Cape Cod Bay – June 24, 1956

Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts – June 24, 1956   

(And Boston Harbor)

U.S. Air Force F-94 Starfire
U.S. Air Force Photo

      On June 24, 1956, a flight of three Massachusetts National Guard F-94 Starfire fighter jets left Langley Air Force Base in Virginia bound for Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  As the planes neared the New England coast they encountered thick fog and began to circle the area. One of the jets ran low on fuel and the crew was forced to eject while over Cape Cod Bay.  The pilot, Captain Kenneth B. McKay, and the radar observer 1st Lieutenant Harry Crook landed safely.  The aircraft went down in the water. 

     A short time later, a second Starfire in the formation disappeared and was reported as “missing”, and a search was instituted.   The pilot was 1st Lieutenant Robert H. Springer, 28, of Needham, Massachusetts. It was unknown if the pilot bailed out or went down with his aircraft, and as of this writing no further information is known.  

    The third Starfire in the formation landed safely at Otis AFB.

     As part of the search for the missing Starfire, a Coast Guard helicopter with three crewmen aboard was dispatched from the Salem Coast Guard Station.  Search aircraft had to deal with foggy conditions and on coming darkness.  As darkness came on, the helicopter was ordered to land at Logan Airport.  As the helicopter was approaching Logan, it went down in the waters of Boston Harbor a short distance from the end of the airport runway.    

     Two of the crewmen escaped the sinking helicopter and were rescued a short time later, but HM1 John J. Kohan, remained trapped inside and drowned.

     Another accident occurred when a crash-rescue boat from Otis AFB struck a submerged object and began taking on water.  It had to be towed two miles to shore by the Coast Guard. 


     The Woonsocket Call, “Missing Flier In Jet Crash Sought On Cape”, June 25, 1956 


Otis Field – April 23, 1946

Otis Field, Massachusetts – April 23, 1946


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 4:36 p.m., on the afternoon of April 23, 1946, a navy SB2C Helldiver, (Bu. No. 85265), was coming in to land at Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, when the aircraft stalled on approach and crashed, ending up on its back and bursting into flames.  The pilot was rescued, but suffered severe burns and a lacerated scalp.   

     The pilot had come from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island and was assigned to Fighter Bomber Squadron 18, (VB-18).

     There was nobody else aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 23, 1946.   

Hyannis, MA. – August 9, 1946

Hyannis, Massachusetts – August 9, 1946


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

On August 9, 1946, a navy Lieutenant (Jg.) was taking off from Hyannis Airport in a Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter plane when the aircraft suddenly went into a roll and crashed just after leaving the ground.  The unidentified pilot was badly burned in the accident, and the aircraft was destroyed.  The pilot was found about forty feet from the burning plane, and was transported to the hospital via ambulance. 

     Source: Cape Cod Standard Times, “Navy Pilot Badly Hurt As Plane Crashes, Burns Near Hyannis.”, August 9, 1946, page 1. 


Otis AFB – June 5, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 5, 1947

     On June 5, 1947, Ensign Orin William Ross, (24), was piloting a navy dive bomber making practice landings and take offs at Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  While making a practice landing, the aircraft suddenly stalled and crashed onto the runway and exploded, killing Ensign Ross.  Ensign Ross was assigned to Carrier Squadron VA-17A stationed at Quonset Naval Air station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. 

     The exact type of aircraft was not stated.

     Ensign Ross is buried in Bristow cemetery in Bristow, Oklahoma.  To see a photo of his grave go to, #25974219.

     Source: Cape Cod Standard Times, “Flyer Killed At Otis Field”, June 6, 1947, page 1

Hyannis, MA. – May 11, 1944

Hyannis, Massachusetts – May 11, 1944 

Updated July 8, 2019


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of May 11, 1944, navy Lieutenant (Jg.) George E. Orenge was piloting an F4U Corsair, Bu. No. 02665, over Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when the aircraft suddenly caught fire while in flight.  Being over a populated area, Lieutenant Orenge opted to stay with the plane, but was unable to direct it towards an open area, or to make it to Hyannis Airport.  The plane crashed on Barnstable Road about 200 yards from Main Street in the town of Hyannis.  In the process it struck an elm tree and broke in two, pitching Lieutenant Orenge, still strapped to his seat, from the cockpit.  As the aircraft came to rest and was consumed by flames, Lieutenant Orenge landed on the sidewalk in front of 62 Barnstable Road.   

     The homeowner of 62 Barnstable Road, Vernon Coleman, happened to be outside and witnessed the crash.  He later told a reporter from the Cape Cod Standard Times, “I looked up and saw the plane sort of wavering with the motor on fire.” 

     Lieutenant Orenge was transported to Cape Cod Hospital, but remarkably, he’d only suffered some minor bumps, scrapes, and bruises. 

     The cause of the accident could not be determined due to total destruction of the aircraft.  

     It was also reported that he flew another aircraft later in the day.   

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     This crash wasn’t the only one of Lieutenant (Jg.) Orenge’s  naval career.  On November 5, 1943, he was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 65895), when a tire blew out on landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The aircraft went off the runway and struck a truck.  The aircraft needed extensive repairs, but Lieutenant (Jg.) Orenge suffered only minor injuries.


     Cape Cod Standard Times, “Pilot Who Survives Hyannis crash, Goes Aloft Again”, May 12, 1944      

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-14042 dated May 11, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-9523, dated November 5, 1943.             

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