Windsor Locks, Ct. – April 8, 1942

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – April 8, 1942

 

P-38 Lightning U.S. Air Force photo

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     On April 8, 1942, a U.S. Army P-38 Lightning fighter plane, (Ser. No. AE-982) crashed at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks.  The pilot, Second Lieutenant Philip R. McKevitt of Vinton, Iowa, was killed.  

      Source: The Woonsocket Call, “Army Pilot Killed At Windsor Locks”, April 8, 1942.

     Update March 5, 2016

     Just after takeoff, Lt. McKevitt noticed a problem with the right engine, and attempted to circle around back to base for landing.  (Witnesses later reported hearing the engine sputtering.)  As he was doing so, the aircraft went into a spin with insufficient altitude to recover, and crashed.  The plane came down in an area a quarter of a mile from the Turnpike Road in the southwest section of Bradley Field, and burned. 

     The crash investigation committee requested that the right engine be sent to Middletown Air Depot to be dismantled and checked for any signs of sabotage. 

     Lt. McKevitt began his flight training on May 3, 1941, and graduated from Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, on December 12, 1941. He arrived at Bradley Field only the week before his accident.  

     Lt. McKevitt is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton, Iowa, Lot 76-so. part of N. For a photo of his grave see www.findagrave.com  memorial #43301321

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-4-8-1

     Windsor Locks Journal, “Army Pursuit Planes In Two Fatal Crashes”, April 9, 1942

 

Off Bridgeport, CT – April 21, 1942

Off Bridgeport, Connecticut – April 21, 1942

Long Island Sound

    

P-38 Lightning U.S. Air Force photo

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

      On April 21, 1942, 2nd Lt. Willard J. Webb was piloting a P-38E, (Ser. No. 41-2111) at 15,000 feet over the Bridgeport Airport on a performance test flight.  He’d just completed the flight and was starting to head down to the field when the aircraft began to violently shudder and shake.  The following is an excerpt from the Army crash investigation technical report in Lt. Webb’s own words.

     “At 12:58, I was directly over the field at 15,000 ft., at which time I recorded the completion of the performance test.  I turned at 90 degrees to the right, and 90 degrees to the left, making a combination of a lazy 8 and a power let-down, at which time the plane began to shake violently and automatically going completely out of control.  The violent shaking of the airplane left me without any control over the airplane.  I cut  my gun, rolled stabilizer back with no results.  At this time, the speed was tremendous, so my next decision was to jump.” 

     Lt. Webb managed to bail out as the aircraft plunged into Long Island Sound.  Ha too came down in the water and was rescued by a boat and brought ashore where he was treated for a dislocated shoulder.

     At the time of his accident, Lt. Webb was assigned to the 61st Pursuit Squadron (I).  He received his pilot’s wings October 31, 1941.

     Source: U.S. Air Corps Tactical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-4-24-13  

Stratford, CT – March 26, 1942

Stratford, Connecticut – March 26, 1942

   

P-39 Aircobra - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-39 Aircobra – U.S. Air Force Photo

      Shortly before 10:30 a.m. on the morning of March 26, 1942, 2nd Lt. Edward G. Armstrong was flying a P-39 single-seat fighter aircraft (Ser. No. 40-36) on a training flight over the Stratford, Connecticut, area in which he was going through aerobatic maneuvers with the aircraft.   According to witnesses, the aircraft’s engine suddenly quit while at 500 feet, and the plane went into a spin from which it did not recover.  It crashed in St. Michael’s Cemetery, only a few feet from Bruce Brook, which boarders one side of the cemetery.  There was no fire, but the plane was demolished, and Lt. Armstrong was killed instantly. 

     The cemetery is located at 2205 Stratford Ave., in Stratford.  It is surrounded by a densely populated area, and it’s possible that Lt. Armstrong remained with his aircraft to avoid having it crash into nearby homes.   

     Lt. Armstrong was assigned to the 61st Pursuit Squadron in Bridgeport, Ct.  He received his pilots rating December 12, 1941.

     According to a newspaper article in the Bridgeport Herald, Lt. Armstrong was the second fatality in his squadron since it came to the Bridgeport area.  On February 15, 1942, Lieutenant Harry L. Mathews, 24, of North Carolina, was killed when his P-39C (40-2972,) crashed near the Bridgeport Municipal Airport while on a training flight.  For more information, see the page about Lt. Mathews on this website – New England Aviation History       

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-3-26-7

     Bridgeport Herald, “Plane Crash In Stratford Kills Second Army Flyer”, March 26, 1942 

    

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