Yesterday”, July 5, 1879

     The Daily Dispatch, (Richmond, Va.) “Boston Ballooning – Peril Of A Fourth-Of-July Party Of Aerial Travelers”, July 10, 1879

 

Boston, MA. – October 6, 1915

Boston, Massachusetts – October 6, 1915

 

     As of the is posting, very little information is available about this accident.

     On October 6, 1915, Elmer Olsen, a parachute jumper from Boston, was scheduled to perform at a fair somewhere in Boston.  His act included ascending in a hot air balloon to a considerable height before jumping with seven parachutes, each to be used in succession until he reached the ground.  As he was discarding one chute in preparation of opening the next, something went wrong, and he fell to his death.

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Parachute Jumper Killed”, October 7, 1915  

North Adams, MA. – September 5, 1921

North Adams, Massachusetts – September 5, 1921

 

     On September 5, 1921, Eugene M. Stafford of Boston, was scheduled to perform a double parachute drop from his balloon at a fair in North Adams.  Once the balloon had reached an altitude above 1,000 feet, Stafford made his leap, and his first parachute opened successfully.  At 600 feet, he cut away from the first parachute, and attempted to deploy the second, but the harness he was wearing that was attached to both chutes suddenly separated and he fell away.  He fell to the ground and was killed.

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Balloonist Killed Doing Double Parachute Jump”, September 6, 1921

Quincy, MA. – July 17, 1912

Quincy, Massachusetts – July 17, 1912

     On July 17, 1912, 17-year-old aeronaut Lawrence Stafford, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was scheduled to perform a balloon ascension and parachute jump at a place known as Hough’s Neck in the town of Quincy.  Several hundred people had come to witness the event.

     When the balloon had reached an altitude of 2,000 feet Stafford made his jump, but the parachute failed to open.  He landed in shallow water in Quincy Bay and was killed. 

     Source:

      Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Parachute Jumper Falls To His Death”, July 18, 1912

Taunton, MA. – September 24, 1902

Taunton, Massachusetts – September 24, 1902

 

     On September 24, 1902, the Bristol County Agricultural Society Fair was being held in Taunton, Massachusetts, and part of the entertainment featured balloon ascensions, and parachute drops. 

     One ascension was made safely by a man identified as Professor Stafford in the early afternoon.  Another was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. later that day, which would include a triple parachute drop to be performed by the professor,  his wife, and an assistant, Louis Girard. 

     At 4:30 p.m., the balloon lifted from the ground, but almost immediately it was apparent that something was wrong, and Mrs. Stafford dropped away safely. 

     The balloon then quickly rose to a height of 400 feet where it began to rip apart and collapse.  At this point the professor dropped away with his parachute and landed safely, but Girard became entangled in the ropes and couldn’t free himself.   The balloon came crashing down and struck with great force.  Girard was pulled unconscious from the wreck and taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.  

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Aeronaut Killed”, September 25, 1902 

Billerica, MA – June 27, 1940

Billerica, Massachusetts – June 27, 1940

     At about 7 p.m. on the night of June 27, 1940, a four passenger biplane was passing over the town of Billerica when, according to a witness, something fell from the aircraft.  Just afterwards, the plane went into a sideslip before falling from an altitude of approximately 500 feet and crashing into a wooded area of town known as Garden City.   The pilot and two passengers aboard were killed.

     The pilot was identified as Elliot Underhill, 43, of, Spotswood, New Jersey.  The two passengers were identified as Walter Abrams, 32, of Lowell, Massachusetts, and Edwin Martin, 22, of Billerica. 

     Mr. Underhill was an experienced pilot.  He served as a pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1st Aero Squadron from 1917 to 1920.

     Sources:

     The Lowell Sun, “Federal Probe Of Plane Crash – Three Killed In No. Billerica”, June, 28, 1940, page 1.

     www.findagrave.com, Elliot Underhill, Memorial #43985518

Chelsea, MA – June 17, 1839

Chelsea, Massachusetts – June 17, 1839 

     Louis Anselm Lauriat, (c. 1786 – c. 1857), was a Boston aeronaut who reportedly made 48 balloon ascensions during his lifetime.  He was born in Marseilles, France, and came to America in the early 1800s, where he settled in Boston and established a business at the corner of Washington and Springfield Streets in Boston producing gold leaf.  He also developed an interest in science and balloons, and began making ascensions of his own. 

     The following article appeared in the Vermont Phoenix on June 28, 1839, referring to an ill fated balloon ascension made by Lauriat on June 17, 1839.   The article had first appeared in the Boston Transcript.

     THE BALLOON-PERILOUS VOYAGE

     The wind was West North West, with a strong breeze, when Mr. Lauriat ascended in his balloon from Chelsea yesterday afternoon; and as he rose from the garden of the Chelsea House, where the balloon was inflated, he was driven by the force of the wind against branches of a tree, and five of the cords by which the cars were attached to the aerostat were severed, and Mr. Lauriat was in imminent danger of being thrown out, – the balloon, however, was wafted on, at a low elevation, towards Shirley Point, where Mr. L endeavored to effect a landing, and letting off a portion of the gas, descended to the ground.  The balloon was dragged some distance and came in contact with another tree, by which two more cords were severed, and left it retained only by a part of the netting.

     There was no assistance at hand, and the balloon, after being disengaged from the tree, was dragged, in despite of all Mr. L’s efforts to stop its progress, into the water, and continued skipping over the surface, sometimes completely immersing the aeronaut in the water, and again elevating him a hundred (feet) in the air.  There were several vessels in the bay which endeavored to assist him, but were unable to reach him.  The balloon was driven some eight or ten miles from land, and Mr. L became faint, discouraged at the moment by anticipation of a watery grave.  In this perilous condition he continued until Capt. Paine of the schooner Fame, which was coming up the bay, discovered his situation, and launched a boat, which was rowed to his assistance, and happily, the progress of the balloon was intercepted, and the aeronaut rescued, just as the balloon rolled from the netting, and soared “free and unconfined,” away, and was soon lost to view.

     Mr. Lauriat was kindly received on board the schooner and carried to Gloucester, where he arrived about 9 o’clock.  As he was very anxious to return home immediately, Mr. Mason, of the Stage House, generously conveyed him to Lynn, where he arrived at 1 o’clock this morning, pretty well satisfied, we hope, that ballooning is not the best mode of making gold leaf.

*********

     Another source (see below) lists the captain of the schooner as being a Captain John Pierce, not Paine, of Welfleet, Massachusetts. Lauriat was reportedly dragged through the sea for one hour and fifteen minutes over a distance of thirty miles in the direction of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, which is located north of Boston.   

     The balloon was not recovered, and was said to have cost $1,000, which was a huge sum of money in 1839. 

     *********

        Two years before the above incident, Mr. Lauriat may have been the first to use a balloon to drop leaflets.  The following news brief appeared in the (New York) Morning Herald, July 17, 1837,

     “Temperance Shower – Lauriat, at his last balloon ascension, distributed a shower of temperance tracts on the country around Boston.  This cold water shower had a very reviving effect upon the friends of the cause.  The utility of aerial navigation can no longer be questioned.”   

*********

     On June 17th, 1840, Lauriat made his 34th balloon ascension from Boston, and was in the air for nearly two hours.  

     Sources:

     Vermont Phoenix, “The Balloon – Perilous Voyage”, June 28, 1839 

     Lauriat’s – 1872 to 1922, “Being a Sketch of Early Boston Booksellers With Some Account of Charles E. Lauriat Company and its Founder, Charles E. Lauriat.”, Written for the Boston Evening Transcript by George H. Sargent, 1922.    

     Morning Herald, (New York) July 17, 1837     

     The Pilot And Transcript, June 22, 1840

Off Revere Beach, MA – June 6, 1907

Off Revere Beach, Massachusetts – June 6, 1907  

     The following article appeared in The Sun, a now defunct New York newspaper, on June 7, 1907.  It tells of a flight over Boston made by famous aeronaut Lincoln Beachey that ended with his unintentional landing in the water one mile off shore from Revere Beach.  Beachey’s “flying machine” was constructed with a motor and a balloon, and was not an airplane.   

SAILS THE AIR OVER BOSTON

     Aeronaut Beachey Finally Is Fished Out Of The Water Off Revere Beach

     Boston, June 6, – After an exciting trip over greater Boston, Lincoln Beachey of San Francisco dropped with is flying machine into the water between Nahant and revere Beach late this afternoon and was rescued by four boats which had been chasing his disabled air craft for half an hour.

     He made his flight from an amusement place at Revere Beach to Boston Common and back, as he had promised, but many times on the way he was in danger.  Twice his motor broke down; once shortly after he had crossed the Mystic River, and again after he had got back into midair after a descent at Winthrop for temporary repairs.

     The second time he was carried several miles in the direction of Boston Light.  Then he got temporary control of the machine again and sailed over Nahant, and finally, a mile off Revere Beach, he dropped into the water.  The boats which had started after him when he was seen wabbling in the air above Winthrop soon reached him and fifteen minutes later had him and his airship on shore.

     On the way to the Commons he circled his airship twice around the State dome and dropped a message for Gov. Guild.  The Governor and most of the legislators crowded the balconies and sidewalks about the State House as the airship sailed over them.  There were 50,000 persons on the Common when the airship descended near the Soldiers Monument.        

Clinton, MA – September 14, 1899

Clinton, Massachusetts – September 14, 1899

     On September 14, 1899, the eleventh annual Worcester East Agricultural Fair was in progress in Clinton, Massachusetts, a small town to the northeast of Worcester, Mass.  Part of the advertised entertainment included a balloon ascension and parachute drop to be performed by a Boston aeronaut identified as “Professor Beaumont”.   

     Just as the balloon began to rise, the crowd of 5,000 spectators could see that the bottom of the wicker basket was on fire, which was not part of the act.  Beaumont was powerless to do anything from his position, and was forced to stay with the balloon as it continued to rise and burn.  (How the fire was believed to have begun was not stated.)

     Finally the balloon reached an altitude where it was safe for Beaumont to jump and deploy his parachute, which he did, and landed without injury.

     Source: The Daily Morning Journal And Courier, (New Haven, CT.) “Balloon Caught Fire” September 15, 1899

 

Boston, MA – May 23, 1896

Boston, Massachusetts – May 23, 1896

     At 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 1896, a balloon ascension was scheduled to take place at the Congress Street ball fields in Boston.  The man advertised to fly the balloon was an aeronaut identified only as “Strickland”. 

    At the appointed time the balloon was to rise to an altitude of 5,000 feet where Strickland was to perform daring feats on a trapeze suspended beneath the balloon, and then drop using a parachute and land back on the ball fields.   Unfortunately as the balloon was being filled with hot air it was accidentally set on fire and quickly eaten by the flames. 

     The crowd, of course, demanded a refund of their ticket money, which likely would have been done, however, some chose not to wait and started a riot.  During the melee a dozen people were injured and Strickland himself, it was reported, “would have been killed but for the resistance of a squad of policemen.”       

     Source: Vermont Phoenix, “Massachusetts Notes – Balloon Ascended In Smoke”, May 29, 1896

Waltham, MA – July 4, 1892

Waltham, Massachusetts – July 4, 1892

     On July 4, 1892, aeronaut Frank P. Shattuck of Malden, Mass., was scheduled to make a balloon ascension from Waltham.  An estimated 10,000 people had gathered for the event.  As the balloon began to rise it was caught by a strong breeze and pushed into some nearby tree tops where the basket was raked through the upper branches before becoming hopelessly entangled in some telephone and telegraph wires that ran near the Park Theatre. 

     The wind continued to buffet the balloon causing it to sway back and forth, at times coming close to the roof of the theatre.  There were some people on the roof who had gone there to watch the ascension that suddenly found themselves in danger of being brushed off by the giant gas-bag.  Shattuck, meanwhile, was trapped in the swaying basket 60 feet above the street.  At one point the basket dipped low enough for those on the roof to grab him as he leaped from the basket. 

     Source:

    Burlington Weekly Free Press, (Burlington, VT.) “Another Rogers Balloon – Frank Shattuck of Malden Has A Narrow Escape From death”, July 7, 1892

Boston Harbor, MA – July 4, 1888

Boston Harbor, Massachusetts – July 4, 1888

 

     At 6 p.m. on the evening of July 4, 1888, a balloon rose from the Boston Common and drifted eastward over the harbor where it unexpectedly came down in the water not far from an area of land known as Point Shirley, which is located in the neighboring town of Winthrop.  A strong wind was blowing, and the occupants of the balloon were dragged for three miles through the choppy waters until rescued by the crew of a steam powered yacht identified as the Rose G. 

     A newspaper account stated, “After much trouble the party were taken aboard and all were safely brought to the city.  The journey was a most perilous one, and the escape from death of the excursionists almost miraculous.”  

     The names of the balloon’s occupants weren’t given.

     Source: The Indianapolis Journal, (Indiana), “Aeronauts In Peril”, July 6, 1888  

 

Worcester, MA – August 22, 1906

Worcester, Massachusetts – August 22, 1906 

Updated August 6, 2017

     On the evening of August 22, 1906, 15-year-old Charles Mayo of New York was to be paid five dollars to make a balloon ascension all by himself from the grounds of an amusement park.  (There is no mention of his having any previous experience with balloons.) 

     After being tied in the wicker basket hanging beneath the balloon, the ascension was made, but in coming down the basket slammed into the roof of the Philip W. Moen mansion knocking off the top of the chimney and tearing away some of the roof tiling.  It was reported that Mayo received “severe injuries” to his legs, back, and head, from the impact. 

     Sources:

     New York Tribune, (No Headline), August 24, 1906, page 3, under general news.      

     Spirit Of The Age, (Woodstock, Vt.) “Boy Hurt In Balloon”, August 25, 1906 

Marblehead, MA – May 7, 1915

Marblehead, Massachusetts – May 7, 1915

 

     On May 7, 1915, Aviator Clifford L. Webster, and a mechanic identified as “Carman”, were making a test flight over Marblehead of a Burgess airplane which had been built for Vincent Astor.  While over the water of near Marblehead Neck the engine suddenly stopped and the plane crashed into a sea wall on the ocean side of the causeway that connected Marblehead Neck with the rest of the town.   After striking the seawall, the aircraft continued on across the road where both men were pitched out.  Webster suffered a broken arm.  No injuries for the mechanic were reported.     

     Source: The Brattleboro Daily Reformer, (Brattleboro, VT.) “Aviator Was Badly Injured”, May 7, 1915, page 5

Marblehead Bay, MA – April 6, 1912

Marblehead Bay, Massachusetts – April 6, 1912

 

     On April 6, 1912, airplane pioneer and builder, W. Sterling Burgess, was on Marblehead Bay with his “hydro-aeroplane” preparing to take off when the engine backfired setting the canvas of the left wing on fire.  Burgess battled the flames with his coat and managed to save the aircraft which reportedly suffered about $250 in damage – a large sum for the time.  Men in several nearby motor boats came to aid Burgess and tow the aircraft back to shore.

     Source:

     The Evening World, (New York), “Fights For Life As Flames Wrap Hydro-Aeroplane”          

Dorchester Bay – July 1, 1912

Dorchester Bay – July 1, 1912

 

     On July 1, 1912, world famous aviator Harriet Quimby, and a passenger, William A. Willard, were flying in a two-seat Bleroit monoplane over Dorchester Bay towards Squantum Aviation Field when the aircraft was caught by a sudden gust of wind which lifted the tail and caused the aircraft to “nose forward” while 1,000 feet in the air.  Both Willard and Miss Quimby were pitched from their seats and were killed when they hit the water.  The airplane then turned completely over in the air and came down in the bay.  

     The accident was witnessed by thousands who had come to the Boston Aero meet to watch the flight of several aircraft make their way to Boston Light and back.   Ironicly, Mr. Willard wasn’t originally scheduled to fly with Miss Quimby.  According to one report, newspaper photographer A. B. Reed was supposed to make the flight, but a change was made at the last minute.

