Boston Airport – April 21, 1925

Boston Airport – April 21, 1925

     On April 21, 1925, what was described as “a large plane, planned for use for commuting between this city and Martha’s Vineyard…” left Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard bound for Boston.  The pilot was identified as Lieutenant A. L. Edson, M.N.G.  While at Boston the plane experienced engine trouble and crashed in the mud flats near the airport.  The aircraft was wrecked, but the pilot suffered relatively minor injuries. 

     The exact type of aircraft is not given, but it was reported to have an OX5 motor.

     Flight Surgeon, Captain Lyle C. White administered first aid.

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Flew Boston To Edgartown”, April 24, 1925    

      Unknown Newspaper, “The Wrecked Aeroplane”, May 1, 1925    

Boston, MA – January 23, 1958

Boston, Massachusetts – January 23, 1958 

 

T-33 Trainer Jet U.S. Air Force Photo

T-33 Trainer Jet
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On January 23, 1958, two Air Force jets collided in mid-air 22,000 feet over Boston.  One was an F-94 Starfire out of Otis AFB, the other a T-33 out of Stewart AFB in Newburgh, New York.  Both were on routine training flights.

     The crew of the F-94 consisted of 1st Lt. Joseph G. Izzea, 23, and 1st Lt. John P. Horan, 21.  Both were killed either in the collision, or when their flaming jet crashed behind a home in Arlington, Massachusetts.  Witnesses felt Izzea may have been aiming for the Arlington Reservoir. 

 

 

 

F-94 Starfire U.S. Air Force Photo

F-94 Starfire
U.S. Air Force Photo

     The crew of the T-33, consisted of Captain William D. Bridges, 33, and Lt. Harold Woldmoe, 30.  Both got out safely, although Woldmoe said his ejection seat failed, and he got out as the plane was falling end-over-end.  Bridges came down in the icy waters of Quincy Bay about 15 miles away and was rescued by a helicopter twenty minutes later.  Woldmoe landed in the railroad freight yards near Boston’s South Station.  Both were treated at area hospitals.     

Sources:

Falmouth Enterprise, “Two Otis Fliers Die As Jets Crash Above City”, January 24, 1958.

(Troy, N.Y.) Times Record, “Two Airmen Killed As Planes Crash”, January 24, 1958

New York Times, “Jets Collide, Two Die”, January 24, 1958

Logan Airport – December 17, 1973

Logan International Airport – December 17, 1973 

 

     On the afternoon of December 17, 1973, Iberia Airlines Flight 933, arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport from Madrid with 168 people aboard.  (14 crew, 154 passengers.) The aircraft was a DC-10 jetliner. 

     At the time of the flight’s arrival, the weather consisted of a 300 foot cloud ceiling with rain falling and thick low-lying fog which created a situation of very low visibility.   The pilot was given clearance to make an instrument landing approach on Runway 33L.   As the aircraft was about to land it struck the light bar on an instrument landing approach pier which was located in Boston Harbor a short distance from the end of the runway.   When the plane touched down on the wet runway it struck a row of runway approach lights and went off the tarmac.  The aircraft then skidded across the ground for another 200 yards before coming to rest in a marshy area.   A section of landing gear was torn away, and the plane’s tail section broke apart just in front of the rear engine.  The plane’s left engine caught fire and began to burn. 

     Fortunately there was no panic, and all passengers and crew were evacuated safely via the inflatable emergency escape chutes.  Sixteen people were reportedly taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.        

     This accident was the third major accident at Logan Airport within five months. 

     On November 3, 1973, a Pan American Boeing 707 cargo plane crashed killing three crewmen.

     On July 31, 1973, a Delta Airlines DC-9 crashed killing 89 persons.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “168 Survive Jet Crash At Logan”, December 18, 1973, page 1 (Photo of plane)   

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “168 Survive Crash At Logan Airport”, December 18, 1973, page 6

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “16 Injured In Third major Logan Crash In Five Months”, December 18, 1973, page 1.  

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Runway Wreck In Hub Probed By Safety Bd.”, December 19, 1973, page 35

 

Logan Airport – July 31, 1973

Logan Airport – July 31, 1973

Boston, Massachusetts

 

     On the morning of July 31, 1973, Delta Airlines Flight 723 left Burlington, Vermont, bound for Manchester, New Hampshire, and Boston’s Logan International Airport.  The aircraft was a DC-9, (N975NE).  At the time it left Burlington there were 57 people aboard.

