Charlestown, R. I. – April 22, 1946

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 22, 1946

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of April 22, 1946, a flight of six navy SB2C Helldiver aircraft were returning to the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field after a training flight.  There was considerable fog and haze hanging over the area at the time.

     The flight was in three sections of two planes each.  As the aircraft came over the field at 800 feet, they made a normal breakup in preparation for landing.   After all aircraft were down, it was discovered that one was missing.  That aircraft was, (Bu. No. 83625), piloted by Ensign Coy A Stephenson, Jr., (23), accompanied by his gunner, ARM2/c Walter J. Edwards.  A search was instituted, but low visibility made it difficult.  The missing plane was found to have crashed in the water not far off shore, and both men aboard had perished in the accident.

     The men had been assigned to VB-20.

     Source:  U. S. Navy accident report dated April 22, 1946.

 

Charlestown, R. I. – August 30, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 30, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 30, 1949, a navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121560), was making practice touch-and-go landings at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  During the training exercise, the right landing gear collapsed upon touchdown, and the right wing, belly, and fuselage were damaged, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 30, 1949.

 

Charlestown, R. I. – September 22, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 22, 1944

 

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

     On the afternoon of September 22, 1944, a navy F6F-3 Hellcat fighter, (Bu. No. 26052), was taking off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost all power just after the plane became airborne.  The aircraft fell back to the runway and the fuselage broke in half, but there was no fire.  The pilot suffered serious injuries and the aircraft was a total loss.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 22, 1944.

 

Charlestown, R. I. – April 27, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 27, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On the afternoon of April 27, 1944, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 09747), overshot the runway while landing at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The aircraft was on a ferry mission with a Marine Corp 1st lieutenant aboard.   The aircraft first touched down at the approximate midpoint of the 1,400 foot runway.  To the right of the runway was a parked twin-engine PBM Mariner with a bomb truck parked alongside.   When the pilot of the Dauntless applied full brakes the aircraft swerved to the right, and its right wing struck the bomb truck causing the aircraft to pivot and crash into the fuselage of the Mariner. The pilot was not injured but the passenger suffered a cut lip.  No other injuries were reported concerning the truck or the Mariner.  Both aircraft were damaged beyond repair. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15665, dated April 27, 1944.   

Charlestown, R. I. – March 3, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – March 3, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On March 3, 1943, a Douglass SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 10448), was taking off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the engine lost power and the aircraft crashed.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 3, 1943.

Charlestown, R. I. – February 12, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 12, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On February 12, 1943, a pilot was making practice landings and take-offs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 06850), when he crash-landed due to cross winds.  The aircraft sustained heavy damage, but the pilot and his gunner were not injured.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5790, dated February 12, 1943   

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

 

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 15, 1943, a pilot was making practice carrier landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Field in a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 11057).  On his third approach he was given a “high out” and due to darkness, made a hold-off landing.  The plane stalled and came down on the port landing gear causing it to collapse and break off causing damage to the port wing.  As the plane settled the propeller was also damaged.  The pilot was not hurt.      

     The pilot was assigned to VC-32.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated September 15, 1943, #44-8014

Charlestown, R.I. – August 9, 1948

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 9, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 9, 1948, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94782), was taking off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station when the engine lost power just after the plane had become airborne and the wheels had been retracted.  The aircraft came back down on the runway crushing its fully loaded belly tank which exploded and enveloped the aircraft in flames.  The aircraft skidded for 1,500 feet before coming to rest.  The pilot was able to extricate himself, but the aircraft was consumed by fire. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10A, (VF-10A).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 9, 1948         

Charlestown, R. I. – July 12, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – July 12, 1949

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1949, an AD-2 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122320), was attempting to land on Runway 22 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the left wing suddenly dropped and struck the runway causing the aircraft to cartwheel.  As it cartwheeled the momentum tore the engine loose from the aircraft.  When the aircraft came to rest the pilot managed to extricate himself before the wreckage was consumed by flames.  Remarkably, the pilot was reportedly not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 12, 1949   

Charlestown, R. I. – October 10, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 10, 1949 

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 10, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122818), was making practice take offs and landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft crashed and burned.  The pilot escaped, but suffered serious burns.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 10, 1949.

Charlestown, R. I. – October 15, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 15, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 15, 1943, a lone pilot flying a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47438), was practicing take offs and landings at Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when he crashed due to insufficient air speed. The aircraft was a total loss but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-5161  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 21, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 21, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 21, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24126), crashed while making practice landings and takeoffs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The lone pilot aboard was not injured, but the aircraft required a major overhaul. 

     The cause was determined to be a failure of the fuel selector valve.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-5724

Charlestown, R. I. – December 9, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – December 9, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On December 9, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 23961), with a lone pilot aboard, was making practice landings and takeoffs at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  As the pilot was approaching to land, flying at 90 knots, 100 feet over the water, the engine suddenly lost all power and a successful emergency water landing was made.  The pilot was rescued, but the aircraft sank, and was not immediately salvaged due to weather conditions.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-13.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report # 44-10172 

 

Charlestown, R.I. – August 2, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 2, 1945

 

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

     At 7:55 a.m. on the morning of August 2, 1945, Ensign Walter G. Davies was taking off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78413), when the engine suddenly lost all power.  The plane dropped back onto the end of the runway where it continued off the tarmac and over an eight-foot embankment where it nosed over onto its back.  The pilot was freed by the base crash-rescue team and wasn’t injured.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 2, 1945   

Charlestown, R. I. – August 30, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 30, 1945

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On August 30, 1945, an F6F-5, (Bu. No. 78419), was taking off on Runway 7 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost power and the plane came back down on the tarmac and flipped over.  The aircraft was wrecked, but the pilot was not seriously injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 30, 1945  

Charlestown, R. I. – August 10, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 10, 1945

 

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

     There were two aviation related accidents which occurred at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field on this date.  

