Berlin Corners, Vermont – April 23, 1931

Berlin Corners, Vermont – April 23, 1931

On April 23, 1931, a flight instructor and his student were injured when their aircraft crashed at Berlin Corners, Vermont, about four miles from Montpelier.  The injured were Emery Dennis, the instructor, and Fred Osborne, his student.  Dennis suffered a fractured skull and broken leg.   Both were transported to Montpelier hospital. 

Source: New York Times, “Two Hurt In Plane Crash”, April 24, 1931

Searsburg, VT. – August 17, 1974

Searsburg, Vermont – August 17, 1974

     On August 17, 1974, a Beachcraft 35-A33 airplane, (#N385Z), left Lawrence, Massachusetts, bound for Cambridge, New York, and then on to Michigan.  There were four people aboard, a husband, wife, and their two teenaged children, 14, and 16.  The family was from Denison, Iowa. 

     In the vicinity of the New York border the husband, who was piloting the aircraft, reported they had encountered severe thunderstorms.  When no further communication was heard the plane was declared missing and a search was begun.   The search area included western Massachusetts, southern Vermont, and a portion of New York.  Despite all efforts, nothing was found.

     The plane was found by accident on May 24, 1976, on Searsburg Mountain located in the tiny southern Vermont town of Searsburg.      

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “All Search resumes For Lost Plane”, August 26, 1974, page B-5  

     Ames Daily Tribune, (Iowa), “Denison Man, Plane Disappear”, August 21, 1974, page 11.  (Courtesy of Ames Public Library.)

     Ames Daily Tribune, (Iowa), “No trace Of Iowa Family, Lost Plane”, August 23, 1974, page 7.  (Courtesy of Ames Public Library.)

     Article, “History of Vermont Plane Crashes”, by Brian Linder, Burlington Free Press, November 20, 2014. 

     Aviation Safety Network

Dorset Mountain, VT. – April 15, 1974

Dorset Mountain, Vermont – April 15, 1974

     On April 15, 1974, a husband, his wife, and their two children took off from Glens Falls, New York, bound for Portland, Maine, in a brown and white Moody aircraft.  While in the vicinity of Danby, Vermont, they encountered poor weather conditions and crashed into the north slope of Dorset Mountain. 

     The wreckage was spotted from the air the following day and when state troopers arrived at the crash site they found no survivors.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “4 Die In Vt. Air Crash”, April 16, 1974, page A-10

     Providence Journal, “”Four Found Dead In Vt. Plane Crash”, April 17, 1974, page 2

Proctorsville, VT. – June 4, 1973

Proctorsville, Vermont – June 4, 1973

     At 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of June 4, 1973, two men from Huntington, New York, were injured when their twin-engine airplane crashed on takeoff from what was then called (in the press) Ludlow Airport in Proctortsville.  The men were taken to a hospital in Springfield for treatment.  The cause of the accident wasn’t stated.  

     Source: Providence Journal, “2 hurt On Takeoff”, June 5, 1973

Mt. Snow Airport, VT. – February 24, 1973

Mt. Snow Airport, Vermont – February 24, 1973

     On the morning of February 24, 1973, a light plane carrying a pilot and three young passengers crashed while landing at Mt. Snow Airport in West Dover, Vermont.  The 37-year-old pilot from New Jersey, and his 14-year-old son, both received serious injuries.  The other two passengers, both 12, sustained minor injuries.   

     Mt. Snow Airport is now known as Deerfield Valley Regional Airport.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Four Injured In Mt. Snow Crash”, February 25, 1973, p6.

     Deerfield Valley Regional Airport website, http://deerfieldvalleyregionalairport.com

     Wikipedia – Deerfield Valley Regional Airport

Waterville Valley, VT. – March 19, 1966

Waterville Valley, Vermont – March 19, 1966

 

     On March 19, 1966, Melvin E. Seymour, 53, of Creston, Iowa, was piloting a Cessna 182 from Burlington, Vermont, to Portland, Maine, when he disappeared.   Despite an intensive search, nothing was found.  Then, in June of 1972, a hiker happened upon the wreckage of Mr. Seymour’s airplane with his remains still inside.  The aircraft was found near the 2,800 foot level of Jenkins Peak in Waterville Valley.    

     Mr. Seymour had served as a navy pilot during World War II.  He’s buried in Graceland Cemetery in Creston, Iowa. 

     Sources:

     Amsterdam Recorder, “CAP Hunts For Missing Plane In Vermont”, March 21, 1966

     Providence Journal, “Lost Plane Found After 6 Yrs.”, June 26, 1972

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Hiker Finds Plane Missing For 6 Years”, June 26, 1972

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #17459182

North Hero, VT – October 25, 1920

North Hero, Vermont – October 25, 1920

 

     At 4:30 p.m. on October 23, 1920, a race involving seven balloons left Birmingham, Alabama, all competing for the Gordon Bennett International Trophy For Free Balloons.  The declared winners were Belgian army lieutenants Ernest De Muyter, and Mathieu La Brousse, who sailed 1100 miles in their balloon, “Belgica”.