     The flight would normally have been non-stop to Boston, but on this day the plane made a detour to Manchester to pick up 32 additional Delta passengers who had been left stranded when their earlier flight to Logan had been cancelled due to bad weather. 

     After the additional passengers boarded at Manchester, the plane taxied out to await clearance for take off.   One of those who had boarded at Manchester was a man who had a 2:00 p.m. business meeting in New York City.   It was while the plane was awaiting take off that he realized he wouldn’t make it to his meeting on time and asked the hostess to be let off the plane.  When she hesitated, he asked to speak with the pilot, and was allowed to do so.  The pilot graciously honored the request and brought the plane back to the terminal, where it was announced that anyone else who wished to deplane could now do so, but nobody else got off.        

     The DC-9 then left Manchester bound for Boston with 89 persons aboard. 

     The weather at Boston consisted a cloud ceiling of only 400 feet, and thick heavy ground fog which created a very low visibility situation.  Therefore the crew would need to make an instrument landing.   

     The last radio communication from Flight 723 came at 11:08 a.m., as the aircraft approached Logan Airport’s Runway 4R.  As the passenger jet came in to land it’s underside struck a concrete seawall at the end of the runway tearing away some of the fuselage.  The plane then slammed into the ground, broke apart, and erupted into flame.  The debris field was scattered for hundreds of feet beginning at the seawall and leading to the runway.    

     The official time of the accident is listed as 11:09 a.m.    

     The fog was so thick that the crash wasn’t observed by those in the control tower, nor by personnel stationed at the terminal, therefore the airport fire department wasn’t immediately notified.  

     The only witnesses to the accident were two airport construction workers who raced to the scene in their pickup truck.  They tried notifying the tower via the truck’s two-way radio, but discovered it wasn’t working.  Aware that there would be other incoming flights arriving shortly, one worker drove to the airport fire station about a mile away while the other stayed behind to search for survivors.    

     As with the control tower, the fire department was unaware of the crash for the thick fog also obscured their view of the runways.  At 11:15 a.m. the fire chief ordered “Box 612” struck, which notified fire and rescue personnel in 26 surrounding communities in the Boston area to send help.  

     An Eastern Airlines jet had landed without incident on Runway 4R just prior to the crash of Flight 723.   At the time of the crash, two other airliners scheduled to land after Flight 723 were beginning their long distance approach to Runway 4R.  Due to the heavy fog the incoming pilots couldn’t see the burning wreckage.   Miraculously the pilots of both aircraft executed “missed approaches” thus avoiding further disaster.  Other incoming aircraft were diverted to other airports.  

     Only six survivors were located amidst the debris and all were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, but four were pronounced dead on arrival, and a fifth passed away later in the day.    

     The sixth survivor was 20-year-old Air Force Sergeant Leopold Chouinard, who was sitting towards the back of the cabin.  He managed to escape the burning tail section by crawling though a window, but in doing so suffered severe burns over 80% of his body.  Despite the best medical care available, he passed away on December 11, 1973.    

     The crash of Flight 723 became the worst civilian-air disaster in New England.

     This wasn’t the only accident involving an airliner to occur at Logan Airport.  On October 4, 1960, an Eastern Airlines, Lockheed Electra, (Flight 375), crashed on take off into Winthrop Bay killing 62 of the 72 people aboard.     

      Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Jet crashes In Fog At Logan; 88 Die- DC-9 Hits seawall And Disintegrates”, August 1, 1973, page 1

     Providence Journal, “Crash Scene: ‘No Way To Describe It'”, August 1, 1973, page 1

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Probe Opens Into Logan Air Crash”, August 1, 1973, page 1 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Pilot In Crash Was R. I. Native”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “He Got Off Plane At Manchester”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Green Handles Diverted Traffic”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Sergeant Survived Severe Auto Crash”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     The Providence Journal, “2 Ex-R.I. Residents Killed In Air Disaster”, August 2, 1973, page 2

     Boston (AP) “Probers Find Water In Jetliner’s Engines”, August 3, 1973.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Ex-Pilot Was Retraining – Crash Ended His Hope”, August 14, 1973, page 9

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Survivor Remains Stable, Critical”, August 14, 1973, page 9

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Widow Sues In Jet Crash”, August 24, 1973, page 10

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Crash Survivor Fights On”, August 29, 1973, page 1

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Sergeant Testifies He Climbed Out Window”, August 29, 1973

     Providence Journal, “Probers Note Complaints Of Delta Crews”, August 30, 1973, page 15

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “2 U.S. Boards Disagree On Limiting Delta DC9s”, August 30, 1973, page 25

     Providence Journal Bulletin, (no headline) September 19, 1973, page 6 – partial pilot testimony.