     At the time of the accident the tide was low, and the water was only about five feet deep.  The bodies of Miss Quimby and Mr. Willard were quickly recovered by men in motor boats, and transported to the morgue in the town of Qunicy.   This was reported to be the first airplane crash fatality in New England.

     The aircraft was also recovered, however there seems to be conflicting reports about the amount of damage it sustained in the fall.  One report stated, “The powerful Bleriot, after being freed of its two passengers glided off gracefully into the wind and struck the water on an even keel then dove its nose into the mud and turned over on its back.  It was recovered undamaged except for a few broke struts and wires.”    

     However, another report stated, “The wreckage today was dragged from the five feet of water where it stuck in the mud head down. Some mechanical parts may be saved.  Otherwise it is a total loss.”

     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer reported as to the possible cause of the accident. “A dozen explanations of the cause of the first heavier than air machine fatality in New England were voiced today by aviators and experts.  The most logical seemed to be that the controlling wire broke when Miss Quimby started her downward glide, snapping the fuselage and throwing the tail up and the head down with such great force that the two aviators were hurled from their seats as if shot from a catapult.”

     The incident gained national attention in the press for Miss Quimby had gained international fame in a relatively short time.  In 1911 she became the first woman to earn a pilot’s license from the Aero Club of America, and in April of 1912, the first woman to fly across the English Cannel.  At one point she was hailed by the American press as being “the leading woman aviator of the world”.  

     In May of 1911 Miss Quimby had survived an earlier plane accident while at the Moisant School in Mineola, New York, when the plane she was piloting fell ten feet and was wrecked.  Miss Quimby wasn’t hurt.

     Harriet Quimby is buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.  To see a photograph of her grave see www.findagrave.com, Memorial #4020

     Mr. Willard was a widower, survived by two sons and a daughter.

     Much more has been written about the life of Harriet Quimby which can be found elsewhere on the Internet.      

     Sources:

     Bridgeport Evening Farmer, (CT.), “Miss Quimby Falls In Her Bleriot Today”, May 12, 1911  

     The Marion Daily Mirror, (Ohio), “Harriet Quimby, Leading Woman Aeroplane Expert”, May 31, 1911 

     Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Mother Takes Remains Of Woman Flyer”, July 2, 1912, page 3

     The Washington Times, (Wash. D.C.), “Harriet Quimby And Passenger Killed In Fall From Monoplane”, July 2, 1912 

     The Sun, (N.Y.), “Harriet Quimby Killed By Fall”, July 2, 1912

     El Paso Herald, (TX.), “Harriet Quimby Falls 1000 Feet To Death”, July 2, 1912 

     www.findagrave.com

 

Springfield, MA – May 28, 1910

Springfield, Massachusetts – May 28, 1910

 

     On the evening of May 28, 1910, the balloon Springfield, took off from the Court Square extension in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, with five men aboard.  The trip was reported to be “another comet party”, presumably to observe Halley’s Comet which was present in the nighttime sky at that time.   

     The pilot was J. B Benton, of Boston.  Passengers included David P. Todd, a professor at Amherst College; two Amherst students, Robert Wells of Paris, France, and Nelson Waite; and Boston businessman Louis Dederick. 

     The balloon lifted slowly upwards as it drifted towards the railroad tracks of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.  While only about twenty feet in the air, the balloon lines leading from the passenger gondola to the balloon netting got snagged on wires suspended over the tracks.  The balloon was now bobbing above the wires while the gondola with its cargo was left helplessly dangling beneath, directly over the tracks.  A crowd gathered as the occupants struggled to free the lines, but before much could be done, the sounds of an approaching express train could be heard. 

     The train showed no signs of slowing as it approached, but fortunately it only grazed the gondola as it sped past and continued on its way without stopping. 

     After recovering from what they thought was their certain end, the men decided to abandon their plans for a balloon flight for that evening. 

     Sources:

     New York Tribune, “Express Grazes Balloon”, May 29, 1910 

     Omaha Daily Bee, (Omaha, Neb.) “Train And Balloon Nearly Collide”, May 30, 1910

Near Middlefield, MA – May, 1907

Near Middlefield, Massachusetts – May, 1907

(Exact date is unclear.)  

     At 8 a.m. on a morning in late May of 1907, aeronauts Leo Stevens and Harry Maroke took off from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the famous balloon Le. Centaur.  (This was the same balloon that had carried Count Henri de la Vaulx in a record breaking trip across Europe from Paris, France, to Kiev, Russia in October of 1900.)     

     The balloon quickly rose to 6,000 feet as the winds carried it on an eastern course.  The craft reportedly rose so rapidly that the heat of the sun caused the gas inside to expand to the point where holes blew out in two different places creating leaks and a sudden loss of buoyancy.  As the balloon began falling the men quickly ejected all ballast and other items of weight including their lunch baskets, shoes, and outer clothing.   They did however keep the anchor and two other items, a stethoscope and a thermometer aboard.

     At the time they were reportedly “near the town of Mansfield, Massachusetts”.  As the balloon fell it was still being pushed along by strong winds, and it seemed certain to crash.  As it neared the ground, the anchor was dropped and it caught on a fence and immediately tore it apart.  The balloon continued on for another one-hundred feet before the anchor snagged in a maple tree which halted movement long enough for the occupants to quickly climb down the anchor rope and down the tree to safety. 

     It was reported that the damage to the balloon was such that it would never fly again.  The balloon had a capacity of 1,600 cubic feet.

     The Le Centaur was brought to the United States in 1906 by its owner, Count Henri de la Vaulx, and later acquired by the Aero Club of America.    

     Sources:

     The Evening World, (NY), “Frightful Fall In Burst Balloon”, May 24, 1907. 

     The Plymouth Tribune, (Plymouth, Ind.), “Two Men Fall A Mile”, May 30, 1907.  (This is not a new England newspaper and the exact date of this occurrence is not specified.)   

 

North Adams, MA – September 12, 1999

North Adams, Massachusetts – September 12, 1999

     On September 12, 1999, an airshow was held at Harriman Airport in North Adams, to celebrate the airports 50th anniversary.  During one part of the show, two vintage military aircraft were conducting a low level fly-past when they collided in mid air.  One aircraft was a twin-engine Cessna, and the other an L-19.

     There were conflicting reports as to how the accident occurred, however it was felt that neither pilot saw the other’s aircraft due to their vantage point.

     The accident happened in view of thousands of spectators – none of whom were hurt.  

     One aircraft crashed in a marshy area near the end of the runway and exploded, while the other went down in cornfield in the neighboring town of  Williamstown.   Both pilots were killed.      

     The pilots were identified as George Shelton, 68, of Boston, and Paulus Kraaijvanger, 67, of North Stonington, Connecticut.

     Sources:

     Union News, “Air Crash Claims Pilot’s Lives”, September 13, 1999.

     Westerly Sun, “Two Pilots Killed At Air Show”, September 13, 1999

     Cape Cod Times, “Two Pilots Die In Crash At Air Show In N. Adams”, September 13, 1999

Quincy, MA – August 30, 1910

Quincy, Massachusetts – August 30, 1910 

     On August 30, 1910, well known Kansas City aviator, Horace Kearney, was taking part in the Boston-Harvard Aero Meet being held at the Atlantic Aviation Field in Quincy, when he was involved in an airplane crash.  

     Shortly before the accident, Mr. Kearney had made a successful test flight with his Pfitzner monoplane and reached an altitude of 70 feet over the field before landing safely.

     On his second flight he rose to 25 feet, and began practicing some dips and rises to see how the aircraft would handle.  As he was doing so a strong gust of wind caught the aircraft and sent it into a spin.  The front of the airplane smashed into the ground and splintered, and the wheels were broken.  The rest of the plane was thought to be salvageable, but it would take time to make repairs. 

     Mr. Kearney survived with bumps and bruises. 

     Mr. Kearney later lost his life in another aviation accident in 1912 in the water off California. 

     Sources:

     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “Horace Kearney’s Aero Plane Wrecked At Opening Of Boston-Harvard Meet”, August 31, 1910 

    

        

 

 

Springfield, MA – April 20, 1910

Springfield, Massachusetts – April 20, 1910

 

     old balloonOn the afternoon of April 20, 1910, A. Holland Forbes of the New York Aero Club, along with John Parker and William Hull, were making a balloon ascension from Court Square in Springfield, Massachusetts, when the balloon veered towards a tall tree.  The balloon struck the tree-top which was about 100 feet off the ground, and was briefly caught in the upper branches.  When it broke free, it began swiftly heading towards the upper floors of a nearby apartment building.  Mr. Forbes immediately tossed out several hundred pounds of sand-ballast which caused the balloon to abruptly rise straight upwards barely missing the building. 

     It was reported that ,”The danger was over in so short a time and the balloon was gliding rapidly northward almost before the 3,000 spectators were aware of it.”

     The balloon later landed in Hadley, Massachusetts, about twenty-five miles distant.

     Source: The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “Forbes Balloon Runs Into Tree”, April 21, 1910, page 5 

Brockton, MA – October 6, 1915

Brockton, Massachusetts – October 6, 1915 

 

   balloon  On the afternoon of October 6, 1915, two men, Emil Olsen, and Berton Eager, were scheduled to give performances at the Brockton Fair by jumping from a balloon using parachutes.  Eager went first, rising to the appointed altitude and making a successful drop.

     About an hour later it was Olsen’s turn.  As an estimated crowd of 35,000 people looked on, Olsen rose from the fairgrounds after declaring that he was going to do his friend “one better”.   His plan was to jump using four parachutes, only using one at a time. 

     After the balloon had risen to several thousand feet, Olsen made his jump.  The first parachute opened perfectly, which he then dropped away from and opened the second, which also opened as it should.  The third did likewise, but for some reason the fourth failed to open while Olsen was still about 5,000 feet in the air.  At first the crowd though it was all part of the act, but after a few seconds realized something was wrong.  Olsen plummeted to the ground and landed in an open area just outside the fairgrounds.   

     Mr. Olsen was 22-years-old, and lived at 244 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, Mass.

     Source: Vermont Phoenix, “Killed At Brockton Fair”, October 8, 1915

Springfield, MA – October 8, 1908

Springfield, Massachusetts – October 8, 1908

 

    Early balloon with net On October 8, 1908, well known aeronaut, Leo Stevens, was making a balloon ascension at Springfield, Massachusetts, when something went wrong with the safety valve on the gas bag.  Aboard the balloon with Mr. Stevens were Floyd B. Smith, of Yonkers, New York, and Harlan T. Pierpont, of Springfield, Mass.

     As the balloon rose to 1,000 feet Stevens realized that it was becoming over-inflated and was at risk of bursting open.  If it did, the three of them would surly fall to their deaths. 

     With no other choice, Stevens climbed out of the balloon and into the rigging where he managed to tear open the safety valve with his teeth while holding on to the rigging.  

     With disaster averted, the balloon landed safely in the town of Granby, about 12 miles from Springfield.

     For other balloon ascensions involving Mr. Stevens, see “Dalton, MA – July 29, 1908”, and “Near Providence – November 19, 1910” under Aviation Accidents on this website.

     Source:

     New York Tribune, “Teeth To Open Valve”, October 9, 1908

Lynn, MA – May 11, 1912

Lynn, Massachusetts – May 11, 1912

 

    balloon On May 11, 1912, famous aeronaut, Professor Clarence C. Bonette, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was scheduled to give a performance at Lynn, Mass.  Bonette’s plan was to rise to a predetermined height in his balloon, and then drop using a parachute.  He began his ascension from the intersection of Spring and Washington Streets, and when he’d reached an altitude of 10,000 feet over the area of High Rock, he decided to make his drop. 

     As soon as he began his descent it was apparent that the parachute wasn’t working right, and within seconds Bonette had lost control.  He crash-landed on the roof of a home belonging to Fred Campbell on Bay View Avenue before sliding off and hitting the ground. 

     The professor suffered several broken bones in the accident.

     For more information about Professor Bonette, see the article “C. C. Bonette – Early Vermont Aeronaut” under “ARTICLES” on this website.

     Source:

     The Barre Daily Times, (Vt.) “Prof. C. C. Bonette Hurt In 10,000 Foot Drop”,  May 13, 1912, Page 2.           

Quincy, MA – September 3, 1910

Quincy, Massachusetts – September 3, 1910 

 

    early biplane On September 3, 1910, aviator Clifford B. Harmon was participating in the Boston-Harvard Aero Meet being held at Atlantic, Massachusetts, a village within the town of Quincy.   While taking off in in his biplane, one of the wheels sank in the soft wet dirt some of which accumulated on the landing gear and made the aircraft unsteady.  Just after takeoff, while at an altitude of about forty feet, he crashed in a marshy area.  The aircraft was wrecked, but Harmon escaped injury.

     Source: Arizona Republican, “An Inter-continental Aviation Meet”, September 4, 1910       

Rockland, MA – October, 1876

Rockland, Massachusetts – October, 1876 

 

    balloon The following news item about an early Massachusetts aviation accident was found in the October 14, 1876 edition of The Donaldsonville Chief, a Donaldsonville, Louisiana, newspaper.  

     “An aeronaut named Thomas, who ascended in a balloon at Bridgeport, Ct., was pitched into a tree at Rockland, Mass., and his balloon floated out to sea.” 

     No further details were given.

    

Boston, MA – March 10, 1964

Boston, Massachusetts – March 10, 1964

 

     At 6:13 a.m., on March 10, 1964, Slick Airways Flight 12 departed New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on a cargo flight to Bradley Field in Connecticut, and then on to Boston’s Logan Airport.  The aircraft was a Douglas C-54B-DC, (N384), with a crew of three aboard. 

     The flight arrived at Bradley without incident, and departed for Boston at 7:35 a.m. 

     According to the Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Accident Report, Boston weather at the time was scattered clouds and low overcast with surface visibility of 1 mile in moderate sleet, freezing rain, and fog. 

     At 8:01 a.m. the flight notified Boston Approach Control that they were encountering moderate airframe icing conditions.   

     At 8:21 a.m., as the aircraft was approaching Logan’s runway 4R, it crashed in a lumber yard in Boston’s Castle Island neighborhood approximately 7,000 feet from the airport.   Upon impact a fire erupted setting the lumbar yard ablaze.  No lumber yard workers were injured.  

     All three crewmen perished in the crash.  They were identified as the pilot, Captain Irwin S. Zadwick, 39, of Lawton, OK., First Officer Salvatore J. Conilio, 35, of Somerville, MA., and Flight Officer Truman Sanner of Winthrop, MA.

     The aircraft was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft in 1943 for the U.S. military with serial number 18379.  It was purchased by Slick Airways in May of 1963. 

     Investigators determined the cause of the crash was due to; “loss of balancing forces on the horizontal surface of the aircraft’s empennage, due to ice accretion, causing the aircraft to pitch nose down at an altitude too low to effect recovery.” 

     Sources:

     Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report, file #1-0003, adopted October 30, 1964, released November 5, 1964

     Reading Eagle, “Three Crewmen Die When Cargo Plane Crashes, Burns In Boston”, March 10, 1964

Logan Airport, MA – October 4, 1960

Logan Airport

Boston, Massachusetts – October 4, 1960 

        

Vintage Post Card View Of Boston's Logan Airport

Vintage Post Card View Of Boston’s Logan Airport

     The aircraft involved in this accident was a four-engine Lockheed Electra L-188, registration N5533.

     At 5:40 p.m., on October 4, 1960, Eastern Airlines Flight 375 was departing Boston’s Logan International Airport on runway 9 with 67 passengers and a crew of 5 aboard.   Just seconds after becoming airborne off the runway, a flock of starlings flew into its path and some were sucked into three of the four engines.  The aircraft then yawed to the left and decelerated to stall speed as it continued forward towards the harbor at the end of the runway.  Once over the water the left wing dropped while the nose pitched upwards and the aircraft dropped almost vertically into the water from and altitude of about 150 feet.     