     After being in the air for 40 hours, De Muyter and La Brousse found themselves heading in a westerly direction away from upstate New York and out over Lake Champlain and towards Vermont.  While over the lake, the balloon began loosing altitude and dropped into the frigid water about a mile off the western shore of North Hero Island.  Neither man had a life preserver so they stayed with the balloon which was being pushed across the choppy water by strong winds. 

     The plight of the men was witnessed by Henry A. Hazen from his shoreline home, and he set out with a canoe to rescue them.  The winds were still pushing the balloon towards shore, so when Henry reached it, the men decided to stay with it, and before long it was in water shallow enough for them to wade the rest of the way.

     The men were brought into the Hazen household and offered warm blankets and refreshments.      

     Sources: 

     The Barre Daily Times,(VT.), “Belgica Won Balloon Race”, October 26, 1920     

     The Barre Daily Times, (VT.), “Racing Balloon In Lake Champlain”, October 26, 1920

Rutland, VT. – September 6, 1916

Rutland, Vermont – September 6, 1916 

Rutland Fairgrounds

Balloon ascending with parachute attached to the side.

     On the afternoon of September 6, 1916, Samuel A. Libby, 38, was giving a balloon-parachute exhibition at the Rutland Fairgrounds.  Libby’s demonstration involved four parachutes, each to be used in succession of each other, thereby giving a more thrilling performance.  When the hot-air balloon had reached an altitude of 1,500 feet over the fairgrounds he cut away with the four parachutes.  As Libby made his descent, the first three chutes deployed properly, but the fourth failed to open and he was killed.

     His remains were reportedly sent to Oakland, Maine.  It was further mentioned that he was single, and had belonged to the Loyal Order of Moose.

     The day following the accident, a replacement for Libby was found.  18-year-old Freemont Ross of Rutland agreed to jump from the same balloon using a single parachute, which he did successfully.  It was noted that this was his first time in a balloon. 

Update, March 14, 2017

     According to The Bennington Evening Farmer, Mr. Libby was 44-years-old, and was survived by two sisters.  When his parachute failed to open, he reportedly landed on property located on Phillips Avenue.   

     Sources:

     Burlington Weekly Free Press, (Burlington, VT.), “Balloonist Fall; Meets His death At Rutland fair”, September 7, 1916 

     The Bennington Evening Farmer, (Bennington, VT.), “Parachute Jump At Rutland Was Fatal”, September 7, 1916

     The Bennington Evening Banner, (Bennington, VT.), “Boy Makes Balloon Ascent”, September 9, 1916

St. Johnsbury, VT. – September 11, 1914

St. Johnsbury, Vermont – September 11, 1914

Caledonia County Fair

     balloonOn September 11, 1914, the last day of Vermont’s annual Caledonia County Fair, a hot air balloon unexpectedly landed on the boardwalk in front of the grand stand where several persons happened to be standing.  Three ladies were injured when the balloon came down on top of them, the most serious being a 66 – year-old woman who suffered a scalp laceration and bruises to the face.  She was transported unconscious to Brightlook Hospital for treatment.  It was reported that she was expected to recover.   

     No further details were given.

     Source: The Bennington Evening Banner, “Accident At Caledonia Fair”, September 16, 1914

Updated October 6, 2016

     The accident occurred while Harold Cates of Boston was giving a parachute exhibition.  He’d ascended in the balloon alone, and at the proper altitude, jumped with his parachute, and landed safely on the field.  The unmanned balloon came down upon the boardwalk.   

     Source:

     The Burlington Weekly Free Press, “2:24 Pace Is A Feature Of Fair At St. Johnsbury”, September 17, 1914     

 

 

Hyde Park, VT – July 4, 1873

Hyde Park, Vermont – July 4, 1873

 

    balloon On the afternoon of July 4, 1873, Professor Frank K. King, son of the famous aeronaut Samuel A. King, made a balloon ascension from the fair grounds near Morrisville, Vermont.  The balloon sailed away and was in the air for slightly more than an hour when it unexpectedly came down in a wilderness area somewhere near the town line between Eden and Hyde Park.   

     King climbed down from his balloon but had no idea of his exact location, or in which direction he should begin walking.  He set out on a course he hoped would bring him out of the woods, but after hiking for a good length of time found himself back at his balloon.   He spent two days and two nights in the woods without food or shelter before he met up with a search party that was looking for him.   

     Source: Orleans County Monitor, “Fourth Of July Balloon Ascension At Morrisville”, July 14, 1873.  

Updated January 25, 2017

     When King and his balloon were about two-and-a-half miles up he encountered a snow storm.  The snow and ice coated the balloon adding weight and forcing it down.  The number of searchers was said to be five hundred men. 

