Groton, CT. – February 1, 1982

Groton, Connecticut – February 1, 1982

     On February 1, 1982, Pilgrim Airlines Flight 466 left New York’s LaGuardia Airport with a crew of two, and five passengers aboard.  The aircraft was a twin-engine Beechcraft 99.

     The weather was raining and cloudy with a low ceiling, and strong gusty winds. 

     When the flight reached Groton-New London Airport at about 12:45 p.m. it was cleared to land.  As the aircraft made its approach to Runway 5 from the southwest, a strong gust of wind forced it to crash in a marshy area about 100 feet before the end of the runway.  The aircraft fuselage remained largely intact and there was no fire.  Thick ground fog, along with mucky-icy conditions of the marshland, made it difficult for rescuers to locate and reach the aircraft.  When they arrived at the scene, they found seven people hurt, three seriously.  All were transported to medical facilities for treatment.

     As a point of fact, another Pilgrim Airlines flight was awaiting landing instructions at the time of the accident, and was diverted to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.   

     Sources:

     The Day, (New London, CT.), “7 Hurt, 3 Seriously In Plane Crash”, February 1, 1982, page 1. (With photo)

     The Day, “Copilot Tried To Land In Strong Wind”, February 2, 1982, page 1

     The Day, “Passenger describes Ordeal”, February 2, 1982, page 1

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Commuter Plane Crashes In Groton; 7 Hurt”, February 1, 1982, page A-13

     Westerly Sun, (RI), “Investigators Seek Cause Of Groton Plane Crash”, February 2, 1982, page 13.

 

Groton, CT. – July 4, 1945

Groton, Connecticut – July 4, 1945

 

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

     On the night of July 4, 1945, a group of navy aircraft were making a series of landings and takeoffs at the Groton Naval Auxiliary Air Field as part of a training exercise.   One of the aircraft taking part was an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70879).  Another aircraft was an F4U Corsair, (Bu. No. 81612).

 

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

  Shortly before 11:00 p.m., the Corsair made a normal landing and taxied towards the end of the runway while the Hellcat made its approach and landed.  The Hellcat landed at a normal speed and proper interval from the Corsair however, due to excessive darkness, what the pilot of the Hellcat didn’t realize was that the Corsair hadn’t completely cleared the end of the runway.  At 170 feet before the end of the runway the Hellcat drove into the rear of the Corsair completely demolishing the Corsair, and causing substantial damage to the Hellcat.  Fortunately neither pilot was seriously hurt.    

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident report dated July 4, 1945.

 

Groton, CT. – July 17, 1944

Groton, Connecticut – July 17, 1944

 

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

     On July 17, 1944, Ensign Robert Byron took off in an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41485), from Groton Field with a tow target secured to the tail of his airplane.  He was to take part in a gunnery training exercise.

     Immediately after takeoff the engine began to sputter and loose power before stopping completely.  Ensign Byron crash landed in a creek with the tow target still attached. 

     The plane was damaged beyond repair.  Ensign Byron suffered non-life threatening injuries. 

     Ensign Byron was assigned to Fighter Squadron 46, (VF-46)

     The cause was found to be mechanical, and no fault was assigned to the pilot.

     Source:  U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated June 17, 1944

 

 

Trumbull Airport – August 19, 1950

Trumbull Airport – August 19, 1950

Groton, Connecticut

     

B-26G Bomber U.S. Air Force Photo

B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 19, 1950, a Connecticut Air National Guard B-26 aircraft took off from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, bound for Trumbull Airport in  Groton, Connecticut for a transport flight.  

     There were four men aboard; the pilot, 1st Lt. Martin E. Coleman, 32, of Hartford, Connecticut, and three passengers, Major William B. Duty, Capt. Paul E. Kimper, and Sgt. Kyle C. Thresher.   

     They arrived at Groton during a driving rainstorm which hampered visibility, and made for slick runway conditions.  While attempting to land, the plane skidded off the end of the runway, over a seven foot embankment, and plunged into the Poquonoc River and flipped on its back and sank, leaving only the plane’s belly and landing gear protruding from the water. 

     Lt. Coleman drowned, but the other three men escaped with minor injuries.

     Lt. Coleman was a member of the 118th Fighter Squadron, 103rd Fighter Group, then based at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  He enlisted in the 118th Observation Squadron (Ct. Nat. Guard) after his high school graduation in 1936, and in the Army Air Corps in 1941.  In 1943 he earned his pilots wings and flew a variety of aircraft while serving with the Air Transport Command.  After his discharge in 1946, he re-joined the Air National Guard.   He’s Buried in Northwood Cemetery, in Windsor, Connecticut.   (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #150775556.)

     Sources:

     (New London, Ct.) The Day, “Air Force To Probe Fatal Crash At Trumbull Airport”, August 21, 1950

     www.findagrave.com

Vintage View Groton Connecticut Airport

Vintage View Of The Groton, Connecticut, Airport

Vintage Post Card View Of Groton, Conn. Airport

Vintage Post Card View Of Groton, Conn. Airport

Click on image to enlarge

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