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. – 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.

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. 

 

 

Williamstown, MA. – October 10, 1958

Williamstown, Massachusetts – October 10, 1958

 

Grumman S-2 Tracker
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of October 10, 1958, a U. S. Navy twin-engine Grumman S-2 Tracker aircraft left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, bound for Hartford, Connecticut.   The plane carried three navy officers and an enlisted man, all assigned to the 32nd Air Anti-Submarine Squadron based at Quonset.  When the plane landed in Hartford, the enlisted man exited the aircraft.  Then the plane took off bound for Harriman-West Airport in North Adams Massachusetts. 

     The purpose of the flight was to meet with the airport manager, and to examine the field to see if it was suitable for other navy aircraft to participate in an upcoming airshow being sponsored by the Civil Air Patrol.   

     At 3:35 p.m., After conducting their business at the airport, the plane took off to return to Quonset Point.  It went down the runway in a westerly direction towards the town of Williamstown.  According to numerous witnesses, when the aircraft left the ground it began a very step climb.  It continued to climb in an almost vertical position until it reached an altitude of about 2,500 feet, when black smoke suddenly belched from one of the engines.  Then the plane nosed over and began to fall, but then seemed to recover.  It then made a left turn towards the airport as if the pilot was tying to return, and then went down into a wooded area about 500 feet west of the Williamstown-North Adams town line, and about 1,000 feet east of Luce Road.   

     Witnesses rushed to the crash site.  The first to arrive found the aircraft broken in two sections and on fire. When they tried to approach, one of the four auxiliary wing tanks suddenly exploded sending a fiery mushroom cloud 100 feet in the air.   

     The injured pilot was found a few feet away, having been thrown clear on impact.  The pilot was conscious but seriously injured.  After dragging him to safety, there was nothing more they could do.  The other two men aboard did not survive.

     Several clergymen arrived at the scene and gave last rites to the dead.  

     It was speculated that the cause of the accident was due to unresponsive mechanical controls.

     The dead were identified as:

     Lt. (Jg.) Louis M Bradshaw, 22 or 23, of Austin Texas.  He’s buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

     Lt. Arthur U. Roberge, 27, of Vermont. He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

     Sources:

     North Adams Transcript, “Two Die, One Saved In Fiery Navy Plane Crash”, October 11, 1958 

     North Adams Transcript, “Witness Stories Agree Plane Climbed Steep, Faltered, Turned, Crashed”, October 11, 1958

     www.findgrave.com, memorial #26212486, and 49302817.

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 20, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 20, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On October 20, 1943, an navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27815), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station and as it was taxiing off the runway to an airplane parking area it collided with a parked tractor causing significant damage to the aircraft requiring a major overhaul.  The pilot and instructor aboard were not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-33.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated October 20, 1943.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 27, 1945

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 27, 1945

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 27, 1945, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06381), had just landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and as the aircraft was taxiing the landing gear suddenly retracted causing the aircraft the be damaged beyond repair.  None of the crew aboard was injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 27, 1945.  

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    

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.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 12, 1947

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 12, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 12, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95166), was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  As the aircraft became airborne, the pilot retracted the landing gear.  As the gear was being raised, the engine suddenly lost power and the aircraft settled back onto the runway where it skidded for approximately 500 feet before it came to rest.  The pilot was not hurt, but the aircraft was severely damaged.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-8A at Quonset Point.

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

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 31, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 31, 1944

 

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

     On October 31, 1944, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58302), for a familiarization flight over the area.  Thirty minutes into the flight the pilot detected the odor of gasoline fumes in the cockpit and returned to Quonset.  Just after landing safely the aircraft caught fire and was burned.  The pilot extricated himself without injury.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 31, 1944.  

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

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 17, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 17, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 01769), with three men aboard, was taking off for a training flight from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just after becoming airborne, but still over the runway, the engine suddenly lost power and the aircraft fell back onto the runway with its wheels retracted.  The aircraft suffered substantial damage as a result of the incident, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VTN-91.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated October 19, 1944.  

Block Island Sound – March 12, 1946

Block Island Sound – March 12, 1946

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the night of March 12, 1946, a flight of two F8F-1 Bearcats left Quonset Point Naval Air Station to take part in an instrument training flight.  Each pilot was to take turns flying in the lead position using only instruments while the other would follow from behind.  The weather was clear and calm.

