Charlestown, R. I. – April 22, 1946

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 22, 1946

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of April 22, 1946, a flight of six navy SB2C Helldiver aircraft were returning to the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field after a training flight.  There was considerable fog and haze hanging over the area at the time.

     The flight was in three sections of two planes each.  As the aircraft came over the field at 800 feet, they made a normal breakup in preparation for landing.   After all aircraft were down, it was discovered that one was missing.  That aircraft was, (Bu. No. 83625), piloted by Ensign Coy A Stephenson, Jr., (23), accompanied by his gunner, ARM2/c Walter J. Edwards.  A search was instituted, but low visibility made it difficult.  The missing plane was found to have crashed in the water not far off shore, and both men aboard had perished in the accident.

     The men had been assigned to VB-20.

     Source:  U. S. Navy accident report dated April 22, 1946.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 19, 1946

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 19, 1946

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of February 19, 1946, a flight of six navy SB2C Helldiver aircraft were returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight.   After all had landed safely, they taxied in a line to an area where the “taxi line men” were to meet them.  When they reached the area, the first plane came to a stop, as did the following four aircraft.  However, the pilot of the sixth aircraft, (Bu. No. 82867), didn’t realize the planes had stopped and drove into the back of the fifth aircraft.  The propeller of the sixth plane sliced into the rear stabilizer of the fifth plane.  Both aircraft were damaged, but neither pilot was injured.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy report dated February 19, 1946.

Otis Field – April 23, 1946

Otis Field, Massachusetts – April 23, 1946

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 4:36 p.m., on the afternoon of April 23, 1946, a navy SB2C Helldiver, (Bu. No. 85265), was coming in to land at Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, when the aircraft stalled on approach and crashed, ending up on its back and bursting into flames.  The pilot was rescued, but suffered severe burns and a lacerated scalp.   

     The pilot had come from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island and was assigned to Fighter Bomber Squadron 18, (VB-18).

     There was nobody else aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 23, 1946.   

Martha’s Vineyard, MA. – February 19, 1946

Martha’s Vineyard – February 19, 1946

Cape Poge – Chappaquiddick

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 10:48 a.m. on the morning of February 19, 1946, Ensign Cecil M. Richards, 21, and his gunner, Arm2c William Robert Garrett, 20, were in a U. S. Navy  SB2C-4E Helldiver, (Bu. No. 21083), participating in an aerial bombing exercise over Cape Poge, Chappaquiddick Island, at Martha’s Vineyard.  Ensign Richards began his dive at 6,750 feet.   After releasing the training bombs on a designated target area, the aircraft was seen to continue in its dive, then roll over and crash into the water at high speed.  Both Richards and Garret were killed instantly.  

     The cause of the accident is unknown.

     Both men were assigned to Fighter Bomber Squadron 18, (VB-18), at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  

     In 2016, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers began removing potentially dangerous ordinance from the Cape Poge area and discovered the propeller, one machinegun, and other pieces from Ensign Richards’ aircraft. 

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 19, 1946.

     (Martha’s) Vineyard Gazette, “Two Fliers Lost – First Fatality Since War, Off Cape Pogue”, February 22, 1946.

     Vineyard Gazette, “World War II Bomber Found Buried At Cape Pogue”, by Noah Asimov, May 2, 2019  

Point Judith, R. I. – December 15, 1944

Point Judith, Rhode Island – December 15, 1944

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the night of December 15, 1944, a flight of U. S. Navy F4U Corsairs took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine for a cross-country flight to Groton, Connecticut.  All of the aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10).  

     At about 3:00 a.m., the flight was passing over the water about a half-mile south of Point Judith, Rhode Island,  at an altitude of 600 feet, staying just below a layer of haze.  The flight was split into two sections.  Members of the first section included Ensign Herman Arthur Rodgers, piloting aircraft #57673, and Ensign William P. Brede, Jr., piloting aircraft #57514. 

     Suddenly Ensign Rodgers’, and Ensign Brede’s aircraft were observed by members of the second section to abruptly drop out of formation and plunge into the water and explode on impact.  Neither pilot had radioed any trouble with his aircraft, or given a distress signal.

     The aircraft and the pilot’s bodies were never recovered, and the cause of the accident is unknown.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 15, 1944.    

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 7, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 7, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of October 7, 1943, a navy FM-1 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 15193), was in the process of landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when a strong crosswind blew it off the runway as it was touching down.  The aircraft ground-looped at high speed and was heavily damaged.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-8979, dated October 7, 1943.

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 10, 1949

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – September 10, 1949 

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 10, 1949 a navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94765), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station. Just after touchdown the aircraft lost all brake pressure and went off the runway and was damaged beyond repair.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 10, 1949.   

Charlestown, R. I. – August 30, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 30, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 30, 1949, a navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121560), was making practice touch-and-go landings at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  During the training exercise, the right landing gear collapsed upon touchdown, and the right wing, belly, and fuselage were damaged, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 30, 1949.

 

Atlantic Ocean – September 15, 1948

Atlantic Ocean – September 15, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 15, 1948, a navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121561), left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station to rendezvous with the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte, (CV-32), operating off the coast of New England.  As the aircraft was making its landing approach to the carrier the engine suddenly lost all power.  The pilot immediately dropped the belly tank and retracted the landing gear and made an emergency water landing.  The pilot was able to escape before the plane sank and was rescued a short time later.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the aircraft was not recovered.

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 71 at Quonset Point. (VF-71)     

     The accident occurred at 19 degrees 32.5 north/75 degrees27.7 west. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 15, 1948.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 1, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 1, 1944

 

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

     On the afternoon of July 1, 1944, a ground collision occurred between two aircraft on Runway 19 at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  An F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42300), taxied into the back of an SNJ-5 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 51651).  The SNJ-5 was damaged beyond repair, but there were no injuries reported from those aboard either aircraft.     

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated July 1, 1944.

