Westfield, MA. – October 3, 1986

Westfield, Massachusetts, October 3, 1986  

     On October 3, 1986, a Piper Cherokee with a lone pilot aboard left Barnes Airport in Westfield bound for LeFleur Airport in nearby Northampton.   

     After arriving safely at Le Fleur, the pilot took a husband and wife aboard as passengers.  The husband and the pilot were long-time friends.  The aircraft then took off from LeFluer headed back to Barnes, but bad weather had settled in and visibility dropped to near zero. 

     At 7:05 p.m. the pilot contacted the tower at Barnes and requested a “special VFR landing”, but was advised that another incoming aircraft had priority.  A few minutes later, after being granted clearance to land, the aircraft flew into a vertical cliff on the Westfield side of East Mountain.  The resulting fireball was observed by the air traffic controller at Barnes.

     All three persons aboard the aircraft were killed instantly.

     The crash site was in a remote section of the mountain, and rescue workers had a difficult time reaching it.   

     Sources:

     Springfield Republican, “Three Bodies Recovered At remote Plane Crash Site”, October 5, 1986, page 1.  (Photo of crash site.) 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Pilot Ignored Weather; Three Killed In Crash”, October 5, 1986, page 12.

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