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “New England: Air Controller Testifies At Crash Hearing”, September 20, 1973, page 2 

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “N. E. News: Pilots Testify At Hearing”, September 21, 1973, page 5 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Public hearing Ends On Boston Jet crash”, page 7

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Reports Conflict On Delta Plane”, September 22, 1973, page 2

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Lone Crash Survivor Is Still Fighting Pain”, October 23, 1973, page 10

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Lone crash Survivor Dies After 4 Months”, December 12, 1973, page 36

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Worst N. E. Air Disaster Was A year Ago”, July 31, 1974, page B-9

Dorchester Bay – July 1, 1912

Dorchester Bay – July 1, 1912

 

     On July 1, 1912, world famous aviator Harriet Quimby, and a passenger, William A. Willard, were flying in a two-seat Bleroit monoplane over Dorchester Bay towards Squantum Aviation Field when the aircraft was caught by a sudden gust of wind which lifted the tail and caused the aircraft to “nose forward” while 1,000 feet in the air.  Both Willard and Miss Quimby were pitched from their seats and were killed when they hit the water.  The airplane then turned completely over in the air and came down in the bay.  

     The accident was witnessed by thousands who had come to the Boston Aero meet to watch the flight of several aircraft make their way to Boston Light and back.   Ironicly, Mr. Willard wasn’t originally scheduled to fly with Miss Quimby.  According to one report, newspaper photographer A. B. Reed was supposed to make the flight, but a change was made at the last minute.

     At the time of the accident the tide was low, and the water was only about five feet deep.  The bodies of Miss Quimby and Mr. Willard were quickly recovered by men in motor boats, and transported to the morgue in the town of Qunicy.   This was reported to be the first airplane crash fatality in New England.

     The aircraft was also recovered, however there seems to be conflicting reports about the amount of damage it sustained in the fall.  One report stated, “The powerful Bleriot, after being freed of its two passengers glided off gracefully into the wind and struck the water on an even keel then dove its nose into the mud and turned over on its back.  It was recovered undamaged except for a few broke struts and wires.”    

     However, another report stated, “The wreckage today was dragged from the five feet of water where it stuck in the mud head down. Some mechanical parts may be saved.  Otherwise it is a total loss.”

     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer reported as to the possible cause of the accident. “A dozen explanations of the cause of the first heavier than air machine fatality in New England were voiced today by aviators and experts.  The most logical seemed to be that the controlling wire broke when Miss Quimby started her downward glide, snapping the fuselage and throwing the tail up and the head down with such great force that the two aviators were hurled from their seats as if shot from a catapult.”

     The incident gained national attention in the press for Miss Quimby had gained international fame in a relatively short time.  In 1911 she became the first woman to earn a pilot’s license from the Aero Club of America, and in April of 1912, the first woman to fly across the English Cannel.  At one point she was hailed by the American press as being “the leading woman aviator of the world”.  

     In May of 1911 Miss Quimby had survived an earlier plane accident while at the Moisant School in Mineola, New York, when the plane she was piloting fell ten feet and was wrecked.  Miss Quimby wasn’t hurt.

     Harriet Quimby is buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.  To see a photograph of her grave see www.findagrave.com, Memorial #4020

     Mr. Willard was a widower, survived by two sons and a daughter.

     Much more has been written about the life of Harriet Quimby which can be found elsewhere on the Internet.      

     Sources:

     Bridgeport Evening Farmer, (CT.), “Miss Quimby Falls In Her Bleriot Today”, May 12, 1911  

     The Marion Daily Mirror, (Ohio), “Harriet Quimby, Leading Woman Aeroplane Expert”, May 31, 1911 

     Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Mother Takes Remains Of Woman Flyer”, July 2, 1912, page 3

     The Washington Times, (Wash. D.C.), “Harriet Quimby And Passenger Killed In Fall From Monoplane”, July 2, 1912 

     The Sun, (N.Y.), “Harriet Quimby Killed By Fall”, July 2, 1912

     El Paso Herald, (TX.), “Harriet Quimby Falls 1000 Feet To Death”, July 2, 1912 

     www.findagrave.com

 

Boston/Mattapan – November 1, 1944

Boston/Mattapan – November 1, 1944

    

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat U.S. Navy photo

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     The following incident involves self-sacrifice and dedication to duty.  The unknown pilot truly deserves to be called, “an officer and a gentleman”.

