Berlin, VT – November 25, 1965

Berlin, Vermont – November 25, 1965

 

     On the night of November 25, 1965, a single-engine Beech Bonanza with four people aboard was flying from Hartford, Connecticut, when it encountered bad weather and crashed in thick woods about one mile west of Barre-Montpelier Airport.  The aircraft wreckage was found three hours later in a deep ravine between Berlin Pond and an airport light beacon. 

     Witnesses reported that the plane had been circling the airport when it struck one of the light beacon towers.  It began to snow after the accident, which hindered search efforts. 

     All aboard were killed.  State police did not release the names of the victims, but only stated there were two men and two women aboard. 

     Sources:

     (Conn.) The Morning Record, “Four Perish In Air Crash In Vermont”, November 26, 1965

     UPI Article (Lodi CA.) Lodi News Sentinel, “Four Killed As Private Plane Falls In Storm”, November 26, 1965 

Shaftsbury, VT – May 29, 1988

Shaftsbury, Vermont – May 29, 1988

     At 1 p.m. on May 29, 1988, a small plane left Allegheny County Airport in Pennsylvania, bound for Laconia, New Hampshire.  At about 3 p.m. witnesses saw the aircraft apparently experiencing engine trouble shortly before plunging to the ground in Shaftsbury. 

     Although the aircraft was equipped with an emergency transponder, it took awhile to locate the wreck due to the rocky area in which it crashed, and heavy foliage on the trees. 

     The pilot, Harry Rhule, 52, of Cabot, Pennsylvania, was killed in the crash.  There were no other persons aboard.

     Sources:

     Beaver Co. Times, “Vermont Plane Crash Kills Pennsylvania Man”, May 31, 1988.

     (Washington PA.) Observer Reporter, “Pennsylvania Man Dies In Vermont Plane Crash”, May 31, 1988   

 

Ludlow, VT – June 4, 1973

Ludlow, Vermont – June 4, 1973

     On June 4, 1973, a Cessna 150 with two men aboard was taking off from Smith Airport in Ludlow when the aircraft lost power just after leaving the ground.  As the plane fell it clipped some power lines before crashing in a field about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway. 

     Those aboard were identified as Richard Freda, 41, and Kenneth Deegan, 35, both of Huntington, New York.  Freda was transported to Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire, in critical condition, while Deegan was taken to Springfield Hospital where he was listed in satisfactory condition.     

     Source:

     The Nashua Telegraph, “2 New York Men Are Injured In Vt. Plane Crash”, June 5, 1973, pg. 5

Rutland, VT – September 2, 1913

Rutland, Vermont – September 2, 1913

   

Vintage Post Card View Of The Rutland Fairgrounds.

Vintage Post Card View Of The Rutland Fairgrounds.

     On September 2, 1913, early Vermont aviator George Schmidt, 23, of Rutland, took off at the Rutland Fairgrounds for an exhibition flight.  With him was Assistant Municipal Court Judge J. Dryer Spellman, 22, also of Rutland.   As the plane reached an altitude of about 500 feet the motor began to skip and miss-fire.  As Schmidt was returning to the open field of the fairgrounds the plane suddenly fell and crashed to the ground.  

     Both pilot and passenger were trapped in the wreckage.  George Schmidt had suffered a fractured skull, hip, and jaw, and died before he could be extricated.  Spellman was pinned against the aircraft’s hot radiator, and although he suffered burns, he recovered from the ordeal.

     George and his brother Charles are credited as being Vermont’s first aviators.  In August of 1910 they made news when they purchased a Curtis-type biplane, and it was noted that at the age of 18, George was “probably the youngest aviator in the country.”

     The following article appeared on page 3 of the Orleans County Monitor, August 10, 1910. 

Click on images to enlarge.

     Boys buy aeroplane 1 newspaper

Boys buy aeroplane 2 newspaper     

 

      According to Charles Schmidt, George Schmidt made his first airplane flight from the Rutland fairgrounds on September 1, 1910.  Today there is a memorial at the entrance fairgrounds honoring both brothers as the first active aviators in Vermont.   

       Sources:

     Aero and Hydro (magazine), “Brother Describes Schmidt Accident”, September 27, 1913, page 484, (Volume VI, No. 26.) 

     New York Herald, “Aviator Killed In Fall”, September 3, 1913

     www.vermont.gov  Aviation – Agency of transportation

    

    

      

    

Londonderry, VT – February 22, 1973

Londonderry, Vermont – February 22, 1973

Updated July 9, 2017

     On the evening of February 22, 1973, a Cessna 310J, (N3149L) with two persons aboard left Mt. Empire, Virginia, bound for Springfield, Vermont.  At 7:00 p.m. the pilot was given clearance from the Air Traffic Control center in Nashua to land at Springfield.  The weather over Vermont consisted of low cloud cover and snow conditions.  When the plane failed to arrive at the airport a search and rescue effort was begun.   The plane wreckage was later found on 2, 800 ft. mountain in the town of Londonderry.  Both men aboard were killed.  

     Sources:

     National Transportation Safety Board brief #NYC73AN116

     Claremont Daily Eagle, “Missing Plane Believed Down Near Springfield”, February 23, 1973, page 1.

Near Wardsboro, VT – September 13, 1947

Near Wardsboro, Vermont – September 13, 1947 

     On September 13, 1947, two brothers, Leroy B. Church, 38, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Clarence  Bruce Church, 40, of New York City, rented an airplane in Westfield, Massachusetts, for a flight to Poughkeepsie, New York.  While en-route to their destination they encountered severe weather and crashed in a remote wooded area near the small town of Wardsboro, Vermont.  Both were killed.