    Source:, The Somerset Herald, (Somerset PA.), “Balloon Adventure”, July 16, 1873   

 

    

    

Near Wardsboro, VT – September 13, 1947

Near Wardsboro, Vermont – September 13, 1947 

     On September 13, 1947, two brothers, Leroy B. Church, 38, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Clarence  Bruce Church, 40, of New York City, rented an airplane in Westfield, Massachusetts, for a flight to Poughkeepsie, New York.  While en-route to their destination they encountered severe weather and crashed in a remote wooded area near the small town of Wardsboro, Vermont.  Both were killed.

     Source: New York Times, “Brothers Die In Crash”, September 15, 1947

Updated April 12, 2017

     The aircraft involved in this accident had been seen circling the town of Wardsboro.   At approximately 7 p.m., a housewife saw the aircraft go down, and notified the local telephone operator who then notified authorities.   A search party of between 40 to 50 volunteers trekked into the now dark woods in search of the wreck.  The plane was located in a wooded area about a half-mile from a road. 

     Clarence Church was a manager at the IBM company in New York City.

     Leroy Church was an inspector for Pratt-Whitney Aircraft in Massachusetts.

     Source: Rutland Herald, “Two Killed In Light Plane, Eight Hurt In Road Crashes Add To Toll Over Week-End”,  September, 15, 1947.  Article supplied by Mr. Brian Lindner, Vermont Aviation Historian.   

 

Warren, VT – June 13, 1953

Warren, Vermont – June 13, 1953

     On the morning of June 13, 1953, a single-engine airplane with two men aboard took off from Mahwah Airfield near Nyack, New York, and flew to Warren, Vermont, where the pilot, Fremont L. Lovett, 64, owned property that contained a private airstrip.  At noontime, Mr. Lovett and his passenger, True C. Morrill, 65, crashed during take off for the return trip.  Both were killed.

     Mr. Lovett was a highly successful and well known businessmen who directed three public utilities, and Mr. Morrill was a college Dean at Bergen  Junior College in Teaneck, New Jersey.    

     Source: New York Times, “F. L. Lovett Killed In Crash Of Plane”, June 14, 1953.     

Brattleboro, VT – August 18, 1922

Brattleboro, Vermont – August 18, 1922

     One source describing this tragedy states it occurred at a new airport dedication in Brattleboro, but  another states it was an aircraft meet sponsored by the Brattleboro Outing Club to demonstrate the safety of aviation.   In either case, eight aircraft were scheduled to participate in the activities, but only seven actually did. 

     During the morning of August 18, 1922, between six and seven thousand people gathered to witness the air show which was to include various forms of stunt flying.  Also in attendance was Vermont’s Governor, James Hartness, a strong supporter of the advancement of Vermont aviation.

     At the opening ceremonies, Miss Evelyn Harris, 25, the sister of Fred H. Harris, the president of the Brattleboro Outing Club, had the honor of raising the American flag while the Governor gave his address.  

     Towards the later afternoon, while four other planes were still stunt flying over the field, a Curtis Oriole C6 airplane prepared for take off.  The pilot was Benjamin Hughes of Long Island, N.Y.  His three passengers included Miss Harris, James Trahan, and his 5-year-old son, Norman.   

     As the airplane left the ground, a wheel caught the top of an Elm tree sending the plane into some high tension wires which set it ablaze.  Hughes was thrown clear in the impact, but the others found themselves trapped in the aircraft.  Although injured himself, Hughes tried to rescue the passengers, but was unsuccessful, and suffered serious burns in the process.  

Sources:

New York Times, Plane Crashes At Opening Of Vermont Field; Man And Son Killed, Girl Fatally Burned”, August 19, 1922

New York Times, “Third Victim Of Airplane Crash Dies”, August 19, 1922

Aviation (magazine) “Aviation Progress In Vermont”, September 11, 1922, Page 324

 

 

 

Mount Mansfield, VT – October 6, 1966

Mount Mansfield, Vermont – October 6, 1966

     On the night of October 7, 1966, a Piper Comanche carrying three Canadian citizens crashed into Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest mountain.  The plane impacted roughly five hundred feet from the summit on the Underhill, Vermont, side.  There were no survivors.

     The dead were identified as, (pilot) David Shefler, 42, Robert Rosen, 46, and Mary Pert, 30. 

     The summit of Mount Mansfield is 4,393 feet above sea level.

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Find 3 Canadians Dead In Vermont Plane Crash”, October 8, 1966

     New York Times, “Three Canadians Killed In Air Crash In Vermont”, October 8, 1966 

      

 

Somerset, VT – July 1, 1957

Somerset, Vermont – July 1, 1957

     At 8:43 p.m. on July 1, 1957, a young couple on their way home from their honeymoon in Nantucket, Massachusetts, took off in a single-engine Stinson Voyager airplane from the Worcester (Mass.) Airport bound for upstate New York.  They were scheduled to reach their destination at 10 p.m..  However, while over Brattleboro, Vermont, the husband reported that they’d encountered strong headwinds and their arrival would be delayed.  When the aircraft never arrived it was reported missing. 

