Quonset Point NAS – October 23, 1942

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – October 23, 1942

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 23, 1942, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 33946), with four men aboard, crashed on takeoff from Rhode Island’s Quonset Point NAS.  The takeoff run had been normal until the plane became airborne.  Once leaving the ground it began to swerve to the left, and then settled back onto the runway where it went into skid.  The plane left the end of the runway and crossed a portion of open ground before crossing two railroad tracks, after which it came to a stop with the landing gear torn off.  The plane was so badly damaged that it was recommended that it be scrapped.  Fortunately none of the men aboard were injured.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report #43-5128   

Quonset Point NAS – June 17, 1943

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – June 17, 1943

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 17, 1943, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 29860), with six men aboard, was making an approach to Rhode Island’s Quonset Point Naval Air Station after six hours of flying cross country.  Thirty other aircraft were all in the vicinity attempting to land after being advised by the tower that the airport would be closed shortly due to the bad weather that was closing in.  As the plane was about to touch down it hit an air pocket and slammed onto the tarmac, the wheels causing it to bounce back into the air. It fell again, and this time the landing gear collapsed, sending the aircraft skidding on its belly down the runway.  Fortunately there was no fire and no serious injuries to those aboard.

     Source:

     U. S. navy Crash Investigation Report #43-7297

Wickford, R.I. – September 12, 1944

Wickford, Rhode Island – September 12, 1944

 

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

     On September 12, 1944, Ensign John Rodney Stone, was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58171), on a ferry flight away from Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  He was flying in the wing position of another F6F piloted by an Ensign Savage.    

     The weather at the time was poor, with a low cloud ceiling of 2,000 feet.  While passing over rugged terrain north of Quonset Point Ensign Stone reported his engine was cutting out, but then reported that the engine was now running smoothly again.  The flight turned towards Hillsgrove Army Air Filed in Warwick, R.I. to allow Stone to make an emergency landing, but then Stone radioed that his engine had suddenly failed and the he was going to bail out.  Ensign Savage later told investigators that in his estimation, Stone’s aircraft was below 1,000 feet when he jumped. 

     Due to the low altitude, Ensign Stone’s parachute failed to fully open, and he was killed when he hit the ground.  His plane crashed and exploded about a quarter of a mile away.  Due to the massive damage to the engine, investigators were unable to determine what caused the mechanical failure. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report, dated Sept. 12, 1944.   

 

Charlestown, R. I. – May 20, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 20, 1945

 

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

     On May 20, 1945, an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 79082), was about to land on the runway at the Charlestown Naval Air Station when the right wing suddenly dropped and hit the tarmac causing the plane to leave the runway and flip over onto its back.   The pilot suffered minor injuries, and the plane was damaged.

     Source: U. S. Navy crash report.    

 

Charlestown, R.I. – May 7, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 7, 1945 

 

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

     On the night of May 7, 1945, an Ensign was taxiing in an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71572), along the runway at Charlestown Naval Air Station, and didn’t see another F6F-5N, (Bu. No. 71938), occupied by a Lieutenant Commander, that was parked on the runway.  Both aircraft had their running lights on at the time.  The Ensign’s aircraft collided with the one occupied by the Lieutenant Commander and both aircraft were damaged beyond repair.  Fortunately, neither pilot was seriously injured.      

     Source: U. S. Navy crash report.      

Quonset Point NAS – March 29, 1945

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – March 29, 1945

 

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

     At 3:36 a.m. on the morning of March 29, 1945, an Ensign was practicing night landings and take offs at Quonset Point NAS in an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71001).  As the pilot was coming in to land, the right wing of the aircraft  suddenly dropped and the plane rolled over and crashed into a wall.  The aircraft was completely wrecked, and the pilot received lacerations, burses, and possible internal injuries, but he later recovered.          

     Source:

     U.S. Navy crash investigation report #33-45

Coventry, R. I. – June 25, 1944

Coventry, Rhode Island – June 25, 1944 

 

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

     On the afternoon of June 25, 1944, a flight of three P-47 aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a low altitude, cross-country navigational training flight to Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island.  (Today Hillsgrove Field is known as T. F. Green Airport.)  From Hillsgrove, the flight was to continue to Groton, Connecticut, and from there back to Bradley Field.   The flight leader was First Lieutenant William H. Brookman, (27), an experienced pilot and flight instructor.  The other two pilots were trainees. 

