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.   

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.

Otis Air Force Base – May 31, 1949

Otis Air Force Base – May 31, 1949

Falmouth, Massachusetts

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of May 31, 1949, Lt.(jg.) Roland G. Wittig, (25), was making a landing approach to Otis Air Force Base in a F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121522).  While at an altitude of 500 feet the engine suddenly began to loose power.  The pilot continued his descent with wheels and flaps down and the canopy locked open.  At approximately 60 feet of altitude, the aircraft was seen to stall and crash into the ground where it exploded, killing the pilot instantly.

     Lt.(jg.) Wittig was assigned to Fighter Squadron 32, (VF-32), at Quonset Point, R.I.  He’s buried in George Washington Memorial park in Paramus, New Jersey.  He was survived by his wife.    

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 31, 1949

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #102167281 

Otis Air Force Base – June 12, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 12, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

    On June 12, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95125), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island bound for Otis AFB in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Upon landing at Otis, the right wing dropped and struck the runway causing the aircraft to flip onto its back and skid for approximately 500 feet before it came to rest.  The aircraft was badly damaged, but the pilot was not seriously injured.  

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

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 12, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 27, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 27, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 27, 1947, a flight of F8F Bearcats left the Quonset Naval Air Station bound for Otis Air Force base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, to conduct practice carrier landings and takeoffs The aircraft were assigned to VF-8A at Quonset.

     Once at Otis the aircraft commenced the takeoff and landing exercise.  As one aircraft, (Bu. No. 95227), was making its approach for its sixth landing, in came in too close behind the aircraft ahead of it.  After landing, the pilot applied the brakes to avoid a rear-end collision with the plane ahead, but at that moment the left brake failed which caused the aircraft to swerve off the runway and onto a grassy area.  On the grassy area was a parked truck, which the pilot would have struck had he not intentionally ground-looped the aircraft.  After missing the truck, the aircraft went into a small ravine and nosed over onto its back.  The aircraft was substantially damaged, but the pilot was not seriously hurt.   

     Source:

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

Otis Air Force Base – October 17, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – October 17, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 17, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95331), left the Quonset Naval Air Station in Rhode Island bound for Otis AFB in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  As the pilot was coming into to land at Otis, the engine suddenly lost all power.  Realizing he couldn’t make it to the service runway, the pilot decided to make an emergency wheels-up landing in the grass nearby.  The aircraft received considerable damage as it skidded for about 600 feet before coming to rest.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 17, 1947 

Atlantic Ocean – November 11, 1966

Atlantic Ocean – November 11, 1966

 

EC-121 Super Constellation
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 11, 1966, a U.S. Air Force EC-121-H “Warning Star” radar picket Constellation, (Ser. No. 55-5262), was on a mission about 125 miles east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, when it suffered a catastrophic event and crashed into the ocean.  The aircraft contained a crew of 19 men, all assigned to the 551st Airborne Early Warning & Control Wing stationed at Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

     The aircraft had departed from Otis at 12:35 a.m., and the last radio contact was made at 1:22 a.m.  The weather was said to be clear with ten miles of visibility.  At 1:30 a.m. the captain of a New Bedford fishing vessel reported seeing a large aircraft with a stream trailing behind it pass over his 70-foot boat, roll onto its back, and crash into the ocean where it exploded on impact.  He couldn’t be certain if the stream was due to an onboard fire or from a jet trail.   The New Bedford vessel as well as several others raced to the scene to look for survivors. 

     No distress call had been received from the aircraft. 

     A large scale search was conducted over the next few days during which debris from the aircraft was recovered, however there were no survivors.

     Wreckage of the aircraft was later recovered off the ocean floor in December of 1966, and serial numbers confirmed it to be the missing airplane.

     The only crew member identified in the press was the aircraft commander, Major Robert A. Baird.  To see a photograph of Major Baird, go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #101715135.

     The names of the other 18 crewmen are unknown. 

