Ridgefield, CT – June 10, 1973

Ridgefield, Connecticut – June 10, 1973

     At approximately 1:30 a.m. on June 10, 1973, a Piper Cherokee 140 aircraft with four people aboard left Danbury Airport bound for MacArthur Field in Islip, New York.  Shortly after takeoff the plane crashed in a thickly wooded area of the Pine Mountain section of Ridgefield.  The plane was heavily damaged, but there was no fire.  (Ridgefield is a town that borders Danbury to the south.) 

     The four occupants of the plane, all from Long Island, New York, survived the crash and spent the night with the aircraft, and at first light began hiking back to the airport. 

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “Plane Crashes In Connecticut After Takeoff”, June 11, 1973, page 21.

Ledyard, CT. – April 27, 1973

Ledyard, Connecticut – April 27, 1973

 

     On April 27, 1972, a New York doctor left Tweed-New Haven Airport in a single-engine Mooney MU-2 airplane bound for Fishers Island, New York.  He was alone at the time. Fishers Island is located in Long Island Sound, off the northern fork of Long Island, N.Y., not far from the Connecticut shore.   

     When the plane reached Fishers Island it was unable to land due to poor weather conditions, and was re-directed to Trumbull Airport in Groton, Connecticut.  The cloud ceiling was at 400 feet, and it was raining as the doctor made his way towards Groton.  Sometime around 7:00 p.m. radio contact with the plane was lost and it disappeared from radar screens.      

     A woman reportedly witnessed the plane crash and explode near her home in Ledyard around 7:00 p.m., but didn’t report it.  The following day she told her son about it and he notified police.  Troopers found the wreckage of the plane about 2:30 p.m. on April 28th, in a wooded area off Gallup Hill Road. 

     The Providence Journal, “Doctor Is Killed In Conn. Crash Of Light Plane”, April 29, 1973, page A-8 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Doctor Killed In Ledyard Plane Crash”, April 29, 1973, page 17.

 

East Hartford, CT – August 15, 1939

Hartford, Connecticut – August 15, 1939

 

     On August 15, 1939, a Lockheed Electra owned by a prominent New York advertising executive was flown from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, to Rentschler Field, in East Hartford, Connecticut to have the engines inspected.  After the inspection, the aircraft took off at 4:15 p.m. to go back to New York. 

     There were five people aboard, a crew of two, and three passengers.  

     The pilot, Wynn Bradford of Flushing, N.Y.

     The co-pilot, Eli Abramson, of Hempstead, N.Y.

     Michael Madrazo, of Corona, N. Y.

     Joseph Kransky, of Jamaica, N.Y.

     George Daulfkirsch of East Elmhurst, N.Y.

     Just after the plane cleared the border fence at the end of the runway, the left wing dipped, hit the ground, and spun the plane which crashed.  All five aboard were thrown clear of the wreckage.  Michael Madrazo, and Joseph Kransky were killed.  The pilot and co-pilot were transported in critical condition to a nearby hospital.  George Daulfkirsch was also hospitalized, but with lesser injuries.   The fuselage was destroyed by fire.

     Source:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Killed, Three Hurt In Hartford Plane Crash”, August 16, 1939 

             

East Haven, CT – June 7, 1971

East Haven, Connecticut – June 7, 1971

     At 7:14 a.m. on June 7, 1971, Allegheny Airlines Flight 485 departed Washington D.C.  bound for Trumbull Airport, (Today known as Groton-New London Airport) in Connecticut.  The flight arrived at 8:13 a.m. but weather conditions prevented landing, and the aircraft was put in a holding pattern.

     The aircraft was an Allison Prop Jet Convair 340/440, registration number N5832.  

     At 8:35 a.m. the weather at Groton-New London was reported to be an indefinite ceiling at 200 feet, with visibility one mile in fog, and surface winds at 220 degrees blowing at 5 knots.

     At 8:41 Flight 485 requested clearance to land under Instrument Flight Rules, and four minutes later clearance was granted. 

     At 8:52 a.m. Flight 485 reported a “missed approach”.  Over the next few minutes the pilot attempted two more IFR landings without success. By this point visibility had dropped to 3/4 of a mile and the cloud ceiling had dropped to 100 feet.

     Flight 485 landed successfully on the fourth attempt and arrived at the gate at 9:23 a.m.