     On the evening of November 1, 1944, a navy Hellcat pilot out of Squantum Naval Air Station was on a training flight over Boston when his airplane developed engine trouble.  After alerting Squantum of the situation, he radioed, “I don’t want to bail out, some civilian might be hurt if the plane crashed.  I’m going to try to pancake it in a pond down below.”   With that he dumped the plane’s ammo and set the sputtering Hellcat on a glide.  Ahead he saw the Neponset River in the Mattapan section of Boston and aimed for it.  As he neared the ground he skimmed over several roof tops before catching a wing in some trees and crashed in a marshy section along the river where the plane burst into flames.  The pilot did not survive.  

     Unfortunately, although the navy gave credit to the pilot, his name was not released, presumably pending notification of kin.    

     Source:

     The Milwaukee Journal, (United Press) “Stays With Plane To Spare Civilians, Navy Flier Killed”, November 2, 1944.

Boston Harbor – May 2, 1925

Boston Harbor – May 2, 1925

     On the morning of May 2, 1925, Lieutenant Alexander V. MacAulay, and his observer, Private Angus D. MacPhee, both of the Massachusetts National Guard, took off from East Boston Airport to join other military aircraft circling overhead for a formation flight over Boston in celebration of Loyalty Day.  When MacAulay’s aircraft reached 800 feet, it suddenly went into a spin and dove into the mud flats of Boston Harbor.    

     Lt. MacAulay died later that day.  Private MacPhee was seriously injured, but not fatally. 

     Lt. MacAulay, a veteran of World War I, was from Beverly, Massachusetts, and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in that town.  (See www.findagrave.com memorial #87490098)

     Source: New York Times, “Dies After Plane Dive, Honored As Safe Flyer”, May 3, 1925

Dorchester Bay – July 16, 1944

Dorchester Bay – July 16, 1944

    

F6F Hellcat U.S. Navy Photo

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 16, 1944, Ensign William Oran Seymour Jr., 23, was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat,(Bu. No. 58882), with other aircraft based at the Squantum Naval Air Station, on an air-to-air target practice mission over Dorchester Bay.  (Seymour’s aircraft was assigned to tow a cloth target sleeve behind it while other aircraft took turns making attack runs.)

     Afterwards, as the planes returned to Squantum in preparation for landing,  the engine of  Seymour’s Hellcat began misfiring.  Being over a heavily populated area, the pilot opted to stay with the aircraft rather than bail out.  The plane rapidly lost altitude as it passed over Dorchester’s Savin Hill neighborhood, heading towards Malibu Beach where the pilot hoped to make an emergency landing.  Unfortunately, it being a hot summer day, the beach was crowded with roughly 3,000 people.  As Seymour approached the beach at barely 100 feet off the ground, his vision of the crowd was blocked by a sea wall.  It wasn’t until the last second that he saw all the people and quickly yanked the Hellcat towards the water.  He crashed about 200 yards from shore in about 15 feet of water.   

     One lifeguard who witnessed the accident later told reporters, “It hit first on the left wing, because he swung away from the beach sharply to avoid striking the crowd.  It snapped over so fast that it went end over end, and then the fuselage seemed to crumple up and the plane sank.”

     Several men swam out to the spot where the Hellcat went down in an attempt to rescue the airman, but they were unsuccessful.  Seymour’s body was later recovered by men from the crash-rescue boat sent form Squantum.  

     Ensign Seymour was born in Monroe, North Carolina, and graduated Valedictorian of his high school class in 1938.  He volunteered for the navy in July of 1942, and received his pilot’s wings and Ensign’s commission on October 9, 1943.  He is buried in Monroe Cemetery. 

     For his actions and quick thinking in sacrificing himself in order to save others, he was posthumously awarded a Presidential Citation and the Navy & Marine Corps medal for bravery.

     He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 45, (VF-45)

     To see a photo of Ensign Seymour go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #4667714.  

