North Stonington, CT. – December 5, 1945

North Stonington, Connecticut – December 5, 1945

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     Shortly after 9:30 a.m. on the morning of December 5, 1945, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94867), left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island for a familiarization training flight.

     About fifteen to twenty minutes later, while at 2,000 feet over the area of North Stonington, the engine suddenly lost all power.   The pilot tried to restart the engine but was unsuccessful, and his only option was to make an emergency landing.  Seeing an open field, he aimed for it and made a wheels-up landing in an area of North Stonington known as Pendleton Hill.  Unfortunately the field was littered with rocks and boulders of various sizes, and upon landing, the aircraft struck some of them causing serious damage to the fuselage and for the aircraft to catch fire. The pilot was able to extricate himself as the plane began to burn, and made his way to a nearby house where he asked to use the telephone. 

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 5, 1945

     Westerly Sun, “Pilot Escapes Pendleton Hill Plane Crash”, December 6, 1945,  courtesy Westerly Public Library

 

New Milford, CT. – March 1, 1944

New Milford, Connecticut – March 1, 1944

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     At about 2 p.m. on the afternoon of March 1, 1944, Chance-Vought (Aircraft) civilian test pilot, Willard B. Boothby, was flying a navy F4U-1 Corsair, (Bu. No. 49882), over western Connecticut when the aircraft developed an on-board fire.  Boothby was forced to bail out as the aircraft went down in the Still River section of the town of New Milford, where it struck a private home on Rt. 7 and exploded.  The aircraft and home were destroyed, but the home was unoccupied at the time, and there were no injuries on the ground. 

     Meanwhile, the parachute malfunctioned, and the pilot came down in a wooded area on Corman Hill and was killed instantly.  At the time of the accident, strong winds were blowing, and police speculated that the lines became tangled. 

     The aircraft had been accepted by the Navy only six days earlier on February 23rd, and was at the Chance-Vought plant for experimental purposes. 

     Mr. Boothby began his flying career while a student at Purdue University, and became a test pilot for Chance-Voight in 1941.  He’s buried in Saccarappa Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine.  He was survived by his wife and son.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 1, 1944

     Unknown Newspaper, “Willard Boothby, Test Pilot For Chance-Vought, Plane On Fire, Bales Out, And Instantly Killed”, March 2, 1944 – courtesy of the New Milford Public Library.     

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #47668157

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    

East Granby, CT – May 7, 1954

East Granby, Connecticut – May 7, 1954 

 

F-51D Mustang U.S. Air Force Photo

F-51D Mustang
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 7, 1954, Major Robert Anderstrom, 33, was piloting an F-51 Mustang from Mitchell Field on Long island, N.Y. to Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, when he crashed into a wooded hillside on the west side of historic Old Newgate Prison in East Granby.  The subsequent explosion blasted the plane to pieces, and left a crater 12 feet deep, 20 feet wide, and 30 feet long. 

    One witness, Mrs. Frances B. Allen, recalled to reporters, “I thought it was a bomb it went up so fast.”

     Major Anderstrom was an experienced pilot having served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.  He was recalled to active duty in 1952 and assigned to the 131st Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Massachusetts Air National Guard based at Barnes Airport in Westfield, Mass.  At the time of his accident he was the Commanding Officer of the 831st Replacement Training Squadron, and training officer for the 131st FIS.  During his career he earned three air medals.

     Anderstrom was survived by his wife Theresa and three young daughters. He’s buried at St. Thomas cemetery in West Springfield, Mass.  To see a photo of Major Anderstrom, go to findagrave.com and see memorial #6722890 

Sources:

Hartford Courant, “Air Guard Major Loses Life In East Granby Plane Crash” May 8, 1954.

Air Force Print News Today, Release # 030413, “104th Fighter Wing Remembers Fallen Heroes With F-100 Rededication”, April 30, 2013

Findagrave.com  memorial # 6722890

 

 

Windsor Locks, CT – June 5, 1942

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – June 5, 1942

 Narragansett Bay – Rhode Island

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On June 5, 1942, 2nd Lt. Martin Taub of Newark, New Jersey, was piloting a P-40E (41-24782) over Rhode Island when his aircraft crashed in Narragansett Bay, killing him. 

     It was reported that he was the second serviceman from New Jersey to loose his life in an aviation accident over southern New England that day.  The other pilot was Richard M. Stafford, of Summit, N.J. who was killed in a crash at Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Stafford’s plane was a P-40F, (41-13765). 

Sources: New York Times, “New Jersey Pilot Killed”, June 7, 1942

New Canaan, CT – January 2, 1943

New Canaan, CT – January 2, 1943

     At 7:30 p.m. on January 2, 1943, a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed on Ponus Ridge in the town of New Canaan.  The plane came down on the estate of Lindsey Bradford, and the wreckage was strewn for hundreds of yards.  The pilot was found still strapped to his seat lying against a stone wall. 

     As of this posting, no information is available as to the type of plane, where it was from, or the pilot’s identity.