     What followed was a large scale search that lasted four days.  The wreckage was discovered on July 4th in a thickly wooded area near the Somerset Reservoir in the town of Somerset.  The bodies of the couple, Mark and Joan (Whiting) Larue of Hudson Falls, New York, were found inside.  They’d been married just two weeks.    

     It was surmised that the plane had been caught in a gust of wind and forced into a nose dive when the accident occurred.  There was no fire after the impact.    

     Sources:

     Schenectady Gazette, “Hunt For Newlyweds In Missing Plane To Be Resumed Today”, July 2, 1957 

     New York Times, “Missing Couple Dead”, July 5, 1957

     The (NY) Leader-Herald, “Honeymooners Found Dead In Plane Wreckage”, July 5, 1957, Pg. 1 

Springfield, VT – July 26, 1930

Springfield, Vermont – July 26, 1930

     On July 26, 1930, a plane carrying two men left Athol, Massachusetts, bound for Springfield, Vermont.  As the plane was circling to land at the Springfield Airport, (Today known as Hartness State Airport.) it suddenly went into a spin and crashed in a field next to the airport.  Both men were killed.

     The dead were identified as (Pilot) Wayne Tatcher, and his passenger, Dr. Clarence M. Taft, both of Athol, Mass.  

     Source:, New York Times, “Vermont Crash Kills Two”, July 27, 1930

Updated April 12, 2017

     The aircraft involved in this accident was a de Havilland Moth bi-plane, powered by a four-cylinder engine.   It crashed on property owned by Winifred McCann located next to the airport.   According to witnesses, the aircraft had circled over the field at an altitude of about 200 feet before banking into a left turn, where it suddenly went into a spin and crashed.

     The accident was investigated by Inspector Robert Hoyt of the Department of Commerce. 

     Source: Springfield Reporter, “Two Killed When Plane Makes Dive”, July 31, 1930.  Article supplied by Mr. Brian Lindner, Vermont Aviation Historian. 

Berlin, VT – April 7, 1978

Berlin, Vermont – April 7, 1978

     On April 7, 1978, a small plane carrying two men took off from Stratford, Connecticut, bound for Edward F. Knapp Airport in Berlin, Vermont.  The plane crashed in dense fog in a wooded area near the airport.  Both men were killed.

     The dead were identified as Paul Krupp, 37, of Westport, Connecticut, and John Thebobo, 40, of Norwalk, Connecticut.

     First responders had to use snowmobiles to reach the wreck site.

     Source: New York Times, “Airplane Crashes In Vermont, Killing The 2 Persons Aboard.” April 8, 1978 

Bellows Falls, VT – December 18, 1930

Bellows Falls, Vermont – December 18, 1930

     On December 18, 1930, three men were flying over the town of Bellows Falls, Vermont, when their plane crashed next to the Connecticut River just after it passed over the home of Mrs. George P. Kenyon, who happened to be the aunt of the pilot, Fred M. Greenwood.   

     Greenwood survived with minor injuries, but his two passengers, Carlton Wright, and Arnold Knowlton, both of Saxton’s River, Vermont, were killed.     

     Source: New York Times, “Two Men Lose Lives In Vermont As Craft Dives Near Bellows Falls” December 19, 1930   

Mt. Equinox, VT – November 18, 1973

Mt. Equinox, Vermont – November 18, 1973

Town of Manchester

     On November 18, 1973, three Dartmouth College students left Lebanon, New Hampshire, bound for Schenectady, New York, in a single-engine Piper Cherokee.  The aircraft belonged to the Dartmouth Flying Club.   As the plane was passing over the Manchester, Vermont, area it crashed into 3,880 foot Mount Equinox.   All three men were killed in the crash.

     The students were identified as:

     Edwin Estepa, 19, of the Bronx, New York.

     James M. Dougherty, 21, of Feura Bush, New York.

     Charles Alpert, 18, of Westfield, New Jersey. 

     Sources:

     New York Times, “3 Dartmouth Students Die In Vermont Plane Crash” November 19, 1973

     Providence Evening Bulletin, (R.I.),”Dartmouth Students Die In Air Crash”, November 19, 1973, page 14.

 

Rutland, VT – September 2, 1930

Rutland, Vermont – September 2, 1930

     On September 2, 1930, Mr. and Mrs. William Vaughan and their friend, Howard Chandler, were traveling in an automobile headed to the Rutland Fair when a hot air balloon suddenly crash-landed on their car, caving in the roof, and seriously injuring the occupants.  The balloon was part of an act being performed at the fair, when for some reason it rapidly deflated and fell five-thousand feet before striking the auto. 

     There was no word on any occupants of the balloon.

     Source: New York Times, “Balloon Drops On Auto”, September 3, 1930.  

