Preston, CT. – February 2, 1945

Preston, Connecticut – February 2, 1945


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On February 2, 1945, Ensign Nelson L. Hazard was piloting an F6F-3N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70211), over Connecticut on a routine training flight.  After using up the fuel from the right main tank, he turned on the emergency fuel pump and switched to using the fuel in his droppable fuel tank suspended beneath the aircraft.  The engine ran normally for about five minutes before it abruptly stopped.  Ensign Hazard then switched to his reserve fuel tank but the engine wouldn’t start.  He then tried switching to the left main tank but with no results.  The aircraft was at 6,000 feet at this time, and Hazard decided to remain with the aircraft and attempt an emergency landing. 

     After seeing an open field below, Hazard aimed for it, and came in with the wheels up.  At the edge of the field the plane scraped over the top of a tree which ripped away the droppable fuel tank.  The tank fell against a boulder and exploded.  Meanwhile, the aircraft hit the ground and skidded for 100 yards before coming to rest.  A small fire erupted on one wing, but burned itself out.  The pilot was not injured.

     The location of the crash was in a field off Brickyard Road in the town of Preston.     

     Source: National Archives TD 450202CT, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

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