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

Martha’s Vineyard – March 25, 1944

Martha’s Vineyard – March 25, 1944 

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the night of March 25, 1944, a navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 05880), was returning to the Martha’s Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Field after a night familiarization flight.   As the pilot was making his landing approach, he was waved off due to another aircraft which had just landed still being on the runway.  The Avenger circled around and came in for a second approach.  As it touched down it made a wheels up landing, and skidded on its belly for 900 feet before coming to rest.  The propeller, the bomb bay doors, and the starboard wing were heavily damaged, but there were no injuries.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-81.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-12653, dated March 25, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 17, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 17, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of February 17, 1944, a navy TBF-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 48027), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the landing gear collapsed shortly after touchdown. The aircraft skidded for over 900 feet before coming to rest.  The aircraft suffered major damage but the three-man crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to Torpedo Squadron Four, (VT-4).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11785, dated February 17, 1944.  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 22, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 22, 1944

 

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

     On the afternoon of September 22, 1944, a navy F6F-3 Hellcat fighter, (Bu. No. 26052), was taking off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost all power just after the plane became airborne.  The aircraft fell back to the runway and the fuselage broke in half, but there was no fire.  The pilot suffered serious injuries and the aircraft was a total loss.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 22, 1944.

 

Beverly, MA. – August 31, 1945

Beverly, Massachusetts – August 31, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On August 31, 1945, a navy SNJ-4 trainer aircraft, (BU. No. 90667), crashed while landing at the Beverly Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  The two men aboard received non-life-threatening-injuries, and the plane was a total loss.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 31, 1945. 

Squantum NAS – May 25, 1945

Squantum Naval Air Station – May 25, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On May 25, 1945, a navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27007), landed at the Squantum Naval Air Station in a strong cross-wind and ground looped at high speed causing damage to the left wing, left aileron, propeller, and both landing wheels.  The pilot was not injured.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 25, 1945.

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 22, 1944

 

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

     On the night of August 22, 1944, a flight of navy F6F Hellcat fighters were taking part in a night-carrier-landing-practice exercise at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, when one of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 70169), landed with its landing gear still in the “up” position.  The plane skidded to a stop and suffered significant damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 22, 1944.      

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 21, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 21, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

      In the early morning hours of August 21, 1944, a flight of navy F6F Hellcat fighters were making night practice landings and take offs at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  At 2:00 a.m., one aircraft, (Bu. No. 58106), came in for its fifth landing, but the landing gear remained in a retracted position.  The Hellcat made a wheels-up landing and skidded to a stop causing damage to the aircraft, but the pilot wasn’t injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 21, 1944.

Hyannis, MA. – January 22, 1949

Hyannis, Massachusetts – January 22, 1949 

     On January 22, 1949, a navy FG-1D Corsair , (Bu. No. 92700), was returning to the Squantum Naval Air Station after a bomb training flight when the engine began to run roughly, and then began trailing black smoke.  The pilot was directed to land at the Hyannis Airport.  As he approached the airport the motor froze, and the pilot glided the aircraft down and made a successful wheels up landing.  The aircraft was extensively damaged but the pilot was unhurt.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated January 22, 1949

Charlestown, R. I. – August 24, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 24, 1944 

 

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

     On the afternoon of August 24, 1944, a flight of F6F Hellcat navy fighters was practicing mock daylight carrier landings on Runway 35 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  One Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42287), came in to land with the landing gear still up.  The aircraft crash-landed on the runway and skied to a stop.  There was no fire, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 24, 1944.

Brunswick, ME. – March 24, 1945

Brunswick, Maine – March 24, 1945

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On March 24, 1945, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 48884), was returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a 4.5 hour operational flight.  As the aircraft was coming in to land it ran out of fuel and crashed on approach.   Two of the six men aboard were injured, and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 24, 1945.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 14, 1942

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 14, 1942

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of July 14, 1942, a flight of navy aircraft were participating in a night-carrier-landing-drill at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  One of the aircraft was an F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 02137).   The flight circle took the planes out over Narragansett Bay.      

     As the Wildcat was making its landing approach from an altitude of 300 feet over the Bay, its engine suddenly lost all power.  The pilot was able to glide the plane in to make an emergency water landing just off shore.  The pilot was able to extricate himself before the plane sank in 18 feet of water.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 41, (VF-41)

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4487, dated July 14, 1942.

 

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 30, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 30, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On January 30, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12147), was taking off for a training flight from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just as the aircraft reached an altitude of 700 feet the engine lost all power.  The aircraft was too low for the pilot to bail out, so he tried to glide  towards a wooded clearing.  At an altitude of 50 feet he was able to restart the engine, and as he did so the Wildcat clipped some tree tops causing damage to the plane.  The pilot was able to gain enough altitude to make it back to Quonset Point.  As he was landing, the aircraft hit a snowbank which caused it to swing upwards into an almost vertical position and then slam back down.  The aircraft was heavily damaged but the pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated January 30, 1943.

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 5, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 5, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 9:40 p.m. on the night of February 5, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12156), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a night familiarization flight.  The pilot inadvertently made a wheels-up landing, and as the aircraft skidded to a stop it caught fire.  The pilot escaped, but the aircraft was destroyed by the flames. 

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).   

     Source: 

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5879, dated February 5, 1943.

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 7, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 7, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 7, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 5030), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the engine suddenly lost all power immediately after becoming airborne.  The aircraft crashed back onto the runway and required a major overhaul.  The pilot was not injured.

     This aircraft had been involved in another accident only five days earlier on February 2nd.  On that date, BU. No. 5030 was coasting to a stop after having just landed at Quonset Point when it was struck by another Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12149), which was taxiing into position in preparation of take off.  The accident was blamed on the pilot of Bu. No. 12149.

     Both aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5849, dated February 2, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1943.  

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 2, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 2, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 2, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 5030), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The pilot made a successful landing and as the aircraft was coasting down the runway and nearly to a stop, it was struck by another Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12149), which was taxiing into position in anticipation of taking off.  Both aircraft were damaged but there were no injuries.  The accident was blamed on the pilot operating Wildcat 12149.

     Both aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).

     Wildcat 5030 was repaired and put back in service.  

