Middleborough, MA. – May 27, 1980

Middleborough, Massachusetts – May 27, 1980

     On May 27, 1980, a crop-dusting helicopter with a lone pilot aboard took off from Norwood, Mass. to spray some cranberry bogs.  While in-route, the aircraft developed engine trouble and the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing, but the helicopter came down in some trees in Middleborough and was extensively damaged.  The pilot was not injured, and was able to walk away from the accident.


     Westerly Sun, (RI), “Pilot Walks Away From Copter Crash”, May 28, 1980, page 2 

Otis Air Field – March 27, 1944

   Otis Air Field – March 27, 1944

Falmouth, Massachusetts    

U.S. Army - Douglas RA-24B, U.S. Air Force Photo

U.S. Army – Douglas RA-24B, U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 27, 1944, Women’s Air Service Pilot, (WASP), Frances F. Grimes, was killed shortly after take-off from Otis Field.  The aircraft was an RA-24B, (42-54552), the army’s version of the U.S. Navy’s SBD Dauntless dive bomber.   Shortly after taking off, the plane developed engine trouble and dove into the ground. 

     Frances Fortune Grimes was born in Deer Park, Maryland and was a graduate of West Virginia University, and the University of Pittsburg.  She entered the service in January 1943 at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, and began her flight training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, on January 15, 1943.   She completed her training as part of the class 43-W-3 on July, 3, 1943, and was designated a ferry pilot, assigned to Love Field in Dallas.  From there she served at Camp Davis, North Carolina, before arriving at Otis Field on December 15, 1943.   She was 32-years-old at the time of her death.   

     Three other WASP pilots were also serving at Otis Field at the time: Shirley Ingalls, Mildred A. Toner, and Mary L. Leatherbee, all of whom acted as pallbearers at Miss Grimes funeral held at Camp Edwards. 

     This was the second fatal accident involving the same type of aircraft from Otis Field within three weeks.  On March 3, 1944, another RA-24B (42-54555) crashed near the entrance of Woods Hole Harbor killing the pilot, 2nd Lt. Joseph H. Gardner, 29.  (See posting on this website for more info.)  

     For a photo of Miss Grimes, and other information about WASP pilots, go Wings Across America/ Wasp On The Web/ Above and Beyond.


Falmouth Enterprise, “Woman Pilot Dies In Otis Field Crash” March 31, 1944   

Lawrence Webster, Aviation Archeologist & Historian

Wings Across America/Wasp On The Web/Above & Beyond – www.wingsacrossamerica.org.



Norwood, MA – June 16, 1942

Norwood, Massachusetts – June 16, 1942


P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 16, 1942, 2nd Lt. Herbert C. Chamberlain was piloting a Curtiss P-40E (Ser. No. 41-25161) over Norwood, Mass., when the aircraft experienced engine trouble.  Lt. Chamberlain attempted an emergency landing at Norwood Airport, but went down in a swampy area near the edge of the field.  The plane was damaged by Lt. Chamberlain was unhurt.     

     Lt. Chamberlain was killed a few days later in another P-40 crash at Hillsgrove Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, on June 24, 1942.  For more information, see that posting on this website under “Rhode Island Aviation Accidents”.

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, #42-6-16-37  

Williston, VT – March 4, 1965

Williston, Vermont – March 4, 1965


F-89 Scorpion U. S. Air Force Photo

F-89 Scorpion
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On March 4, 1965, a Vermont National Guard F-89J Scorpion jet was approaching Burlington Airport when an onboard fire broke out.  The aircraft went down about three miles form the airport in the town of Williston, in an area known as Taft Corners, barely missing some trailer homes.




      Nether the pilot or the radar observer survived.  They were identified as: 

     (Pilot) Colonel Robert P. Goyette, 45, of Burlington, Vermont.

     (Radar Observer) Lieutenant Jeffrey B. Pollack, 28, of Burlington, Vermont.

     Today there is a memorial on Rt 2 in the town of Williston honoring these two men, located at GPS coordinates 18T E 65336  N 4922338. (This is not the site of the crash.)


     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Vermont Air Guard Officers Die In Jet Crash”, March 5, 1965

     Schenectady Gazette, “2 In Vermont Air Guard Die In Jet Trainer Crash”, March 5, 1965  



West Greenwich, R.I. – April 24, 1946

West Greenwich, Rhode Island – April 24, 1946 

     On April 24, 1946, two navy F4U Corsairs on a training flight out of Quonset Point NAS were involved in a mid-air collision over West Greenwich.  Moments later, the pilot of one plane bailed out.  His Corsair, (81416), came down onto a house and exploded, killing a mother and her 2-year-old son.   

     Despite a damaged wing, the pilot of the other Corsair, (81312), managed to make it back to the Quonset Naval Air Station. 

     Both planes were assigned to VBF-82.

     The dead were identified as Mrs. Eva Parenteau, 30, and her son Raymond.   Mrs. Parenteau’s other two children, Phillip, 9, and Joseph, 8, were playing in a nearby yard at the time and weren’t injured.   

Source: Woonsocket Call, “Mother, Baby Killed, Plane Crash Probed”, April 25, 1946, Pg. 1 

Warwick, R. I. – November 2, 1942

Warwick, Rhode Island – November 2, 1942


P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 2, 1942, two U.S. Army P-40 fighter planes, based at Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, were on a training flight over Narragansett Bay when they collided in mid-air.   

     One plane, (41-14135), piloted by Staff Sgt. John W. Smallseed, 21, of Newton Falls, Ohio, suffered minor damage and was able to return safely to Hillsgrove.    