     The flight went out over Block Island Sound to an area about eight miles south of Newport, Rhode Island.  By this time both aircraft had climbed to 8,000 feet.  At some point Ensign Miles Loyd, piloting (Bu. No. 94857), took the lead, and began a 25 degree dive which he maintained for 4,000 feet.  Then his airplane abruptly nosed over and dove downward at 90 degrees before impacting the water and disappearing before Ensign Loyd could escape.     

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated March 12, 1946 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 8, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 18, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of August 18, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 47884), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft lost all power just as it became airborne and went into the waters of Narragansett Bay.  The crew escaped without injury and the aircraft was recovered 13.5 hours later.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 8, 1944. 

 

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

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

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of December 16, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47576) was making a landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft suddenly ground-looped and was damaged beyond repair.  The crew was not injured due to wearing their safety harnesses.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-97.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated December 16, 1944. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 15, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 15, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 15, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47520), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight.  Just after touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a stop.  The three man crew was not injured, but the aircraft suffered significant damage.   

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-10885

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

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 22, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 22, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 48031) , was attempting to take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station on an icy runway, and couldn’t get up enough speed to become airborne.  The pilot then aborted the attempt, and applied the brakes, but due to the icy conditions the aircraft went off the end of the runway and struck some railroad tracks causing significant damage to the aircraft.  None of the aircraft crew was injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-11077

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 13, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 13, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 13, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24031) , was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine suddenly lost all power.  At the time this occurred, the aircraft was at an altitude of 900 feet over Narragansett Bay. The pilot turned into the wind and made an emergency water landing with wheels and flaps down.  None of the crew were injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-2.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-8098

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – May 23, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – May 23, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of May 23, 1943, a flight of six TBF-1 Avengers took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a formation-practice bombing flight.  One of those aircraft was Bu. No. 06123, piloted by Ensign Leon T. Gerhart, (22), of Pennsylvania. 

     Ensign Gerhart’s aircraft had a crew of three aboard:

     ARM3c Donald J. Cross, (20-21) of Wisconsin.

     AMM2c Morrison C. Dobson

     AMM3c William Richard Walker

     Once airborne, the TBF’s rendezvoused with Ensign Gerhart flying in the No. 2 position.  The bombing mission was carried out, with each aircraft making their run individually at an anchored target boat.   At about 9:25 a.m., with the exercise completed,  the signal was given to re-form.  As this was taking place, Ensign Gerhart’s aircraft was involved in a collision with another TBF, (Bu. No. 47528).  During the collision, the tail section of Gerhart’s aircraft was completely broken off, and his plane fell out of control and crashed in Narragansett Bay.   All aboard were killed.

     The other aircraft (Bu. No. 47528) suffered damage to its right wing, but was able to successfully make an emergency landing at Quonset Point.  Nobody aboard that aircraft was injured.

     To see a photograph of Ensign Gerhart, go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #86945634

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Crash Report #43-6986 

 

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – July 16, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – July 16, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 12:20 p.m. on the afternoon of July 16, 1943, a U.S. Navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47517), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for what was termed a “special exercise” by the navy.   The weather was clear with unlimited visibility with surface winds of 15 knots. 

     There were three crewmen aboard the aircraft.

     The pilot: Lieutenant Robert Yarnell Bair, 29, of Iowa.

     AOM3C Wade Alexander Harris

     ARM3C Thomas Francis McConnon  

     At about 2:30 p.m., the aircraft was observed by crew members of the USS Thrush, a WWI era minesweeper operating in Rhode Island waters.  At the time, the Thrush was about four to five miles away from the aircraft, when the aircraft was seen diving towards the water and explode on impact. 

     All three crewmen aboard the Avenger were killed, and the aircraft was not recovered.  However, it is mentioned in the navy report of the incident that “confidential gear” was recovered by divers from the USS Thrush. 

     The aircraft was assigned to the Aircraft Anti-Sub Development Project Unit.

