Lincoln, R.I. – August 29, 2003

Lincoln, Rhode Island – August 29, 2003

     On the morning of August 29, 2003, a 38-year-old North Providence man took off from T. F. Green Airport in a Piper Tomahawk bound for North Central State Airport in Smithfield, Rhode Island, to practice “touch-and-go” landings and take offs. Shortly before 11 a.m. he was approaching Runway 23 when the aircraft suddenly lost all power and crashed about 500 feet from the end of the runway in a wooded area off Albion Road on the Lincoln/Smithfield town line, not far from the A.T. Cross Co.  The airplane was completely wrecked, having landed up-side down with one wing torn away.  Fortunately there was no fire, and the lone pilot was able to extricate himself and walk out to a nearby roadway where he encountered Chief Frank Sylvester of the Lime Rock Fire Department.  


The Observer, “Student Pilot Escapes Harm In Crash Near Airport”, by Beth Hurd, September 4, 2003, page 3A       

Providence Journal, “Pilot Unharmed In North Smithfield Crash”, August 30, 2003

Woonsocket Call, “Pilot Escapes Injury In Plane Crash”, August 30, 2003. 

T.F. Green Airport – November 23, 1974

T.F. Green Airport – November 23, 1974

     On the morning of November 23, 1974, a single-engine aircraft with a family of four aboard left Teterboro, New Jersey bound for Lawrence, Massachusetts.  While en-route, the aircraft developed engine trouble when the pilot was switching fuel tanks. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on the northeast runway at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island. 

     Upon touching down the aircraft skidded for about 500 feet before it nosed over and came to rest.  The nose and propeller suffered heavy damage, and the right wheel had broken away.   There was no fire, and the family was uninjured, and left the aircraft on their own.   The wreckage was removed from the runway within twenty-five minutes, and the runway reopened.


     Providence Sunday Journal, “Family Of 4 Unhurt In Plane Crash”, November 24, 1974, page C-16   


Block Island, R.I. – October 24, 1974

Block Island, Rhode Island – October 24, 1974

     On the afternoon of October 24, 1974, a Cessna 180 seaplane was attempting to land at Block Island’s Old Harbor when the left wing dipped and caught the water causing the plane to capsize about 300 feet from shore.  The lone pilot aboard was able to free himself from the submerged cockpit and was rescued a short time later by nearby boaters.


     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Seaplane Tips In Landing At Block Island”, October 25, 1974, page B-5

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Seaplane Pilot Rescued”, October 25, 1974, page 2

Middletown, R.I. – October 13, 1974

Middletown, Rhode Island – October 13, 1974

     On the afternoon of October 13, 1974, a small aircraft with two persons aboard left T. F. Green Airport in Warwick bound for Middletown.  During their flight a pilot in another aircraft reported that they had what appeared to be a problem with the landing gear of their airplane.  Authorities were notified, and preparations were made for an emergency landing at Newport Airport, located in Middletown.  As the plane approached the runway fire engines and rescue vehicles were standing by.   The landing gear collapsed as soon as the plane touched down, and the aircraft nosed over and skidded to a stop.  There was no fire.  Fortunately none of the occupants were injured.

     Source: (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Two Escape Injury In Plane Mishap”, October 15, 1974, page B-1

Block Island Airport – August 25, 1974

Block Island Airport – August 25, 1974

     On August 25, 1975, three men, all members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, left Danbury, Connecticut, bound for Block Island, R.I., in a single-engine Beech Musketeer aircraft.  They arrived at Block Island at about 2:00 p.m., and as the plane approached the runway of Block Island State Airport, the engine lost power and the plane crash landed 93 feet short of the runway.  Two of the three men aboard suffered minor injuries.      

     This was the second aviation accident to occur in Rhode Island on this date.  Another man was killed when his homemade plane crashed into the water off Deluca’s Beach in Narragansett, R.I.  That accident is also posted on this website.


     Westerly Sun, “Man Killed As Plane Crashes Off Scarborough State Beach”, August 26, 1974, Page 1.     

Narragansett, R.I. – August 25, 1974

Narragansett, Rhode Island – August 25, 1974

     At about 1:30 p.m. on August 25, 1974, a single-engine, one-man, “experimental” aircraft was seen passing over  DeLuca’s Beach in the town of Narragansett, heading out over the water.  Suddenly a loud “pop” was heard, and the aircraft spun into the water from an altitude of 200 feet.  The airplane struck nose first, crumpling the front of the aircraft and pinning the pilot inside as the cockpit sank below the surface.  Although the cockpit was underwater, the wreckage remained partially afloat about 250 yards from shore, in water estimated to be 40-50 feet deep.   

     A man and woman from a nearby boat dove into the water to attempt a rescue, but were unsuccessful.  They were relieved by six life guards who rowed out to the scene in two small boats, yet they couldn’t free the pilot either.  When a Coast Guard vessel from Point Judith arrived the aircraft was towed to shore.  There the body of the pilot was removed and transported to South County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  


     The Providence Journal, (Massachusetts Edition), “Pilot Dies When Homemade Plane Crashes Off South County Beach”, August 26, 1974, page 1. (With Photo)

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Pilot Dies In crash Of Homemade Plane”, August 26, 1974, (With Photo)

Atlantic Ocean – August 22, 1974

Atlantic Ocean – August 22, 1974


     On the afternoon of August 22, 1974, a trail race between 12-meter yachts competing for the America’s Cup trophy was taking place about six miles southeast off Point Judith, Rhode Island.  Among the media covering the event were two CBS employees, along with a pilot, aboard a Bell-47 helicopter following the progress of the race from 150 – 200 feet in the air. 