     Five days later, on February 7, Wildcat 5030 was taking off from the Quonset Point NAS when the engine suddenly lost power just after becoming airborne and the plane crashed back onto the runway.  The aircraft required a major overhaul, but the pilot was not injured.  The cause could not be determined.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5849, dated February 2, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1943.        

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 9, 1943

Quonset Point, R.I. – February 9, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 9, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 02027), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a strong cross-wind when the wingtip hit a snowbank causing the plane to crash.  The aircraft was seriously damaged, and the pilot received non-life-threatening injuries.

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16). 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #43-5932, dated February 9, 1943

Off Block Island – February 22, 1943

Off Block Island – February 22, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of February 22, 1943, a flight of navy F4F Wildcat fighters was taking part in a low altitude flight tactics training exercise off Block Island.  One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 12045), was piloted by Lt. (Jg.), Edward Enalius Bailey of Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16), based at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  As Lt. (Jg.) Bailey was making a simulated attack on two torpedo planes he suddenly crashed into the water.  Neither the pilot or his aircraft could be recovered. 

     Source: U. S. Navy report, #43-6049, dated February 22, 1943.

Narragansett Bay – August 23, 1944

Narragansett Bay – August 23, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of August 23, 1944, a flight of navy F6F Hellcats were engaged in “night flying carrier landing practice” at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The flight circle extended out over the waters of Narragansett Bay.  During the training exercise, one aircraft, (Bu. No. 58915), went down in the water and sank.  The pilot escaped with no injuries and was rescued about an hour later. The aircraft was later recovered.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 23, 1944,

Ayer, MA. – July 12, 1945

Ayer, Massachusetts – July 12, 1945

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1945, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 68260), was approaching the Ayer Naval Auxiliary Air Field to land.  The pilot didn’t touch down until he was half-way down the 2,000 foot runway, after which time he was unable to stop the aircraft before it went off the end of the runway and flipped over onto its back.  There was substantial damage to the aircraft, and the pilot sustained non-life-threatening injuries.       

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 12, 1945. 

 

Charlestown, R. I. – August 1, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 1, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of August 1, 1944, several aircraft from Night Fighter Squadron 104, (VFN-104), were taking part in a simulated night carrier landing exercise at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  During the exercise, one of the aircraft, an F6F-3N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42994), crashed into the water just off shore from the air field.  The pilot escaped before the plane sank, and wasn’t injured.  The aircraft was later salvaged.

     Source:

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

Atlantic Ocean – September 22, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – September 22, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of September 22, 1944, a U. S. Navy F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70568), took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a routine training flight off the New England Coast.  The pilot was Ensign Robert Lee Skinner, 20, of Comanche County, Texas.  The last radio contact with Ensign Skinner was heard about five minutes after take off.  When Ensign Skinner failed to return he was declared missing and a search was instituted, but nothing was found. 

     Five months later the wreckage of Ensign Skinner’s aircraft was discovered off the coast of Montauk Point, Long Island, N.Y.  The cause of his accident was never determined.

     Ensign Skinner was assigned to Night Fighter Squadron 107, aka  VF(n)-107.

     A photo of Ensign Skinner can be seen on www.findagrave.com, memorial #55702569.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 22, 1944.

     www.findagrave.com 

North Kingstown, R.I. – April 11, 1945

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – April 11, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the afternoon of April 11, 1945, a U. S. Navy SNJ-5 “Texan” trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 43893), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown with two men aboard.   The purpose of the flight was to test a newly installed “flight attitude” gauge in the rear cockpit.   As the pilot was putting the aircraft through a series of aerobatic maneuvers the engine suddenly lost all power and the plane went into a stall.  The aircraft then fell into a short spin and crashed killing both men.

     The pilot was identified as CAP USN Francisco P. Brunetti, 25, and the rear cockpit passenger was identified as AMM3/c John C. Costner, 23.     

     The location of this accident listed in the navy report was “Washington, R.I.”, however there is no such town, but there is a Washington County, R.I.  Within Washington County are the towns of Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown, and Westerly.  After contacting town halls form those towns, it was learned that the death records for this accident are kept at North Kingstown, Book 6, Page 335.  Therefore it is surmised the accident occurred in North Kingstown.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated April 11, 1945

 

Atlantic Ocean – December 3, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – December 3, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of December 3, 1944, a flight of U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Charlestown, Rhode Island, for a “practice night interception” training flight off the Rhode Island coast.  At about 7: 30 p.m., the lead aircraft, (Bu. No. 70632), piloted by Ensign Maynard F. Lednum, (21), was last seen making a “steep diving turn” while descending into a cloud bank at 6,000 feet.   Although not witnessed, he presumably crashed into the ocean and was lost.  Neither the pilot nor the aircraft were recovered.

     Ensign Lednum earned his wings at Pensacola Florida on April 11, 1944, and arrived in Rhode Island on October 7, 1944. 

     To see a photo of Ensign Lednum go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #173204555.  

     Ensign Lednum was assigned to squadron VF(N)-91.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 3, 1944.

     www.findagrave.com

Atlantic Ocean – June 3, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – June 3, 1945

U.S.S. Mission Bay

 

Ensign John J. Zayak
Photo courtesy of
Allison M. Albert

     In the early morning hours of June 3, 1945, a flight of U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats assigned to Night Attack Combat Training Unit 9, (NACTU-9), took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Airfield in Charlestown, Rhode Island, to rendezvous with the escort carrier U.S.S. Mission Bay, (CVE-59), which was operating off the coast of New England.  The purpose of the flight was to conduct night training exercises and practice landings with the carrier.   

     One of the F6F aircraft assigned to the flight, was Bu. No. 70957, piloted by Ensign John J. Zayak.   At 4:30 a.m., as Ensign Zayak was making a landing approach to the Mission Bay, he received a “wave off” signal.  He then “pulled up” and began a climb to the right in order to go around and make another attempt.  As the aircraft cleared the flight deck the engine suddenly lost all power, and the plane went down in the water and sank immediately.      

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     Neither the aircraft or Ensign Zayak could be recovered.  The cause of the engine failure could not be determined.    

