Mt. Abraham, ME. – November 14, 1967

Mount Abraham, Maine – November 14, 1967

     On the morning of November 14, 1967, two U.S. Air Force F-101 fighter jets took off from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, bound for Loring Air Force Base in Maine, and from there, on to Goosebay, Labrador.   Both aircraft were assigned to the 6oth Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis.  This was to be a long distance training flight.

     All was uneventful with the flight until the aircraft encountered snowy weather over Maine which reduced visibility.  As the jets were passing over the town of Kingfield they were involved in a mid-air collision.  One jet, (Ser. No. 57-376), suffered severe damage and the crew was forced to eject.  The pilot, Captain Dean H. Glazier, 32, parachuted safely onto a farm about a quarter-mile west of West Kingfield Road.  The radar officer, Major Lawrence Uchmanowicz, 38, landed in a tree about three-quarters of a mile from Captain Glazer.  He was assisted by hunters who’d seem him come down.  Both men were transported to the Dow Air Force Base hospital for treatment.  Meanwhile, their F-101 had continued on and crashed into the side of Mt. Abraham, five hundred feet from the top.  Wreckage was strewn over a large area.  The crash site is located about six miles from Kingfield.     

     The other F-101, (Ser. No. 57-378), was able to make it safely to Dow AFB on its own despite a large hole in the wing.  The pilot, 1st Lt. James Craig, and the radar officer, Captain Vincent Robben, were not injured.

     Source:

     Bangor Daily News, “Two Parachute As F101s Collide Over Kingfield”, November 15, 1967 

Westover Air Force Base – October 9, 1953

Westover Air Force Base – October 9, 1953

 

F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 3:15 a.m. on the morning of October 9, 1953, Captain Joseph Vitale, 35, was preparing to take off on Runway 06 at Westover AFB in an F-86D Sabre, (Ser. No. 51-5948), for a routine training flight.  After receiving instruction from the tower, Capt. Vitale began his start down the runway, but for some unknown reason was unable to become airborne.  The jet left the end of the runway and struck a mound of dirt recently excavated from a trench, and went airborne for a distance of about 200 feet before slamming into the ground.  Captain Vitale was ejected from the aircraft, but it was unclear if it was due to a malfunction, or if he had done so intentionally.   

     When rescue personnel reached his side he was found to be unconscious due to a head injury.  He was admitted to the hospital, but never regained consciousness before succumbing to his injuries on October 16th. 

     Captain Vitale was an experienced aviator who’d flown 100 combat missions during his military career.  He’d earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and three battle stars while serving in Korea.  He was survived by his wife and four children.

     At the time of his accident Captain Vitale was assigned to the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Westover AFB. 

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Capt. Joseph Vitale and Lt. J.T. Rebo Die In Hospital”, October 10, 1053. (Lt. Rebo dies from injuries in a separate and unrelated accident.)

     usafunithistory.com, 60th F.S. – USAF Orders Of Battle    

 

Glastonbury, CT. – August 5, 1954

Glastonbury, CT. – August 5, 1954

 

F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of August 5, 1954, two F-86 Sabre jets were on a routing training flight over Massachusetts and Connecticut.  One aircraft was piloted by Flight Lieutenant James L. Dell of the Royal Air Force who was on exchange duty with the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Westover Air Force Base to learn American tactics.  The other F-86 was piloted by Captain Leo C. Baca, USAF. 

     At about 3:00 p.m. that afternoon the two Sabres were back in the vicinity of Westover AFB ready to land, but due to severe weather, and other aircraft that were given priority, Baca and Dell were put in a holding pattern and told to circle. 

     By about 3:15 p.m. both jets were running low on fuel, and began heading for Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.  As they were making their approach to Rentschler, Captain Baca’s jet ran out of fuel, but he was able to glide his plane in for a safe landing.  At about the same time Flight Lieutenant Dell’s aircraft also ran out of fuel while he was at an altitude of 10,000 feet.  As the aircraft began to fall he attempted to eject, but found he couldn’t jettison the canopy. He had to manually beat against the canopy to get it to release.  When the canopy cleared the aircraft, Dell jumped and deployed his chute.  His F-86 came down in a wooded area in south Glastonbury and exploded. The canopy landed in the back yard of George Hall, the town’s chief of police. 

     Flight Lieutenant Dell landed safely.    

     Source: The Springfield Union, “Pilot Chutes To Safety In Jet Crackup”, August 6, 1952    

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