     Sources:

     NAS Squantum: The First Naval Air Reserve Base, by Marc Frattasio (Pgs. 218-219)

     The Boston Post, (No headline available) Monday, July 17, 1944

     The Gold Star Mothers Homepage – William O. Seymour, Jr.

     U.S. Navy Accident Report dated July 16, 1944

     www.findagrave.com

  

             

    

        

Boston, MA – June 26, 1987

Boston, Massachusetts – June 26, 1987

     On June 26, 1987, a twin-engine Piper Senica was approaching Logan Airport in heavy fog conditions when it crashed three miles short of the runway in a Boston residential neighborhood.  Although the pilot never radioed he was having a problem with the aircraft, one witness told reporters that he heard the engine sputtering before the crash.

     The aircraft struck a three-story home on Lonsdale Street in the city’s Dorchester section and exploded.  The resulting fire spread to three homes, and burned several cars.  The pilot, Peter Covich, 21, was killed, and three people on the ground suffered burns, one critically.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Airplane Plunges Into Boston Home”, June 27, 1987

East Boston Airport – November 5, 1929

East Boston Airport – November 5, 1929

     On November 5, 1929, a  de Havilland Moth airplane with two men aboard was taking off from East Boston Airport bound for Bridgeport, Connecticut, when at a height of 150 feet it suddenly lost power and fell to the ground.  It hit the runway and began cartwheeling and burst into flames before coming to rest.  Volunteers quickly formed a bucket brigade using water from Boston Harbor to douse the flames prior to the arrival of firefighters.  

     Both men aboard were killed.  They were identified as (Pilot) Clinton D. Johnston, reportedly about 28-years-old, an aircraft factory inspector for the Department of Commerce, and Henry Carter, 32, from Lebanon, New Hampshire.  

     Johnston was to have turned the aircraft over to Carter once they reached Bridgeport, where he would fly it to New York.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Two Die In Crash At Boston Airport”, November 6, 1929

Boston, MA – July 23, 1925

Boston, Massachusetts – July 23, 1925

     On July 23, 1925, a small plane carrying two men crashed just after take-off from East Boston Airport.  Witnesses said the aircraft suddenly went into a nose dive and came down on the railroad tracks belonging to the Boston, Revere Beach, & Lynn Railroad.     

     The pilot, Mark C. Hogue, 29, was killed instantly.  The passenger, George Burroughs, 50, died on the way to the hospital.

     Hogue was a former WWI veteran, having served as a Lieutenant in the Army Air Service.  After the war he flew for the U.S. Mail as an airmail pilot, before becoming a commercial pilot.  He was also an aerial photographer, and had photographed many estates of the rich and famous on Long Island, New York.      

     Updated June 12, 2017

     Lt. Hogue had survived an earlier plane crash in Vernon, Connecticut on August 8, 1920.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Two Die In Boston Plane”, July 24, 1925

     Hartford Courant, “Mark Hogue Has Narrow Escape”, August 9, 1920

 

    

Boston Airport – June 28, 1942

Boston Airport – June 28, 1942

Updated March 7, 2016

     

P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 28, 1942, 2nd Lt. Albert J. Wiebe was on a formation training flight over the Boston area when his aircraft, a P-40E, (Ser. No. 40-539) developed engine trouble.  He left the formation to return to Boston Airport.  As he was making his approach to land when his plane lost power and crashed.  Lt. Wiebe did not survive.

      Lt. Wiebe was from West New York, New Jersey.  He enlisted in September of 1941, and received his commission on April 23, 1942.  He was survived by his wife.    

     At the time of his death he was assigned to the 64th Fighter Squadron.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “4 Army Fliers Die In Ohio”, June 29, 1942  (The article covered more than one accident.)

     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, dated July 12, 1942

Boston Harbor, MA – May 18, 1930

Boston Harbor, Massachusetts – May 18, 1930

     On May 18, 1930, Paul Herman, 26, of Winthrop, Massachusetts, was test flying a new Curtis – cabin monoplane over East Boston Airport when he suddenly developed a problem with the rudder.  He tried to bring the plane down on the airfield but overshot the landing and sailed out over the harbor and hit the water about 200 feet from shore.  

     Richard Cowden, a salesman for Curtis-Wright, jumped into the water and swam to Herman’s assistance. Both clung to a wing of the partly submerged aircraft until rescued by a motorboat sent from the air field.    

     Herman was treated for cuts and immersion.

     Source: New York Times, “Saves Self In Plunge Of Plane Into Water”, May 19, 1930

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