 

 

 

 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 3, 1945

Otis Field – September 10, 1944

Otis Field, Falmouth, Massachusetts – September 10, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     Just after 2 p.m. on September 10, 1944, a U. S. Navy SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 54180), with two men aboard, took off from Otis Filed.  The pilot was a navy ensign.  The second man was Army Sergeant James Edwin Senter, (21 or 22). 

     The aircraft was seen to climb several hundred feet before it suddenly went into a downward spin to the left.  The pilot managed to jump clear of from an altitude of 500 feet, and his parachute opened just before he hit the ground.  Although injured, he would survive.

     Meanwhile the aircraft crashed just twenty feet away killing Sergeant Senter.

     Sergeant Senter is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  He enlisted in the army in 1940 at the age of 18.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #173920812.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 10, 1944.

Quonset Point, R. I. – November 15, 1945

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – November 15, 1945

 

U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 15, 1945, a U. S. Navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 34793), was approaching to land at the Quonset Point Naval Air station when it was discovered that the landing gear would not come down.  The aircraft circled for the next two hours while the crew attempted to rectify the problem, but they were unable to do so.  The aircraft made an emergency wheels-up landing on a grass strip parallel to the runway.  The aircraft was damaged, but the six-man crew was uninjured.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-9716, dated November 15, 1945.

Squantum NAS – January 31, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station  – January 31, 1944

 

OS2U Kingfisher without float
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 31, 1944, an OS2U-3 Kingfisher aircraft, (Bu. No. 5369), was landing at the Squantum Naval Air Station when the landing gear collapsed just after touchdown causing major damage to the aircraft.  The crew was not injured.  The caused of the accident was determined to be mechanical failure.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11356, dated January 31, 1944.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 10, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – March 10, 1943

 

U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura

     On the morning of March 10, 1943, a U. S. Navy PV-1 Ventura aircraft, (Bu. No. 29834), with five men aboard, was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The pilot started a normal takeoff, and as the aircraft proceeded down the runway it began a gradual drift to the left.  The plane became airborne just before reaching the left edge of the runway at which time the left wing tip was observed to drop about 15 degrees and strike a snowbank.  At the moment of impact the wing burst into flames and the aircraft settled back down to the ground.  Both propellers hit the ground tearing the engines from their mountings.  The flaming fuselage skidded along the ground coming to rest 150 yards to the left of the runway.   The aircraft was completely consumed by fire.

     One crewman, Lieutenant, (Jg.) George L. Mawhinney, died in the accident.    

     The pilot and two other crewmen received first and second degree burns.  The fifth crewman escaped with minor bruises.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VB-125.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6199, dated March 10, 1943. 

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 9, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 9, 1942

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 9, 1942, a U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft, (Bu. No. 5314), with two men aboard, was making a landing approach to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just before touchdown, a gust of wind caught the aircraft while it was low over Narragansett Bay causing the left wing to touch the water.  The aircraft spun around and hit the water and was then driven into the beach.  The aircraft sustained heavy damage but the crew was not hurt.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #4292, dated June 9, 1942.

Block Island – November 7, 1942

Block Island – November 7, 1942

 

U.S. Navy OS2U-2 Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On November 7, 1942, a U. S. Navy OS2U-3 Kingfisher airplane, (Bu. No. 09416), was forced to land at Block Island due to being low on fuel.  Upon landing the aircraft flipped over and suffered heavy damage.  The two-man crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5762, dated November 7, 1942.  

Block Island Sound – February 13, 1942

Block Island Sound – February 13, 1942

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 13, 1942, two U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft were flying together 2,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean about four miles south of Newport, Rhode Island.  

     Each Kingfisher carried two men.  The first, (Bu. No. 5315), was occupied by Ensign Bradley Goodyear Jr., (30), of Buffalo, N.Y., and Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3/c Edward J. Hamner, (20-21), of Long Lake, N.Y.

     The second aircraft, (Bu. No. 5299), contained Ensign R. M. Nelson, and Aviation Radioman 1/c Reginald Henry Davis, (27), of Hardin County, Texas.  

     For some unknown reason, Ensign Goodyear’s aircraft was seen to enter a sharp left turn at a nose down angle.  It continued into the turn for about 270 degrees before it crashed in the water. 

     Ensign Nelson landed his plane in the water where the accident had occurred, and two bodies were seen on the surface.  AMM3/c Hamner left the aircraft in an attempt to retrieve them, and subsequently drowned in the process.

     The cause of the accident could not be determined as the aircraft had sank and was not recovered.       

     Both aircraft were assigned to VP-82.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #3793, dated February 13, 1942.     

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 1, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – March 1, 1944

     On March 1, 1944, Ensign Harold B. Kiess, (21), was struck and killed by the spinning propeller of an SNJ Texan trainer aircraft while walking along a taxiway at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  It was noted that there were other aircraft in the immediate vicinity with their engines running, as well as a strong wind blowing at the time of the accident.      

     Ensign Kiess had just turned 21 on February 24th.  He’s buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  He was assigned to VB-14 at Quonset Point. 

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-12695, dated March 1, 1944.   

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #63257650.

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 12, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 12, 1942

    On January 12, 1942, an SNJ-3 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 6911), had just landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the brakes jammed.  The aircraft skidded forty feet and then nosed over.  The aircraft was damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 12, 1942.

Atlantic Ocean – April 19, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – April 19, 1945

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of April 19, 1945, two FM-2 Wildcat aircraft were involved in a gunnery-training exercise ten miles south of Block Island, R. I.  Both aircraft had just completed a run at a simulated target in the water, when one of the pilots noticed gas fumes in the cockpit of his aircraft, (Bu. No. 47109).  He reported the trouble to the other pilot, and both aircraft began heading back to base.  At 11:40 a.m., while both aircraft were still over the water, the engine of Bu. No. 47109 suddenly cut-out and stopped.  The fuel gauge read 45 gallons.  The pilot was unable to re-start the engine and made a wheels up emergency landing in the water.  The plane remained afloat for about a minute giving the pilot time to escape.  He was rescued a short time later by a navy sea plane.  The aircraft was not recovered.