Source: New York Times, “Crash Kills Navy Flyer”, January 2, 1943    

Near Bridgeport, CT – November 12, 1942

Near Bridgeport, Connecticut – November 12, 1942

P-47C Thunderbolt

U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 12, 1942, U.S. Army Captain Robert K. Noel, 23, was piloting a P-47C Thunderbolt, (41-6171), on a routine training flight over the Bridgeport area when according to witnesses the plane suddenly dove towards the ground and exploded on impact.

     Noel was from Beckley, West Virginia, and was engaged to be married to a Bridgeport woman in four days.  On the day he crashed, he had gone to Bridgeport Probate Court to obtain a waver of the state’s five-day waiting period.     

     Source: New York Times, “Army Pilot Dies In Crash”, November 13, 1942  

Hamden, CT. – December 29, 1918

Hamden, Connecticut – December 29, 1918

 

     On December 29, 1918, U.S. Army Sergeant C. T. Cato of Waco, Texas, was flying a Curtis aircraft from Norwich, Connecticut, to Mineola, Long Island, New York.  This was a training flight, and the Sergeant was heading back to Long Island where he was stationed.

     As he was passing over the area of Hamden, Connecticut, the airplane developed engine trouble.  Looking for a place to set down, he spotted the grounds of the New Haven Country Club which, despite the name, is actually located in the town of Hamden, just to the north of New Haven.  As he brought the plane in for a landing the aircraft lost power and crashed into a tree.  Although the plane was wrecked, Sergeant Cato was not hurt.

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, “Curtis Airplane Is Wrecked In New Haven”, December 30, 1918     

 

Hartford, CT – October 2, 1920

Hartford, Connecticut – October 2, 1920

Updated January 27, 2016

     Hartford-Brainard Airport is a small airport south of downtown Hartford, and should not be confused with Bradley International Airport, which is in Windsor Locks.  

    Brainard Airport was established in 1921 because of a tragic accident which took the lives of two naval officers.  On October 2, 1920, the two officers, (Pilot) Lt. Arthur C. Wagner, and Lt. Commander William Merrill Corry, Jr., flew from Mineola, N.Y. and landed in an open area of the Hartford Club golf course because in 1920 airfields were few and far between.  They had come to Connecticut to meet with other military personnel.  

     Late in the afternoon they attempted to take off and return to New York, but as the plane began to rise the engine suddenly lost power and they crashed into a grove of trees.  Almost immediately the plane burst into flame.    Lt. Wagner was pinned in the wreckage, but  Lt. Cmdr. Corry had been thrown clear.  Yet despite his injuries, Corry returned to the flaming wreck and tried to rescue the pilot.  Two civilians who’d witnessed the crash, Walter E. Batterson, and Martin Keane, ran to his assistance, and together they pulled Wagner free and carried him a safe distance away.  

     Lt. Wagner was transported to an area hospital and died of his injuries later that night.  Lt. Cmdr. Corry was also badly burned in the rescue attempt, and died four days later on October 6th.  Both civilians also suffered burns, but they recovered.

     For his efforts, Corry was awarded the Medal of Honor (Posthumously).  Corry Airfield in Florida was later named in his honor in 1923.  Three U.S. Navy destroyers were also named in his honor, one in 1921, the next in 1941, and the third in 1945.

     Due to this horrific accident, Brainard Airport was established to provide aviators with a safe place to land and take off, without having to look for random open spaces to set down.  The airport was named for Mayor Newton C. Brainard.

     Lt. Cmdr. Corry is buried in Eastern Cemetery in Quincy, Florida.  He was born October 5, 1889, and died just one day after his 31st birthday. To see a photo of Lt. Cmdr. Corry and his grave, go to www.findagrave.com and see memorial #7134215. 

     Sources:

     Meriden Morning Record, “One Aviator Killed In Hartford When Airplane Crashed To Earth”, October 4, 1920

     Hartford Courant, “Naval Flier Burned To death, Companion Badly Injured As Plane Crashes At Golf Club”, October 4, 1920

     Hartford Courant, “Airshow To Honor Brainard Airport’s 75 Years”, July 19, 1996 

     Congressional Medal Of Honor Society

     Wikipedia – Lt. Cmdr. William Merrill Cory, Jr.  

     www.findagrave.com

  

 

New Haven, CT – June 1, 1919

New Haven, Connecticut – June 1, 1919

Updated June 1, 2017

     On Thursday, May 29, 1919, a flight of three army aircraft from Hazelhurst Field on Long Island, New York, arrived at the town of Winsted, Connecticut, and landed safely at a former horse trotting park on Pratt Hill.  The following day, as the first plane was taking off, it crashed into a wooded area at the end of the park.  The unidentified pilot and his mechanic weren’t injured, and the plane wasn’t too badly damaged, and once it was hauled from the woods it was considered reparable.  The accident was blamed on soft, rough, terrain, causing a reduction in speed at take off. 