     Source: New York Times, “Brothers Die In Crash”, September 15, 1947

Updated April 12, 2017

     The aircraft involved in this accident had been seen circling the town of Wardsboro.   At approximately 7 p.m., a housewife saw the aircraft go down, and notified the local telephone operator who then notified authorities.   A search party of between 40 to 50 volunteers trekked into the now dark woods in search of the wreck.  The plane was located in a wooded area about a half-mile from a road. 

     Clarence Church was a manager at the IBM company in New York City.

     Leroy Church was an inspector for Pratt-Whitney Aircraft in Massachusetts.

     Source: Rutland Herald, “Two Killed In Light Plane, Eight Hurt In Road Crashes Add To Toll Over Week-End”,  September, 15, 1947.  Article supplied by Mr. Brian Lindner, Vermont Aviation Historian.   

 

Warren, VT – June 13, 1953

Warren, Vermont – June 13, 1953

     On the morning of June 13, 1953, a single-engine airplane with two men aboard took off from Mahwah Airfield near Nyack, New York, and flew to Warren, Vermont, where the pilot, Fremont L. Lovett, 64, owned property that contained a private airstrip.  At noontime, Mr. Lovett and his passenger, True C. Morrill, 65, crashed during take off for the return trip.  Both were killed.

     Mr. Lovett was a highly successful and well known businessmen who directed three public utilities, and Mr. Morrill was a college Dean at Bergen  Junior College in Teaneck, New Jersey.    

     Source: New York Times, “F. L. Lovett Killed In Crash Of Plane”, June 14, 1953.     

Brattleboro, VT – August 18, 1922

Brattleboro, Vermont – August 18, 1922

     One source describing this tragedy states it occurred at a new airport dedication in Brattleboro, but  another states it was an aircraft meet sponsored by the Brattleboro Outing Club to demonstrate the safety of aviation.   In either case, eight aircraft were scheduled to participate in the activities, but only seven actually did. 

     During the morning of August 18, 1922, between six and seven thousand people gathered to witness the air show which was to include various forms of stunt flying.  Also in attendance was Vermont’s Governor, James Hartness, a strong supporter of the advancement of Vermont aviation.

     At the opening ceremonies, Miss Evelyn Harris, 25, the sister of Fred H. Harris, the president of the Brattleboro Outing Club, had the honor of raising the American flag while the Governor gave his address.  

     Towards the later afternoon, while four other planes were still stunt flying over the field, a Curtis Oriole C6 airplane prepared for take off.  The pilot was Benjamin Hughes of Long Island, N.Y.  His three passengers included Miss Harris, James Trahan, and his 5-year-old son, Norman.   

     As the airplane left the ground, a wheel caught the top of an Elm tree sending the plane into some high tension wires which set it ablaze.  Hughes was thrown clear in the impact, but the others found themselves trapped in the aircraft.  Although injured himself, Hughes tried to rescue the passengers, but was unsuccessful, and suffered serious burns in the process.  

Sources:

New York Times, Plane Crashes At Opening Of Vermont Field; Man And Son Killed, Girl Fatally Burned”, August 19, 1922

New York Times, “Third Victim Of Airplane Crash Dies”, August 19, 1922

Aviation (magazine) “Aviation Progress In Vermont”, September 11, 1922, Page 324

 

 

 

Mount Mansfield, VT – October 6, 1966

Mount Mansfield, Vermont – October 6, 1966

     On the night of October 7, 1966, a Piper Comanche carrying three Canadian citizens crashed into Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest mountain.  The plane impacted roughly five hundred feet from the summit on the Underhill, Vermont, side.  There were no survivors.

     The dead were identified as, (pilot) David Shefler, 42, Robert Rosen, 46, and Mary Pert, 30. 

     The summit of Mount Mansfield is 4,393 feet above sea level.

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Find 3 Canadians Dead In Vermont Plane Crash”, October 8, 1966

     New York Times, “Three Canadians Killed In Air Crash In Vermont”, October 8, 1966 

      

 

Somerset, VT – July 1, 1957

Somerset, Vermont – July 1, 1957

     At 8:43 p.m. on July 1, 1957, a young couple on their way home from their honeymoon in Nantucket, Massachusetts, took off in a single-engine Stinson Voyager airplane from the Worcester (Mass.) Airport bound for upstate New York.  They were scheduled to reach their destination at 10 p.m..  However, while over Brattleboro, Vermont, the husband reported that they’d encountered strong headwinds and their arrival would be delayed.  When the aircraft never arrived it was reported missing. 

     What followed was a large scale search that lasted four days.  The wreckage was discovered on July 4th in a thickly wooded area near the Somerset Reservoir in the town of Somerset.  The bodies of the couple, Mark and Joan (Whiting) Larue of Hudson Falls, New York, were found inside.  They’d been married just two weeks.    

     It was surmised that the plane had been caught in a gust of wind and forced into a nose dive when the accident occurred.  There was no fire after the impact.    

     Sources:

     Schenectady Gazette, “Hunt For Newlyweds In Missing Plane To Be Resumed Today”, July 2, 1957 

     New York Times, “Missing Couple Dead”, July 5, 1957

     The (NY) Leader-Herald, “Honeymooners Found Dead In Plane Wreckage”, July 5, 1957, Pg. 1 

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