      Source:

     U.S. Navy  crash report #44-7664      

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 9, 1952

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 9, 1952

     On April 9, 1952, a Grumman AF-2S Guardian, (Bu. No. 124848), with three men aboard was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a two-hour rocket and bombing training mission.  As the pilot was making preparations to land he lowered the landing gear, but noticed that the indicator for the left side landing gear wasn’t showing that the wheels were down and locked.  The pilot asked the bombardier to make a visual check of the landing gear, which was done in two ways; once by looking through a window in the left escape hatch, and by using a centrally located periscope that extended out of the bottom of the aircraft.  While these observations were being made the pilot rocked the aircraft to see if there would be any movement in the landing gear, and none was observed.  The bombardier advised the pilot that the landing gear appeared to be in the full down position. 

     After receiving clearance, the aircraft landed on the runway, and the left landing gear collapsed causing damage to the aircraft as it skidded to a stop.  None of the men aboard were injured.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-24 at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy crash report dated April 9, 1952

Quonset Point NAS – January 31, 1944

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – January 31, 1944

 

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     On January 31, 1944, Ensign A. G. King was piloting an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 29030), while practicing field carrier landings at Quonset Point.  As he was making a landing approach, he lowered the landing gear, but due to a mechanical failure with the aircraft, only one of the wheels came down.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but Ensign King was not hurt.

     Source; U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-11373 

 

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – March 31, 1945

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – March 31, 1945

 

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

     On March 31, 1945, Ensign Setomer took off from the Westerly Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Westerly, Rhode Island, for a training flight in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70345).  After two hours of flight time he noticed a drop in oil pressure and made a deferred emergency landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.   There his plane was inspected and serviced, with four gallons of oil added.  Ensign Setomer then took off headed for Westerly, but after one minute of flight time the engine began to sputter and then froze.  Ensign Setomer made an emergency water landing in Narragansett Bay about one mile south of Quonset Point.  He successfully inflated his life raft before the plane sank, and was rescued a few minutes later by a crash boat.    

     Source: National Archives AAR 338; TD450331RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Quonset Point, R.I. – March 29, 1945

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – March 29, 1945 

 

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

     In the early morning hours of March 29, 1945, an Ensign piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71001), was making night practice landings on Runway 34, when the aircraft stalled and crashed into a sea wall coming to rest upside down.  The aircraft was a complete loss and the pilot was seriously injured.  

     Source: National Archives AAR 33-45: TD450329RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – November 1, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – November 1, 1943

 

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

     On November 1, 1943, fighter squadron VF-14 was commencing a carrier breakup over the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Two flights were in the air at the time; one flight of six planes, and a second flight of four.  All aircraft were F6F-3 Hellcats. 

     As the flight of four planes crossed over the flight of six, the last two planes in each group collided in mid-air.  On aircraft, (#66024), was piloted by Ensign Prentice A. Martin, age 23.  The other aircraft, (#65923), was piloted by Ensign George E. Kloss, age 23.  Both planes fell into 26 feet of water not far from the shore of the naval air station.  Neither pilot survived. 

     Ensign Kloss is buried in Holy Sepulchire Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

     Ensign Martin is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-9424 

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #58751036, and # 43654228

Quonset Point, R.I. – March 28, 1944

Quonset Point, R.I. – March 28, 1944

 

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

     At 7:45 p.m., on the night of March 28, 1944, members of the U.S. Navy’s VF-7 squadron were at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, preparing for a night tactics training flight.   All aircraft involved in the operation were F6F-3 Hellcat fighter planes.

     The first six aircraft left the ground without incident.  The next aircraft in line, (Bu. No. 41964), was piloted by Ensign Claude Earl Schilling.  When Ensign Schilling was granted clearance, he proceeded down the runway.  After traveling approximately 2,000 feet down the tarmac, his aircraft inexplicably veered to the right and went off the runway and onto the grass where it ground-looped back onto the runway and came to rest.   Meanwhile, the eighth aircraft, (Bu. No. #41938), piloted by Ensign Charles Francis Sullivan, had also been granted permission to take off on the same runway used by Schilling.  Due to the dark conditions, nobody realized that Schilling hadn’t made it into the air,  and Sullivan’s Hellcat struck Schilling’s plane just aft of  the cockpit severing the fuselage and igniting the fully loaded fuel tanks. 