     Both aircraft were assigned to VC-15.

     Source:  U.S. Navy accident report dated April 19, 1945.     

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – May 1, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 1, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On May 1, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28722), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  After achieving an altitude of ten feet, the engine suddenly cut out, and the aircraft settled back onto the runway.  Just as it did so, the engine suddenly restarted, and as the aircraft began to lift for a second time, the engine once again failed.  The aircraft went off the end of the runway and flipped over onto its back.  The Aircraft was heavily damaged, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft belonged to VS-33.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-13737, dated May 1, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 11, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 11, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On January 11, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 29033), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Immediately after becoming airborne the pilot’s control stick locked.  The pilot cut the throttle and attempted to land on the remaining portion of the runway but overran the runway and struck a light and a mound of dirt.  The aircraft was damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-10814, dated January 11, 1944.    

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – May 2, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 2, 1944

 

U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger
U.S. Navy Photo

     On May 2, 1944, a TBM-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 25430), was due to take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station to participate in an aerial gunnery training flight.  The aircraft was designated to be the “target-tug”, meaning it was to tow a canvas target behind it which other aircraft would take turns firing at. 

     At 2:00 p.m. the aircraft began its take-off run with the target sleeve attached.  As soon as the aircraft became airborne the pilot raised the wheels.  At an altitude of 100 feet, the right wing stalled due to recent squadron modifications to it, causing a loss of altitude.  At the end of the runway was Narragansett Bay.  The target sleeve hadn’t yet become airborne, and began dragging in the water off the end of the runway.  Then the right wing stalled a second time and the plane went down in the bay.

     There were four men aboard the aircraft; the pilot, a gunner, and two radio-men.  (The Avenger generally carried a crew of three)  When the plane hit the water one crewman suffered a broken left arm, another a lacerated hand, and the other two were not injured.  All were rescued.

    The aircraft was a total loss, with its fuselage having broken in half.   

    The men were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.

    Source: U.S. Navy accident report #44-13795, dated May 2, 1944.

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 12, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 12, 1942

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1942, a Vought SB2U Vindicator, (Bu. No. 0739), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a practice bombing training flight when it crash-landed due to heavy crosswinds.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4422, dated July 12,1942. 

Charlestown, R. I. – April 27, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 27, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On the afternoon of April 27, 1944, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 09747), overshot the runway while landing at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The aircraft was on a ferry mission with a Marine Corp 1st lieutenant aboard.   The aircraft first touched down at the approximate midpoint of the 1,400 foot runway.  To the right of the runway was a parked twin-engine PBM Mariner with a bomb truck parked alongside.   When the pilot of the Dauntless applied full brakes the aircraft swerved to the right, and its right wing struck the bomb truck causing the aircraft to pivot and crash into the fuselage of the Mariner. The pilot was not injured but the passenger suffered a cut lip.  No other injuries were reported concerning the truck or the Mariner.  Both aircraft were damaged beyond repair. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15665, dated April 27, 1944.   

Brunswick, ME. – January 28, 1944

Brunswick, ME. – January 28, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On January 28, 1944, a flight of three Douglas SBD Dauntless aircraft were returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a formation training flight.  As the aircraft approached the field at an altitude of 1,800 feet in a “V” formation, one of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 28727), left the formation and went into a spin from which it did not recover.  The aircraft crashed and burned killing the pilot, Ensign James A. Andrew, Jr., and the gunner, Seaman 1/c Harry Hoerr. 

     The men were assigned to VS-31.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11278, dated January 28, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 12, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 12, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On October 12, 1943, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 24149), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  As the aircraft was taxiing down the runway it collided with another SBD-5, (Bu. No. 11038), that was also taxiing from another runway.  The two aircraft collided where the runways intersected.  Both aircraft suffered substantial damage, but there were no injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 12, 1943.

South Kingstown, R. I. – March 13, 1943

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – March 13, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On March 13, 1943, Ensign Charles W. Bradley, 22, was piloting a Douglas SBD-4 aircraft, (Bu. No. 01526), taking part in a gunnery practice training flight over southern Rhode Island.  The weather was clear, with a cloud ceiling at 5,00 feet, and visibility six miles. 

     After completing a gunnery run at 3,000 feet, the aircraft was observed to turn over and enter a vertical dive from which it did not recover.  Both Ensign Bradley and his gunner, ARM2/c Pat D. McDonough, 22, were killed. 

     Both men were assigned to squadron VB-23.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6221, dated March 3, 1943.   

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

 

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 15, 1943, a pilot was making practice carrier landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Field in a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 11057).  On his third approach he was given a “high out” and due to darkness, made a hold-off landing.  The plane stalled and came down on the port landing gear causing it to collapse and break off causing damage to the port wing.  As the plane settled the propeller was also damaged.  The pilot was not hurt.      

     The pilot was assigned to VC-32.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated September 15, 1943, #44-8014

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 22, 1949

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 22, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 22, 1949, the landing gear to an F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121519), collapsed upon landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air station.  The aircraft skidded to a stop suffering underside and prop damage, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source:  U. S. Navy accident report dated August 22, 1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 27, 1949

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 27, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 27, 1949, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95089), crashed on take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The aircraft struck a small shed, then a wall beyond it, and then cartwheeled into Narragansett Bay where it came to rest in six feet of water.  The pilot was rescued. 

     The pilot was assigned to VF-71.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 27, 1949.

 

Atlantic Ocean – November 2, 1948

Atlantic Ocean – November 2, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 2, 1948, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte was operating in waters off the coast of New England.  On that day, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121542), took off from the Quonset Point Naval; Air Station and landed aboard the Leyte. 