     At that time 20 passengers got off the plane, and 14 new passengers boarded. The aircraft now contained 31 people: 2 pilots, 1 stewardess, 26 adult passengers, and 2 infants.  The flight departed at 9:33 a.m. bound for Tweed Airport in New Haven, Connecticut.

     At 9:48 a.m. Flight 485 was cleared to land on Runway 2 at Tweed Airport.  The weather at Tweed was a partially obscured sky with visibility at 1.75 miles in fog, and wind blowing at 180 degrees at 5 knots.

     As the aircraft was making its final approach, it came in very low over the water of Long Island Sound amid intermittent fog and clouds.  Moments before reaching land, it had dropped to less than 30 feet above the water before it struck the upper portions of three beach houses along the shoreline of East Haven, Connecticut, near Morgan Point.  The impact of the homes was later determined to be only 25 feet above sea level.  (The three homes were set ablaze from the accident and were subsequently destroyed.)  

     After striking the homes, the plane hit the ground, broke apart, and caught fire. It had crashed 4,890 feet short of the end of Runway 2.  (Tweed Airport is located on the New Haven/East Haven town lines. The actual impact took place in East Haven.)  

     There were no reports of anyone on the ground being injured.

     Only three people survived the crash: one crew member and two passengers.  The first officer, James A. Walker, 34, was critically injured when he was ejected from the cockpit as the plane broke apart, but he survived.   The two passengers,  Janet McCaa, 28, and Norman Kelly, 38, escaped the from the burning cabin through an emergency exit.

     As to those who didn’t survive, autopsy results determined that of those on board,  only the pilot, Capt. David G. Eastridge, 39,  received fatal injures from the crash.   The rest of the passengers, and the lone stewardess, Judith L. Manning, 27,  perished due to the smoke and or flames that resulted from the crash.

      

Crash site diagram of  Allegheny Airlines Flight 485,  June 7, 1971,  from the NTSB investigation report  #NTSB-AAR-72-20

Crash site diagram of
Allegheny Airlines Flight 485,
June 7, 1971,
from the NTSB investigation report
#NTSB-AAR-72-20

                                                    Click on image to enlarge.

      Sources:

     NTSB Crash Investigation Report, NTSB-AAR-72-20, File #1-0006, adopted June 1, 1972

     The Daili Illini, “Plane Crash In Fog Kills 28”, June 8, 1971

     (Sumter S.C.) The Daily Item, “Plane Crash Cause Given”, August 28, 1972, Pg. 13B

    

Stratford, CT – April 13, 1911

Stratford, CT – April 13, 1911

Lordship Park

     On April 13, 1911, George C. Nealy, aka “Steeple Jack” Nealy, aka “The Human Fly”, was making a trial flight in a Bleriot aeroplane at Lordship Park in Stratford, when a sudden gust of wind suddenly sent the aircraft plunging forty feet to the ground.  Nealy was tossed out by the impact and suffered only minor injuries.  It was believed the airplane could be repaired. 

     It was reported in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer that “Nealy is one of Stanley Y. Beache’s “stable of aviators”.  Beach has several machines at his hangar in Stratford, two Bleriots, a Curtiss biplane, and others. ”   

     “Steeple Jack” Nealy gained fame when he hung upside down from the spire atop the Singer Tower in Manhattan, N.Y., and took photographs of the view – something that had not been done before.   

     The 47-story Singer Tower was the tallest building in the world from 1908 to 1909.  It was demolished in 1968.

     Nealy had placed an advertisement in the March 1911 issue of Aircraft  that read as follows:

    “Steeple Jack” Nealy, better known as The Human Fly, would like to run an aeroplane for some reliable company.  I am the man that hung by my toes from the Singer Building flag pole 674 feet high.  Have made many parachute descents and have invented an automatic device for stability.  Geo. C. Nealy, 1454 Rockaway Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.”

     Sources:

     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “Steeple Jack Has Mishap In Aeroplane”, April 14, 1911, First Section, Page 4.  

     Aircraft, classified ads, “Steeple Jack Nealy”,March, 1911.

     Wikipedia – Singer Tower

        

 

Stafford Springs, CT – January 5, 1929

Stafford Springs, Connecticut – January 5, 1929

     On January 5, 1929, a small plane carrying mail for the U.S. Postal Service crashed in poor weather conditions on the outskirts of Stafford Springs, Connecticut.   