     Sullivan managed to escape the burning wreckage, but Schilling was killed.

     According to the navy investigation report, what caused Ensign Schilling’s aircraft to leave the runway could not be determined.   

     Ensign Schilling is buried at Rio Vista Fellows Masonic Cemetery, in Rio Vista, California.  See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #135531762. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Investigation Report #44-12718    

 

    

 

Quonset Point NAS – May 2, 1944

Quonset Point NAS – May 2, 1944

Updated March 5, 2019 

    

     On May 2, 1944, a TBM Avenger was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station when a wing folded and the plane crashed into Narragansett Bay off the end of Runway 19. 

     The Avenger generally carried three men, and there was at least one casualty.  Lieut. (Jg. )William Hinson Gallagher, 22, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was killed.   He’s buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte, in plot DX-121. 

     It is unknown at the time of this posting if there were other fatalities or injuries involved with this accident.

Sources:

Rhode Island Department Of health Death Records.

Find A Grave website www.findagrave.com

 

 

 

 

Off North Kingstown, R.I. – June 28, 1942

Off North Kingstown, Rhode Island – June 28, 1942

  

P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 10:30 a.m. on June 28, 1942, army aviator (rank unknown) Robert M. Flanders, 24, was killed when the airplane he was piloting crashed at the water at the east end of Hope Island, which is located in Narragansett Bay, just off shore from the former Quonset Naval Air Station in North Kingstown.   The type of aircraft and details of the accident are unknown.

     Source: North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #42-23  

    Update September 15, 2015:  Robert Flanders was a 2nd Lieutenant, and was from Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The aircraft he was piloting was a P-40E (#40-440)

    Sources:

     New York Times, “4 Army Fliers Die In Ohio”, June 29, 1942.  (The article covered more than one plane crash.)

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian and Archaeologist.

     Update March 2, 2016:   This accident occurred while Lt. Flanders, and 2nd Lt. David H. Brown were engaged in a mock aerial dogfight at 15,000 feet in their P-40 airplanes.  At one point, Lt. Flanders’ P-40 began to dive at high speed, reaching the speed of 400 mph.  At 8,000 feet he began to pull out of the dive at which point his plane exploded in mid-air. 

     A statement filed by Lt. Brown to Army investigators reads as follows:

     “Lt. Flanders and I were on a combat mission when his plane exploded and he met his death.

     We were on oxygen and fighting at 15,000 feet at this time.  Lt. Flanders rolled over on his back and started down in a split-S.  I immediately rolled over and followed him down.  As he started to pull out at about 8,000 feet, and traveling at approximately 400 mph, there was a terrific explosion and his plane went to pieces.”    

      The accident was also witnessed by at least three observers on Hope Island, all of whom basically stated that after the explosion the plane fell nose first into the water.

     It was the opinion of the accident investigation committee that the explosion originated in the reserve fuel tank, possibly caused by a portion of engine cowling being ripped loose from the force of the dive and cutting into the tank.  

     Both pilots were attached to the 66th Fighter Squadron then based at Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island. 

     Lt. Flanders had obtained his pilots rating on May 29, 1942.

     Lt. Flanders was born June 23, 1917, and died just five days after his 24th birthday. He’s buried in Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

     Sources: 

     United States Army Crash Investigation Report#42-6-28-8

     www.findagrave.com

     Updated March 9, 2016

     On June 12, 1942, sixteen days before his fatal accident, Lt. Flanders had a close call while flying another P-40 aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-36514).  On that date, he was returning to Hillsgrove Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, after a routine training flight.  Just as he was landing, a strong gust of wind lifted the left wing, causing the right wing to touch the ground and send the plane into a 270 degree “ground loop”.  The aircraft suffered some damage, but Lt. Flanders was unhurt.

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-6-12-32, dated June 26, 1942.

    

  

Narragansett Bay – February 10, 1945

Narragansett Bay – February 10, 1945

One mile northeast off Quonset Point Naval Air Station

    

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

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

     On February 10, 1945, Ensign Pierce Hubert Beach, 22, took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, in an F6F-5N Hellcat (Bu. No. 58058) for a routine training flight where he and other aircraft were to practice carrier landings and takeoffs.  He was killed when his plane crashed into Narragansett Bay.  