Updated April 12, 2017

     The accident occurred around 3 p.m.  The balloon had been used by DeForriest Dickinson, 21, a parachute jumper performing at the Rutland Fair.  Dickinson’s act involved his being launched from a cannon suspended from the balloon while 5,000 feet above the ground.  After leaving the cannon, Dickinson dropped for 1,200 feet before his parachute deployed.  Upon landing he narrowly missed some electrical wires near a railroad track before alighting safely on South Main Street.  

     Meanwhile, his balloon lost its buoyancy and fell rapidly, crash-landing on top of the automobile occupied by the Vaughan’s, Mr. Chandler, his wife, and their 9-year-old son Russell.  The balloon reportedly weighted more than 100 pounds, and when it hit, it completely enveloped the car.  The impact took place at Strongs Avenue and South Main Street.  Fortunately, Mr. Chandler, who was driving, was able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, thus avoiding a greater accident.

     Source: Rutland Herald, “Autoist Injured, 4 Endangered By Falling Balloon”, September 3, 1930.  Article supplied by Mr. Brian Lindner, Vermont Avation Historian.  

West Addison, VT – February 18, 1993

West Addison, Vermont – February 18, 1993

On the ice of Lake Champlain

     On the afternoon of February 18, 1993, a Grumman Tiger aircraft took off from Morrisville-Stowe State Airport in Morristown, Vermont, with a lone pilot aboard, bound for Glens Falls, New York.  At 3:30 p.m. the aircraft crashed on the ice of Lake Champlain, about 3/4 of a mile from shore.  (The time was surmised from the plane’s broken dashboard clock.) The impact broke the plane into numerous pieces which were found scattered at the wreck site. The pilot was killed.

     A fisherman later reported seeing the aircraft circling over Lake Champlain, but never heard a crash.  

    No flight plan had been filed by the pilot, so he wasn’t missed when he failed to arrive at his destination, or when he failed to return to Vermont.  No May Day call had been received.  The plane was equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, however its signal wasn’t received until 2:30 a.m the following morning on February 19th.  The crash site was discovered by accident later that morning when two snowmobilers happened up on it at 10:30 a.m. 

    The cause of the crash was believed to be weather related.

     Source:

     Flying Magazine, I Learned About Flying From That, “Don’t Blame The Engine“, By John T. Quinn, No. 691

            

 

Bennington, VT – August 13, 1945

Bennington, Vermont – August 13, 1945

     On August 13, 1945, a Taylorcraft private plane carrying two people crashed shortly after takeoff at Bennington Airport, killing both.  Those aboard were identified as Grace Elizabeth Everett, 23, also known as “Betty Grace”, and U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Robert Lancaster, 23.

     Both victims were experienced pilots.  Miss Everett had served as a W.A.S.P. pilot during WWII, and Lt. Lancaster as a B-17 bomber pilot.  Lancaster had been shot down during one of his missions and spent time in a German POW camp, and had only recently been repatriated to the U.S.  

     It was not clear which of the two was flying the aircraft as the plane had two seats side by side and could be controlled from either side.

     Lt. Lancaster is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 10, Site 10663 EH 

     Miss Everett is buried in Parklawn Cemetery in Bennington.

     Sources:

     (Tarrytown, NY) The Daily News, “Two Killed In Plane Crash”, August 14, 1945

     Bygone Bennington on WBTN-AM 1370, “August 13, 1945, A Plane Crashes At Bennington Airport, Number 91” (No date given)   https://sites.google.com/site/bygonebennington/

     (Troy NY) The Times Record, “Airplane Tragedy Probe Continues At Bennington” August 14, 1945.

     (Troy NY) The Times Record, “Rites Conducted For Plane Crash Victim”, August 17, 1945 

     (Cambridge NY) Washington County Post, “Two Killed In Airport Crash”, August 16, 1945

     www.findagrave.com

 

Shaftsbury, VT – May 29, 1988

Shaftsbury, Vermont – May 29, 1988

     At 1 p.m. on May 29, 1988, a small plane left Allegheny County Airport in Pennsylvania, bound for Laconia, New Hampshire.  At about 3 p.m. witnesses saw the aircraft apparently experiencing engine trouble shortly before plunging to the ground in Shaftsbury. 

     Although the aircraft was equipped with an emergency transponder, it took awhile to locate the wreck due to the rocky area in which it crashed, and heavy foliage on the trees. 

     The pilot, Harry Rhule, 52, of Cabot, Pennsylvania, was killed in the crash.  There were no other persons aboard.

     Sources:

     Beaver Co. Times, “Vermont Plane Crash Kills Pennsylvania Man”, May 31, 1988.

     (Washington PA.) Observer Reporter, “Pennsylvania Man Dies In Vermont Plane Crash”, May 31, 1988   

 

Berlin, VT – November 25, 1965

Berlin, Vermont – November 25, 1965

 

     On the night of November 25, 1965, a single-engine Beech Bonanza with four people aboard was flying from Hartford, Connecticut, when it encountered bad weather and crashed in thick woods about one mile west of Barre-Montpelier Airport.  The aircraft wreckage was found three hours later in a deep ravine between Berlin Pond and an airport light beacon. 