     Only 10 of the 72 persons aboard survived the crash.   Two of the survivors were members of the crew, and nine of the ten survivors suffered serious injuries.

     The accident was witnessed by numerous witnesses on the ground,  two of whom happened to have cameras and took pictures while the plane was still airborne.  The photos were given to investigators.

     Source:

     Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Accident Report, file #1-0043, adopted July 26, 1962, released July 31, 1962

New Bedford, MA – September 15, 1957

New Bedford, Massachusetts – September 15, 1957

 

     On September 15, 1957, Northeast Airlines Flight 285 took off from Boston’s Logan Airport bound for Hyannis, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and New Bedford. 

     The aircraft was a Douglas DC-3, (registration N34417).

     The flight arrived at Martha’s Vineyard and missed it’s first landing approach due to poor weather conditions, but landed safely on the second approach at 8:07 p.m.   It then departed for New Bedford at 8:19 p.m., 50 minutes behind schedule, due to the missed approach and other minor delays.

     The flight headed for New Bedford under instrument flight rules. 

     At 8:38 p.m., Flight 285 began its approach to New Bedford Airport.  According to the Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report, weather conditions were as follows: “Indefinite 200, obscuration; visibility one mile; fog; wind southeast 3; altimeter 30-02.”      

     At about 8:46 p.m., Flight 285 radioed New Bedford tower and advised that it had completed the procedure turn, and was inbound over the outer marker approaching runway 5.  The lone air traffic controller on duty acknowledged the transmission.  This was the last communication received from Flight 285.

     The air traffic controller visually waited for the aircraft to appear, and when it did not, realized something was wrong and tried several times to make contact.  It was soon discovered that Flight 285 had crashed in a swampy area about 4,000 feet short of the runway.

     Rescuers had to wade through thick muck, waist deep water, and undergrwoth to reach the survivors. 

     One survivor, Mr. Gerald Bland, was credited with saving the life of a stewardess by administering first aid.  He and another survivor, 14-year-old Nancy Blair, also extinguished a small fire which could have ignited the aviation fuel leaking from the fuselage where several other survivors were trapped.  

     Both pilots were killed, as were 10 of the 21 passengers.  The 11 surviving passengers received various injuries.

     Source:

     Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report #1-0102, adopted March 13, 1958, Released, March 19, 1958.

      

Off Boston, MA – October 29, 1957

Off Boston, Massachusetts – October 29, 1957

    

Vintage Post Card View Of Boston's Logan Airport

Vintage Post Card View Of Boston’s Logan Airport

     On October 29, 1957, Scandinavian Airlines Flight 912 departed Idlewild Airport, (Today known as J.F. K. Airport) in New York bound for Copenhagen, Denmark.  

     The aircraft was a DC-7C with Danish Registry OY-KNB.

     At approximately 5:15 p.m., while about 200 miles off the coast of Maine, the No. 1 engine on the left wing began running erratically and then the propeller began to over speed at 4,000 r.p.m. The crew tried to feather the prop but without results.  Then sparks and flame appeared around the engine cowling.

     The pilot declared an emergency and descended to 8,000 feet while receiving routing instructions to return to Idlewild, which were later changed to Boston’s Logan Airport which was closer than New York.   Meanwhile, a Coast Guard plane was dispatched from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island and intercepted Flight 912 at 7:42 p.m.

     As Flight 912 was making its approach to Boston at 4,000 feet the spinning propeller broke free and fell into the sea.  The aircraft made a safe landing at Boston on runway 22L where it was met by fire crews who sprayed foam over the left wing as a precautionary measure.    

     There were no injuries reported, and occupants of the plane departed safely.

     Source: Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report #F-105-57

         

Logan Airport, MA – November 15, 1961

Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts – November 15, 1961

 

     

Diagram from Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Investigation Report

Diagram from Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Investigation Report

      On the evening of November 15, 1961, (about 47 minutes after sunset), two commercial airliners collided on the ground at the intersection of runways 9 and 4R at Boston’s Logan Airport.

     At about 5:09 p.m. National Airlines Flight 429, a DC-6B, (N8228H), was crossing Runway 9 in anticipation of take off when it collided with Northeast Airlines Flight 120, a Vickers Viscount, (N6592C), that had just landed on Runway 4R. 

     After the collision, Flight 120 lurched to the left, went through the runways lights, and came to rest off the runway about 1,000 feet from the intersection.  Part of the left wing was severed from the aircraft and although fuel was leaking from ruptured wing tanks there was no fire.     

     Meanwhile, Flight 429 also swerved to the left and came to rest about 150 feet off the runway and 800 feet from the intersection.  Despite ruptured fuel lines there was no fire.  

     Although both aircraft were heavily damaged, there were no serious injuries suffered by anyone on either aircraft.  Four passengers aboard Flight 120 suffered minor cuts and scrapes while deplaning.

Diagram showing both aircraft at rest after collision. Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Accident Report.

Diagram showing both aircraft at rest after collision.
Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Accident Report.

     Click on image to enlarge.          

     Source: Civil Aeronautics Board Aircraft Accident Report #1-0021, adopted Aug. 15, 1962, released August 21, 1962            

Methuen, MA – January 5, 1999

Methuen, Massachusetts – January 5, 1999

 

     At about 4:00 p.m. on January 5, 1999, a single-engine Piper Cherokee took off from Lawrence Municipal Airport with three adults and a child aboard.  Shortly after take off the plane lost power and crashed in the parking lot of the Pride’s Crossing apartment complex on Riverview Blvd. in Methuen, coming to rest against the building.  No residents of the building were injured. 

     The occupants of the airplane were transported to area hospitals.  The three adults were critically injured, but the child escaped with relatively minor injuries.      

     Source:

     Westerly Sun, “Four Injured In Plane Crash”, January 6, 1999, P20.

Malden, MA – June 28, 1949

Malden, Massachusetts – June 28, 1949

     On June 28, 1949, a single-engine aircraft took off from Revere Airport and headed for Malden where the pilot, Eugene W. MacDonald, 32, and his passenger, John A. Sheridan, 28, both lived.

     While over Malden the plane developed engine trouble and all power was lost.  As the plane went into a glide the pilot attempted to restart the motor.  The aircraft came in low over the Newburyport Turnpike where it clipped some wires., and it was at this point the engine suddenly came to life and the pilot was able to regain some altitude.  However, this only lasted for a few seconds before the motor cut out again, and the plane crashed into a wooded ledge. 

     Both men were seriously injured, and it took rescue workers 30 minutes to extricate them from the wreckage.   Among the first to arrive at the crash scene were Mr. MacDonald’s wife and family who lived nearby. 

     Source:

     Nashua Telegraph, “Two Badly Hurt In Plane Crash”, June 29, 1949  

Middleboro, MA – May 25, 1998

Middleboro, Massachusetts – May 25, 1998

     On May 25, 1998, David J. LaCroix, 60, of Taunton, and George A. Stedman Jr., 46, of Brockton, both members of the Brockton Civil Air Patrol, were taking part in a four hour C.A.P. training exercise near the Taunton Municipal Airport when their single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft suddenly experienced mechanical difficulty and crashed in a thickly wooded area of the town of Middleboro.  Neither man survived. 

     Both were long time members of the Civil Air Patrol with 6,100 hours of flight time between them.  

     Witnesses reported that just before the crash they heard the plane’s engine fade, and then “wail loudly” before quitting all together. 

     On May 22, just two days before the crash, Mr. LaCroix had flown the very same plane on a search and rescue mission looking for a downed Piper Aero which had crashed in the town of Lincoln, Massachusetts.  In that accident a man and his 5-year-old son were killed.    

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “2 Killed In Mass. Crash Were Experienced Pilots”, May 27, 1998

Off Nantasket Beach, MA – October 2, 1916

Off Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts – October 2, 1916

Forced landing off Hull, Mass.

          Late in the afternoon of October 2, 1916, Lawrence Sperry, inventor of the Sperry Gyroscope, took off in a hydro-aeroplane from Lynn, Massachusetts bound for Marbelhead, Massachusetts, and disappeared en-route.  Speculation as to what happened ranged from his landing in a remote inlet due to engine trouble, to being blown out to sea.   

     A large scale search was instituted.  Automobiles were sent along the shore roads while boats and a navy tug from the Charlestown Naval Yard were dispatched to search the water for wreckage. 

     Sperry was found safe the following morning after having spent the night drifting in his downed airplane off the coast of the Nantasket Beach section of the town of Hull.  He had been forced to make a water landing after he ran out of gas. 

     Prior to his ordeal, Sperry had completed a test flight from Amityville, Long Island, N.Y., to Boston, accompanied by Captain Leo Dewey of the U.S. Army.  After landing in Boston, he set out for Marblehead, and landed at Lynn where he discharged his passenger.  From Lynn he took off for Marblehead alone, when he ran out of fuel. 

     Source:

     The Daily Gate City And Constitution-Democrat, (Keokuk, Iowa), “Lost Aviator Is Located”, October 3, 1916              

Mt. Greylock, MA – August 3, 1912

Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts – August 3, 1912

 

    Early balloon with net On August 3, 1912, the balloon Boston, piloted by J. J. Van Valkenburg, president of the Aero Club of New England, ascended from Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  Also aboard was William C. Hill, treasurer of the club.  The balloon sailed northeastward towards Mt. Greylock, in the town of Adams.  While over the mountain, it hit what was described in the press as an “air hole” and abruptly dropped 1,500 feet and smashed into the tops of some trees.  It then inexplicably rose again, soaring to an altitude of 6,000 feet.  It then continued on a northeasterly course until landing in Rowe, Massachusetts.  Nether man was reported to be hurt. 

     Research has found another balloon flight over Mt. Greylock that almost ended in disaster.   On September 19, 1884, Mr. J. A. Rogers of Boston ascended in a balloon from North Adams, Massachusetts, to an altitude of 10,000 feet where he began to suffer from hypothermia.  As the balloon passed over Mt. Greylock it began to fall at a rapid rate, and it was with great effort that Rogers was able to throw out enough ballast to prevent the craft from crashing into the rocky summit.  With disaster averted, the balloon sailed off to the southwest and landed in Williamstown, Mass.            

     Sources:

     The Democratic Advocate, (Westminster, MD.), “Balloonist Drop 1500 Feet, Then Bounce Mile”, August 16, 1912 

     Daily Evening Bulletin, (Maysville, KY.) “Balloon Ascension”, September 22, 1884

    

 

Worcester, MA – July 30, 1892

Worcester, Massachusetts – July 30, 1892 

 

     balloon On July 30, 1892, Professor Blondie Willies was scheduled to give a balloon exhibition in Worcester.  As preparations for the ascent were being made, volunteers held the balloon earthbound with anchor ropes.  Then a sudden thunderstorm blew in, and heavy winds and rain buffeted the balloon, causing it to get away from the men who were attempting to hold it down.   As the balloon began to rise, one man, identified as Benjamin Long, got his right foot caught in the loop at the end of the rope he was holding and was yanked off his feet and pulled upwards.  Five thousand  people had gathered to watch the ascension, and those who hadn’t sought shelter watched in horror as Long was seen dangling by his leg as the empty and untethered balloon continued to rise and thunder and lightning raged all around.  

     Long did the only thing he could do under the circumstances, and that was to begin maneuvering in such a way as to be able to grab hold of the parachute suspended beneath the balloon and pull the cut-off rope.  He fell for fifty feet before the chute deployed, however the wind carried him over a nearby lake where he landed in the water.  After swimming ashore on his own, he was greeted to cheers and applause by those who had witnessed the incident.  None was more relieved to see Long safe than his mother, who had accompanied him to the event.

     Source:

     Turner County Herald, (Hurley, So. Dakota) “A Scene Not Advertised”,(A Man Carried Up Head Downwards By A Balloon.) August 11, 1892  

Boston, MA – July 9, 1862

Boston, Massachusetts – July 9, 1862

 

    old balloon At about 7:00 p.m. on the evening of July 9, 1862, a balloon named the “Star Spangled Banner” piloted by Samuel A. King, ascended from the Boston Common with four passengers aboard.  Once aloft it was unexpectedly blown seaward, and then fell at a rapid rate to the water.  The gondola was dragged through the water of Boston Harbor as several boats gave chase in an attempt to rescue its occupants.  One steam powered boat, the Huron, managed to catch up and rescue the aeronauts after securing a line to the balloon.  Once the men were safely aboard, the line snapped, and the now empty balloon shot up into the sky and disappeared in the clouds.

     Source:

     The New York Herald, “Ascension Of The Great Balloon “Star Spangled Banner” From Boston Common – Peril Of The Aeronauts”, July 11, 1862     

 

    

Lowell, MA – August 31, 1907

Lowell, Massachusetts – August 31, 1907

 

    old balloon On Saturday, August 31, 1907, Harry M. Maynard of Lynn, Massachusetts, was scheduled to give a parachute exhibition sponsored by the Stafford Balloon Club of Boston at a pleasure resort known as Lake View.  The plan had been for Maynard to ascend to a pre-designated height in a balloon, and then jump using two parachutes.  After the first chute deployed, he was to cut himself away from it, and free fall until the second chute opened allowing him to land safely.   

     Maynard jumped as planned, but the first parachute didn’t open until he was only 400 feet above the ground.  He then cut away from the first chute, but was now too low for the second to deploy successfully.  He came down on the roof of a bowling alley and died three minutes later.

     The incident was viewed by 7,000 people.

     Source:

     Pullman Herald, (Washington) “Fell 400 Feet To Death”, September 7, 1907   

State Police Helicopter Crash – February 22, 1995

State Police Helicopter Crash- Cambridge, Massachusetts

February 22, 1995 

   MA_SP_AirWing_3  At 9:30 a.m., a Massachusetts State Police helicopter with two troopers and two civilians aboard took off from the Nashua Street helipad in Boston, bound for Norwood Airport.  Less than three minutes later, as the helicopter, an Aerospatiale AS-350B, headed across the Charles River, it suddenly developed engine trouble.  As it neared the opposite shore the, witnesses stated the main rotor stopped turning, and the aircraft plunged into the roof of the two-story Harvard Yacht Club located at 45 Memorial Drive in Cambridge.  Although the helicopter was completely wrecked, there was no fire.

     All four persons aboard were killed in the crash.  They were identified as:

     Sergeant Paul A. Perry, 39, and Sergeant James Mattaliano, 33, both assigned to the State Police Air Wing unit based in Norwood.

      Arthur T. Howell, 47, of Malden, mass., and Michael J. McCarthy, 46, of Weymouth, Mass.  Both were employees of AT&T.  They were being ferried to Norwood to work on state police communications equipment.       

     For more information and photos of the officers, see www.findagrave.com. 

     James Mattaliano, Memorial #133231586

     Paul A. Perry, Memorial #13323632 

     The yacht club was vacant at the time of the accident and nobody on the ground was injured.

     The main cause of the crash was determined to be contaminated fuel. 

     Sources:

     Sun-Journal, (Lewiston, ME) “Helicopter Crashes Boathouse, Killing 4”, February 23, 1995

     Deseret News, (Salt Lake City), “4 Die When Copter Crashes At Harvard”, February 22, 1995  

     Philly.com, “4 Die As Mass. Police Helicopter Crashes Into Harvard Boathouse”, February 23, 1995 

     Wilmington Morning Star,(AP) “4 Killed In Massachusetts Helicopter crash”, February 23, 1995, pg. 2A

    

     

Windsor, MA – December 10, 1986

Windsor, Massachusetts – December 10, 1986

Updated May 17, 2018

     On December 10, 1986, a Beech King Air 100 Turboprop, (N65TD), was en-route from Pal-Waukee Airport in Des Planes, Ill., to Pittsfield Airport in Pittsfield, Mass., when it encountered heavy overcast conditions over the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts.  At approximately 9:30 a.m. the aircraft crashed in a wooded area in the town of Windsor, and exploded on impact.  All six men aboard were killed.

