Gardner, MA. – July 29, 1966

Gardner, Massachusetts – July 29, 1966

 

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 29, 1966, a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-84 fighter jet left Barnes Air Force Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, for a routine training flight.  The pilot was Captain Daniel Palucca, assigned to the 104th Tactical Fighter Group based at Barnes.  Shortly before noon, while flying over the town of Gardner, the aircraft began experiencing mechanical difficulties to the extent that maintaining control became impossible.  Captain Palucca aimed the aircraft away from the densely populated area of town and ejected. 

     The F-84 crashed into a wooded area where Jackson Hill Road and Kendall Street meet.  It broke into numerous pieces and burned. Captain Palucca landed safely several yards off Route 2A near the Skorko junkyard not far from the Westminster town line with only minor injuries.    

     Source:

    The Gardner News, (Gardner, Mass.), “Plane Crashes, Explodes On Jackson Hill Rd. – Pilot Parachutes To Safety Shortly Before Impact, Avoids Homes In Area”, July 29, 1966  

Logan Airport – November 3, 1973

Logan Airport – November 3, 1973

Updated July 28, 2017

     On the morning of November 3, 1973, Pan American World Airways Flight 160 departed J.F. K. International Airport in New York bound for Scotland.

     The aircraft was a Boeing 707-321C (N458PA).  It was a scheduled cargo flight, with a crew of three aboard; the captain, John J. Zammett, 53, the first officer, Gene W. Ritter, 34, and the flight engineer, Davis Melvin, 37.  There were not passengers.

     The aircraft was carrying 16,000 pounds of chemicals including cylinders of nitric acid, and other types of acids.  The manifest also included 5,000 pounds of mail, 16,000 pounds of electrical components, and another 16,000 pounds of “miscellaneous items”.      

     At 9:04 a.m. Flight 160 advised Pan American Operations that they had a smoke condition on board and were diverting to Boston. 

     At 9:10 a.m. Flight 160 advised the smoke was getting thicker. A minute later they requested emergency equipment to be on hand when they landed. 

     As the plane approached Boston it was given “preferential air traffic control treatment” even though no emergency had been declared by the flight crew.

     At 9:31 a.m. Captain Zammett was asked if he was declaring an emergency, to which he replied, “Negative on the emergency, and may we have Runway 33 left?”   The request was granted.

     By 9:38 a.m. the aircraft was about four miles from the airport, but its transponder had evidently stopped working.  One minute later Flight 160 crashed 262 feet from the edge of Runway 33L. 

     Witnesses later reported that just before the crash they saw the left cockpit window open with smoke streaming out, and the plane was doing yaw and roll maneuvers before the left wing and nose slammed into the ground at a nearly vertical angle.  The plane was destroyed and all three men aboard were killed.

     The cause of the crash was determined to be excessive smoke in the cockpit which hampered the crew’s ability to control the aircraft.  As to the cause of the smoke, the NTSB investigation report, in Section 16 of the Technical Report Standard Title Page, stated in part, “Although the source of the smoke could not be established conclusively, the Safety Board believes that the spontaneous chemical reaction between leaking nitric acid , improperly packaged and stowed, and the improper sawdust packing surrounding the acid’s package initiated the accident sequence.”

     Sources:

     National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation Report, #NTSB-AAR-74-16, File #1-0026, Adopted December 2, 1974.

     Providence Journal, “Jet Crash At Logan Kills 3”, November 4, 1973 page 1, (photo of accident scene)

     Providence Journal, “Perilous Chemicals Fished From Boston Harbor”, November 5, 1973, page 24

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Boston Cargo Jet Crash Probed; Smoke May Have hampered Crew”, November 5, 1973, page 23

 

Salisbury Beach, MA – July 10, 1920

Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts – July 10, 1920

Town of Salisbury, Mass.