     Later, when the pilot took off from the ship, he did so by going off the bow.  Immediately after take off the Bearcat began running roughly and emitting black smoke.  The aircraft lost altitude and dropped nearly to the water, but the pilot was able to recover and bring his plane up to about 1,000 feet of altitude, at which time he began to circle back toward and around the ship.  (The pilot later reported that the cockpit gauges indicated that fuel and oil pressure were normal, but the cylinder head temperature was 300 degrees.)  As the Bearcat was approaching the aircraft carrier from the rear, the engine lost all power and the pilot was forced to make a water landing.  The Bearcat sank within 90 seconds, but the pilot was able to escape unharmed, and was rescued within minutes. 

     The coordinates of the accident were 37 degrees, 19 north, 70 degrees, 14.5 west.   

     The pilot was assigned to VF-71.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 2, 1948   

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 30, 1948

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 30, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 30, 1948, a pilot was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a two hour training flight in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No.  121566).  Upon touch down the pilot applied the brakes, but the left brake overheated and locked, causing the plane to ground loop and nose over.  The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     The pilot was assigned to VF-72. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 30, 1948 

Quonset Point, R. I. – November 22,1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – November 22, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 22, 1949, a pilot was awaiting clearance for take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  As he sat waiting in his F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95355), the aircraft suddenly caught fire.  The pilot turned off the engine and exited the airplane unharmed, but the aircraft was damaged beyond all repair.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report date November 22, 1949.

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 11, 1950

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 11, 1950

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     At about 11:40 a.m. on the morning of April 11, 1950, two aircraft were making landing approaches to Runway 16 at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and due to their approach angles, neither pilot saw the other.  The first aircraft to land was a Beechcraft SNB-3, (Bu. No. 67100).  The landing was normal, and after touchdown the pilot applied the brakes.  Immediately afterward, an F8F-2 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 122639), landed directly behind the Beechcraft and overtook it, plowing into the rear of the aircraft.  The Beechcraft was damaged beyond all repair, but its three-man crew was not injured.  The Bearcat suffered front end damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     The Bearcat was assigned to Fighting Squadron 74, (VF-74).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated April 11, 1950

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 4, 1950

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 4, 1950

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 4, 1950, a pilot was making a qualification flight at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F8F-2 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 122660).  Part of the qualification required a series of take offs and landings.  While coming in for a landing, the aircraft crash-landed short of the runway, rupturing the belly fuel tank which exploded.  The pilot was able to escape with minor burns, but the aircraft was destroyed by the flames.

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 34, (VF-34).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 4, 1950.    

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 10, 1948

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 10, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 10, 1948, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121657), to test the performance of the aircraft after a new carburetor had been installed.   Shortly after takeoff the engine stopped and the pilot was unable to restart it.  He brought the plane in for an emergency landing, but upon touchdown a tire blew out, causing the aircraft to careen into another Bearcat,( Bu. No. 121667) that was parked along the side of the runway.   After the collision, the landing Bearcat rolled over and came to rest in an inverted position.  The pilot wasn’t injured, but the aircraft was damaged beyond all repair.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 10, 1948    

Charlestown, R. I. – November 30, 1948

Charlestown, Rhode Island – November 30, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 30, 1948, an F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121470), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station bound for the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station to conduct simulated aircraft carrier practice landings.  While the pilot was making his first landing attempt, the aircraft crashed and skidded 231 feet, causing the belly tank to rupture and set the plane ablaze.  The pilot was able to extricate himself and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The aircraft was consumed by fire.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-173.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 30, 1948.

 

Charlestown, R.I. – August 9, 1948

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 9, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 9, 1948, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94782), was taking off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station when the engine lost power just after the plane had become airborne and the wheels had been retracted.  The aircraft came back down on the runway crushing its fully loaded belly tank which exploded and enveloped the aircraft in flames.  The aircraft skidded for 1,500 feet before coming to rest.  The pilot was able to extricate himself, but the aircraft was consumed by fire. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10A, (VF-10A).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 9, 1948         

Narragansett Bay – February 3, 1949

Narragansett Bay – February 3, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 4:15 p.m., on the evening of February 3, 1949, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121506), as part of a seven aircraft night tactical training flight.  Shortly after taking off, the pilot heard a loud whirring noise followed by grey smoke coming from under the instrument panel which began to fill the cockpit.  The pilot turned back toward the air station and requested clearance for an emergency landing.  As this was taking place another pilot in the flight reported seeing flames coming from the underside of the smoking aircraft.  The flight leader advised the pilot to bail out, which he did, and landed safely in the icy waters of Narragansett Bay.   His aircraft also crashed into the water not far from where he’d landed, and sank immediately without exploding.  The pilot was rescued by a crash boat thirteen minutes later suffering from shock and exposure but otherwise unhurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-31.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated February 3, 1949.    

 

 

U.S.S. Shenandoah in Rhode Island – 1924

U.S.S. Shenandoah In Rhode Island – 1924

 

USS Shenandoah moored to the USS Patoka, Narragansett Bay, R.I. – Aug. 8, 1924

     The U.S.S. Shenandoah, (ZR-1), was the first of four giant rigid airships built for the United States Navy to be used for fleet reconnaissance.  The other three airships included the U.S.S. Los Angeles, U.S.S. Akron, and the U.S.S. Macon. 

     When completed in August of 1923, The Shenandoah was 680 feet long, and 78 feet 9 inches wide, and capable of carrying seaplanes.   

     In July of 1924, the U.S.S. Patoka was modified from a fleet oiler to an airship tender with the addition of a 125 foot tall airship-mooring-mast attached to the aft section of the ship.

     On August 8, 1924, the Shenandoah and the Patoka came to Rhode Island to conduct airship-docking-tests in Narragansett Bay.  The Patoka anchored in the bay just off Prudence Island in an area where the effects of the changing tides were the lowest.  The Shenandoah, dubbed the “Queen Of The Air Fleet” by the press, cruised in the vicinity for several hours as thousands lined the shoreline or set out in pleasure boats to watch.

     Finally the Shenandoah glided to the Patoka and three lines were tossed from the nose of the airship to sailors waiting atop the mast.  After the lines were secured, the Shenandoah was slowly drawn nose-first to the mast by a series of winches.   