     Witnesses reported that the plane had been circling the airport when it struck one of the light beacon towers.  It began to snow after the accident, which hindered search efforts. 

     All aboard were killed.  State police did not release the names of the victims, but only stated there were two men and two women aboard. 

     Sources:

     (Conn.) The Morning Record, “Four Perish In Air Crash In Vermont”, November 26, 1965

     UPI Article (Lodi CA.) Lodi News Sentinel, “Four Killed As Private Plane Falls In Storm”, November 26, 1965 

Ludlow, VT – June 4, 1973

Ludlow, Vermont – June 4, 1973

     On June 4, 1973, a Cessna 150 with two men aboard was taking off from Smith Airport in Ludlow when the aircraft lost power just after leaving the ground.  As the plane fell it clipped some power lines before crashing in a field about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway. 

     Those aboard were identified as Richard Freda, 41, and Kenneth Deegan, 35, both of Huntington, New York.  Freda was transported to Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire, in critical condition, while Deegan was taken to Springfield Hospital where he was listed in satisfactory condition.     

     Source:

     The Nashua Telegraph, “2 New York Men Are Injured In Vt. Plane Crash”, June 5, 1973, pg. 5

Barre-Montpelier Airport – April 10, 1964

Barre-Montpelier Airport – April 10, 1964

 

    DC-3 Shortly before 1:30 p.m., on April 10, 1964, a Northeast Airlines DC-3, (Flight 373) was taking off from Barre-Montpelier Airport with nineteen people aboard.  The plane had barely left the ground when a sudden strong gust of wind rotated the plane and sent it crashing into a storage hangar, two parked cars, and another aircraft.  Remarkably, there were no reported injuries.

    Although the airliner suffered extensive damage there was no fire, and all aboard were evacuated safely.        

     Source: The Pittsburg Times, “None Injured In Vermont Plane Crash”, April 11, 1964    

St. Johnsbury, VT – September, 1910

St. Johnsbury, Vermont – September, 1910

early biplane

     The newspaper source of this incident gave no specific date of occurrence.  

      Sometime during the month of September, 1910, Chester Karyman was test-flying an airplane belonging to Professor Clarence C. Bonnette over St. Johnsbury.  The aircraft had reportedly reached “a considerable height” when it began to be buffeted by winds.  As Karyman was bringing the plane down to land, he shut the engine off too soon, causing the craft to abruptly drop from the air and smash into the ground.  The plane was badly damaged, but fortunately Karyman escaped with minor injuries.       

     The aircraft involved in this accident was a Curtis-type airplane named Vermont, or Vermont 1, because it was the first to be constructed in the state of Vermont.  It was built by Professor Bonnette the previous winter, and test flights had begun in August, 1910. 

     Sources:

The Barre Daily Times, “Aeroplane Vermont Made Short Flight And Then Bumped The Earth.” September 29, 1910, Pg6

The Barre Daily Times, “Vermont’s First Aeroplane”, August 30, 1910

Lake Champlain – January 21, 1971

Lake Champlain – January 21, 1971 

Vermont’s Enduring Aviation Mystery

     Just before 7:00 p.m. on January 21, 1971, a Rockwell 1121 Jet Commander (N400CP) with five people aboard, took off from Burlington International Airport bound for Providence, Rhode Island.  It was snowing that night, and roughly three to four minutes after take-off the plane abruptly vanished from radar and has never been found.  No distress call was received.  

     It is presumed that aircraft went down in Lake Champlain, a massive body of water 120 miles long and 12 miles wide separating the states of Vermont and New York.

     Over the next few days more snow covered ground, and the lake surface froze, causing the search for the airplane to be called off on February 4th. 

     In April of 1971, debris believed to be from the missing plane were discovered along the shore of Lake Champlain near Shelburne, Vermont.  These included at tire and rim, a window frame assembly, insulation from the forward cabin area, an oxygen tank, and parts of a radio.

     No human remains have ever been found.

     One rumor connected with the flight is that the plane carried a large amount of cash and negotiable bonds, but this has never been substantiated.

     Those aboard the plane included:

     Pilot: George Nikita

     Co-pilot: Donald E. Myers

     Robert Williams

     R. Kirby Windsor

     Frank Wilder

     While the disappearance has faded into history, there are those who continue to search. 

     In 2014 a hi-tec sonar search of 15 square miles of lake bottom near Shelburne was conducted.  Although a number of possible targets were identified, nothing conclusive was found, and further investigation will be necessary.  

     Why can’t the plane be located?     

      As large as the sonar search area was, Lake Champlain covers, according to one source,  435 square miles, while another puts the figure at 490 square miles.  And nobody knows for sure where the plane went into the water.  Therefore there are still hundreds of square miles to be checked.  

     It’s also possible the plane broke apart on impact, which would make it more difficult to locate, and after more than forty years, it could have settled in silt.