     During the first leg of the trip, Lt. Brookman supervised the other two pilots from the number 3 position.  As the flight neared the Connecticut – Rhode Island state border, it ran into thick cloud cover.  At that time Lt. Brookman ordered the flight to return to Bradley.  After turning around, the other two pilots noticed that Lt. Brookman’s aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-27835), had disappeared from the formation.  Attempts to contact Brookman by radio were unsuccessful.  The other two aircraft made it safely back to Bradley and reported the incident.     

      Lt. Brookman was reported missing, but no reports of a plane crash had been received, nor had he radioed to the other pilots that he was having any problems with the aircraft.  The wreckage of his P-47 was spotted from the air during a search the following day.  His plane had crashed and burned in a heavily wooded area in the western portion of the town of Coventry, Rhode Island, just a short distance to the west of Pig Hill Road.  The exact location is unknown.         

     Military investigators were unable to determine the direct cause of the accident due to the airplane being completely destroyed.  However, the following excerpt is taken from the Army Air Force investigation report of the incident.

     “The aircraft and engine were completely demolished, and the aircraft crashed approximately two and one half miles from the nearest house, thus, no person was found who had heard or seen the airplane. 

     The carburetor is the only evidence found that gives any clue to the probable cause and it was broken from the engine.  The bolt holding the fuel strainer was loose and could be turned slightly by hand.   The gasket was in good condition.  The seat under the strainer cover shows signs of burning which leads one to believe that gasoline did escape at this point and caused a fire in flight prior to the airplane’s contact with the terrain.  Picture 231 indicates a crack as well as picture 230 but these are only marks. 

     Although only the fuel strainer side of the carburetor was burned, it is possible that it could have caught fire as a result of the terrific impact and been covered with raw fuel during the crash, burning until it landed several yards from the engine as the grass upon which the carburetor was found was not burned.

     The 41-B shows that the carburetor screen was checked on the 22nd of June, on the 23rd and 24th the ship flew fifteen hours during which no notation of gas fumes were reported by the pilots.  This leads one to believe that the above assumption may be improbable and that the looseness was caused by the impact.”  

     Lt. Brookman enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January of 1942, and received his officers commission the following October.  He was assigned to the 9th Air Force, and served in North Africa until the German surrender in June of 1943.  He then returned to the United States to become a flight instructor, and after completing training in Stuttgart, Alabama, was assigned to Bradley Field in Connecticut.    

     Lt. Brookman is buried in Woodlawn – Hillcrest Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska.  To see a photo of him, go to www.findagrave.com, see ID# 75022710. 

     Sources:

     Army Air Force Crash Investigation Report 44-6-25-27

     Town of Coventry R.I. Death Records, Registration #61, page 299. 

     www.findagrave.com, ID #75022710

     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The Unites States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony Mireles, McFarland & Co., 2006, via research library, New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, Ct.      

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – November 3, 1945

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – November 3, 1945

 

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

     On November 3, 1945, Ensign Henry A. Clark was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78639), from Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station in New York, to Squantum Naval Air Station in Massachusetts.  As he was passing over Narragansett Bay the engine began cutting out resulting in loss of power and altitude.  Ensign Clark made an emergency water landing about 3/4 of a mile southwest of the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The aircraft sank, but Ensign Clark escaped without injury.  The aircraft was salvaged on November 6. 

      Source: National Archives, TD451103RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – October 4, 1945

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – October 4, 1945

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On October 4, 1945, Ensign Clinton S. Winter, Jr., took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F4U-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 81380), for a routine training flight.  Just after takeoff, while at an altitude of 200 feet, the engine suddenly lost all power and the plane crash-landed into Narragansett Bay about two miles off the end of the runway.  The plane sank, but Ensign Winter escaped and was rescued a short time later.

     At the time of the accident, Ensign Winter was assigned to VBF-81.

     Source: National Archives, AAR 7-45, TD451004RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

 

Charlestown, R.I. – September 26, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 26, 1945 

 

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

     On the evening of September 26, 1945, Ensign G. R. Looney was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72031), over Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in preparation for landing.  After being cleared to land, he made his approach towards the runway, and discovered that his aircraft was no longer responding to the throttle controls.  He radioed the tower and declared an emergency and was advised to turn towards the duty runway.  As he did so he saw other aircraft at the end of the runway, and realized if he landed he would collide with them, so he aimed for a small hill beyond.  There he was able to stall the aircraft and crash land into the trees.  The plane was wrecked, but Ensign Looney was not injured. 

     Investigation revealed that the cause of the accident was due to a broken throttle linkage. 

     Source: National Archives, AAR 94-45, TD450926RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

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