Updated January 18, 2017

     On July 10, 1920, a small aircraft with three people aboard was on a sightseeing flight over Hampton and Salisbury beaches.  The pilot, Lieutenant Gordon L. Groah, of Lynn, Mass., routinely used this route for his sightseeing and exhibition flights.  The two passengers included Mrs. Richard H. Long, of Framingham, the wife of a prominent Massachusetts politician, and an aircraft mechanic from Pittsfield, Mass., who’s first name was Gaston, but there seems to be some confusion as to his last name.  Sources have spelled it Gornet, Cornet, Corrinet, and Gornorinett.  

     As the aircraft was at an altitude of several hundred feet over Salisbury Beach, it suddenly went into a dive and crashed on the beach in view of hundreds of beachgoers.  The mechanic leaped from the plane a second before it hit the ground, thus receiving minor injuries and saving his life.  Mrs. Long and Lieutenant Groah were pulled from the wreckage and rushed to Anna Jacques Hospital in nearby Newburyport, Mass., where they succumbed to their injuries.

     Richard H. Long, had been a Democratic candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, in 1919.   

     The following item was found in February 5, 1920 edition of The Iron Trade Review on page 450.

    “Boston – The Massachusetts Aircraft Corp. has been incorporated to build airplanes with $25,000 capital by Gordon L. Groah, Lynn, Mass.: John J. Hayes, Somerville, Mass., and M. G. McCarthy.”   

       Sources:

     Burlington Weekly Free Press, “Mrs. R.H. Long Killed In Plane Accident”, July 15, 1920, pg. 7

     New York Tribune, “Two Killed When Plane Falls At Salisbury Beach”, July 11, 1920

     Evening Star, (Washington, DC), “Two Die In Air Crash”, July 11, 1920

     Washington Herald, (Wash. DC), “Politicians Wife Killed In Crash”, July 11, 1920 

Northampton, MA – April 20, 1965

Northampton, Massachusetts – April 20, 1965 

     On the evening of April 20, 1965, a helicopter was taking off from La Fleur Airport in Northampton, when the driveshaft to the tail rotor suddenly snapped while the craft was 40 feet in the air.  The helicopter crashed, but all of the four men aboard escaped injury.   

     Those aboard included the pilot, David W. Graham, Massachusetts State Senator Charles A. Bisbie Jr., Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe, and his aide, George Luciano. 

     The helicopter was en-route to Boston when the accident happened.   

     Source:

    New York Times, “Volpe Is Uninjured In A Copter Crash”, April 21, 1965 

Falmouth, MA – November 26, 1936

Falmouth, Massachusetts – November 26, 1936

     On November 26, 1936, Bernarr Macfadden, a well known physical fitness advocate, author, and magazine publisher, left New York in an airplane with three friends to fly to Falmouth, Massachusetts , to celebrate Thanksgiving at the home of Fulton Oursler, an author and magazine editor.    Also aboard the plane was Doctor Dana Coman, Helen Coman, (daughter of the doctor), Fern Matson, and the pilot.

     As the plane was landing at Coonamessett Airport in Falmouth, something caused it to turn over upside-down on the runway.  All aboard were wearing seatbelts which saved them from any injuries. 

     Coonamessett Airport was located in the Hatchville section of Falmouth, and was in operation between 1933 and 1968. 

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Macfadded In Air Crash”, November 27, 1936   

     Wikiedia – Coonamessett Airport

     Wikipedia – Bernarr Macfadden

Revere, MA – January 1, 1912

Revere, Massachusetts – January 1, 1912

     On January 1, 1912, well known early aviator, Harry N. Atwood, was attempting to fly his Burmess-Wright hydro-aeroplane from Point of Pines in Revere, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine, when the aircraft developed engine trouble just after take-off.  The engine quit just after Atwood was over Lynn Bay, but Atwood managed to re-start it in short order.  Atwood had taken off into a strong wind in order to gain lift, but when his engine stopped the wind  turned the plane about.  When he got the engine started again the wind was now behind him, which hindered his attempts to gain altitude.  When the engine quit a second time he was forced down into the water. 