     The second plane, (41-14183), piloted by 2nd Lt. William H. Pierson, 23, of Chicago, suffered heavy wing damage, and he was forced to bail out.  After the bailout, Pierson’s plane continued on and crashed in the center of the intersection of Barton Street and Grand Avenue in the Warwick Neck Section of the city. 

     The aircraft narrowly missed an automobile being driven by Edward W. Thurber of Pawtuxet.  The explosion of the P-40’s impact spewed debris and gasoline onto his car setting it on fire.  Thurber, not knowing for sure what had just happened, jumped from his flaming car and allowed it to roll down a hill where it came to rest in a vacant lot and continued to burn.   

     A home at 49 Barton Avenue was also set on fire, but the owner was able to extinguish the flames with a garden hose. 

     Mrs. Forrest B. Morgan of Grand Avenue told reporters that she had been standing where the plane crashed for twenty minutes waiting for her daughter.  She had just started back towards her home when the plane hit and was not injured.

     Meanwhile, Lt. Pierson was seen landing in Narragansett Bay where he disappeared after hitting the water.  Four volunteer firemen from the Conimicut Fire Department launched a boat to rescue Pierson, but needed to be rescued themselves when their boat capsized in the rough water. 

     Some reports were later received that Pearson had been rescued, but these were found to be in error.  He was officially reported as “missing”.  

     Harry Robbins, an eye witness to the crash, told reporters, “One (plane) passed under the other and the two wings hit.  The bottom plane turned over a couple of times, the pilot jumped out, and one wing started to smoke.  Then the plane made two wide circles and I saw it coming towards me.  The explosion it made when it landed was deafening.” 


Providence Journal, “Two Army Planes Collide Over bay; One Pilot Missing”, November 3, 1942, Pg. 1



Otis Air Force Base – July 9, 1954

Otis Air Force Base – July 9, 1954

Falmouth, Massachusetts

     On the afternoon of July 9, 1954, air force captain Robert J. Fox was scheduled to fly a single-engine L-20 airplane on a routine training flight from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts.   As he was lifting off the runway at 4:05 p.m., the aircraft suddenly lost altitude dipping its wing which caught the ground causing the plane to crash.  Despite heavy damage to the plane, was no fire, and Captain Fox escaped without injury. 

     Fox was assigned to the 4707th Air defense Wing as a communications electronics officer.         


     Falmouth Enterprise, “Capt. Robert Fox Unhurt In Crash”, July 9, 1954

Moose Mountain, NH – October 25, 1968

Moose Mountain, New Hampshire – October 25, 1968


     At 5:42 p.m. on October 25, 1968, Northeast Airlines Flight 946 left Boston for Lebanon, and Montpelier, New Hampshire. The aircraft was a Fairchild Hiller FH – 227C, (Registration # N380NE) with thirty-nine passengers and a crew of three aboard; pilot, co-pilot, and a stewardess.

     The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 4:55 p.m., but there had been a delay in getting the aircraft to the gate for passenger loading.

     At 6:08 p.m., the flight was cleared for approach to Lebanon Airport.


     At 6:11 p.m., the crew notified the Lebanon Flight Service Station that they were on a standard instrument approach, and requested a Lebanon weather report. They were advised of overcast conditions and calm winds. This was the last communication with the aircraft. Not long afterwards the plane crashed on the north side of Moose Mountain about 8.2 nautical miles northeast of Lebanon Airport. The impact occurred about 57 feet below the summit.

     In the NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, (NSTB-AAR-70-7) one unidentified surviving passenger described the final moments leading up to the crash.

     “…As we approached Lebanon, the cloud cover had been gradually thinning and before we began our descent, ground had been visible in patches between the clouds for several minutes. On the early part of the descent, the ground continued to be visible. After the turn to the final approach, with the wheels down, we were flying between two nearly vertical cloud banks in the gentle smooth descent which I described in my prior statement.   There was no cloud directly below us, and the level of the base of the clouds at this point was slightly below the level of the aircraft so that the ground was clearly visible under the cloud to a substantial distance ahead and to the side. I was looking out and observed a pond and that the terrain had very few roads and no houses.

     As we continued our descent, I continued to observe and watched the slope of the ground rising ahead of us at about twenty degrees in the direction of the flight. We were so near the ground at this time that I could clearly see the individual trees which appeared fist size and began to look ahead in the direction of the flight for airport approach lights as I assumed that we must be very near the touch down point. I observed the rising ground until I suddenly lost all visibility as we had entered a cloud.

     After a few seconds in the cloud, I felt the initial impact which was gentle and seemed no more severe than a normal touch down. I do not remember any severe impact.”

     According to the report, other survivors described the impact as “smooth”, “not a crash, but more of a settling”, and “a rough landing”.

     Upon hitting the mountain, the plane plowed its way through trees and immediately caught fire after coming to rest. All ten of the survivors were seated in the rear of the aircraft, and managed to escape through the rear service door or by squeezing through openings in the fuselage. In all, seventeen people managed to escape the flames, but seven were fatally injured and succumbed to their injuries before help arrived. The injuries to the remaining survivors ranged from lacerations to broken bones.  

     Darkness, the remote location of the crash, combined with rain and freezing temperatures hindered rescue efforts. Those who could, made their way down the mountain on their own, while the rest were air lifted off by helicopter. The helicopters landed on the green at Dartmouth College, and from there the survivors were transported to Mary Hitchcock Hospital.

   The crash site is located at longitude 72 degrees, 8’.7 west, and latitude 43 degrees 43’.3 north, at an elevation of approximately 2, 237 feet.


     NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB-AAR-70-7

     New York Times, “32 of 42 On Plane Killed In New Hampshire Crash”, October 26, 1968










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