South Portland, ME. – July 11, 1944

South Portland, Maine – July 11, 1944   

A-26 Invader – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 11, 1944, a U. S. Army A-26 Invader, (Ser. No. 43-22253), left Barksdale Field in Louisiana, for a cross-country training flight to Bradly Filed in Connecticut, and then on to Portland, Maine.  The plane carried a crew of two: the pilot, 2nd Lt. Philip I. Russell, (24), of South Portland, Maine, and the flight engineer, Staff Sergeant Wallace Mifflin, (22), of Seattle, Washington.  The flight was uneventful until it reached Portland where it encountered heavy low-lying fog.  In the process of attempting to land, the aircraft crashed into a government operated trailer park used to house those working at the South Portland Shipyard.  The A-26 exploded and broke apart on impact setting numerous trailers ablaze. 

     In one instance it was reported that one of the plane’s engines tore through a trailer barely missing a mother and her child sitting inside.   Miraculously they escaped uninjured.  

     The accident killed 17 people as well as the crew of the aircraft, and 20 others were injured.  To this day this incident remains  Maine’s worst military aviation accident.

     In 2009 a memorial to this tragedy was erected at the crash site. https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/93284/Memorial-Crash-Douglas-A-26-Invader.htm  

     Lt. Russell is buried in Forest City Cemetery in South Portland, Maine.  To see more information, and a photo of Lt. Russell, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/140838162/philip-irvin-russell 

     Staff Sergeant Mifflin is buried in Highland Cemetery in Colville, Washington.  To see more information and a photo of his grave, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/40611427/wallace-mifflin 

     Both Lt. Russell and S/Sgt. Mifflin were assigned to the 331 Base Unit at Barksdale Army Air Base.    

     For more information about this accident, as well as a photo of the fire, click here: https://www.centralmaine.com/2019/07/11/maines-deadliest-aviation-disaster-remains-unexplained-75-years-later/

     Other sources:

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “16 Dead Identified In Trailer Camp Crash”, July 13, 1944, page A-4 

 

Portland Airport, ME. – March 13, 1973

Portland Airport, Maine – March 13, 1973

     On March 12, 1973, two men , both pilots for the Glen Falls, N.Y. division of the International Paper Company, flew a Beechcraft King Aire aircraft from upstate New York to Portland, Maine, and arrived safely at Portland Airport.  The purpose of the flight was for one of the pilots to take an FAA examination the following morning to obtain an additional rating on is commercial pilot’s license.

     The following day the men met an FAA Inspector at Portland Airport who was to administer the exam.   After taking part of the exam on the ground, the three men climbed aboard the King Aire for the practical portion of the test, with the pilot taking the exam at the controls.   

     Part of the exam included touch-and-go landings, and as the aircraft was approaching Runway 36, it suddenly crashed and burned.  It was later determined by FAA investigators that the pilot was executing an “emergency maneuver” at the time of the accident.     

     The pilot taking the test, and the FAA Inspector were killed in the crash.  The third man received non-life-threatening injuries.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Plane Crash Kills Two In Maine”, March 13, 1973

     Providence Journal, “Maine crash Kills Pilot, FAA Inspector”, March 14, 1973.  (with photo of crash.)

     Providence Journal. “Ill Fated Plane Was Executing Emergency Step”, March 15, 1973 

 

 

 

 

Portland, ME – June 26, 1949

Portland, Maine – June 26, 1949

Updated March 16, 2016

    

C-47 Aircraft - U.S. Air Force Photo

C-47 Aircraft – U.S. Air Force Photo

      On the morning of June 26, 1949, a Maine National Guard C-47A, (Ser. No. 4292076), took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, to transport 22 members of the of the 195th Army Band (Maine National Guard) to Portland, Maine, for an authorized drill.  Besides the members of the band, the plane carried a pilot and co-pilot, for a total complement of 24 men.

     Upon reaching Portland Airport, the pilot attempted to land on runway 10 and over shot it.  After touching down, the pilot attempted to control the aircraft, but due to its weight and momentum found it impossible to do so.  At the time it touched down, the plane was loaded with 3,700 pounds of fuel, 4,800 pounds of passenger weight, and an estimated 500 pounds of band equipment, bringing the total of 9,000 pounds over and above the static weight of the aircraft. 

     The plane left the end of the runway and crossed 100 feet of open ground before plunging into the Fore River.  Despite the large amount of fuel aboard, there was no fire, and the aircraft didn’t flood or sink.  However, the plane was a complete loss, and all 24 men aboard were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of injury.  

     Source: U.S. Air Force Accident Report, #49-6-26-4 

 

 

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