Springfield, MA – August 16, 1932

Springfield, Massachusetts – August 16, 1932


Russell Boardman

Russell Boardman

     On August 16, 1932, famous aviator, Russell N. Boardman, 34, took off from Springfield Airport for a test flight of his new Gee-Bee, R-1, Junior Sportster, racing airplane, which he intended to fly in the Thompson Trophy Race in Cleveland, Ohio, later in the month.   According to witnesses, Boardman’s plane developed engine trouble and went into a low roll before spinning into the ground from an altitude of 800 feet.  The plane came down in a thickly wooded area but didn’t burn. 

     The plane was demolished and Boardman was seriously injured.  At first there was some question as to whether of not he’d live, but he rallied and recuperated over the next several months.   

     Unfortunately, Boardman was killed in another plane crash almost a year later on July 3, 1933.  In that incident, he was taking part in a trans-continental air-race and had stopped to refuel in Indianapolis.  After refueling, he crashed on take off when a gust of wind caught the wing of his plane. 

    Early in his flying career, Mr. Boardman had survived one other airplane crash in Cottonwood, Arizona.

     Mr. Boardman was famous for a 5,011.8 mile non-stop trans-Atlantic flight he’d made with John Polando from the United States to Istanbul, Turkey, in July of 1931.  For their accomplishment, both were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross per special order of U.S. President Herbert Hoover.  (The D.F.C. is usually only awarded to military personnel.)       

     For more information about their historic flight, see the book, Wings Over Istanbul – The Life & Flights Of A Pioneer Aviator, by Johnnie Polando.     

     Mr. Boardman was born in Westfield, Connecticut, in 1898.  He was survived by his wife and 5-year-old daughter, as well as one brother and three sisters.  He’s buried in Miner Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut.  (For a photo of his grave see memorial # 71156334 at  www.findagrave.com)  

     For more biographical information about Russell Boardman, see  www.earlyaviators.com/eboardm1.htm


     New York Times, “Boardman Crashes, Condition Serious”, August 17, 1932

    Chicago Daily Tribune, “Flyer Boardman Crashes In Test Of Speed Plane”, August 17, 1932

     Boston Herald, “Russell Boardman Dies In Indianapolis, Crashed Saturday In East-West race”, July 4, 1933.  



     History-Salt Boxes On Bass River website.  Article: “A baroness Came, And So Did A Countess, In The Heyday Of Yarmouth’s Salt Boxes”, by Bainbridge Crist, 1978.   https://sites.google.com/site/saltboxespublic/history


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