South Windsor, CT. – February 23, 1919

South Windsor, CT. – February 23, 1919


     On February 23, 1919, two U.S. Army lieutenants took off from Hartford, Connecticut, bound for Boston, Massachusetts, to photograph the arrival of President Woodrow Wilson’s aircraft landing at Boston. 

     The pilot was identified as Lt. S. W. Torney, and the photographer was identified as Lt. Cundiff. 

     As the plane was en-route to Boston it developed engine trouble, and Lt. Torney was forced to make an emergency landing in a field on private property in South Windsor.  After inspecting the engine, it was decided that trying to reach Boston would be too risky, so Lt. Cundiff was told to stay behind and return to Hartford via trolley while Torney would fly alone back to Hartford with the airplane.     

     After making some minor adjustments to the motor, Lieutenant Torney took off and was approximately fifty feet in the air when his airplane suddenly lost power and crashed in another field about a quarter of a mile away.  The airplane suffered significant damage, but Lieutenant Torney was relatively unhurt.

     Lieutenant Torney stayed with his airplane to protect it from the gathering crowds until a local constable arrived.  

     Lt. Torney’s airplane had begun its trip from Mineola, Long Island, New York, the previous day with two others, all bound for Boston.  One of the three developed an overheated engine and was forced to return to Mineola shortly after taking off.   The other two made it to Hartford where they spent the night.  After receiving word of Lt. Torney’s accident, the third was sent to Boston to complete the assignment.  It was reported that it flew over the spot where Lt. Torney had crashed before proceeding to Boston.


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Army Airplane Wrecked In Fifty Foot Fall In So. Windsor Pasture”, February 24, 1919


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