     The plane landed upright on its two pontoons, but somehow one of the pontoons developed a leak, possibly due to the hard landing, and the plane began to list to one side.  Atwood was wearing two sets of clothes to keep warm during his flight to Maine, one of which he managed to strip away in anticipation of going into the water.  He then climbed out onto the one good pontoon, but his weight forced it beneath the surface drenching him in the icy water.  He would likely have drowned had it not been for two men in a boat who saw his plight and raced to his rescue.   

     He was taken ashore to the home of Hiram Carter where he was treated for exposure and hypothermia.

     Source: New York Times, “Atwood Near Death By Fall In Water”, January 2, 1912  

     

Atlantic Ocean – October 10, 1958

Atlantic Ocean – October 10, 1958

    

C-123K Cargo Plane U. S. Air Force Photo

C-123K Cargo Plane
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On October 10, 1958, a C-123 cargo plane based out of Otis Air Force  Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, was returning to Otis from Miami, Florida, when a fire erupted on board while the plane was off the coast of Virginia.  There was a crew of three aboard: the pilot, Captain Frederick W. Meyer, 29, the co-pilot, Captain Warren W. Swenson, 37, and Staff Sergeant Paul F. D’Entremont. 

     Captain Meyer gave the order to bail out, and the three men parachuted into the ocean.  Meyer and Swenson were rescued by a navy helicopter, and D’Entremont was pulled from the water by the crew of a Coast Guard boat.

     D’Entremont had suffered unspecified injuries, and was transported to the Portsmouth, Virginia, Naval Hospital, where he passed away.  He had been assigned to the 551st Periodic Maintenance Squadron.

     Source:

     Falmouth Enterprise, “Sergeant Dies After Plane Crash”, October 14, 1958      

Cape Cod Bay – March 25, 1954

Cape Cod Bay – March 25, 1954

    

F-94 Starfire U.S. Air Force Photo

F-94 Starfire
U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 12:45 p.m., on March 25, 1954, 2nd Lt. Boyd L. Erickson, 24, was killed when the F-94 Starfire jet he was piloting crashed in Cape Cod Bay near Orient during a routine training flight.

     The newspaper account mentioned that there was a radar observer aboard who was “missing”.  He was not identified.  

     Lieutenant Erickson was from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and he’s buried there in Memorial Park Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife Dona Mae Erickson.

     Lieutenant Erickson entered the U.S. Air Force in early 1951, and began his pilot training in August of 1952.  He received his wings and officer’s commission August 1, 1953, and had been assigned to Otis Air Force Base at the time of the accident.

     Sources:

     Falmouth Enterprise, “Pocasset Pilot Dies In Crash Of Aircraft”, March 26, 1954        

     Findagrave.com  Memorial # 24523991

Mansfield, MA – September 13, 1945

Mansfield, Massachusetts – September 13, 1945

    

SB2C Helldiver U.S. Navy Photo

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On April 19, 1945, Ensign Thomas Daniel Murphy, 21, of Chicago, was killed when the SB2C Helldiver he was piloting crashed and burned in Mansfield, Massachusetts.  No further details of the accident are available.

     Ensign Murphy was assigned to Bombing Squadron 4 (VB-4) based at Groton Field in Groton, Connecticut.  His body was brought to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before being sent to Chicago for burial.  

     Sources:

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-87

     Naval History & Heritage Command – U.S. Navy, www.history.navy.mil

    

Douglas, MA – September 12, 1944

Douglas, Massachusetts – September 12, 1944 

     Ensign Arthur Joseph Stockus, 23, was killed when the navy fighter plane he was piloting crashed in the woods of the western portion of Douglas, Massachusetts. 

     Ensign Stockus was from Monessen, Penn., and had been assigned to the Quonset Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  He died just two days after his 23rd birthday.

     Source: North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #44-72   

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