     An eyewitness to the event was a 21-year-old deer hunter who’d seen the plane circling overhead, but didn’t think it was in trouble until it crashed a quarter of a mile away from his position. 

     The location of the crash was between Bates Road and Savoy Hollow Road. 

    The aircraft was registered to the Teledyne Corporation of Los Angeles.  It carried a crew of two, and four passengers.  The passengers were all employees of Teledyne Post Inc.   

     This incident was reported to be the second worst aviation accident in the history of Berkshire County.   The worst occurred in the town of Peru, Mass., on August 16, 1942, when 16 army servicemen were killed when their transport plane crashed into Garnet Peak in heavy fog.       

     Sources:

     New York Times, “6 Die In Plane Crash In Berkshires”, December 11, 1986

     Chicago Tribune, “Exec’s Deaths Probed”, December 12, 1986 

     Aviation Safety Network

     Berkshire Eagle, “Plane Crash Claims 6 Lives In Windsor”, December 11, 1986

     Berkshire Eagle, “It was a Typical Day, Until…”, December 11, 1986

     Berkshire Eagle, “Berkshire Plane Crashes Have Taken 54 Lives Since 1942”, December 11, 1986

Longmeadow, MA – October 1, 1927

Longmeadow, Massachusetts – October 1, 1927

     On October 1, 1927, a plane carrying two men, William P. Thomas, and William B. Van Buren, took off from Dunn Field, in Longmeadow, Massachusetts for an instructional flight.   Thomas was an experienced pilot with the 43rd Aero Squadron of the Connecticut National Guard, and Van Buren was a student pilot.  For reasons not stated in the press, the aircraft crashed at the field, and Thomas was killed.  Van Buren received possible fatal injuries.

     No further details were given.

     Dunn Field was a civil airport located along the banks of the Connecticut River in an area known as Longmeadow Flats. It was named for the original property owner.

      Sources:

      New York Times, “Plane Crash Kills Pilot”, October 2, 1927

     The Yankee Flyer, Journal of the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society, #35, Sept./Oct. 2003

    

Revere, MA – January 1, 1912

Revere, Massachusetts – January 1, 1912

     On January 1, 1912, well known early aviator, Harry N. Atwood, was attempting to fly his Burmess-Wright hydro-aeroplane from Point of Pines in Revere, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine, when the aircraft developed engine trouble just after take-off.  The engine quit just after Atwood was over Lynn Bay, but Atwood managed to re-start it in short order.  Atwood had taken off into a strong wind in order to gain lift, but when his engine stopped the wind  turned the plane about.  When he got the engine started again the wind was now behind him, which hindered his attempts to gain altitude.  When the engine quit a second time he was forced down into the water. 

     The plane landed upright on its two pontoons, but somehow one of the pontoons developed a leak, possibly due to the hard landing, and the plane began to list to one side.  Atwood was wearing two sets of clothes to keep warm during his flight to Maine, one of which he managed to strip away in anticipation of going into the water.  He then climbed out onto the one good pontoon, but his weight forced it beneath the surface drenching him in the icy water.  He would likely have drowned had it not been for two men in a boat who saw his plight and raced to his rescue.   

     He was taken ashore to the home of Hiram Carter where he was treated for exposure and hypothermia.

     Source: New York Times, “Atwood Near Death By Fall In Water”, January 2, 1912  

     

Quincy, MA – June 18, 1915

Quincy, Massachusetts – June 18, 1915

Updated May 16, 2016

     The Harvard Aviation Field was located on the Squantum Peninsula in the town of Quincy, Massachusetts, from 1910 to 1916. 

     On June 18, 1915, William Ely Jr., 19, a student at Brown University, went to the Harvard Aviation Field to meet with well known New England aviator Harry M. Jones.  Jones had been experimenting to see how much weight his airplane could carry in preparation for a non-stop flight to Washington, D.C. 

    At the time of Ely’s arrival, Jones had been preparing to make a test flight and offered to take the youth along.  Besides the pilot and passenger, the airplane carried 125 pounds of iron.   After a short successful flight, the pair returned to the air field.

     Later that day, Jones took off again, this time carrying William Ely and 21-year-old George Hersey as passengers.  (The iron had been removed.)

     The aircraft was described as a “tractor biplane with an 80 horse-power motor.” The seating configuration was such that the passengers sat up front ahead of the pilot.       

    Jones flew the plane out over the water at an altitude of 100 feet, in a long lazy arc back towards shore.  As it passed over Squantum Point, the plane went into a steep dive and crashed into a  hillside about a mile from the airfield.  Both passengers were killed instantly, and Jones was rendered unconscious.

     After being pulled from the wreck Jones briefly regained his senses and asked about Ely and Hersey.

     “Tell me,” he was quoted as saying, “did the boys get hurt?”

     To which he was told that they did not.

     Jones was transported to Quincy Hospital for treatment.  He’d suffered two scalp wounds and a lacerated nostril. 

     It was subsequently learned that at the time of the accident Jones did not have a license to fly an airplane. He was charged with operating an aircraft without a license, to which he pled guilty, and was fined $100.  

     This was not the first aviation accident for Jones.  On August 9, 1914, he crashed his airplane in the Narrow River in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Aeroplane Falls, Kills 2, Hurts 1”, June 19, 1915, Pg. 1

     New York Times, “Narragansett Flier Hurt”, August 10, 1914

     Wikipedia – Harvard Aviation Field

     The Fulton County News, “Aviator Fined $100”, July 1, 1915

          

Mashpee, MA – August 28, 1927

     Mashpee, Massachusetts – August 28, 1927 

 

     On August 28, 1927, Henry J. Larkin, 23, of Brookline, Massachusetts, was flying his Curtis Seaplane (No. 2918) eastward along the coast of the towns of Falmouth and Mashpee when he encountered a fog bank and was forced to turn back.  It was then that he happened to meet up with another seaplane being piloted by Harold G. Crowley, 33, of Winthrop, Mass. going in the same direction.  The two men knew each other, and Larkin fell in with Crowley’s plane as they made their way westward along the coast.  As they neared Succannesset Point close to the Falmouth/Mashpee town lines, a sudden wind gust pushed Larkin’s plane into Crowley’s.  The impact sent Larkin down in a spinning dive into the water.  Crowley was able to land safely on the water. 

     It was later determined that Larkin came down in Mashpee waters.

     Larkin received internal injuries and a compound fracture to his nose, and was admitted to Hyannis Hospital for treatment.  

     Falmouth Enterprise, “Seaplanes Collide Over Sound”, September 1, 1927

     Update: May 16, 2018

     Harold Crowley’s aircraft was known as “Barbara” and had a red/green cockpit with aluminum painted wings.

     Henry Larkin’s aircraft was known as “The Seagull”. 

     Source: Vineyard Gazette, (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.), “Airplanes Collide, Pilot Is Injured”, September 2, 1927.

 

    

Lowell, MA – October 3, 1895

Lowell, Massachusetts – October 3, 1895

 

     balloonOn October 3, 1895, “Professor” James Allen of Providence, R.I. took off in his balloon from the North Common in Lowell as part of the Merchant’s Week celebration.  The ascent was witnessed by 10,000 people.  Besides Allen, there were two passengers aboard, D.A. Sullivan, and W. I. Rombough. 

     Shortly after take off, Allen became unconscious, presumably from poisonous gas escaping from the balloon, and Sullivan and Rombough had to grab hold of him to keep him from falling out of the gondola.    

     Neither passenger knew how to operate the balloon, so they were forced to sit back and go wherever the craft carried them.  For the next hour, the winds carried the balloon over the towns of Tewkesbury, Andover, and Bedford, before the balloon came down on its own in the northern part of Lexington.  Neither of the men could explain why the balloon landed of its own accord.

     Allen didn’t regain consciousness for quite some time.

     Source: New York Times, “Unpleasant Balloon Ascension”, October 5, 1895

   

Weston Flying Field, MA – May 26, 1926

Weston Flying Field, Massachusetts – May 26, 1926

     On May 26, 1926, some Harvard University  students met at the Weston Flying Field, which was presumably in Weston, Massachusetts.  (Today, no such field exists, but the newspaper byline was “Boston”, which isn’t far from Weston, which is the reason for the presumption.)   

     One of the students, Arthur Menken, 22, was there because he’d made a bet with ten fellow students that he would make a parachute jump from an airplane from an altitude of 2,000 feet.  He put up the one-thousand dollars, and each of them put up $100, making a total of $1,000.  Now all had arrived to see if Menken would jump or not.

     The origin of the bet dated to a week earlier when Menken’s father, S. Stanwood Menken, a New York Attorney, had come for a visit, and was planning on playing golf at the Brookline Country Club, in Brookline, Mass.  Arthur had planned to surprise his father by parachuting onto the golf course in the middle of his game.  Unfortunately, bad weather cancelled his plan, and his friends challenged whether or not he really would have gone through with it.  Thus the wager.

     After donning his parachute, Menken climbed aboard an airplane piloted by Lieutenant J. S. Dexter, of Boston.  Witnesses later reported that just after take off the plane seemed to be experiencing problems.   It had barely become airborne when the  aircraft dipped for apparent lack of speed before it recovered and started to gain altitude.  When it had reached a height of about 400 feet, the left wing suddenly dropped, causing the plane to fall rapidly and make a nose-first crash-landing in the soft ground about a half-mile from the field.  

     The aircraft was demolished, but both pilot and passenger escaped with relatively minor injuries.  The type of aircraft was not mentioned.

     As to the bet, Menken said he’d try again the following week if his shoulder mended.

     Source:

     New York Times,”Plane Crash Stops Harvard Man’s Leap”, May 27, 1926     

 

 

Billerica, MA – February 16, 1980

Billerica, Massachusetts – February 16, 1980

     At 2:10 p.m., on February 16, 1980, a Bristol Britannia 253-F, four-engine turbo-prop cargo plane (Registration # G-BRAC)  with eight people aboard left Logan International Airport in Boston bound for Shannon Airport in Ireland.  The plane was carrying computer equipment, and its tanks were topped off with 6,650 pounds of fuel.  (Some news accounts indicate there was 10,000 pounds of fuel, but the UK crash report states 6,650.)  

     It was foggy and snowing at the time the plane left Logan, with a 400 foot overcast, and 1/2 mile visibility.  Icing conditions as well as air turbulence had been reported by other pilots.   

     Shortly after becoming airborne the pilot reported he was having trouble climbing.  As the flight was passing over the town of Billerica, Massachusetts, a community just northwest of Boston, it suddenly lost altitude and crashed in a thickly wooded area behind a business on Route 3A.   The plane cut a huge swath through the trees and exploded.  

     Seven of those aboard were killed.  The sole survivor, Richard Creer, 59, of Dorset, England, was found by first responders, and transported in critical condition to St. John’s Hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Today known as Saints Memorial Medical Center.)  He eventually recovered from his injuries.

     The cause of the crash was attributed to ice and snow buildup on the wings.

     The dead, all British citizens, were identified as:

     (Pilot) Capt. William Coburn, of Lechlade-on-Thames.

     (1st Officer) Jack Jones, of Malmesbury, Wilts.

     (Navigator) Anthony Beckett, of Hove, Sussex.

     (Load Master) David White, of Milton Keynes, Bucks.

     (Ground Engineer) William Brady, of Luton Beds.

     (Load Agent) Lionel Heady, of Charlwood, Surrey.

     (Passenger) Mrs. Sharon Parker, of Lyneham, Wilts.

     Mr. Creer, the sole survivor, was the Flight Engineer.

     The aircraft was owned by Redcoat Air Cargo Ltd. which ceased operations in 1982.  

     Sources:

     UK Government- Air Accident Investigation Branch – Report # 3/1981

     Ocala Star-Banner, “Six Die In Plane Crash At Boston”, February 17, 1980 

     Glasgo Herald, “Crash Plane Took Off In Snow Storm”, February 18, 1980

     Boston Globe, “30 Years Later, Fatal Plane Crash Still A Vivid Memory”, February 11, 2010. 

     Lowell Sun, “Remembering The Billerica Plane Crash of 1980”, February 16, 2010

     Aviation Safety Network

     Wikipedia- Redcoat Air Cargo Ltd.

    

Quincy, MA – September 28, 1927

Quincy, Massachusetts – September 28, 1927 

     On September 28, 1927, Thea Rasche, a famous German aviatrix, crashed at Dennison Airport in Quincy while attempting to land her Flamingo biplane.  The plane was damaged, but Rasche was uninjured.

     The Udet U-12 Flamingo was a German made biplane trainer and sport aircraft. 

     Dennison Airport was located near the intersection of East Squantum Street and Quincy Shore Drive.  The airport opened in 1927, and closed shortly before World War II.

     Famous Aviator Emilia Earhart was aboard the first official flight out of the airport on September 3, 1927.      

     Thea Rasche was an aviation pioneer, born August 12, 1899.  More information about her can be found on Wikipedia.   

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Thea Rasche Crashes”, September 29, 1927

     www.wikipedia.com – Thea Rasche

     www.wikipedia.com – Dennison Airport

Over Nantucket, MA – November 4, 1970

Over Nantucket, Massachusetts – November 4, 1970

     On the evening of November 4, 1970, Pan American World Airways Flight 114 departed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York bound for Orly Airport in Paris, France. 

     The aircraft was a Boeing 747-121 (N739PA) with 148 passengers and 15 crew aboard.

     The aircraft had been cleared to 31,000 feet, and as it climbed to 27,000 feet turbulence had been minimal. 

     At 9:46 p.m., while passing over Nantucket Island at an altitude of 27,000 feet, the aircraft suddenly experienced severe turbulence that lasted about four minutes. Although the seatbelt sign was on, and had been on since takeoff , 21 passengers and 2 stewardesses sustained injuries – some of them serious.

     At 10:07 p.m. Flight 114 requested clearance back to J.F. K. Airport, and landed on Runway 31R at 11:39 p.m.

     In the NTSB investigation report of the incident it was stated in part, “The national Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the entry of the aircraft into an area of moderate to briefly severe turbulence associated with convective activity while numerous occupants were unsecured by seatbelts, even though the seatbelt sign was lighted.”        

    Source:

     National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation Report, #NTSB-AAR-72-14, File# 1-0001, Adopted May 3, 1972  

Logan Airport – November 3, 1973

Logan Airport – November 3, 1973

Updated July 28, 2017

     On the morning of November 3, 1973, Pan American World Airways Flight 160 departed J.F. K. International Airport in New York bound for Scotland.

     The aircraft was a Boeing 707-321C (N458PA).  It was a scheduled cargo flight, with a crew of three aboard; the captain, John J. Zammett, 53, the first officer, Gene W. Ritter, 34, and the flight engineer, Davis Melvin, 37.  There were not passengers.

     The aircraft was carrying 16,000 pounds of chemicals including cylinders of nitric acid, and other types of acids.  The manifest also included 5,000 pounds of mail, 16,000 pounds of electrical components, and another 16,000 pounds of “miscellaneous items”.      

     At 9:04 a.m. Flight 160 advised Pan American Operations that they had a smoke condition on board and were diverting to Boston. 

     At 9:10 a.m. Flight 160 advised the smoke was getting thicker. A minute later they requested emergency equipment to be on hand when they landed. 

     As the plane approached Boston it was given “preferential air traffic control treatment” even though no emergency had been declared by the flight crew.

     At 9:31 a.m. Captain Zammett was asked if he was declaring an emergency, to which he replied, “Negative on the emergency, and may we have Runway 33 left?”   The request was granted.

     By 9:38 a.m. the aircraft was about four miles from the airport, but its transponder had evidently stopped working.  One minute later Flight 160 crashed 262 feet from the edge of Runway 33L. 

     Witnesses later reported that just before the crash they saw the left cockpit window open with smoke streaming out, and the plane was doing yaw and roll maneuvers before the left wing and nose slammed into the ground at a nearly vertical angle.  The plane was destroyed and all three men aboard were killed.