     The following is an excerpt from the Woonsocket Call (R.I.), newspaper dated August 9, 1924 which describes the docking procedure: “The Shenandoah’s crew, cooperating with the sailors below, nursed the big airship toward its resting place by using the engines in the two forward gondolas intermittently.  At times the Shenandoah’s nose would dip rather sharply.  An even keel would be resumed in a short time as the stern settled.  Water Ballast was discharged on two occasions.

     The giant ship’s nose gradually drew near the morning mast.  A locking devise made it fast.  The Shenandoah, if the protracted calculations of the designers of the rigging do not fail, and the airship withstands the strain, should, when in position at the mast, swing with the ship below.  After the mooring the Patoka steamed with the Shenandoah to a point about midway between the Naval Training Station and the Melville Coaling Station.”       

     The entire operation took about an hour.   

     Once secured to the Patoka, 37 crewmen of the Shenandoah climbed down through the mast to the deck of the Patoka.

     The whole purpose of the test was to see if anchoring an airship at sea was feasible.  The test, the first of its kind ever attempted by the navy, was a success. 

     It was also reported in the Woonsocket Call that the Shenandoah had flown over Rhode Island the previous autumn.   

     The Shenandoah was lost on September 3, 1925 when the ship encountered severe weather while passing over Ohio.  14 of the 43 crewmen aboard were killed.

     Source:

     Woonsocket Call, “Shenandoah Test At Newport Proves Favorable So Far”, August 9, 1924, page 2

 

Stratford, CT. – March 15, 1943

Stratford, Connecticut – March 15, 1943

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On March 15, 1943, Chance-Vought civilian test pilot Boone T. Guyton, was piloting an F4U-1 Corsair, (Bu. No. 02157), over the Stratford area.  The aircraft had been brought to Chance-Vought and converted to a XF4U-3, with experimental equipment added.  Mr. Guyton was testing the performance of the aircraft when the engine suddenly failed forcing him to make an emergency landing at Bridgeport Airport, (Today known as Sikorsky Memorial Airport.)  Upon landing the aircraft struck a cement retaining wall.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, and the pilot was seriously injured.      

     Investigation determined that one of the rods in the engine had seized causing the engine failure.   

     Boone Guyton, (1913 – 1996), was a well known test pilot and navy veteran.  He wrote a book of his experiences called “Whistling Death: The Test Pilot’s Story Of The F4U Corsair, published in 1991 and 1997. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #43-6245, dated March 15, 1943

North Kingstown, R. I. – November 26, 1947

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – November 26, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 26, 1947, an F8F Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95111), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a routine training flight.  Shortly after take off the engine began to run erratically and then failed completely.  The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing and aimed for an open field in the Saunderstown area of North Kingstown.  Unfortunately the aircraft couldn’t make it to the field, and crashed into a wooded area next to the field.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, and the pilot, although seriously injured, was able to extricate himself from the wreckage.  He was transported to a hospital by a civilian. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-7A at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated November 26, 1947.  

Block Island Sound- November 18, 1947

Block Island Sound – November 18, 1947

Updated July 16, 2019

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 18, 1947, a group of seven F8F Bearcat fighter aircraft from the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Field were involved in a flight-tactics training exercise over Block Island Sound when two of the aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision.   

     One of the aircraft was Bu. No. 95087, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Minuard F. Jennings, 32, and the other, Bu. No. 95193, was piloted by Lieutenant Commander Marshal J. Lyttle, 26.   Both aircraft went down in the sea and neither pilot survived.

     Both men were assigned to VF-10A at Charlestown NAAF.

     To see a photo of Lt. Cmdr. Lyttle, go to the U. S. Naval Academy Virtual Memorial Wall at USMemorialHall.org 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 18, 1947

     www.findagrave.com, memorial # 185144296 & 13842978    

U.S.S. Kearsarge CV-33 – 1949

U.S.S. Kearsarge, CV-33 – Summer, 1949

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 28, 1949, The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge, (CV-33), was operating in the Narragansett Bay area of Rhode Island, conducting practice take-offs and landings of aircraft.  One aircraft, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 09366), landed on the deck of the ship but missed the arresting wire with its tail-hook and crashed into two safety barriers causing damage to the aircraft but no injuries to the pilot. 

     On July 12, 1949, another Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122342), missed the arresting wire and drifted into the safety barriers.   The pilot was not injured.

     Later that same day, another Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122336), had a similar accident.  The pilot was not injured.

     Sources:

     U.S. Navy accident reports dated June 28, 1949, and July 12, 1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 17, 1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 17, 1949 

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 17, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 09349), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a familiarization flight.  About an hour later the aircraft returned, and as the pilot was making his final approach, the landing gear wheels struck the top of the seawall at the end of the runway tearing loose the right side landing gear.  The impact caused the aircraft to bounce upwards, and the pilot applied full throttle and remained airborne.  The pilot then circled the area for an hour trying to raise the landing gear so as to make an emergency belly landing, but was unable to do so.   With fuel running low, he made a one-wheel landing.  The aircraft suffered significant damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 17, 1949   

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 11, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 11, 1944

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On January 11, 1944, an F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 11863), with a target tow sleeve attached, was in the process of taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  At the time, the aircraft had been cleared by the tower for takeoff. When the Wildcat was about two-thirds of the way down the runway, a Grumman J2E Duck suddenly landed ahead of, and in the path of the Wildcat.  To avoid a collision, the pilot of the Wildcat skidded to the left and went off the runway and plowed into a snowbank.  The pilot was not injured, but the Wildcat was in need of a major overhaul.  

     Nobody aboard the other aircraft was injured.  

 

Grumman Duck
U. S. Navy Photo

Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 11, 1944   

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 9, 1950

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 9, 1950

 

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

     On September 9, 1950, an F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78183), was approaching the Quonset Point Naval Air Station to land after a cross-country training flight.  The aircraft was cleared to land, but when the pilot lowered the landing gear, the dash indicator showed that the wheels were not completely down and locked, so he asked the tower to confirm.  As he flew slowly past the tower his suspicions were confirmed.  The pilot then climbed to altitude and began circling the area trying to get the landing gear down, but was unable to do so.  With fuel running low, he was then advised to make a wheels-up landing in the grass alongside of the runway which he did.  The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot was not injured.

