Springfield, MA – May 27, 1910

Springfield, Massachusetts – May 27, 1910

     At 3:15 p.m. on May 27, 1910, the balloon Pittsfield took off from Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  Aboard were two men, J. Walter Flagg, and W. J. Kelley, both of Worcester, Mass.  After drifting south eastward for more than two hours, they decided to land at 5:30 p.m.  By this time they were somewhere above the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

      After dropping two bags of ballast-sand overboard, the Pittsfield began to descend from an altitude of 7,800 feet.  However, it was noticed that as she was dropping, she was also gaining speed, and without warning suddenly began a rapid and uncontrolled fall from the sky.  The balloon dropped so fast that the occupants were forced to cling to the rigging lest they be pitched into space, and were therefore unable to toss out any further ballast to lighten the load. 

     The Pittsfield was headed straight for the Springfield Country Club, and several golfers happened to notice what was taking place, but were powerless to do anything.  Flagg and Kelley, certain that a crash landing was imminent, scrambled up into the rope rigging so as not to be in the gondola at the moment of impact.

     Then, by some miracle, the balloon suddenly decelerated while it was still barely 100 feet in the air, and instead of being dashed to pieces, came down with a hard thud on the greens.  Neither man was seriously injured.    


     New York Times, “Aeronauts’ Narrow Escape”, May 28, 1910

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