     At about 3:00 p.m., the helicopter suddenly developed control difficulties and spun into the water landing on its side as it hit.  One witnesses was quoted as saying, “All of a sudden, the copter started to whirlybird.”  Just after striking the water the helicopter rolled over upside down and only the bottoms of its pontoons could be seen. 

     Several boats in the immediate vicinity quickly raced to the scene including a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.  The pilot managed to free himself and came to the surface on his own.  As the Coast Guard boat came alongside, Lieutenant David Hosmer dove into the water and pulled a second man from the aircraft.  A civilian from another boat rescued the third.  

     One victim was brought aboard the Coast Guard boat while the others were taken aboard separate civilian vessels.  All three vessels then raced to Point Judith where ambulances were waiting to transport the injured.  One of the victims, a 26-year-old CBS-TV electrician from Des Plaines, Ill. was pronounced dead on arrival at South County Hospital.  The other two men were admitted for treatment, and later recovered.  

     The helicopter was recovered by the Coast Guard.  The cause of the crash was found to be mechanical failure. 


     The Providence Journal, (Massachusetts Edition), “Copter Filming Cup Race Falls; 1 Killed, 2 Hurt”, August 23, 1974, page 1. 

     The Providence Journal, (Massachusetts Edition), Vessels headed For Downed Craft”, August 23, 1974, page 1.

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Two Killed In Rhode Island Waters”, August 23, 1974, page 1.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Tragedy Mars Cup Race”, August 23, 1974, Page 1 

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Helicopter Crash Blamed On Control Malfunction”, August 24, 1974, page 10.  

Charlestown, R.I. – July 20, 1974

Charlestown, Rhode Island – July 20, 1974

     On July 20, 1974, a pair of one-man Gyrocopters were flying together over the area of Qonochontaug Beach when one aircraft suddenly lost all power and crashed into the water about 150 feet from shore.  The machine sank, but the pilot was able to fee himself, and was rescued by two college students who happened to be passing by in a small sailboat.  He was shaken, but apparently uninjured. Meanwhile, the other gyrocopter left the area and landed at Westerly Airport. 

     The depth of the water where the gyrocopter had crashed is about 20 feet.  Once the students had deposited the downed pilot on shore, they returned to the wreck site with masks and fins, and dove under the water and tied a strong rope to the machine.  By now a crowd had gathered on the beach, and with everyone’s help the aircraft was successfully dragged to shore.    

     Meanwhile, the pilot of the other gyrocopter had returned to the beach with a trailer.  He and the other pilot disassembled the damaged gyrocopter, and after putting it in the trailer said they were going to Westerly Airport. 

     After a few days a report of the crash reached the Westerly Sun newspaper, but when a reporter inquired about details, it was learned that the accident had never been reported to the police, Westerly Airport officials, or to state aeronautics officials.  The identities of the pilots was unknown.  It was further reported that gyrocopters didn’t have to be registered, nor did one need a license to fly one, which was going to make it difficult for officials to question the pilots.


     Westerly Sun, “Rescue At Sea Went Unreported”, August 1, 1974, page 10.   


Smithfield, R.I. – June 16, 1974

Smithfield, Rhode Island – June 16, 1974

     On the morning of June 16, 1974, a 47-year-old man from Wrentham, Massachusetts, was piloting a small aircraft from Block Island, R.I., to North Central State Airport in Smithfield.  The aircraft was a four-passenger Beech Debonnaire, (N9782Y).   As the pilot was approaching Runway 15 in preparation of landing, the airplane stalled and crashed nose-down into a wooded area about 500 yards short of the runway.  The plane struck the trees in such a way that the foliage broke its fall, and it came to rest with its tail pointing towards the air.  Although there was damage to the plane, there was no fire.  The pilot received a minor injury to his head, and was able to away from the crash.  There were no passengers aboard.  The aircraft had to be removed by helicopter.


     Providence Journal, “Lady Luck Was His Co-pilot”, June 17, 1974, (With Photo)

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Copter Retrieves Crashed Aircraft”, June 19, 1974



South Kingstown, R.I. – December 2, 1973

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – December 2, 1973


     On the afternoon of December 2, 1973, several sky divers were making parachute jumps over the area of the Laurel Lane Golf Course in South Kingston, not far from the Richmond Airport. 

     At about 3:30 p.m. a Cessna 182F took off from the Richmond Airport and climbed to an altitude of 3,000 feet.  At about 3:45 p.m., a 35-year-old man from Westerly, R.I. jumped from the plane but his parachute failed to fully deploy.  Witnesses later stated that he pulled his reserve parachute, but was too low to the ground at the time, and it did not have time to fully deploy to break his fall.  The man was transported to South County Hospital in Wakefield, R.I. where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 


    Providence Journal, “Chute Fails, Jump Kills R.I. Man”, December 3, 1973, page 1.   

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “FAA Probe Set In Fall Of Parachutist”, December 3, 1973, page 2

     Westerly Sun, “Sky Diver Killed As Chute Fails”, December 3, 1973, page 1

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