Rutland, Vermont – June 24, 1934

Rutland, Vermont – June 24, 1934

     At about 11:30 a.m., on June 24, 1934, Captain H. H. Mills of the 118th Observation Squadron of the Connecticut National Guard was piloting a Douglas observation plane over the new municipal airfield in Rutland, Vermont, as part of the field’s dedication exercises. 

     At the same time, a Bellanca monoplane with two men aboard was also in the area on a photographic survey mission for the government. 

    For reason’s not determined, the two aircraft collided head-on at an altitude of 5,000 feet over the airport.   The impact ejected Captain Mills from his aircraft and he found himself hurling through space dazed from an head wound.  Fortunately he was able to release his parachute and land safely.  His airplane came down in the center of the airport and was destroyed.

     The Bellanca disintegrated as it came down, dropping its engine and two occupants before striking the ground on a farm about a mile from the airport.  Both men were killed. 

     The dead were identified as W.H. McMullen, the pilot, and R.L. Oakes, the photographer.  Both were from New York City.   

Source: New York Times, “Two Die As Planes Crash at 5,000 Feet”, June 25, 1934 

Berlin Corners, Vermont – April 23, 1931

Berlin Corners, Vermont – April 23, 1931

On April 23, 1931, a flight instructor and his student were injured when their aircraft crashed at Berlin Corners, Vermont, about four miles from Montpelier.  The injured were Emery Dennis, the instructor, and Fred Osborne, his student.  Dennis suffered a fractured skull and broken leg.   Both were transported to Montpelier hospital. 

Source: New York Times, “Two Hurt In Plane Crash”, April 24, 1931

Rutland, VT – September 7, 1922

Rutland, Vermont – September 7, 1922 

Rutland Fair Grounds

     On September 7, 1922, a  “flying circus” was performing at the Rutland Fair Grounds before a crowd of 30,000 spectators when two accidents occurred. 

     The first involved and aircraft flown by Lieutenant Belvin W. Maynard, a.k.a. “The Flying Parson”.  At about 1 p.m. Maynard and two others, Lt. L. R. Wood, and Charles Mionette, took off in an airplane to perform a series of aerial stunts for the entertainment of the fair goers.  The men were familiar with the routine which they had been performing all week.   The accident occurred while Maynard was performing a tail spin from an altitude of 2,000 feet.   Evidently he was unable to pull out of the spin, and the aircraft plunged nose first into a cornfield at the edge of the fair grounds killing all three men.

     Lt. Maynard was a veteran of World War I, but prior to the war he had studied to be a Baptist minister.  He was a frequent speaker in churches, and had been scheduled to give a talk at the Rutland Baptist Church later in the day.  He had also performed at least one marriage while flying his airplane over Times Square in New York, hence the nick name, “Flying Parson”.

     The second accident at the fair occurred later that same day.  A 43-year-old aeronaut named Smith had been giving parachute exhibitions by jumping from his balloon.  After two successful jumps that afternoon, Smith did a third, but his parachute failed to open and he was killed.

     Smith had been doing parachute jumps for the previous ten years.  In 1920, (Exact date not known.)  Smith was severely injured during one of his jumps in Lynn, Massachusetts. 

Source: New York Times, “Flying Parson Dies, 3 Other Air Men Killed During Fair.”  

Update: October 7, 2016

     Smith’s full name was Henry A. (Daredevil) Smith of Boston, Massachusetts.  He jumped from 3,500 feet and his parachute opened slightly, then closed, and failed to re-open.  He hit the ground about 100 yards east of the Main Street fence of the fairgrounds. 

     In the accident at Lynn, Mass., he was to jump from an airplane, but the pilot lost control and crashed.  Smith fell 8,00 feet and lived, but the pilot was killed.

     Source: Barre Daily Times, “”Maynard Body On Way Home” – “Another Shock For crowd”, September 8, 1922, page 1

Near Bennington, VT – July 15, 1930

Near Bennington, Vermont – July 15, 1930

     On July 15, 1930, Frank Goldsborough and Donald Mockler were flying from Cleveland, Ohio, to Keene, New Hampshire, when they encountered fog over the Bennington region and crashed into a mountain eight miles east of Bennington.   The plane had struck a tree and slid to the ground pinning Goldsborough in the wreck, but Mockler was able to extricate himself and go for help.  For five hours he made his way through the woods and brush before coming to a farmhouse a mile out of Bennington.   

     A contingent of about 100 volunteers accompanied Mockler back into the woods to the wreck site.  Progress was slow because Mockler had lost his glasses, and had trouble identifying landmarks.   Sixteen hours after the crash, Goldsborough was carried down the mountain and brought to Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington where he died the following day. 

     Frank Goldsborough had recently achieved fame as the American record holder of the Junior Transcontinental Air Speed Record.   He was the son of Frank Goldsborough who was himself a well known pilot, who died in December of 1927 when his aircraft disappeared off Cape Cod.

Source: New York Times, “Goldsborough Crashes In Vermont Mountain; Party Seeks Young Flier Pinned Under Plane”, July 15, 1930 

Wikipedia – Frank Goldsborough

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