East Granby, CT – November 8, 1944

East Granby, Connecticut – November 8, 1944 

Updated December 16, 2017

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 8, 1944, a B-24J, (Ser. No.  42-51001), with twelve men aboard,  left Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a scheduled combat crew training mission.  Once airborne, the plane headed south over Connecticut.  While over Connecticut, one of the engines began trailing smoke and before long flames became visible.  Despite efforts by the pilot, the aircraft continued to loose altitude, and it became apparent that an emergency landing was the only option.   The pilot aimed for an open area of pastureland located off Route 9 in East Granby, on what was then known as the Seymour Farm.   As the plane passed over the highway it clipped a telephone pole sending it out of control into a marshy section of the pasture where the wings and fuselage broke apart before coming to rest.  There was no fire, but one injured crewman was trapped in the crumpled wreckage and it was several hours before he could be extricated.   

     Of the twelve crewmen aboard, five were killed. 

     The dead were identified as:

      Cpl. Gaetano L. Fastiggi, a top-turret-gunner from New Rochelle, N.Y., born September 23, 1925.  He enlisted in the army on April 5, 1944.  He’s buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in New Rochelle.    

      Cpl. Henry Colt Fay Jr., a gunner from Milburn, N.J., born September 12, 1923.  He’s buried in the Winsted Old Burying Ground, in Winsted, Connecticut.    

      Cpl. Charles W. Powell, a gunner from Holdenville, OK., born September 7, 1920.  He’s buried in Holdenville Cemetery.

      Cpl. Furman Watson, a gunner from Seneca, S.C., born June 22, 1923.  He’s buried in New Hope Cemetery in Seneca.

      Pfc. Lester L. Shoemaker, a tail-gunner from Hanover, PA., born September 18, 1918.  He’s buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, in Hanover.  

     Those who were seriously injured included:

     The pilot, 2nd Lt. Roland C. Curtiss.

     The co-pilot, Flight Officer Reese A. McClennahan, Jr.

     The bombardier, Flight Officer Vincent M. Vallaro.

     Gunner, Cpl. Francis A. Crawford.

     Gunner, Cpl. Cono A. Galliani.

     Gunnery Instructor, Staff Sgt. Charles J. Nigro. 

     The navigator parachuted safely away from the plane and received only minor injuries.  

     Today a housing development occupies the crash site. 

     Sources;

     The Hartford Courant, “Five Flyers Killed, Seven Injured As Bomber Crashes In East Granby”, November 9, 1944, page 1.

     New York Times, “Bomber Crash Kills 5”, November 9, 1944

     Town of East Granby Death Records

     New Rochelle Standard Star, “Cpl. Gaetano Fastiggi Killed With 4 Others In Bomber Crash”, November 9, 1944.

     New Rochelle Standard Star, “Fastiggi’s Body Is Escorted Here”, November 11, 1944.

     New Rochelle Standard Star, “Fastiggi Rites Attended By 300”, November 13, 1944.

 

 

 

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

 

 

East Granby, CT – March 20, 1969

East Granby, Connecticut – March 20, 1969

     On January 15, 2017, a Connecticut resident contacted New England Aviation History to inquire about the red and white fuselage of a civilian aircraft that they’d found while hiking in the woods of East Granby.  (Name withheld to protect their privacy. )

     Photos of the aircraft showed the registration number to be N8019Z.  Additionally, there is a bird logo with the name “Utililine” underneath it on the side of the fuselage.

    According to the National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB) website, the aircraft is a Cessna U206 that went down in the woods on March 20, 1969.  The lone pilot aboard survived, but the plane was determined to be “damaged beyond repair”, and was evidently left where it fell.  Over the years scavengers have removed the interior and pieces of the exterior of the aircraft.   

     The registration number of this aircraft has since been re-issued to another plane.

     This information is provided here to assist others who may happen upon the fuselage and wonder about the story behind it.     

     Sources: NTSB website, www.NTSB.gov, NTSB ID # NYC69FO385

                     Aviation Safety Network, https:://aviation-safety.net

 

East Granby, CT – March 4, 1953

East Granby, Connecticut – March 4, 1953

    

C-46D Commando  U. S. Air Force Photo

C-46D Commando
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On March 4, 1953, a civilian C-46 cargo plane owned by Slick Airways,  (N4717N), took off from Idlewild (Kennedy) Airport in New York City bound for Bradley International Airport.  (Bradley is on the town lines of East Granby and Windsor Locks Connecticut.)   The aircraft was carrying radio recordings for Armed Forces Radio Service.   

     As the C-46 approached for landing in a driving rain storm it crashed and exploded in a wooded area of East Granby, about 1.6 miles southwest of the runway, between South Main St. and Seymour Rd.   Both crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as Jefferson R. Elliott, 32, of Des Plaines, Ill., and John Bielak, 37, of Elmhurst, Ill. 

     Updated August 4, 2016

     The aircraft involved in the accident was built for the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII, (Ser. #2509).  It was acquired by Slick Airways as surplus in July of 1947 and converted for civil use.  At the time of the accident it had 14,310 flying hours. 

     Sources:

     Spokane Daily Chronicle, “Crash Kills 2 Airmen”, March 4, 1953

     Reading Eagle, “Two Killed In Crash Of Big Cargo Plane”, March 5, 1953

     New York Times, “Connecticut Air Crash Kills 2”, March 5, 1953

     Wikipedia – Bradley International Airport

     Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report, file number 1-0015, adopted September 17, 1953, released September 22, 1953

    

East Granby, CT – November 12, 1995

East Granby, Connecticut – November 12, 1995

     On the night of November 11, 1995, American Airlines Flight 1572 departed Chicago bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. (Bradley Airport is located on the Windsor Locks/East Granby town line.)

     The aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, (N566AA) with 73 passengers and a crew of 5 aboard.

     At 1:55 a.m. on November 12, Flight 1572 was making its final approach to Runway 15 at Bradley in scattered clouds when it struck a tree and instrument landing system antenna short of the runway.  The plane came down in a grassy area short of the runway on the East Granby side of the town line.

   Damage to the aircraft was substantial.  One passenger received minor injuries – there were no fatalities.      

     Source:

     National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation Report #NTSB-AAR-96/05, PB96-910405, DCA96MA008.

East Granby, CT – September 12, 1987

East Granby, Connecticut – September 12, 1987

     On the morning of September 12, 1987, a Piper Cherokee crashed in a heavily wooded area of East Granby near the Suffield town line, about a half-mile from the nearest road. The plane burned on impact and the bodies of an unidentified man and woman were recovered.

     Witnesses told police that they saw the plane doing stunts before the accident.

     Source: New York Times, “A Series Of Crashes Of Private Aircraft Kills At Least Three”, September 13, 1987.  (The article covered other crashes besides this one.)

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

 

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