     At 8:15 a.m. on the morning of August 10, 1945, an F6F Hellcat aircraft was parked on the taxiway at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field, with its engine running in preparation for takeoff.  Meanwhile, the LOS truck came up along side and parked next to it, waiting for the aircraft to begin its takeoff.  As this was taking place, a second F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 40737), taxied up from behind and struck the LSO truck causing significant damage to the truck and the aircraft, but nobody was injured.     

     The second accident occurred at 10:31 a.m., while Lieutenant R. A. Reese was making practice carrier landings at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41190), using a tail hook and arresting cable.  As he came in for a landing the tail hook snagged the arresting cable, and the cable snapped, causing the aircraft to make a 180 degree ground loop which resulted in major damage to the plane.  Lieutenant Reese was not hurt.  

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy crash reports dated August 10, 1945 

 

Charlestown, R. I. – May 29, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 29, 1945

 

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

     Just after midnight, on the morning of May 29, 1945, Lieutenant David Warren Allen took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5n Hellcat, (Bu. No. 79104), for an OCI interception flight.  The night was particularly dark with scattered rain squalls.  Lt. Allen’s plane was last seen 100 feet in the air and climbing.  It was later learned that Lt. Allen was killed when his plane crashed into the water not far from the end of the runway. 

     There were no eye witnesses to the accident.  Due to the fact that Lt. Allen was an experienced pilot with 2,000 hours of air time, investigators concluded that the accident was caused by mechanical or structural failure of the aircraft.   

Charlestown, R.I. – December 7, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – December 7, 1943

 

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

     On December 7, 1943, Lt. (jg.) Spero Constantine was making a landing approach to the runway at the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Field when the engine of his F6F-3N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 40354), suddenly lost all power.  Unable to make it to the runway, the aircraft landed in the water off the end of the runway and sank.  Fortunately the water was only eight feet deep and the pilot was able to extricate himself.  Due to its total submersion in salt water, the aircraft was scrapped.   

     Lt.(jg.) Constantine was assigned to Fighter Squadron 77, (VF-77)

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-10142, dated December 7, 1943

Charlestown, R.I. – September 26, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 26, 1945 

 

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

     On the evening of September 26, 1945, Ensign G. R. Looney was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72031), over Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in preparation for landing.  After being cleared to land, he made his approach towards the runway, and discovered that his aircraft was no longer responding to the throttle controls.  He radioed the tower and declared an emergency and was advised to turn towards the duty runway.  As he did so he saw other aircraft at the end of the runway, and realized if he landed he would collide with them, so he aimed for a small hill beyond.  There he was able to stall the aircraft and crash land into the trees.  The plane was wrecked, but Ensign Looney was not injured. 

     Investigation revealed that the cause of the accident was due to a broken throttle linkage. 

     Source: National Archives, AAR 94-45, TD450926RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Charlestown, R.I. – February 10, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 19, 1945

 

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

     On the night of February 10, 1945, Ensign Marion Joseph Keenan left Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station for a night bombing training flight. He was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71005).  After the flight, he returned to Charlestown NAS.  As he touched down on Runway 12, his landing gear struck a snowdrift that had formed across the runway causing the plane to nose over and skid along the tarmac until it came to rest.  The aircraft suffered significant damage, but Ensign Keenan was not injured.

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report dated February 10, 1945

Charlestown, R. I. – May 16, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 16, 1944 

Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station

 

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

    On May 16, 1944, Ensign Marion F. DeMasters took off from Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42550), for a rocket gunnery practice flight over Matunuck  Beach, about five miles from the airfield.  This training consisted of diving from an altitude of 6,000 feet towards a simulated target on the beach while maintaining a constant 40 degree glide angle. 

     While making his seventh training dive for the day, a large portion of the rear stabilizer suddenly tore away.  Ensign DeMasters was able to bring his aircraft in for an emergency landing at the air station, but just as he was about to touch down a gust of wind forced the right wing to strike the runway.  The aircraft suffered severe damage, but the pilot was not hurt.

     Ensign DeMasters was assigned to VF-74.  

      Source:

     U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-14219

Charlestown, R.I. – March 2, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – March 2, 1945 

Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Field

     Updated July 13, 2017

 

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

     At 11:15 p.m. on March 2, 1945, Lt. (jg.) Kenneth B. McQuady, age 21, took off from Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71418,) for a night training flight.  Just after he became airborne, his aircraft was seen to lose altitude and crash on the ice covered water of Charlestown Pond at the end of Runway 22.  Upon impact the belly tank ruptured and caught fire.  The plane bounced another 100 yards before coming to rest.   Lt. McQuady received fatal injuries.

     Lt. McQuady is buried in Wildwood Cemetery in Bartow, Florida.

     The propeller from Lieutenant McQuady’s Hellcat was recovered years after his accident and presented to the Quonset Air Museum and made into a memorial. 

    

Quonset Air Museum Memorial to Lt. Jg. Kenneth Bruce McQuady

Description of accident that killed Lt. McQuady

     Unfortunately, since this original posting, the Quonset Air Museum has closed.

     Sources:

     Quonset Air Museum 

     U.S. Navy Accident Report dated March 2, 1945

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