Shelton, CT. – February 2, 1966

Shelton, Connecticut – February 2 1966

     On February 2, 1966, a Sikorsky CH-53-A helicopter was operating over the town of Shelton on a test flight, when it experienced a mechanical malfunction leading both test pilots to abandon the aircraft and attempt to parachute to safety.   The helicopter crashed between two homes, damaging one of them, but there were no injuries on the ground.  The crash site was reported to be about a mile from the Sikorsky helicopter plant in the neighboring town of Stratford.

    Both test pilots were killed.  One was identified as Robert Gary Perrone, 33, of Trumbull, Ct., a former Captain in the United States Marine Corps.  His parachute opened, but he fell among trees and rocks and did not survive. 

     The other test pilot was identified as Lloyd C. Blanchard, 40, of Stratford, a former Captain in the U.S. Air Force.  His parachute didn’t open.  (To see a photograph of Capt. Blanchard, see, memorial #49123793.)  

     The helicopter involved in the accident was being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps.  It was 88 ft. 6 in. in length, and designed to carry 38 troops into battle along with a crew of three to four men.   

     It was reported that this was the “second multiple death crash at or near the helicopter plant in recent years.”  In April of 1960 three men were killed in a helicopter crash at the plant airfield.


     New London Day, “Helicopter Crash Kills 2 In Shelton”, February 3, 1966

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