     The cause of the crash was determined to be excessive smoke in the cockpit which hampered the crew’s ability to control the aircraft.  As to the cause of the smoke, the NTSB investigation report, in Section 16 of the Technical Report Standard Title Page, stated in part, “Although the source of the smoke could not be established conclusively, the Safety Board believes that the spontaneous chemical reaction between leaking nitric acid , improperly packaged and stowed, and the improper sawdust packing surrounding the acid’s package initiated the accident sequence.”

     Sources:

     National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation Report, #NTSB-AAR-74-16, File #1-0026, Adopted December 2, 1974.

     Providence Journal, “Jet Crash At Logan Kills 3”, November 4, 1973 page 1, (photo of accident scene)

     Providence Journal, “Perilous Chemicals Fished From Boston Harbor”, November 5, 1973, page 24

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Boston Cargo Jet Crash Probed; Smoke May Have hampered Crew”, November 5, 1973, page 23

 

Norfolk, MA – August 9, 1964

Norfolk, Massachusetts – August 9, 1964

     On August 9, 1964, Eugene Levine of Medway, Mass., and Robert Eldridge of Natick, took off from Norfolk Airport in a 1958 piper Tri-Pacer airplane for a routine flight.  While returning to the airport, the plane developed engine trouble and the motor quit. Levine attempted to make an emergency landing in a hay field about a mile short of the runway, but as it neared the ground a gust of wind sent the craft into a row of trees causing it to crash.  Fortunately both men were wearing seatbelts and escaped without injury. 

     Source: Woonsocket Call, “2 Men Escape Injuries In Norfolk Plane Crash”, August 10, 1964, Pg. 1 

Martha’s Vineyard – June 22, 1971

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – June 22, 1971

    On the morning of June 22, 1971, Northeast Airlines, Flight 938, left Kennedy International Airport in New York bound for New Bedford, Massachusetts.  From New Bedford, it was to travel to Martha’s Vineyard.  The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31, (N982NE) arrived at New Bedford without incident, and departed at 8:22 a.m., and proceeded to Martha’s Vineyard.    

     While on final approach to Martha’s Vineyard Airport under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) the airplane struck the water about three miles from the end of Runway 24.  The impact caused minor damage, and the airplane was able to remain airborne.  Fortunately,  none of the five crewmembers and thee passengers aboard were injured, but the incident still needed to be reported as an aviation accident.     

     Source: National Transportation Safety Board Aircraft Accident report # NTSB-AAR 72-4, File # 4-0001, adopted December 29, 1971.

Revere, MA – August 2, 1901

Revere, Massachusetts – August 2, 1901

 

    balloon At about 5 p.m., on August 2, 1901, aeronaut Frank P. McBride, of Meriden, Connecticut, made a balloon ascension from the Point-of-Pines section of the town of Revere.  Just as the balloon reached an altitude of 100 feet it suddenly collapsed, and began to fall.  McBride was too low to use his parachute, and was forced to stay with the balloon.  Thankfully a cross-wind helped to slow the craft’s downward speed, pushing it sideways as it fell.  When the gondola hit the ground McBride was flipped from the basket and landed on his feet, breaking a bone in his left heel and injuring his back.

     McBride was injured in another balloon accident on July 18, 1901, when he ascended from Ulmer Park, New Jersey.  While over Brooklyn, New York, a strong wind buffeted his balloon against trees and buildings before he was finally pitched through a window. 

      Source: The Meriden Weekly Republican, “Aeronaut McBride Hurt Near Boston”, August 8, 1901

    

Lynn, MA – July 9, 1905

Lynn, Massachusetts – July 9, 1905

 

     Early balloon with net On the evening of July 9, 1905, Boston aeronaut William Canfield, and Mrs. Camille Stafford, were in a balloon over Lynn, Massachusetts, when it developed a leak and began to fall.  Realizing that their combined weight was pulling the balloon downward to a certain crash, Canfield decided to jump using a parachute in order to lighten the weight so as to give Mrs. Canfield a better chance at survival.  His decision was not a selfish one, for when he jumped the craft had dropped to 1,000 feet, which was generally considered too low for a parachute jump, and surviving the jump was doubtful.  Therefore, he was willing to sacrifice his own life in order to save his passenger.     

     But luck was with them.  When Canfield jumped, a strong wind caught his parachute, but it sent him crashing into a house.   Although seriously injured, he was alive.

     Mrs. Stafford stayed with the balloon, which landed safely about a mile away. 

     Source: (San Jose, CA.) The Evening News, “Risks Life To Save A Woman”, July 11, 1905 

Barnstable, MA – September 2, 1907

Barnstable Massachusetts – September 2, 1907

     On September, 2, 1907, Professor Maloney, a balloonist, was scheduled to give an exhibition at the Barnstable County Fair.  The show was to include an ascent in his balloon, followed by a parachute jump. 

     As the balloon rose to altitude, Maloney was in a seat suspended underneath, intending to cut the ropes holding it in place to allow it to fall, thereby letting the parachute deploy.  However, at the height of 2,000 feet, a strong wind took the rope connected to the knife, and flung it into a group of cords connected to the balloon where it became entangled.   Maloney was now unable to reach the knife, and found himself in a precarious situation.  He was couldn’t descend, for he had not control over the balloon, and he was unable to drop with his parachute because he couldn’t cut himself away.   He was now at the mercy of the wind.        

     The balloon drifted for two miles when Maloney realized the gas was rapidly leaking from the envelope.  He began to loose altitude, slowly at first, then faster and faster.   Looking down,  all he could do was watch the earth loom closer knowing there was no way to slow his descent.  All he could hope for was something to provide a soft landing.

     As he neared the ground portions of the now almost deflated balloon draped around him preventing him from seeing where he was falling. Just as he was to impact the ground, the seat struck a cedar fence post, which somewhat broke his fall.  As he crashed to the ground he suffered serious back and arm injuries, but he was alive.   

     A long line of automobiles had given chase from the fair, and arrived at the scene of the crash.  Maloney was taken in a semi-conscious condition to his hotel in downtown Barnstable where he was treated by a doctor who determined he would recover.   

     Source: The Butler Weekly Times, “Fell 2,000 Feet Upon A Post”, September 5, 1907

Boston, MA – July 3, 1909

Boston, Massachusetts – July 3, 1909

 

    balloon On Saturday, July 3, 1909, a church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was having a Fourth of July celebration fair.  Part of the festivities included a balloon ascension scheduled for later in the day.  At the appointed time, aeronaut Joseph J. Cannon, 37, took off in his balloon and drifted across the Charles River and over the Boston Common.  It was there the hot air in the balloon suddenly began to cool down causing an uncontrolled loss of altitude.  The craft came down between two tall business buildings at the corner of Washington and Milk Streets.  (These buildings no longer exist.) The balloon’s netting became caught, leaving Cannon suspended over the narrow alleyway that ran between the two buildings.   He was rescued, unhurt, by members of the Boston Fire Department.    

     Source: (New Brunswick) The Sun, “Boston Aeronaut Is Rescued From His Perilous Position” July 5, 1909 

 

Westborough, MA – July 13, 1941

Westborough, Massachusetts – July 13, 1941

     On July 13, 1941, a small passenger plane with three people aboard took off from Westborough Airport (a.k.a. Westboro Airport) and crashed about one mile from the airport.  The cause of the crash was not given, and all three aboard received various injuries.

     Those aboard the plane were identified as John Griffin and his wife Alden, both of Worcester, and the pilot, Lucien Desjardin, of Shrewsbury.

     Source: The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Three Hurt In Plane Crash At Westboro”, July 14, 1941

Salisbury Beach, MA – July 10, 1920

Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts – July 10, 1920

Town of Salisbury, Mass.

Updated January 18, 2017

     On July 10, 1920, a small aircraft with three people aboard was on a sightseeing flight over Hampton and Salisbury beaches.  The pilot, Lieutenant Gordon L. Groah, of Lynn, Mass., routinely used this route for his sightseeing and exhibition flights.  The two passengers included Mrs. Richard H. Long, of Framingham, the wife of a prominent Massachusetts politician, and an aircraft mechanic from Pittsfield, Mass., who’s first name was Gaston, but there seems to be some confusion as to his last name.  Sources have spelled it Gornet, Cornet, Corrinet, and Gornorinett.  

     As the aircraft was at an altitude of several hundred feet over Salisbury Beach, it suddenly went into a dive and crashed on the beach in view of hundreds of beachgoers.  The mechanic leaped from the plane a second before it hit the ground, thus receiving minor injuries and saving his life.  Mrs. Long and Lieutenant Groah were pulled from the wreckage and rushed to Anna Jacques Hospital in nearby Newburyport, Mass., where they succumbed to their injuries.

     Richard H. Long, had been a Democratic candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, in 1919.   

     The following item was found in February 5, 1920 edition of The Iron Trade Review on page 450.

    “Boston – The Massachusetts Aircraft Corp. has been incorporated to build airplanes with $25,000 capital by Gordon L. Groah, Lynn, Mass.: John J. Hayes, Somerville, Mass., and M. G. McCarthy.”   

       Sources:

     Burlington Weekly Free Press, “Mrs. R.H. Long Killed In Plane Accident”, July 15, 1920, pg. 7

     New York Tribune, “Two Killed When Plane Falls At Salisbury Beach”, July 11, 1920

     Evening Star, (Washington, DC), “Two Die In Air Crash”, July 11, 1920

     Washington Herald, (Wash. DC), “Politicians Wife Killed In Crash”, July 11, 1920 

Newburyport, MA – August 4, 1910

Newburyport, Massachusetts – August 4, 1910

     On August 4, 1910, a man identified as W. A. Bowman took off in an airplane at Newburyport, Massachusetts, and crashed just after becoming airborne.

     The aircraft was a “Flying Fish” model, “Burgess aeroplane”.  The Flying Fish was a pusher-style biplane produced at the Burgess Company aircraft factory in Marblehead, Massachusetts.    

     According to the  Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “Bowman, who had never soared in an aeroplane before, took the machine out of the aerodrome and at once shot up to 60 feet.  There a great wind caught it and plunged it downward.  Its right wing hitting first, crumpled up, the main beam ploughing three feet into the earth, and Bowman was hidden under a mass of wreckage.”

     “The article went on, “The crowd dragged him out of a tangle of wires and wings.  He was dazed.  From his face and body blood poured from a score of cuts.  His right shoulder was bruised and a jagged cut over one eye blinded him in blood.”  It was also stated, (Bowman) was “injured internally and so badly crushed that he may die.”  

      Research has not been able to ascertain if Bowman survived.  

     One interesting item mentioned in the article referred to a Lieutenant Alexander L. Pfitzner, a Hungarian aviator, who had apparently had an accident with the same aircraft about three weeks earlier.  It the article it was stated, “Bowman’s flight was the first the unlucky plane has made since it fell with Lieutenant A. L. Pfitzner…” 

     Lt. Pfitzner’s accident occurred on July 9, 1910, when he crashed in the Plumb Island River during a test flight over Newburyport.  In that instance, the aircraft encountered a strong cross-wind while at a 100 foot altitude, and was forced down into the water.  Lt. Pfitzner was able to extricate himself and make his way to shore.  

      The lieutenant had come to America about 1902, and had been involved with aircraft design at the Herring-Curtis Aeroplane Company at Hammondsport, New York.  He helped to design the engine used in the aircraft Glenn Curtiss flew when he won the James Gordon Bennet Cup at Rheims, France, in 1909.  That same year Lt. Pfitzner came to Marblehead, Massachusetts, to serves as Superintendent overseeing the manufacture of Burgess-Curtis airplanes.  In that capacity, he had made about forty flights from Plum Island  at Newburyport, Mass.     

     Sources:

     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “”Hurt In Aeroplane Crash Bowman May Die”, August 4, 1910, Page 4.  

     (Woonsocket R.I.) Evening Call, “Flying Machine Drops Into River”, July 9, 1910, Pg. 1

     New York Tribune, “Aviator Takes His Life”, July 13, 1910.

    The Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society, www.massaerohistory.org

    

    

    

Westborough, MA – October 29, 1933

Westborough, Massachusetts – October 29, 1933

     On October 29, 1933, a passenger plane with four people aboard took off from Westborough Airport (a.k.a. Westboro Airport) bound for Worcester.  Shortly after take off the plane went into a steep dive during which a large piece of wing fabric was ripped away.  The plane crashed within inches of a farm house, and all aboard were killed.  There were no injuries to anyone on the ground. 

     The dead were identified as: Oliver H. Walton, 34, and his wife Ruth, 34, both of Needham, Mass.; Clarence E. heath, 25, of Dedham, Mass.; and George F. Chapman, 35, of Walpole, Mass.       

     Westboro Airport closed in the 1970s.

     Sources: Nashua Telegraph, “Four Die In Massachusetts Plane Crash”, October 31, 1933.  (Photo of wreck.)

    The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Four Killed In Plane Crash At Westboro, Mass.” October 30, 1933 

Newburyport, MA – July 9, 1910

Newburyport, Massachusetts – July 9, 1910  

     On July 9, 1910, Hungarian aviator, Lieutenant Alexander L. Pfitzner, 30, was test flying a “Flying Fish” model Burgess aircraft over Newburyport when at an altitude of about 100 feet the aircraft was suddenly caught by a strong cross-wind and went down in the Plumb Island River. Fortunately the tide was out and the water relatively shallow, and Pfitzner was able to extricate himself and make his way to shore.   

     A “Flying Fish” was a pusher-type biplane built by Burges Aircraft’s Marbelhead factory.  (See The Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society website for more information about this type of aircraft.)  www.massaerohistory.org

     Lt. Pfitzner was a graduate of the universities in Charlotttenburg and Budapest, where he majored in engineering.  After graduating, he served in the Hungarian military as an artillery officer before coming to America about 1902.   He immigrated to New York, and became involved with aircraft design at the Herring-Curtis Aeroplane Company at Hammondsport, New York.  He helped design the engine used in the aircraft Glenn Curtis flew when he won the James Gordon Bennet Cup at Rheims, France, in 1909.  That same year Lt. Pfitzner came to Marblehead, Massachusetts, to serve as Superintendent overseeing the manufacture of Burgess-Curtis airplanes.  In that capacity, he made about 40 test flights from Plum Island in Newburyport, Mass.   

     The aircraft flown by Lt. Pfitzner was repaired, and later involved in another accident on August 4, 1910.  On that date, William Bowman crashed just after takeoff at Newburyport from an altitude of 60 feet and was seriously injured.  

     Sources:

     (Woonsocket, R.I.) Evening Call, “Flying Machine Drops Into River”, July 9, 1910, Pg. 1

      New York Tribune, “Aviator Takes His Life”, July 13, 1910

     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “Hurt In Aeroplane Crash, Bowman May Die” August 4, 1910, Pg. 4   

 

Westborough, MA – August 4, 1936

Westborough, MA – August 4, 1936

     On the evening of August 4, 1936, a small plane with three people aboard was attempting to land at Westborough Airport (a.k.a. Westboro Airport) during a thunderstorm when it crashed in a nearby field.

     The injured were identified as: Mr. and Mrs. Vincent P. Wilbur, of Boston, and Dorothy Dunham, of Schenectady, New York.  All were taken to Memorial Hospital in Worcester with serious injuries.

     The airport ceased operations in the 1970s.

     Source: The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Three Hurt When Plane Crashes At Westboro”, August 4, 1936 

Revere Beach, MA – July 9, 1912

Revere Beach, Massachusetts – July 9, 1912  

     On July 9, 1912, Farnum T. Fish, was piloting a bi-plane over Revere Beach, flying from one end to the other, with his passenger, famous Pawtucket, R.I. aviator, John F. McGee.  At one point a wing dipped and touched the waves, causing the plane to plunge into the water and  tossing the occupants forty feet.  The plane suffered damage to the tail and propeller, but Fish and McGee were generally unhurt. 