     Sources:

     Cape Cod Standard Times, “Otis Base Radar Picket Plane Crashes, Explodes; 19 Crewmen Believed Dead”, November 12, 1966

     Cape Cod Standard Times, “Otis Sure Debris From Lost Plane”, November 13, 1966

     Boston Sunday Advertiser, “Piece Of Baggage From Radar Plane Identified”, November 13, 1966

     New London Day, “AF Abandons Search For Radar Plane”, November 14, 1966

     New London Day, “Missing Plane Found In Ocean”, December 22, 1966

 

 

Atlantic Ocean – June 6, 1983

Atlantic Ocean – June 6, 1983

Updated August 5, 2019.

      At 11:00 a.m. on June 6, 1983, a flight of three F-106 jet fighters took off from Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, for a routine training flight.   All were part of the 101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

     Visibility at the time was described as “somewhat limited”.  The flight headed in a southerly direction towards the Atlantic ocean and climbed to an altitude of 12,000 feet.  Forty minutes later, as the flight was passing about 60 to 90 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, one of the aircraft was noticed to be missing from the formation.

     The two other pilots attempted to make radio contact with the missing aircraft but were unsuccessful, and it was assumed that the missing plane had gone down in the water.  A large scale search and rescue operation was immediately put into effect.     

    The missing pilot was Captain Allan John Lavoie, 31, of Barnstable, Mass.  It was reported that if he was able to eject from the airplane, that he could possibly make use of the life raft and other emergency supplies attached to the ejection seat.  It was further reported that in the event a pilot ejected, a special radio was supposed to begin transmitting, but no emergency radio signal was received.      

Captain Allan J. Lavoie

    The search and rescue operation involved aircraft from the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard, as well as military surface vessels, yet despite all efforts, no trace of the aircraft or Captain Lavoie was ever found. 

     Captain Lavoie left behind a wife and three children.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “More Ships, Planes Join Hunt For Guard Flier Off Nantucket”, June 8, 1983, Page A9

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Search Ends For Air Guard Pilot As The Silent Sea Yields No Clue”, June 11, 1983, Page 1

 

Otis Field, MA. – June 15, 1944

Otis Field, Falmouth, Massachusetts – June 15, 1944

 

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

     On June 15, 1944, a flight of F6F Hellcat aircraft were making practice carrier landings on a mock platform designed to resemble the deck of an aircraft carrier.   One aircraft, (Bu. No. 58124), piloted by an Ensign, made a perfect landing, however the arresting cable broke sending the plane into a ground loop off the platform.  The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot was not hurt.    

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report – dated June 15, 1944

Otis Field, MA. – June 14, 1944

Otis Field, Falmouth, Massachusetts – June 14, 1944

 

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

     In the early morning hours of June 14, 1944, a flight of navy aircraft were returning from a night training flight.  As one of the aircraft, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58145), was coming in to land, the pilot forgot to lower the landing gear, and belly landed on the runway before skidding to a stop.  The aircraft was badly damaged, but the pilot was uninjured.

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 81, (VF-81) 

     Source:  U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report, dated June 14, 1944 

Otis Air Force Base – July 10, 1951

Otis Air Force Base – July 10, 1951

Falmouth, Massachusetts

    

U.S.A.F. F-86 Fighter Jet

U.S.A.F. F-86 Fighter Jet

     On the morning of July 10, 1951, two F-86A Sabre Jets were scheduled for take off from Otis Air Force Base for a routine training flight.  The first jet took off without incident, but the second jet, (#49-1112), was only airborne for a moment or two when it fell back to the runway while traveling at an estimated 120 knots.  The pilot attempted to apply brakes, and skidded into a runway light, which blew the front tire of the aircraft, and tore away the landing gear.  The plane finally skidded to a stop and caught fire.  The pilot escaped with minor injuries.

     The pilot later told investigators that the engine was making a rising and falling noise just before the accident.

     Source: U.S. Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #51-7-10-1  

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