     The plane was a Fairchild FC-2, (NC5650), owned by Colonial Air Transport. 

     The 26-year-old pilot was killed.   

     Sources:

     www.planecrashinfo.com

     Hagley Digital Archives at digital.hagley.org

East Haddam, CT – June 24, 1949

East Haddam, Connecticut – June 24, 1949

     On June 24, 1949, an F-47N aircraft (Ser. No. 44-89432) belonging to the Connecticut Air National Guard crashed in the Hadlyme section of East Haddam while on a training flight.  Witnesses reported the plane to be trailing dark smoke as it went down.  The pilot, 2nd Lt. Robert S. Leighton, 25, of Portland, Maine, was killed. 

     Investigators were unable to determine a cause for the crash.

     Lt. Leighton is buried in Saint Hyacinth Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine.

     This accident was the third fatality involving a Connecticut Air Guard F-47 in two years, prompting Major General Frederick G. Reincke  to ground all F-47’s belonging to the Connecticut National Guard until further notice.

     Sources:

     The New Era, (Deep River Ct.) “F-47’s Grounded Following Crash”, June 30, 1049, Pg. 4 

     Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #49-6-24-1

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #157286689

   

       

Groton, CT – October 19, 1944

Groton, Connecticut – October 19, 1944

     On October 19, 1945, a navy fighter plane crashed into the roof of a home belonging to Fillibert L. Bergeron, causing substantial damage to the structure.  (The specific type of aircraft and the exact address are not stated.)  As the plane tore through the house, it snagged the blanket off a sleeping 2-year-old girl.  After striking the home, the aircraft continued onward and came down in a nearby school yard. (The name of the school is not stated.)  State troopers found the blanket amidst the aircraft wreckage. 

     The pilot was identified as navy Lieutenant W. J. McCartney, of Toledo, Ohio, who survived the ordeal with non-life threatening injuries. 

     The sleeping girl was unharmed.       

     Source:

     New York Times, “Plane Wrecks Room; Sleeping baby Saved”, October 20, 1944.    (Two photos with article.)

    

Lyme, CT – June 21, 1943

Lyme, Connecticut – June 21, 1943

   

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

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

     On Wednesday, June 23, 1943, two P-47B fighter planes assigned to the 326th Fighter Group, 322nd Squadron, based at Westover Field in Massachusetts, were engaged in a training flight over Lyme, Connecticut, when they collided in mid-air in the vicinity of the Lyme School.

     The pilot of one plane, (41-6035) Lt. Elmer Buss, was able to bail out safely, but the pilot of the other plane, (41-6052) Lt. William Carlton Ives, 21, was killed. 

     Lt. Ives is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. For a photo of his grave, see www.findagrave.com #86564235.   

     Source:

     The New Era, (Deep River Ct.)  “Pilot Dies In Crash Of Planes At Lyme”, June 25, 1943, pg. 1

 

Brainard Field, CT – September 3, 1940

Brainard Field

Hartford, Connecticut – September 3, 1940

    DC-3

      On September 3, 1940, an American Airlines DC-3 (NC19974) left Boston at 6:10 a.m. bound for New York City with an intermediate stop at Brainard Field in Hartford.  As the flight neared Hartford, it encountered fog conditions, and after circling the field twice, the pilot elected to land the plane.   As he was making his final approach, the pilot chose to set down on the grassy area parallel to the runway because by doing so he could use the administration building as a guide in lining up for a straight landing as the area where the building was located was clear of ground fog which was obscuring the rest of the field.   

     The available landing area that would have been afforded the incoming plane was 3,880 feet, however, the plane didn’t actually touch down until it had passed over 2, 450 feet, leaving only 1,430 feet to stop.  When the pilot applied the brakes he was unable to stop due to the wet grass, but he managed to steer the aircraft past the airport boundary onto soft bumpy ground where it abruptly stopped, nosed over, then fell back hard on its tail, resulting in extensive damage to the plane, and minor injury to one passenger.  

     The plane carried fourteen passengers and a crew of three, a pilot, co-pilot, and stewardess. 

     Source:

     Civil Aeronautics Board accident investigation report, #2893-40

 

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