Plymouth, CT. – April 14, 1946

Plymouth, Connecticut – April 14, 1946   

Stearman PT-17
U.S. Air Force Photo

      On April 14, 1946, two WWII veterans were flying in a military surplus PT-17 open cock-pit bi-plane at the Mount Toby Airport in Plymouth.  The aircraft had been a trainer used by the military, and had two cockpits, one after the other, and each cockpit was equipped with flight controls.   

     The pair had been making mock bombing runs on the airfield.  The plane would rise to an altitude of about 800 feet and then make a steep dive for the field.  At the end of the dive the passenger would toss a paper bag filled with white lime which would “explode” when it hit the ground.  As the bag was hitting the ground the pilot would begin pulling up and begin climbing in preparation of making another “bombing run”.  The pair made several successful “runs” before disaster struck.  As the plane pulled out of a dive the pilot stayed level with the field just a few feet off the ground before attempting to gain altitude.  As the plane began to rise it went into a slow roll at an altitude of about 75 feet.  The plane then became inverted and continued to roll until it was upright again.  At this time one of the wings suddenly broke free and the aircraft plummeted to the ground. 

     The aircraft crashed on Mount Tobe road, about 100 yards from Cryus Skilton Farm, and about 50 feet from the intersection of South Street.  One of the men was killed instantly.  The other was transported  to a medical facility with serious injuries, but later recovered. 

     The cause of the crash was blamed on pilot error. 


     The Waterbury Democrat, “Mount Tobe Plane Crash Probe Begun”, April 15, 1946  

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Rites Held For Crash Victim”, April 18, 1947, pg. 2

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Pilot’s Death At Mt. Tobe Due To Self”, July 23, 1946.

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