Burlington, VT – May 18, 1949

Burlington, Vermont – May 18, 1949

P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 18, 1949, a flight of twelve F-47 National Guard aircraft was scheduled to depart Burlington Airport for a formation training flight.  The formation was to be led by Major Carroll A. Prybylo, 28, piloting F-47 (#45-49545).

     The F-47 was the new designation assigned to the P-47 Thunderbolt used by the Army Air Force during WWII.  By 1949 they had been relegated to National Guard status.

     After pre-flight preparations, the flight was cleared for takeoff on runway 15, with Major Prybylo going first.  According to witnesses, it appeared that the major’s aircraft wasn’t traveling as fast as it should, and didn’t become airborne until it had used up 4,000 feet of runway.  Even then, the aircraft appeared to have trouble climbing, and only reached an altitude of about 24 feet.  It continued on for 608 feet from the end of the runway where the left wing and left horizontal stabilizer struck some trees 15 feet from the tops.  The wing and stabilizer were torn away and the plane crashed and exploded. 

     The plane crashed in an area of rough terrain which made it difficult for rescue and fire personnel to reach the scene.  Due to the total destruction of the aircraft and subsequent fire, investigators were unable to determine a definite cause of the accident.

    Major Prybylo was born in Walpole, New Hampshire, on December 17, 1921, and entered the service in March of 1942.  After receiving his pilot’s wings on January 4, 1943, he was sent to the European Theatre and flew numerous combat missions during WWII, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with numerous clusters, and other awards.  He was survived by his wife and daughter, and is buried in St. Mary’s cemetery in Springfield, Vermont. 

     Sources:

     Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #49-5-18-5

     Burlington Free Press, “Major Carroll A. Prybylo Of Essex Jctn., Perishes In Wreck Of F-47 Thunderbolt Which Crashes Near Burlington Airport”, May 19, 1949  

     (Unnamed newspaper) “Probe Of Fatal Plane Crack-up Now Under Way”, May 20, 1949

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #151212590    

Burlington, VT – September 20, 1948

Burlington, Vermont – September 20, 1948

 

   

DC-3 Airliner

DC-3 Airliner

     On September 20, 1948, Colonial Airlines, Flight 3, left Montreal, Canada, bound for New York City by way of Burlington, Vermont.  The aircraft was a DC-3, tail number NC17335, with a crew of three, and fourteen passengers aboard.     

     Weather at Burlington Airport was rainy with 1 mile visibility and an 800 foot cloud ceiling.  Flight 3 arrived at Burlington shortly before midnight and attempted to land on Runway 1.  After the plane touched down on the slick tarmac it skidded into a pile of dirt and some trees at the end of the runway.    

     Although the airliner suffered extensive damage there was no fire and everyone was evacuated safely.  There were only two reported injuries: a Miami, Florida, woman suffered a possible broken rib, and the stewardess a slight concussion. Both were treated at a nearby hospital.   The uninjured passengers were transferred to another plane.

     Colonial Airlines merged with Eastern Airlines in 1956.

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Colonial Plane Crash Lands At Burlington”, September 21, 1948, page 1.

     Aviation Safety Network aviation-savety.net

     Wikipedia – Colonial Airlines

    

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