Source: Boston Evening Transcript,”Aviator Fish Gets Wet”, July 10, 1912, Pg. 24 

  

 

 

Atlantic Ocean – June 6, 1939

Atlantic Ocean – June 6, 1939

     On June 6, 1939, a 22-year-old student flier from Carlisle, Penn., rented an aircraft (NC220-70)  and took off for what he later claimed to be a flight to “the planet Mars”.  At one point he stopped n Hallowell, Penn., to refuel, before heading out over the Atlantic Ocean. 

     When he was about 175 miles east-southeast off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, he encountered the fishing trawler Villanova, and circled the ship a few times before dropping a note attached to an empty five-gallon fuel can.  The note asked the ship’s captain to indicate the way towards land.  Captain Astman Bjartmarz ordered the letters “W N W” painted on the roof of the pilot house, but before a crewman could complete the job the plane disappeared into the high clouds.

     Less than an hour later the plane returned and came down in the water at Lat. 42.08, Long. 66.42.   The pilot managed to escape the plane before it sank, and he was rescued by the Villanova.  Once aboard he was treated for shock and hypothermia, but was otherwise uninjured.

     The pilot told the crew he’d been flying blind all night, and that a fuel line rupture between the reserve and main tank had made it necessary to land in the water.  When asked where he’d been heading, he replied that he was trying to get to the planet Mars. 

     The Villanova began dragging its nets and managed to snag and recover the aircraft, which it took in tow to Boston.  When the ship arrived the Boston police were waiting. 

     Source: New York Times, “Flier Saved From Sea Gives Mars As Aim”, June 7, 1939 

Boston, MA – June 26, 1987

Boston, Massachusetts – June 26, 1987

     On June 26, 1987, a twin-engine Piper Senica was approaching Logan Airport in heavy fog conditions when it crashed three miles short of the runway in a Boston residential neighborhood.  Although the pilot never radioed he was having a problem with the aircraft, one witness told reporters that he heard the engine sputtering before the crash.

     The aircraft struck a three-story home on Lonsdale Street in the city’s Dorchester section and exploded.  The resulting fire spread to three homes, and burned several cars.  The pilot, Peter Covich, 21, was killed, and three people on the ground suffered burns, one critically.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Airplane Plunges Into Boston Home”, June 27, 1987

Seekonk, MA – August 14, 1932

Seekonk, MA – August 14, 1932

Green Farm – Seekonk

     On August 14, 1932, a Fairchild monoplane took off from Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick, R. I. with two men aboard for a sight seeing flight.  The pilot, Edward Abrams, 35, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, had rented the airplane and was considering buying it.  Abrams had been giving rides in the airplane, and on this particular flight he was carrying Roland Holmes, 30, also of Rehoboth.

     As the plane passed over Seekonk, Massachusetts, according to the newspaper account, the pilot “attempted to execute a left spiral movement, and in doing so lost flying speed and sent the plane into a left spin at an altitude of less than 300 feet.”  The plane crashed on the Green Farm in Seekonk, about a quarter mile from the “Providence Airport” which is believed to be the What Cheer Airport in Pawtucket, as Providence didn’t have an airport.

     Roland Holmes was killed in the crash, and Edward Abrams suffered a fractured skull, and it was reported that he may not recover.

Source: Woonsocket Call, “Plane Passenger Killed In Crash; Pilot Is Injured”, August 15, 1932

      

                 

Northampton, MA – April 20, 1965

Northampton, Massachusetts – April 20, 1965 

     On the evening of April 20, 1965, a helicopter was taking off from La Fleur Airport in Northampton, when the driveshaft to the tail rotor suddenly snapped while the craft was 40 feet in the air.  The helicopter crashed, but all of the four men aboard escaped injury.   

     Those aboard included the pilot, David W. Graham, Massachusetts State Senator Charles A. Bisbie Jr., Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe, and his aide, George Luciano. 

     The helicopter was en-route to Boston when the accident happened.   

     Source:

    New York Times, “Volpe Is Uninjured In A Copter Crash”, April 21, 1965 

Springfield, MA – May 27, 1910

Springfield, Massachusetts – May 27, 1910

     At 3:15 p.m. on May 27, 1910, the balloon Pittsfield took off from Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  Aboard were two men, J. Walter Flagg, and W. J. Kelley, both of Worcester, Mass.  After drifting south eastward for more than two hours, they decided to land at 5:30 p.m.  By this time they were somewhere above the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

      After dropping two bags of ballast-sand overboard, the Pittsfield began to descend from an altitude of 7,800 feet.  However, it was noticed that as she was dropping, she was also gaining speed, and without warning suddenly began a rapid and uncontrolled fall from the sky.  The balloon dropped so fast that the occupants were forced to cling to the rigging lest they be pitched into space, and were therefore unable to toss out any further ballast to lighten the load. 

     The Pittsfield was headed straight for the Springfield Country Club, and several golfers happened to notice what was taking place, but were powerless to do anything.  Flagg and Kelley, certain that a crash landing was imminent, scrambled up into the rope rigging so as not to be in the gondola at the moment of impact.

     Then, by some miracle, the balloon suddenly decelerated while it was still barely 100 feet in the air, and instead of being dashed to pieces, came down with a hard thud on the greens.  Neither man was seriously injured.    

     Source:

     New York Times, “Aeronauts’ Narrow Escape”, May 28, 1910

Dalton, MA – July 29, 1908

Dalton, Massachusetts – July 29, 1908

     On July 29, 1908, a large gas balloon, Heart of the Berkshires, ascended from the Pittsfield Aero Park with three men aboard.  There was Leo Stevens, the owner, and Allen R. Hawley, both of New York, as well as C. R. Van Sicle of Pittsfield.  

     As the balloon drifted over the nearby town of Dalton, it was suddenly caught in a powerful updraft and rapidly carried to an altitude of 7,00o feet, and was still rising.  Stevens did what he could to slow the balloon by releasing some of the gas form the envelope, all the while the drag rope, which usually hung below the gondola, was being slapped against the side of the balloon by the strong draft threatening to tear a hole in it.   

     When the balloon reached 10,000 feet the updraft died away, but now, with the envelope relieved of much of its buoyant gas, the balloon began a rapid descent.  All excess weight was jettisoned from the gondola to slow the fall, which included ropes, ballast bags, and anything else they could think of.  The rate of fall slowed, but it was clear they couldn’t remain airborne. 

     As they neared the ground they saw they would be coming down in a field where men were at work cutting hay.   One was operating a large mowing machine which it appeared the balloon was heading straight for.  Stevens and the others tried to shout warnings, but the operator evidently couldn’t hear them.  At the last moment he looked up and saw what was happening, and barely got out of the way in the nick of time.

     The balloon struck the ground, but no injuries were reported.

     Source: (Woonsocket, R.I.) Evening Call, July 30, 1908, pg. 1    

    

Nomans Land Island, MA – July 2, 1950

Nomans Land Island, Massachusetts – July 2, 1950

     On the morning of July 2, 1950, two men, identified as David Brooks, 33, and Robert Fischer, 28, took off from Beverly Airport, in Beverly, Massachusetts, planning to return in the afternoon.  When they failed to return by 9:30 that night, a relative contacted the Coast Guard, and despite heavy fog conditions a search was instituted.  The men were found early the following morning on Nomans Land Island (a.k.a No Mans Land Island) which is located about three miles southwest off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. 

     They’d gone to the uninhabited island to photograph wild flowers, but the aircraft had crashed, pinning one of them in the wreckage.  Both were transported to a hospital and treated for their injuries. 

     Today the island is a wildlife refuge and closed to the public due to the possibility of unexploded military ordinance.  Between 1943 and 1996 the island was used by the military for bombing and gunnery practice.   For more information about the island see Wikipedia.     

     Source:

     Falmouth Enterprise, “Fog Hampers Coast guard Rescues Of Light Plane And yacht”, July 7, 1950

 

Saugus, MA – September 2, 1911

Saugus, Massachusetts – September 2, 1911

     On September 2, 1911, an aviator, identified only by his last name of Schumacker, was taking off from Franklin Field in Saugus in a biplane belonging to Guy Foss, the son of Massachusetts Governor Eugene N. Foss.  According to witnesses, the aircraft had attained an altitude of 20 feet when it was hit by a gust of wind that nearly overturned it.  As the plane was nearly upside-down, Schmacker jumped free of the controls and tumbled along the ground. The airplane continued downward for another few feet and was smashed apart when it hit the ground. 

     Mr. Schumacker escaped with only minor injuries. 

     Source:   (N.Y.) The Sun, September 3, 1911, page 5     

 

Falmouth, MA – November 26, 1936

Falmouth, Massachusetts – November 26, 1936

     On November 26, 1936, Bernarr Macfadden, a well known physical fitness advocate, author, and magazine publisher, left New York in an airplane with three friends to fly to Falmouth, Massachusetts , to celebrate Thanksgiving at the home of Fulton Oursler, an author and magazine editor.    Also aboard the plane was Doctor Dana Coman, Helen Coman, (daughter of the doctor), Fern Matson, and the pilot.

     As the plane was landing at Coonamessett Airport in Falmouth, something caused it to turn over upside-down on the runway.  All aboard were wearing seatbelts which saved them from any injuries. 

     Coonamessett Airport was located in the Hatchville section of Falmouth, and was in operation between 1933 and 1968. 

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Macfadded In Air Crash”, November 27, 1936   

     Wikiedia – Coonamessett Airport

     Wikipedia – Bernarr Macfadden

Saugus, MA – February 9, 1941

Saugus, Massachusetts – February 9, 1941

     On February 9, 1941, a single-engine private biplane was stunt flying over Saugus.  Witnesses recalled that the plane had just completed three loops and was beginning a fourth when it suddenly dove to the ground from an altitude of 400 feet.  The plane crashed in the yard of a home belonging to Harry Butler, just missing the house by a few feet.  Both men aboard the plane were killed.

     The dead were identified as Laurence G. Hanscom, 34, of Worcester, Mass., and Dr. Anthony V. Carbone, 34, of Cambridge, Mass.     

     The plane had been a trainer aircraft, with a dual set of controls.  Dr. Carbone had been a student pilot.   

     Hanscom was a well known newspaper correspondent working for the Worcester Telegram, and had been a pilot since 1919.   He was also the commander of the Massachusetts Wing of the Civilian Air Reserve.  The group numbered about 150 licensed pilots, and others interested in aerial photography and map making.

     His death occurred the day before he was scheduled to enter the Royal Canadian Flying Corps as an instructor.  (At the time of this accident, the United States hadn’t entered World War II.)    

     In February 1943, Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts, was named in his honor.

     Sources:

     (New Hampshire) The Nashua Telegraph, “No Explanation For Saugus Crash”, February 10, 1941

     (Maine) Lewiston Daily Sun, “Airplane Crash Kills Two Men At Saugus”, February 10, 1941  

 

 

 

Taunton, MA – October 11, 1920

Taunton, Massachusetts – October 11, 1920

     On October 11, 1920, a plane piloted by Lt. Frederick Smith took off from Fall River, Mass. headed for Taunton.  While en-route, the engine suddenly stopped.  The aircraft fell 1,000 feet before crashing into a tree in Taunton.  Both Smith, and his passenger, Russell H. Leonard, a Fall River mill owner, escaped with minor injuries.    

     Sources:

     Falmouth Enterprise, “Aviator Smith In Accident”, October 16, 1920

     American Wool & Cotton Reporter, October 21, 1920 page(s) (65) 3721

Barnstable, MA – August 31, 1921

Barnstable, Massachusetts – August 31, 1921

     On August 31, 1921, a balloon ascension and parachute jump demonstration was scheduled to be given at the Barnstable fair grounds in celebration of Governor’s Day. 

     As the balloon stood fully inflated before a crowd of 20,000 people, someone erroneously gave the order for it to be released without making sure it was safe to do so.  As it rose from the ground, 22-year-old Edward Wolfe of New Bedford became entangled in one of the ropes and was  pulled upwards by his legs.  Wolf managed to quickly free himself and fell about ten feet to the ground suffering numerous bumps and bruises. 

     Meanwhile the balloon continued upwards with 22-year-old A. Morin, the parachutist, still aboard.  At the proper altitude, Morin jumped and deployed his chute, but when he was barely 100 feet above the ground, the wind tore his parachute, sending him plummeting onto a hillside where he broke his right leg and several ribs. 

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Mishaps Mar Balloon Ascension At Fair”, September 3, 1921   

        

East Boston Airport – November 5, 1929

East Boston Airport – November 5, 1929

     On November 5, 1929, a  de Havilland Moth airplane with two men aboard was taking off from East Boston Airport bound for Bridgeport, Connecticut, when at a height of 150 feet it suddenly lost power and fell to the ground.  It hit the runway and began cartwheeling and burst into flames before coming to rest.  Volunteers quickly formed a bucket brigade using water from Boston Harbor to douse the flames prior to the arrival of firefighters.  

     Both men aboard were killed.  They were identified as (Pilot) Clinton D. Johnston, reportedly about 28-years-old, an aircraft factory inspector for the Department of Commerce, and Henry Carter, 32, from Lebanon, New Hampshire.  

     Johnston was to have turned the aircraft over to Carter once they reached Bridgeport, where he would fly it to New York.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Two Die In Crash At Boston Airport”, November 6, 1929

Provincetown, MA – February 21, 1961

Provincetown, Massachusetts – February 21, 1961

     On February 21, 1961, Manuel Phillips was piloting a small private plane over the Provincetown area while his passenger, John D. Bell, was taking photographs, when the plane suddenly went down nose first into the water just off Long Point.  Both men were rescued and neither was seriously hurt. 

     Bell had been a staff photographer for the Falmouth Enterprise from November, 1955, until the summer of 1957.     

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Photographer Hurt In Airplane Crash”, February 24, 1961

East Boston Airport – May 30, 1933

East Boston Airport – May 30, 1933

     On May 30, 1933, J. Oliver Beebe, 38, was taking flying lessons at East Boston Airport.  Three times that morning he flew with an instructor who supervised his landing techniques.  After three perfect landings, the instructor allowed Beebe to solo.  After two perfect landings, Beebe took off to circle the airport for another.  As he was approaching for the third landing, he overshot the runway and drifted out over the mud flats at the north end of the field.  He then banked the plane to turn around, and as he did so it suddenly fell from an altitude of 200 feet and dove nose first into the mud.  It took considerable time for rescuers to extricate Beebe from the wreckage.  He did not survive.

     Mr. Beebe graduated from Harvard University in 1916, and served with a French medical unit during World War I before the United States entered the war.  He then transferred to the U.S. 26th Infantry Division and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

     He was one of the first Americans to be awarded the French Croix de Gueere medal.  Other awards included citations from two French infantry divisions. 

     He was survived by his wife Alice, and their two children, and is buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “J. O. Beebe Killed In Plane Crash”, May 31, 1933

     www.findagrave.com

Falmouth, MA – May 26, 1960

Falmouth, Massachusetts – May 26, 1960

Coonamessett Airport

     On the morning of May 26, 1960, Carl D. Jeschke, was practicing a landing approach at Coonamessett Airport in Falmouth, when the Aeronca Champ he was piloting suddenly lost power and crashed behind “the Knollwood” on Boxberry Hill Road.  Although the plane was heavily damaged, Jeschke was unhurt.

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Pilot Unhurt As Light Plane Crashes”, May 27, 1960

      

  

Naushon Island, MA – January 1, 1939

Naushon Island, Massachusetts – January 1, 1939

     On January 1, 1939, an aircraft with two men aboard left New Bedford Airport around 11:00 a.m., en-route to Nantucket.  The plane was piloted by Samuel N. Sweet; his passenger was William G. Barlow.   

     After leaving Nantucket, the engine began to sputter, so Sweet landed at Oak Bluffs Airport on Martha’s Vineyard to have the problem attended to. 