      In the meantime, the disappearance remains Vermont’s longest unsolved aviation mystery.    

     Sources:

     The Telegraph, “Lake Champlain Search For Lost Jet Abandoned”, February 6, 1971

     Burlington Free Press, “Search Resumes For Jet Missing Since 1971”, by Mike Donoghue, July 18, 2014.

     Providence Journal, “Lake Champlain Searched For Providence-Bound Plane That Crashed 43 years Ago.” July 21, 2014

     Burlington Free Press, “Strong Leads In Search For Missing Plane”, July 22, 2014

     Marine Technology News, “Modern Tech For A Cold Case”, March 12, 2015

     Aviation Safety Network, Flight Safety Foundation

     Lake Champlain Land Trust website, www.lclt.org

     Wikipedia – Lake Champlain

 

 

 

    

    

Burlington, VT – September 20, 1948

Burlington, Vermont – September 20, 1948

 

   

DC-3 Airliner

DC-3 Airliner

     On September 20, 1948, Colonial Airlines, Flight 3, left Montreal, Canada, bound for New York City by way of Burlington, Vermont.  The aircraft was a DC-3, tail number NC17335, with a crew of three, and fourteen passengers aboard.     

     Weather at Burlington Airport was rainy with 1 mile visibility and an 800 foot cloud ceiling.  Flight 3 arrived at Burlington shortly before midnight and attempted to land on Runway 1.  After the plane touched down on the slick tarmac it skidded into a pile of dirt and some trees at the end of the runway.    

     Although the airliner suffered extensive damage there was no fire and everyone was evacuated safely.  There were only two reported injuries: a Miami, Florida, woman suffered a possible broken rib, and the stewardess a slight concussion. Both were treated at a nearby hospital.   The uninjured passengers were transferred to another plane.

     Colonial Airlines merged with Eastern Airlines in 1956.

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Colonial Plane Crash Lands At Burlington”, September 21, 1948, page 1.

     Aviation Safety Network aviation-savety.net

     Wikipedia – Colonial Airlines

    

Burlington, VT – September 27, 1910

Burlington, Vermont – September 27, 1910

     On September 27, 1910, Vermont aviator Geroge Schmidt of Rutland, was attempting to take off at the Valley Fair in Burlington when his Curtiss aircraft caught some ropes surrounding an enclosure and broke several wing braces.  Schmidt was unhurt, but the aircraft required repair before it could be flight worthy.

Source: Burlington Weekly Free Press, “Valley Fair A Big Attraction”  (Aeroplane Has A Mishap), September 29, 1910, Page 6.   

Manchester, VT – July 20, 1974

Manchester, Vermont – July 20, 1974

     On July 20, 1974, four men took off in a small private airplane from Equinox Airport in Manchester.  The plane crashed shortly after takeoff about a quarter of a mile from the airport, taking down some power lines.  All four men received various non-life threatening injuries.

     Source: Nashua Telegraph, “4 Injured In Vermont Plane Crash”, July 22, 1974, page 32

Rutland, VT – September 2, 1913

Rutland, Vermont – September 2, 1913

   

Vintage Post Card View Of The Rutland Fairgrounds.

Vintage Post Card View Of The Rutland Fairgrounds.

     On September 2, 1913, early Vermont aviator George Schmidt, 23, of Rutland, took off at the Rutland Fairgrounds for an exhibition flight.  With him was Assistant Municipal Court Judge J. Dryer Spellman, 22, also of Rutland.   As the plane reached an altitude of about 500 feet the motor began to skip and miss-fire.  As Schmidt was returning to the open field of the fairgrounds the plane suddenly fell and crashed to the ground.  

     Both pilot and passenger were trapped in the wreckage.  George Schmidt had suffered a fractured skull, hip, and jaw, and died before he could be extricated.  Spellman was pinned against the aircraft’s hot radiator, and although he suffered burns, he recovered from the ordeal.

     George and his brother Charles are credited as being Vermont’s first aviators.  In August of 1910 they made news when they purchased a Curtis-type biplane, and it was noted that at the age of 18, George was “probably the youngest aviator in the country.”

     The following article appeared on page 3 of the Orleans County Monitor, August 10, 1910. 

Click on images to enlarge.

     Boys buy aeroplane 1 newspaper

Boys buy aeroplane 2 newspaper     

 

      According to Charles Schmidt, George Schmidt made his first airplane flight from the Rutland fairgrounds on September 1, 1910.  Today there is a memorial at the entrance fairgrounds honoring both brothers as the first active aviators in Vermont.   

       Sources:

     Aero and Hydro (magazine), “Brother Describes Schmidt Accident”, September 27, 1913, page 484, (Volume VI, No. 26.) 