     Investigation showed a mechanical failure with the landing system.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 9, 1950        

Charlestown, R. I. – July 12, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – July 12, 1949

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1949, an AD-2 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122320), was attempting to land on Runway 22 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the left wing suddenly dropped and struck the runway causing the aircraft to cartwheel.  As it cartwheeled the momentum tore the engine loose from the aircraft.  When the aircraft came to rest the pilot managed to extricate himself before the wreckage was consumed by flames.  Remarkably, the pilot was reportedly not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 12, 1949   

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 18, 1946

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 18, 1946

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On February 18, 1946, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94830), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  Just as the aircraft left the ground the pilot retracted the landing gear.  Just as he did so, the engine lost all power and the aircraft settled back onto the runway with its wheels up.  It skidded for 400 feet before stopping 60 feet from the shore of Narragansett Bay.   The aircraft suffered considerable damage, but the pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VBF-18 at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 18, 1946 

Charlestown, R. I. – May 27, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 27, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On May 27, 1947, an U. S. Navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95341), made a normal landing on Runway 30 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Airfield.  Upon touching down, there was a problem with the brakes, and the aircraft nosed over and flipped on its back before sliding to a stop.  The aircraft sustained significant damage and the pilot received non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 27, 1947  

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 25, 1947

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 25, 1947 

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On April 25, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94797), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just after becoming airborne and while still over the runway, the engine suddenly lost all power.   The pilot made an emergency water landing in Narragansett Bay just off the end of the runway.  The aircraft sank, but the pilot was able to escape and was rescued by a crash-rescue boat from Quonset.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-17 at Quonset Point.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 25, 1947

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 16, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 16, 1944

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

      At 7:50 p.m. on the night of February 16, 1944, two FM-2 Wildcat aircraft were returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a night tactics training flight.

     The first aircraft, (Bu. No. 16343), landed first and taxied down the runway.  The second aircraft, (Bu. No. 16161), landed just afterwards and collided into the back of the first aircraft.  The first aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the second aircraft was repaired and put back in service. Neither pilot was injured.

     Both aircraft were assigned to VF-4.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11748     

 

Narragansett Bay – October 11, 1942

Narragansett Bay – October 11, 1942 

Updated March 7, 2019

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     The details of this accident have been learned, and this post updated. 

     On the afternoon of October 11, 1942, a Vought SB2U-2 Vindicator, (Bu. No. 1342), with a pilot and radioman aboard, was participating in a dive-bombing exercise over Narragansett Bay.  Other aircraft were also participating.  The aircraft was seen to enter a steep dive on a maneuvering target boat from an altitude of 10,000 feet.   When the pilot attempted to pull out of the dive at 3,000 feet, two small unidentified parts of the aircraft were seen to break loose. The aircraft crashed into the water in an almost vertical dive north of Patience Island.  Both the pilot and radioman perished in the accident.

     The pilot was identified as Lieutenant Commander John Randall Spiers, 31, of Philadelphia, PA.  To see a photo of Lt. Cmdr. Spiers, go to www.findagrave.co,, Memorial #115359760, and 76036118.

     The radioman was identified as Aviation Radioman Stanley D. Overfelt, 25, of Clarence, Missouri.  He’s buried in Maple Hills Cemetery, in Kirksville, Missouri.  Source: www.findagrave.com, memorial #59737610 

     Both men were assigned to VS-42.       

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5054, dated October 11, 1942

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #42-31

      

 

Atlantic Ocean – September 8, 1949

Atlantic Ocean – September 8, 1949

Updated March 30, 2019 

5 Miles Off Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island

    

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 8, 1949, two navy F8F Grumman Bearcat aircraft took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air station for what was to be a high altitude instrument training flight.  One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 95332), was piloted by Ensign Henry J. Harling, 22, of Staten Island, N.Y.

     While at 10,000 feet both pilots went on oxygen and continued to climb to 32,000 feet.  At 28,000 feet Ensign Harling reported smoke in his cockpit, and both aircraft began to descend.  A short time later, while at an altitude of 25,000 feet, Harling radioed to the other pilot that he was going to bail out. 

     The other pilot later told investigators that he saw smoke coming from the area of the exhaust ports, and that the tail wheel on Ensign Harling’s aircraft was down.  He observed Ensign Harling open the cockpit canopy, and at that time saw that he was still wearing his oxygen mask.  Harling’s plane was then seen to roll on its back, nose down, and spin twice, before apparently recovering.  It then entered a cloud bank and the other pilot lost sight of it. 

     The other pilot followed Harling’s plane down through the cloud bank, and upon coming through it observed an explosion when Harling’s plane hit the water about five miles off Sakonnet Point.

     Witnesses on boats reported seeing Harling’s plane trailing smoke before it hit the water. No parachute was observed.

     Planes and rescue boats were immediately launched.  An oil slick was discovered, but after a two-day search it was concluded that Ensign Harling had been unable to escape from the cockpit and had remained in his aircraft when it hit the water.  The cause of the accident was speculated to be a failure in the aircraft’s hydraulic system, particularly with the aircraft’s tail wheel.   

     Ensign harling has been assigned to VF-73.

 

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Navy Pilot Dives In Sea” , September 9, 1949 

     U. S. Navy accident report dates September 8, 1949

Block Island Sound, R.I. – July 13, 1944

Block Island Sound, Rhode Island – July 13, 1944

5 miles off Charlestown, R.I.

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

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat

U.S. Navy photo

     Ensign Gerald Vivian Brosteaux, 20, was killed during a night training flight July 13, 1944 when the F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. #42254), he was piloting crashed in the water five miles off Charlestown, Rhode Island.  At the time of the accident he was participating in night carrier practice landings.  The night was relatively dark with no moon and no visible horizon.

     Ensign Brosteaux was assigned to Night Fighter Squadron 102, (VFN-102), at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  He’s buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego OSA Site 25-A.

     Sources:

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 13, 1944

     Findagrave.com #67092141   

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