     All three aircraft and crews remained in Winsted until Saturday morning, May 31st.  On that day, the damaged/repaired aircraft took off for Meridian, Connecticut, while the other two left for New Haven arriving later in the day.             

     The following day was Sunday, June 1, 1919.  Both aircraft took off from New Haven, and as they were making a spiral descent towards Yale Filed they collided in mid-air. 

     One aircraft managed to land safely, but the other, a Curtis JN-6H biplane (AS-41885) crashed.  The pilot, 1st Lt. Melvin B. Kelleher, 23, and his mechanic, Corporal Joseph Katzman, were killed instantly.  (One source had Katzman listed as a private.)

     The army board of inquiry failed to find fault with either pilot involved in the collision.   

     Lt. Kelleher is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Frankfort, Indiana. There is also a memorial erected in his honor in Clinton County, Indiana.  (See www.findagrave.com, memorial numbers 28117193, and 124683338 to view the monument, and a photograph of Lt. Kelleher.)

     The burial place of Joseph Katzman is unknown.

     Sources:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Airplane Accident”, May 31, 1919

     Hartford Courant,(Conn.), “Winsted-Flier Was In Town Who Was Killed At New Haven”, June 3, 1919  

     Hartford Courant,(conn.), “Files Finding On Airplane Fall”, June 29, 1919

     New York Times, “Airplanes Colide; 2 Aviators Killed” June 2, 1919

     www.accident_report.com

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

Farmington, CT – April 11, 1945

Farmington, Connecticut – April 11, 1945

    

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

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

     On April 11, 1945, a U.S. Army P-47D (42-22360) left Bradley Filed in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a combat training flight, and crashed during flight maneuvers while over the town of Farmington.  According to witnesses, the aircraft plunged strait down into a swampy/wooded area on a farm where it exploded, leaving a crater reported to be 12 to 15 feet deep, and 30 feet wide.  One source identifies the farm as belonging to John Lipski, and another as belonging to Leo Grouten.  Apparently the two properties border each other and the crash occurred near the property line.   

     The pilot was identified as 2nd Lt. Vincent Hugh Core, 20, of Brooklyn, New York.      

     In 1987, 41 years after the crash, David Tabol, a Farmington Boy Scout, erected a granite monument near the crash site as a memorial to Lt. Core.  (The site is now part of the Unionville State Forrest.)   Further back in the woods is a crude piles of rocks, which some believe was left by the military clean-up crew to serve as a marker for the site.  

     Sources:

     The Bristol Press, “Pilot Killed, Plane Blown To Pieces In Crash In Farmington”, April 11, 1945, pg. 1

     The Bristol Press, ” Army Investigating Crash Of Plane In Farmington; Brooklyn Flier Is Killed”, April 12, 1945

     The Bristol Press,”WWII Tragedy, Air Force Pilot Crashes, Dies In Unionville Forest In 1945″, by Ken Lipshez, October, 1995.

     Connecticut Department Of Health Death Certificate

         

East Granby, CT – July 9, 1982

East Granby, Connecticut – July 9, 1982

     On July 9, 1982, 1st Lieutenant Daniel Peabody, 27, of the Connecticut Air National Guard, took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks in an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, (Ser. No. 78-0585), for a routine training flight.   His was one of three A-10s taking part in the training exercise.  All of the aircraft were assigned to the 103rd Tactical Fighter Group based at Windsor Locks.

     At 3:35 p.m. as he was returning to Bradley Filed and approaching Runway 6, the aircraft lost all power. and Lt. Peabody was forced to eject at an altitude of only 1,000 feet.  While he landed safely, the A-10 crashed in a field in East Granby, tumbled across a roadway, and through a boundary fence at the edge of  Bradley Field, leaving a debris field that stretched more than 100 yards.    

     Sources:

     The Hour – Norwich Ct. “Air Force To Investigate Jet Crash”, July 10, 1982, Pg. 3, by Martin J. Waters.  

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Guard Pilot Safely Ejects From Fighter Before Crash”, July 11, 1982

East Granby, CT – July 25, 1964

East Granby, Connecticut – July 25, 1964 

     On July 25, 1964, a Connecticut Air National Guard F-100F Super Sabre fighter jet assigned to the 118th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron took off at 12:43 p.m. from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks for what was to be an Air Defense Command training mission.  At 1:44 p.m., as the jet was approaching Bradley Field, it crashed about a half-mile short of the main runway just after the pilot reported a flame-out.  Both crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain Thomas G. Jurgelas, 31, of South Windsor, Conn.  He was survived by his wife and two children.

     Captain Wesley A. Lanz, 29, of Rockville, Conn.

     Both men were former classmates, graduating in 1957 from the University of Connecticut.

     Source:

     New York Times, “2 Connecticut Men Killed In Jet Crash”, July 26, 1964

     Providence Journal, “Two Air Guard Officers Killed In Conn. Crash”, July 26, 1964

 

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