Portland, ME. – August 11, 1949

Portland, Maine – August 11, 1949

 

Vintage Post Card View Of
Northeast Airlines Convair N91237

     On the morning of August 11, 1949 a Northeast Airlines, Convair CV-240-13 airliner, (Reg. No. NC91241), took off from Boston’s Logan Airport with a crew of three and twenty-five passengers.  The flight was designated as Flight 812A, bound for the Portland International Airport in Maine. 

     Among the crew were the pilot, co-pilot, and a rookie stewardess, 23-year-old Patricia Donnellan of North Quincy, Massachusetts.  

    The aircraft was new, and had only been in service four months.  

    The flight was uneventful until the aircraft was making its final approach to land on runway 20.  Just before the aircraft was to touch down, while at an altitude between 15 and 25 feet, the pilot throttled back.  At that time the throttle reverse locking mechanism  which was designed to prevent the throttle from being brought too far back failed, causing the propellers to malfunction, which caused the aircraft to drop hard onto the runway.  Then the landing gear collapsed, and the aircraft skidded on its belly for 1,065 feet before coming to rest.  During the skid the fuel tanks ruptured, and sparks created by the propellers scraping along the runway ignited the fuel and engines.

     When the aircraft came to rest, Miss Donnellan immediately tried to open the front exit, but discovered that it wouldn’t open, and flames outside the aircraft blocked emergency exits to the wings.    She then made her way to the rear of the plane and opened the rear door and calmly instructed the passengers to come to the back of the plane. 

     There was no panic, and Miss Donnellan was credited for her calm demeanor during the emergency.  Although the aircraft was destroyed by the flames, there were no injuries to crew or passengers.    

     Sources:

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C. ), “Stewardess Leads 27 To Safety Just Before Fire Engulfs Plane”, August 12, 1949

     Aviation Safety Network

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Weymouth, MA – September 9, 1951

Weymouth, Massachusetts – September 9, 1951 

 

DC-3 Airliner

     On September 9, 1951, a Northeast Airlines DC-3 was in-route from Boston to New York when one of the engines caught fire. 

     The plane left Boston at 12:07 p.m., and the pilot, Wallace Robbins, declared an emergency fifteen minutes later.  He was directed to land at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, and began making his approach.  Unfortunately the field was primarily used for navy blimps, and didn’t have a runway long enough to accommodate a DC-3.  Therefore, Robbins knew he would have to make a wheels-up belly-landing.

     As the engine blazed away, the pilots put the plane into a side-slip so the smoke would blow away from the passenger cabin.  The  flight attendant Ruth Jenkins made sure that all sixteen passengers had their seatbelts fastened. 

     Robbins brought the plane down as slowly as possible, easing it onto the field and allowing it to skid to a stop. The ship came to rest just before a peat bog, and all passengers and crew evacuated safely without injury.   The crew was praised for keeping everyone calm and evacuating the plane in an orderly fashion as base fire crews extinguished the flames.      

Sources:

     New York Times, “19 Saved In Crash Landing”, September 10, 1951  

     The Nashua Telegraph, “19 Escape As Airliner Makes Crash Landing”, September 10, 1951, page 14. 

 

Northeast Airlines Images

Northeast Airlines Images

     Northeast Airlines was established on July 20, 1931 as Boston-Maine Airways.  The name Northeast Airlines wasn’t adopted until November of 1940.  The company merged with Delta Airlines in August of 1972.    

     Source: Wikipedia-Northeast Airlines

Northeast Airlines 1

Vintage Post Card View Of Northeast Airlines Convair N91237

Vintage Post Card View Of

Northeast Airlines Convair N91237

Northeast Airlines first flight postal cover 1946

Northeast Airlines first flight postal cover 1946

Postcard view of a Northeast Airlines plane at Martha's Vineyard.

Postcard view of a Northeast Airlines plane at Martha’s Vineyard.

Postcard view showing a Northeast Airlines plane.

Postcard view showing a Northeast Airlines plane.

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