     New York Herald, “Aviator Killed In Fall”, September 3, 1913

     www.vermont.gov  Aviation – Agency of transportation

    

    

      

    

Londonderry, VT – February 22, 1973

Londonderry, Vermont – February 22, 1973

Updated July 9, 2017

     On the evening of February 22, 1973, a Cessna 310J, (N3149L) with two persons aboard left Mt. Empire, Virginia, bound for Springfield, Vermont.  At 7:00 p.m. the pilot was given clearance from the Air Traffic Control center in Nashua to land at Springfield.  The weather over Vermont consisted of low cloud cover and snow conditions.  When the plane failed to arrive at the airport a search and rescue effort was begun.   The plane wreckage was later found on 2, 800 ft. mountain in the town of Londonderry.  Both men aboard were killed.  

     Sources:

     National Transportation Safety Board brief #NYC73AN116

     Claremont Daily Eagle, “Missing Plane Believed Down Near Springfield”, February 23, 1973, page 1.

Bellows Falls, VT – August 20, 1875

Bellows Falls, Vermont – August 20, 1875

 

    balloon On August 20, 1875, a man identified as “Professor Bristol” an aeronaut with “Cole’s Circus” was in a balloon 1,000 feet above Bellows Falls, when a current of cold air running along the Connecticut River caught the craft and caused it to rapidly descend towards the water.  Just as the balloon was about to hit the water above the falls, the breeze blew it a little towards shore, which gave Professor Bristol the chance to jump clear and make it to safety.  No sooner had he done so, the balloon touched down and went over the falls where it was wrecked.   

     Source: (Vermont) Orleans County Monitor, (no headline) August 30, 1875

Rutland, VT – September 7, 1922

Rutland, Vermont – September 7, 1922 

Rutland Fair Grounds

     On September 7, 1922, a  “flying circus” was performing at the Rutland Fair Grounds before a crowd of 30,000 spectators when two accidents occurred. 

     The first involved and aircraft flown by Lieutenant Belvin W. Maynard, a.k.a. “The Flying Parson”.  At about 1 p.m. Maynard and two others, Lt. L. R. Wood, and Charles Mionette, took off in an airplane to perform a series of aerial stunts for the entertainment of the fair goers.  The men were familiar with the routine which they had been performing all week.   The accident occurred while Maynard was performing a tail spin from an altitude of 2,000 feet.   Evidently he was unable to pull out of the spin, and the aircraft plunged nose first into a cornfield at the edge of the fair grounds killing all three men.

     Lt. Maynard was a veteran of World War I, but prior to the war he had studied to be a Baptist minister.  He was a frequent speaker in churches, and had been scheduled to give a talk at the Rutland Baptist Church later in the day.  He had also performed at least one marriage while flying his airplane over Times Square in New York, hence the nick name, “Flying Parson”.

     The second accident at the fair occurred later that same day.  A 43-year-old aeronaut named Smith had been giving parachute exhibitions by jumping from his balloon.  After two successful jumps that afternoon, Smith did a third, but his parachute failed to open and he was killed.

     Smith had been doing parachute jumps for the previous ten years.  In 1920, (Exact date not known.)  Smith was severely injured during one of his jumps in Lynn, Massachusetts. 

Source: New York Times, “Flying Parson Dies, 3 Other Air Men Killed During Fair.”  

Update: October 7, 2016

     Smith’s full name was Henry A. (Daredevil) Smith of Boston, Massachusetts.  He jumped from 3,500 feet and his parachute opened slightly, then closed, and failed to re-open.  He hit the ground about 100 yards east of the Main Street fence of the fairgrounds. 

     In the accident at Lynn, Mass., he was to jump from an airplane, but the pilot lost control and crashed.  Smith fell 8,00 feet and lived, but the pilot was killed.

     Source: Barre Daily Times, “”Maynard Body On Way Home” – “Another Shock For crowd”, September 8, 1922, page 1

Near Bennington, VT – July 15, 1930

Near Bennington, Vermont – July 15, 1930

     On July 15, 1930, Frank Goldsborough and Donald Mockler were flying from Cleveland, Ohio, to Keene, New Hampshire, when they encountered fog over the Bennington region and crashed into a mountain eight miles east of Bennington.   The plane had struck a tree and slid to the ground pinning Goldsborough in the wreck, but Mockler was able to extricate himself and go for help.  For five hours he made his way through the woods and brush before coming to a farmhouse a mile out of Bennington.   

     A contingent of about 100 volunteers accompanied Mockler back into the woods to the wreck site.  Progress was slow because Mockler had lost his glasses, and had trouble identifying landmarks.   Sixteen hours after the crash, Goldsborough was carried down the mountain and brought to Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington where he died the following day. 

     Frank Goldsborough had recently achieved fame as the American record holder of the Junior Transcontinental Air Speed Record.   He was the son of Frank Goldsborough who was himself a well known pilot, who died in December of 1927 when his aircraft disappeared off Cape Cod.

Source: New York Times, “Goldsborough Crashes In Vermont Mountain; Party Seeks Young Flier Pinned Under Plane”, July 15, 1930 

Wikipedia – Frank Goldsborough

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