     “Everything seemed in order,” Sweet later told reporters, “so we headed for the mainland. We were flying at 2,000 feet over Naushon Island when the motor froze because an oil line became plugged.  I dropped her to 1,500 feet to regain speed, but couldn’t come out of the stall.  I looked about for a suitable landing place and spotted a golf course at the Moors.  Our glide carried us easily, but train tracks and telephone wires loomed up as I was about to land.  I didn’t dare go under because of the tracks, so when the plane was eight or ten feet from the ground I pulled the nose up and let her drop.” 

     Both men suffered non-life-threatening head injuries in the crash.   

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Plane Crashes At The Moors”, January 6, 1939

Boston Airport – May 8, 1932

Boston Airport – May 8, 1932

     On May 8, 1932, a small single-engine airplane with three men aboard was taking off from Boston Airport when at an altitude of about 200 feet the motor suddenly quit.  The plane dove into a rough area near the edge of the field, with one wing and the nose striking first. 

     All three men received serious, but non life threatening injuries.  They were identified as (Pilot) Thurle Ellis, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gus Rose, and John Day, both of Revere, Massachusetts.  All were taken to East Boston Relief Hospital.  

      Sources:

     New York Times, “3 Hurt In Boston Air Crash”, May 9, 1932

    

Falmouth, MA – July 15, 1951

Falmouth, Massachusetts – July 15, 1951

     On July 15, 1951, a two-passenger Luscombe trainer aircraft took off from Coonamessett Airport, (A small airport in Falmouth), for a sight seeing flight over the area.  As the pilot, Harold A. Fasick Jr. was flying over the home of his passenger, Larry Sands, the engine suddenly quit, and the plane crashed near St. Anthony’s Church in East Falmouth.  Neither of the two men were hurt. 

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Pilot Is Fines After Crack-up In East Falmouth”, August 10, 1951.   

   

Boston Airport – August 27, 1929

Boston Airport – August 27, 1929

     On August 27, 1929, two small monoplanes were racing each other from Philadelphia to Boston on the first leg of the Philadelphia-Cleveland Air Derby.  Both planes were the same model, manufactured by the same company.     

     The first was piloted by Edward J. (Red) Devereaux of Woodside, Long Island, N.Y.  With him were his wife Herma, and his mechanic, E.J. Reiss, of New York.   (Devereaux was a salesman for Curtis Flyting Service.)

     The second plane was piloted by Joseph L. McGrady of Hartford, Connecticut.

     Just before noon both planes bore down on Boston Airport where a finish line had been painted on the tarmac.  Devereaux was slightly ahead of McGrady, and zoomed over it first at an altitude of barely 50 feet, while traveling about 200 miles per hour.  Just as he did so the ailerons on both wings were seen to be fluttering just before they broke off.  The plane continued its forward momentum, sailing upwards and over the field before crashing in the mud flats near the edge of the airport.  The impact propelled Edward Devereaux and his mechanic through the roof of the cabin killing them instantly.  Mrs. Devereaux was found still alive, but trapped in the crumpled wreckage.  She died later that night at East Boston Relief Hospital.   

     McGrady’s aircraft crossed the finish line seconds after Devereaux’s and experienced the same situation with fluttering ailerons, but fortunately he was able to land safely.  When officials examined his plane they discovered three hinges on the left aileron had torn off, and the rear wing spar had broken.  His plane was immediately grounded.   

     Officials speculated that the ailerons failed due to the strain placed on them by the high speed dive.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Three Killed In Boston Crash In Air Derby; Pilot’s Bride Among Victims As Plane Fails”, August 28, 1929 

Mashpee, MA – July 7, 1942

Mashpee, Massachusetts – July 7, 1942

     On July 7, 1942, a Luscombe trainer aircraft took off from Falmouth Airport with an instructor and student aboard.  While over the Popponesett Beach area of the nearby town of Mashpee, the aircraft’s controls became jammed and John Kerrigan, the instructor, and his student, Norman Nickerson, were forced to bail out.  Both men landed safely.  The airplane crashed in a wooded area between Popponesett Beach and the Waquoit section of Mashpee. 

     Kerrigan had been an instructor for over a year, and Nickerson had more than 100 hours of flight time.  Nickerson was making the flight to qualify for his civilian pilot instructors license.

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Plane Crashes”, July 10, 1942.  

Boston, MA – July 23, 1925

Boston, Massachusetts – July 23, 1925

     On July 23, 1925, a small plane carrying two men crashed just after take-off from East Boston Airport.  Witnesses said the aircraft suddenly went into a nose dive and came down on the railroad tracks belonging to the Boston, Revere Beach, & Lynn Railroad.     

     The pilot, Mark C. Hogue, 29, was killed instantly.  The passenger, George Burroughs, 50, died on the way to the hospital.

     Hogue was a former WWI veteran, having served as a Lieutenant in the Army Air Service.  After the war he flew for the U.S. Mail as an airmail pilot, before becoming a commercial pilot.  He was also an aerial photographer, and had photographed many estates of the rich and famous on Long Island, New York.      

     Updated June 12, 2017

     Lt. Hogue had survived an earlier plane crash in Vernon, Connecticut on August 8, 1920.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Two Die In Boston Plane”, July 24, 1925

     Hartford Courant, “Mark Hogue Has Narrow Escape”, August 9, 1920

 

    

Marlborough, MA – September 20, 1948

Marlborough, Massachusetts – September 20, 1948

     On September 20, 1948, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, Paul A. Dever, and Democratic candidate for treasurer, John E. Hurley, were on an airplane headed from Boston to Great Barrington when they encountered severe thunderstorms and made an emergency landing at Marlboro Airport.  Upon landing, the pilot overshot the runway and crashed into a fence heavily damaging the airplane.  Dever and Hurley were unhurt.

    Dever won the election, and served as Governor from January 6, 1949, to January 8, 1953.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Dever Safe In Air Crash”, September 21, 1948.

     Wikipedia

Springfield, MA – August 16, 1932

Springfield, Massachusetts – August 16, 1932

    

Russell Boardman

Russell Boardman

     On August 16, 1932, famous aviator, Russell N. Boardman, 34, took off from Springfield Airport for a test flight of his new Gee-Bee, R-1, Junior Sportster, racing airplane, which he intended to fly in the Thompson Trophy Race in Cleveland, Ohio, later in the month.   According to witnesses, Boardman’s plane developed engine trouble and went into a low roll before spinning into the ground from an altitude of 800 feet.  The plane came down in a thickly wooded area but didn’t burn. 

     The plane was demolished and Boardman was seriously injured.  At first there was some question as to whether of not he’d live, but he rallied and recuperated over the next several months.   

     Unfortunately, Boardman was killed in another plane crash almost a year later on July 3, 1933.  In that incident, he was taking part in a trans-continental air-race and had stopped to refuel in Indianapolis.  After refueling, he crashed on take off when a gust of wind caught the wing of his plane. 

    Early in his flying career, Mr. Boardman had survived one other airplane crash in Cottonwood, Arizona.

     Mr. Boardman was famous for a 5,011.8 mile non-stop trans-Atlantic flight he’d made with John Polando from the United States to Istanbul, Turkey, in July of 1931.  For their accomplishment, both were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross per special order of U.S. President Herbert Hoover.  (The D.F.C. is usually only awarded to military personnel.)       

     For more information about their historic flight, see the book, Wings Over Istanbul – The Life & Flights Of A Pioneer Aviator, by Johnnie Polando.     

     Mr. Boardman was born in Westfield, Connecticut, in 1898.  He was survived by his wife and 5-year-old daughter, as well as one brother and three sisters.  He’s buried in Miner Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut.  (For a photo of his grave see memorial # 71156334 at  www.findagrave.com)  

     For more biographical information about Russell Boardman, see  www.earlyaviators.com/eboardm1.htm

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Boardman Crashes, Condition Serious”, August 17, 1932

    Chicago Daily Tribune, “Flyer Boardman Crashes In Test Of Speed Plane”, August 17, 1932

     Boston Herald, “Russell Boardman Dies In Indianapolis, Crashed Saturday In East-West race”, July 4, 1933.  

     www.findagrave.com

     www.earlyaviators.com

     History-Salt Boxes On Bass River website.  Article: “A baroness Came, And So Did A Countess, In The Heyday Of Yarmouth’s Salt Boxes”, by Bainbridge Crist, 1978.   https://sites.google.com/site/saltboxespublic/history

 

Wachusett Mountain – November 28, 1963

Wachusett Mountain – November 28, 1963

Princeton, Massachusetts

     On the evening of November 28, 1963, four University of St. Louis students were killed when their Cessna 182 crashed into the side of fog shrouded Wachusett Mountain.  The plane took off from Worcester Airport en-route to Boston at 6:01 p.m. and the crash occurred about twenty minutes later.    

     The dead were identified as:

     John Apez, 18, of Orland Park, Ill.

     Alfred Pitt, 19, of Staten Island, N.Y.

     Henry Katz, 18, of Worcester, MA.

     Glenn Bridgman, 18, of Blackstone, VA.

Source: The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Four Die In Mass Airplane Crash” November 29, 1963.    

Seekonk, MA – November 14, 1993

Seekonk, Massachusetts – November 14, 1993

    On November 14, 1993, a small plane left Pontiac, Michigan, with two men inside, bound for T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I.    At 12:26 a.m., the aircraft crashed and burned in a wooded area of Seekonk, about one mile from Read Street.

     The dead were identified by Massachusetts State Police as Lea A. Sherman, 47, of Warwick, R.I., and Joseph Langlois, 42, of Coventry, R.I. 

Source: Woonsocket Call, “2 R.I. Men Killed As Plane Headed For Green Crashes”, November 15, 1993, Pg.3      

East Boston Airport – November 13, 1938

East Boston Airport – November 13, 1938

    

Vintage Post Card View Of East Boston Airport

Vintage Post Card View Of East Boston Airport

     On November 13, 1938, students from the Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology chartered three passenger planes for its “1938 version of the Boston Tea Party”.   The planes left East Boston Airport and flew in formation around the city of Boston while those aboard sipped tea.  All went well until the planes returned to the airport.  As one aircraft was making its way across the tarmac after landing, its landing gear suddenly collapsed.  Everyone aboard received a good jolt, but there were no reported injuries.  Damage to the plane was estimated to be $10, 000.  

     Source:

     New York Times, “Boston Tea Party In Air Ends As Big Plane Is Upset”, November 14, 1938

Douglas, MA – August 31, 1990

Douglas, Massachusetts – August 31, 1990

     At 2:30 p.m., a single-engine Piper Cub left Danielson Airport in Connecticut for a sight seeing trip over Connecticut and Massachusetts.  The flight went well until the plane developed engine trouble shortly after 4 p.m. while over Douglas, Mass.  The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in a field, but clipped some tree tops and crashed near the Whitins Reservoir in an area known as Cottage Colony.    

     The plane suffered extensive damage, but the occupants, John Bouchard and Donald Hoeing were not injured. 

     Source: Woonsocket Call, “2 Men Labeled ‘Lucky’ For Walking Away From Douglas Plane Crash”, September 1, 1990, Pg. 1

      

Off Nahant, MA – December 29, 1932

Off Nahant, Massachusetts – December 29, 1932

     On December 29, 1932, two Harvard University freshmen, Edward Mallinckrodt III and Donald McKay Frost Jr., left East Boston Airport in a Stearman biplane and headed out over Boston Harbor towards Nahant. 

     Mr. Mallinckrodt was reportedly piloting the plane, and had only recently obtained his private pilot’s license.  Witnesses later stated that the aircraft went into a spin-dive and plunged into the water off Nahant.  Both men disappeared along with the aircraft, but were later recovered.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Two Harvard Fliers Die In Plane Crash”, December 30, 1932

     Urbana Daily Courier, “Find Plane That Carried Boys To Death In Sea”, December 30, 1932

 

 

Webster, MA – June 17, 1952

Webster, Massachusetts – June 17, 1952

     On June 17, 1952, Joseph S. Knapik was flying his two-seater aircraft from Troy, New York, to Whitinsville Airport when the engine stalled while he was 1,100 feet over Webster.  He attempted to glide the plane down, but it hit a cable strung across Webster Lake between the mainland and Killdeer Island, and dove into the water.  Knipik was rescued by a couple in a nearby rowboat, and the plane was later towed to shore by a motorboat.

     Webster Lake is also known by another name, Lake Chaubunagungamaug, which has also been spelled different ways.      

 Source:

Woonsocket Call, “Plane Dives Into Webster Lake, But Uxbridge Flier Is Unhurt”, June 18, 1952, Pg. 2

   

Nantucket, MA – July 5, 1964

Nantucket, Massachusetts  – July 5, 1964

     On July 5, 1964, two honeymooning couples were returning to Nantucket after a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard when their single-engine plane suddenly crashed on a former golf course on Nantucket.  Police Chief Wendell Howe speculated that the aircraft ran out of gas due to a lack of  gasoline fumes at the wreck site. 

     The dead were identified as Charles and Mary C. (Corbett) Cavanaugh of Boston, and Everett and Beverly (Patron) Jones of Warwick, R.I.   Both couples had only been married for three days. 

Source:

New York Times, “2 honeymoon Couples Killed In Plane Crash On Nantucket”, July 5, 1964 

Lincoln, MA – December 26, 1953

Lincoln, Massachusetts – December 26, 1953 

     On December 26, 1953, two aircraft, a Cessna 140, and a Stinson, were flying over Lincoln when they collided in mid-air.  Both aircraft made successful crash-landings in a field, but the Stinson caught fire afterwards causing burns to the pilot, Ambrose A. Peterson, of Lexington, Mass.  

     The two people aboard the Cessna, Joseph Yamron, 25, of Ventnor, N.J., and Sonya Garfinkle, 25, of Philadelphia, received non-life-threatening injuries. 

Source: New York Times, “3 Survive Mid-Air Crash”, December 27, 1953 

Dartmouth, MA – August 4, 1935

Dartmouth, Massachusetts – August 4, 1935

     On August 4, 1935, two men were making repeated take-offs and landings at Round Hill Airport in Dartmouth when on a downward turn the plane suddenly crashed.  The men were identified as Kenneth W. Root, 29, of Fall River, Mass., and Albert Winward, 48, also of Fall River.  Both men received non-life-threatening injuries.   

     Round Hill Airport was a private airport located on the estate of Edward Howland Robinson Green, and was in operation from 1927 to 1936. 

Sources:

New York Times, “Wreck In Massachusetts”, August 5, 1935

Wikipedia – Round Hill Airport

  

Brookfield Airport – March 25, 1961

Brookfield Airport – March 25, 1961

Brookfield, Massachusetts

     On March 25, 1961, a single-engine Bonanza with four people aboard was attempting to land at Brookfield Airport when a wing suddenly broke free sending the plane crashing to the ground.  All aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     Albert L. Ball Sr., 67, of Framingham, Mass.

     Albert Ball Jr., 34,, of Torrington, Conn.

     Sebastian L. Gianni, 40, of Torrington, Conn.

     Donald H. McMahon, 34, of Winsted, Conn.      

     Source: New York Times, “Plane Crash Kills 4”, March 26, 1961

Off Nantucket, MA – July 26, 1936

Off Nantucket, Massachusetts – July 26, 1936

     On July 26, 1936, a ten-passenger, high-wing, Bellanca Airbus, flew out over the Atlantic Ocean to intercept the R.M.S. Queen Mary which was inbound to New York.  The plane carried nine men aboard, most of them press photographers looking to get aerial pictures of the ship. 

     The plane intercepted the ship five miles east of the Nantucket Light Ship anchored off the coast of Nantucket Island.  As the aircraft circled the low around liner’s stern it abruptly crashed into the sea. 

     The merchant freighter S. S. Exermont was following not far behind the Queen Mary and stopped to effect rescue operations. 