     Ensign Beach earned his pilots wings at Pensacola, Florida, in May of 1944, and was married in June, ’44.   

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Navy Pilot Killed; Another Missing”, February 12, 1945, Pg. 1

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian & Archeologist

     The (Bunnell Florida) Flagler Tribune, (no headline) February 15, 1945

     U.S. Navy Accident Report dated February 10, 1945

Narragansett Bay – June 4, 1971

Narragansett Bay – June 4, 1971  

       

The canopy to Commander Harley Hall's F-4J Phantom jet that he was forced to bail out of over Narragansett Bay on June, 4, 1971, on display at the Quonset Air Museum. Photo by Jim Ignasher

The canopy to Commander Harley Hall’s F-4J Phantom jet that he was forced to bail out of over Narragansett Bay on June, 4, 1971, on display at the Quonset Air Museum.
Photo by Jim Ignasher

     On June 4, 1971, an F-4J Phantom jet (#153082) belonging to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels team, caught fire in flight over Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  The pilot, Commander Harley H. Hall aimed the plane towards Narraganset Bay before bailing out.

     Hall was commanding officer of the Blue Angels for two years.  He was promoted to the rank of Commander at the age of 32, which at the time made him the youngest Commander in the navy. 

     By 1973, Hall was serving aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN-65) flying combat missions over Vietnam.   On January 27, 1973, Commander Hall and Lt. Cmdr. Phillip A. Kientzler took off from the Enterprise in an F-4J Phantom to attack Vietnamese supplies and logistics vehicles 15 miles northwest of Quang Tri.  During the attack the Phantom was hit by anti-aircraft fire and Hall and Kientzler were forced to bail out at 4,000 feet.  On the way down, Kientzler was shot in the leg and quickly captured.  Hall landed safely, and was last observed by another F-4 pilot circling overhead entering the jungle to evade enemy forces.  He was never seen again.    

     In Vancouver, Washington, there is a building named in Commander Hall’s memory.  The H. H. Hall Building located at 10000 NE 7th Avenue.  (www.hhhallbuiding.com)

    There is also a book about Harley Hall and the Blue Angles titled “Left Alive To Die”, by Susan Keen, c. 2011      

      Sources:

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pilot Killed In Accident At Air Show”, June 7, 1971, Pg. 3.  The headline of this article is actually about an accident at the Quonset Air Show that took the life of J. W. “Bill” Fornof on June 5, 1971.  The accident involving the Blue Angel aircraft was mentioned in it because it happened the day before.       

     The Columbian, “Cmdr. Harley Hall, Shot Down 40 Years Ago”, January 27, 2013 

     www.pownetwork.org/bios/

 

 

Quonset Point, R.I. – June 5, 1971

Quonset Point, R.I. – June 5, 1971

     On June 5, 1971, the annual Quonset Air Show, a.k.a. Rhode Island Air Show, was being held at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  The second to last portion of the show that day included an aerobatic exposition of two former U.S. Navy F8F Bearcat aircraft flown by a father and son team.   Ten minutes into the exhibition, the wing of one aircraft, (N7700C) piloted by J. W. “Bill” Fornof, suddenly broke away.  The aircraft crashed in a wooded area on Quidnesset Road, about 1.5 miles from the base.   Mr. Fornof, 46, of Houma, Louisiana, was killed.

    His son, J. W. “Corkey” Fornof, flying the other Bearcat was not injured.    

    Investigators blamed the wing failure on metal fatigue.

    Mr. Fornof earned his wings as a navy pilot at the age of 19 in 1945, and served in both WWII and Korea.   

    For more information about J. W. “Bill” Fornof, and a photo of his aircraft, see “Bill Fornof Memorial – Chapter 513 Houma, LA”, at www.513.eaachapter.org/billfornofmemorial.htm 

    Sources:

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pilot Killed In Accident At Air Show”, June 7, 1971, Pg. 3

    (Lafourche Parish, Louisiana) Daily Comet, ” Courier Reports On Death Of Local Aviator”, By Bill Ellzey, June 8, 2011.

     U.S. Navy & U.S. Marine Corps BuNos, www.joebaugher.com

    

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