West Addison, VT – February 18, 1993

West Addison, Vermont – February 18, 1993

On the ice of Lake Champlain

     On the afternoon of February 18, 1993, a Grumman Tiger aircraft took off from Morrisville-Stowe State Airport in Morristown, Vermont, with a lone pilot aboard, bound for Glens Falls, New York.  At 3:30 p.m. the aircraft crashed on the ice of Lake Champlain, about 3/4 of a mile from shore.  (The time was surmised from the plane’s broken dashboard clock.) The impact broke the plane into numerous pieces which were found scattered at the wreck site. The pilot was killed.

     A fisherman later reported seeing the aircraft circling over Lake Champlain, but never heard a crash.  

    No flight plan had been filed by the pilot, so he wasn’t missed when he failed to arrive at his destination, or when he failed to return to Vermont.  No May Day call had been received.  The plane was equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, however its signal wasn’t received until 2:30 a.m the following morning on February 19th.  The crash site was discovered by accident later that morning when two snowmobilers happened up on it at 10:30 a.m. 

    The cause of the crash was believed to be weather related.

     Source:

     Flying Magazine, I Learned About Flying From That, “Don’t Blame The Engine“, By John T. Quinn, No. 691

            

 

Bennington, VT – August 13, 1945

Bennington, Vermont – August 13, 1945

     On August 13, 1945, a Taylorcraft private plane carrying two people crashed shortly after takeoff at Bennington Airport, killing both.  Those aboard were identified as Grace Elizabeth Everett, 23, also known as “Betty Grace”, and U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Robert Lancaster, 23.

     Both victims were experienced pilots.  Miss Everett had served as a W.A.S.P. pilot during WWII, and Lt. Lancaster as a B-17 bomber pilot.  Lancaster had been shot down during one of his missions and spent time in a German POW camp, and had only recently been repatriated to the U.S.  

     It was not clear which of the two was flying the aircraft as the plane had two seats side by side and could be controlled from either side.

     Lt. Lancaster is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 10, Site 10663 EH 

     Miss Everett is buried in Parklawn Cemetery in Bennington.

     Sources:

     (Tarrytown, NY) The Daily News, “Two Killed In Plane Crash”, August 14, 1945

     Bygone Bennington on WBTN-AM 1370, “August 13, 1945, A Plane Crashes At Bennington Airport, Number 91” (No date given)   https://sites.google.com/site/bygonebennington/

     (Troy NY) The Times Record, “Airplane Tragedy Probe Continues At Bennington” August 14, 1945.

     (Troy NY) The Times Record, “Rites Conducted For Plane Crash Victim”, August 17, 1945 

     (Cambridge NY) Washington County Post, “Two Killed In Airport Crash”, August 16, 1945

     www.findagrave.com

 

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

St. Johnsbury, VT – September, 1910

St. Johnsbury, Vermont – September, 1910

early biplane

     The newspaper source of this incident gave no specific date of occurrence.  

      Sometime during the month of September, 1910, Chester Karyman was test-flying an airplane belonging to Professor Clarence C. Bonnette over St. Johnsbury.  The aircraft had reportedly reached “a considerable height” when it began to be buffeted by winds.  As Karyman was bringing the plane down to land, he shut the engine off too soon, causing the craft to abruptly drop from the air and smash into the ground.  The plane was badly damaged, but fortunately Karyman escaped with minor injuries.       

     The aircraft involved in this accident was a Curtis-type airplane named Vermont, or Vermont 1, because it was the first to be constructed in the state of Vermont.  It was built by Professor Bonnette the previous winter, and test flights had begun in August, 1910. 

     Sources:

The Barre Daily Times, “Aeroplane Vermont Made Short Flight And Then Bumped The Earth.” September 29, 1910, Pg6

The Barre Daily Times, “Vermont’s First Aeroplane”, August 30, 1910

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.     

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 

      

 

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