     All nine passengers and crew of the Airbus were taken aboard the Exermont.  One passenger, Edwin T. Ramsdell, 46, a photographer for the Boston Post, was severely injured when brought aboard, and died shortly afterwards.  The others were treated for shock and lesser injuries.

     A U.S. Coast Guard plane arrived and offered to take the survivors to land via the aircraft, but all opted to stay aboard the Exermont.   

     The cause of the accident was determined to be the powerful downdraft created at the stern of the ship as the ocean liner sped across the water.    

     In memory to the loss of Mr. Ramsdell, the Edwin T. Ramsdell Memorial Trophy was established, and is awarded every year to press photographers.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Plane With 9 Men Plunges Into Sea Near Queen Mary”, July 27, 1936

     Madera Tribune, “Liner Blamed In Plane Crash”, July 27, 1936

     The Miami News, “Plane Crash Laid To Ship Downdraft”, July 27 1936

Beverly, MA – July 16, 1936

Beverly, Massachusetts – July 16, 1936

     On July 16, 1936, well known orchestra leader Orville Knapp, 28, went to East Boston Airport where he’d been storing his airplane since recently flying it to Boston for an engagement.  At 4:30 p.m. Knapp took off for Beverly Airport in Beverly, Massachusetts, to practice making emergency landings with his motor shut off.    He landed at Beverly about a half-hour later, and spoke with those in charge at the airport regarding his intentions, and was granted permission. 

     A few minutes later he took off for his first practice run and circled the airfield.  As he was banking the aircraft to come in for a landing at the north end of the field, he shut the motor off while less than  300 feet in the air.  The aircraft dove in and crashed, but didn’t burn. 

     Several witnesses ran to the wreck and worked to remove Mr. Knapp who expired just after they freed him.   

    Orville Knapp was survived by his wife, Gloria (Grafton) Knapp, a Broadway actress.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Orville Knapp Dies In Airplane Crash”, July 17, 1936.

       

Barnstable, MA – June 28, 1934

Barnstable, Massachusetts – June 28, 1934 

     On June 29, 1934, Raymond Van Arsdale, 38, was piloting an airplane from Boston to Barnstable Airport  when thick fog conditions across Cape Cod obscured the ground.  Local residents said they heard the plane circling as the pilot tried to find the airport, and then a loud crash. 

     One of the passengers, John L. Binda, 45, was killed in the crash.  Van Arsdale and another passenger , Edward J. McDonald, 21, were taken to Cape Cod Hospital where they succumbed to their injuries.   

Source:

Woonsocket Call, “Three Men Killed As Plane Crashes Near Barnstable”, June 29, 1934

       

Boston Airport – August 27, 1929

Boston Airport – August 27, 1929

     On August 27, 1929, a Cessna monoplane, designed for racing, was approaching Boston Airport when it suddenly fell from the sky from an altitude of about 600 feet.  The plane crashed in about two feet of water along the mud flats between Wood Island Park and the airport.

     Witnesses said the wings of the airplane were flapping in the wind, making a sound that could be heard while the plane was still about a mile distant.  As it drew closer the pilot tried to attain more altitude, but then a piece of the wing broke free causing the plane to go down.   

     Killed in the crash was the pilot, Edward J. Devereaux, 23, and a passenger, Edward Reiss, both of New York.  Devereaux’s wife, Herma, 21, was taken to East Boston Relief Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries a few hours later.  The couple had been married only three months earlier. 

     Devereaux was the chief pilot for the Curtis Flying Service, and was participating in the Philadelphia – Cleveland Air Derby at the time of the crash.      

     Investigators blames “mechanical weakness in the aileron fittings” as the primary cause of the accident.   

Sources:

Woonsocket Call, “2 Fliers dead In Plane Fall At Boston”, August 27, 1929, Pg.1

Berkeley Daily Gazette, “Plane Crash Laid To Poor Construction”, August 28, 1929

Franklin, MA – August 2, 1929

Franklin, Massachusetts – August 2, 1929

     In August of 1929, a barnstorming exhibition was to be given at the Indian Rock Race Track in Franklin.  In anticipation of the event, it was reported that the owner had “improved the field”.  

     “A windsock has been erected, and the top of the reviewing stand has been painted with the flying insignia with the lettering of an airfield.  Bushes along the runway have been cut down, and trees at one end cut so that a long glide can be made to the field.  the runway is a hard smooth dirt road which will be ideal for landing.  It is planned to have parachute jumping as a feature when the plane arrives.”

     Unfortunately, the expected aircraft was delayed one day due to stormy weather.     

     On August 2, it was reported that “The Command-Air” bi-plane arrived with Sergeant Julien Buckwalder of Bridgeport, Connecticut, at the helm, and H. Lester Metcalfe of Franklin as a passenger.  As the plane was coming in to land, the huge crowd of spectators suddenly rushed forward onto the landing field, apparently unaware of the danger they were putting themselves in.  To avoid injury to the people, Buckwalder aimed the plane for an un-mowed grassy area, and upon touching down the wheels hit a rut sending the plane into a ground loop before flipping over. 

     Both pilot and passenger climbed out of the wreck with minor injuries.  Upon seeing the crash, the swarm of humanity mobbed the aircraft ignoring the high octane fuel leaking from its tanks.  Fortunately no fire erupted.

     As a point of interest, on November 14, 1940, an unidentified pilot made an emergency landing with his small “flivver” aircraft in the center field of Indian Rock Race Track when he encountered bad weather while on his way from Philadelphia to Norwood (Mass.) Airport.   

     Sources:

Woonsocket Call, “Flyer Forced back By Storms”, August 2, 1929, Pg. 2

Woonsocket Call, “Plane crashes In Landing On franklin Field”, August 3, 1929

Woonsocket Call, “Pilot Makes Emergency Landing In Center Of Indian Rock Race Track”, November 14, 1940, Pg.2

 

Boston Airport – July 8, 1929

Boston Airport – July 8, 1929

     On July 8, 1929, a Ford tri-motor aircraft belonging to Colonial Air Transport took off from Boston Airport with fifteen people aboard bound for New York.  Just after takeoff one of the three engines quit, forcing the pilot, Zustis I. Wells, to turn back to the airport.  As he was landing the plane, someone drove a team of horses into its path necessitating the pilot to head the plane into a ditch near the runway.  The aircraft was damaged, but there were no reported injuries.

     Another plane was brought over and the passengers resumed their trip.    

     Source: New York Times, “New York Plane Damaged”, July 9, 1929  

Seekonk, MA – November 25, 1928

Seekonk, Massachusetts – November 25, 1928

     Shortly after 1 p.m. on November 25, 1928, a private plane carrying three young men took off from What Cheer Airport in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for a sight-seeing flight.  Less than fifteen minutes later the plane crashed on Cole’s Farm in Seekonk. 

     The lone witness to the crash, Edward L. Cole, 17, stated the plane was passing over at an altitude of about 800 feet when the motor suddenly stopped, and the aircraft went into a spin and crashed. 

     The pilot, William Lang, 23, and a passenger, Stanislaus D’Ambra, 20, both of Providence, were killed instantly.  A second passenger, Francis Clancy 18, was still alive but gravely injured.  He died while en-route to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital.     

     Roland Coutu of Providence was supposed to go on the flight, but gave up his place to D’Ambra. 

     As often happened in such accidents, word of the crash spread quickly and thousands of curious onlookers descended on the scene. 

Source: Woonsocket Call,”3 Providence Men Killed In Seekonk Plane crash”, November 26, 1928, Pg. 1       

Boston Harbor – June 5, 1930

Boston Harbor – June 5, 1930

Updated January 19, 2016

     On June 5, 1930, a Ford Tri-motor aircraft,  Nacomis, (NC9675) owned by Colonial Air Transport, with fifteen people aboard, took off from Boston Airport bound for New York.  Just after becoming airborne, while at an altitude of 100 feet, the right motor suddenly quit, causing the plane to go into a side slip and spin into the water of Boston Harbor.

     The tide was out at the time, and the water was only several feet deep, which many believed prevented the accident from being worse than it was. 

     One passenger drowned before help could arrive.   The deceased was identified as P. S. Thorsen, a contractor of both Boston and New York.

     Others aboard included:

     (Pilot) Owen O’Connor, and (Co-pilot) Val Chick

     Passengers:

     Mrs. H. E. Webster, of N.Y.

     Simon De Vaulchier, of N.Y.

     W. E. Wilson, of Boston

     I. H. Morrison, of N.Y.

     M. H. Shapiro, of Boston

     H. D. Beaton, of N.Y.

     W. H. Sheafer, of Pittsburg, PA.

     Charles H. Jacobson, of Long Island, N.Y.

     Mrs. Charles Jacobson, of Long Island, N.Y.

     H. S. Ford Jr., of Brookline, MA.

     W. A. Stayton, of Rochester, PA.

     Henry Wallis, of Boston

     Sources:

     Aviation Safety Network,  aviation-safety.net

     The Pittsburgh Press, “Pittsburger Hurt As Plane Dives Into Sea”, June 5, 1930

     New York Times, “Air Liner Plunges 15 In Boston Bay, 1 Dies”, June 6, 1930

Haverhill, MA – October 14, 1921

Haverhill, Massachusetts – October 14, 1921

     On October 14, 1921, Peter Pomerleau and Joseph H. Harrison were flying over Haverhill when their seaplane developed engine trouble.  The sputtering motor was heard by high school football players as the plane passed overhead. 

     Pomerleau tried to land the plane in the Merrimac (Merrimack) River, but lost altitude too quickly and crashed into trees at the waters edge off Riverside Avenue.   The plane was wrecked and both men were trapped inside.  They were pulled free by members of the football team who rushed to the scene after witnessing the accident.  Both suffered serious injuries and were transported to Hale Hospital by automobile. 

     Source: Woonsocket Call, “Two Flyers Injured In Merrimac Glide”, October 15, 1921. 

Lynn, MA – October 21, 1915

Lynn, Massachusetts – October 21, 1915

     On October 21, 1921, two men took off in a bi-plane for an experimental flight from Lynn and flew out over nearby marshland where one of the wings suddenly folded.  The aircraft plunged from an altitude of  750 feet embedding itself deep into the soft mud of the marshes.   Both men were killed.   

     The dead were identified as J. Chauncey Redding of Melrose, Mass., and Phillip Bulman of Malden, Mass.      

     Sources:

     (Woonsocket) Evening Call, “Biplane Collapses, Two Aviators Dead”, October 22, 1915, Pg. 7

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Two Men Killed By Fall Of Biplane”, October 22, 1915

Lynn, MA – October 14, 1921

 

Lynn, MA – October 14, 1921

     On the morning of October 14, 1921, two men took off from Lynn in a home-made monoplane and crashed from an altitude of 1,000 feet.  Both were killed.  

     The dead were identified as Everett Foster of Winchester, Mass., and Fletcher Anderson of West Lynn.     

    The aircraft was to be flown in the American Legion Aerial Regatta being held in Providence, Rhode Island.  It was reported that the aircraft weighed 700 pounds and could fly 80 mph. 

     Source:

     Woonsocket Call, “Two Aviators Dead By Fall Of Plane In Lynn Marshes”, October 15, 1921, Pg. 3

    

Dorchester Bay, MA – September 2, 1911

  Dorchester Bay, Massachusetts – September 2, 1911   

     On the morning of September 2, 1911, Joseph S. Cummings took off from Squantum Field in Quincy, Mass., for a flight in his Bleriot monoplane.  As he was flying over Dorchester Bay, he crashed into the water from an altitude of 500 feet.  (Another source puts the altitude at 300 feet.) Fortunately he was quickly recued with only minor injuries by the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Gresham.  

     One source blamed the cause of the accident as being sun glare off the water that temporarily blinded him, while another source blamed engine failure when a cylinder head “blew out”. 

      The New York Times termed it “the first accident in the two years of aviation at Squantum.” 

     Sources;

     The Tacoma Times, (Washington), “Falls Into Sea; Lives”, September 2, 1911 

     New York Times “Airman Falls In Bay”, September 3, 1911

     Evening Star, (Washington D.C.) “Revenue Cutter Service”, September 11, 1911

Boston Harbor, MA – May 18, 1930

Boston Harbor, Massachusetts – May 18, 1930

     On May 18, 1930, Paul Herman, 26, of Winthrop, Massachusetts, was test flying a new Curtis – cabin monoplane over East Boston Airport when he suddenly developed a problem with the rudder.  He tried to bring the plane down on the airfield but overshot the landing and sailed out over the harbor and hit the water about 200 feet from shore.  

     Richard Cowden, a salesman for Curtis-Wright, jumped into the water and swam to Herman’s assistance. Both clung to a wing of the partly submerged aircraft until rescued by a motorboat sent from the air field.    

     Herman was treated for cuts and immersion.

     Source: New York Times, “Saves Self In Plunge Of Plane Into Water”, May 19, 1930

Turners Falls, MA – September 20, 1943

Turners Falls, Massachusetts – September 20, 1943

     At about 3:00 p.m., on September 20, 1943, a Pitcairn PCA-3 Autogyro, NC11612 took off from Turners Falls Airport in Montague, Massachusetts, and crashed about a half hour afterwards about one mile west-northwest of the airport.  The pilot, Donald Whitman was seriously injured.

     Whitman was test flying the aircraft for the Department of Agriculture, flying low at tree-top level to simulate aerial spraying which was what the autogyro was to be used for.  At one point the landing gear snagged some electrical wires which caused the accident.    The wires were stretched between poles which were partially hidden by dense foliage. 

     Source: Civil Aeronautics Investigation Report 4066-43, May 19, 1944.

      

 

Framingham, MA – July 22, 1922

Framingham, Massachusetts – July 22, 1922

     On July 22, 1922, three men; brothers  Zenos R., and Ralph K. Miller, and Dr. Clarence Gamble, of Passadena, California, arrived at the Framingham Flying Field in Framingham, Massachusetts, for what was to be a cross-continental flight to California.  

     (This was at Framingham’s first airport that was located on Worcester Avenue, and was in operation from about 1922 until 1932.) 

     Before beginning the journey, the three took off on a sightseeing flight over Boston with Zenos Miller at the controls.  After circling the city, they set a course back to Framingham field.   As the aircraft approached the field in preparation of landing, it suddenly went into a spin and crashed in a marsh area near Larned’s Pond, roughly 200 feet from the air field.

     The plane came to rest upside down in thick muck and stagnant water.  Zenos Miller was pinned beneath the engine with his head barely above the water, while Ralph Miller was found lying on top of one wing, and Dr. Gambel was found underneath it. 

     It took firemen two hours to extricate Zenos from his position, unfortunately he passed away before they could do so.  Dr. Gamble was admitted to Framingham Hospital.  One news account dated July 22, reported his injuries were severe, and that he might not live, and another, dated the 24th, reported his injuries were not serious. 

     Apparently Ralph Miller wasn’t seriously injured.    

     Zenos Miller was 24-years-old, and a veteran of World War I where he served as a pilot with the 27th Pursuit Squadron.  In the summer of 1918 his plane went down over German Lines and he was  taken prisoner, and remained a P.O.W. until the end of the war.  (To see photographs and more information about Zenos Miller, see www.findagrave.com and Wikipedia.)

     Dr. Gamble was a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Medical School(s) and had recently been serving as an intern at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. During WWI he’d served with the Medical Reserve Corps. 

     According to one source, Dr. Gamble was the owner of the aircraft which crashed; yet another cited Zenos Miller as the owner.   The aircraft was said to have been purchased on June 1st from the Italian Government.   The plane was allegedly a Savoia – Marchetti, but the model is not specified.    

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Boston Pilot Dies In Airplane Crash”, July 23, 1922    

     Wikipedia – Zenos Ramsey Miller

     New York Tribune, “Pilot Killed When Plane Crashes Into Quagmire”, July 23, 22, page 1

     Tulsa Daily World, “Injury Is Not Serious”, July 24, 1922 

     www.findagrave.com  Zenos R. Miller, memorial #102014372

 

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