Cambridge, MA. – April 28, 1919

Cambridge, Massachusetts – April 28, 1919

Updated November 14, 2023

     In April of 1919, the New England Airplane Company was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by two recently discharged military men, one being a former navy pilot.  The business model included taking passengers on sightseeing flights over the Boston metropolitan area.  The company’s lone aircraft was a military surplus Curtis F model capable of water take offs and landings.  The company made its first passenger flight on April 24th, and had made several more since, without incident. 

     On the afternoon of April 28, 1919, a 22-year-old Dorchester man bought a ticket for a fifteen minute flight.  (As a point of irony, it was later reported that a doctor had tried to take the man’s place on the flight but was unsuccessful.) 

     Once aboard the plane, the pilot stated the engine and pulled out onto the Charles River.  He then turned the plane into the wind and began to accelerate.  As the plane rose to an altitude of 100 feet it was caught by a wind gust and  suddenly dipped to one side and fell into the water with great force.  The plane struck opposite of Ashby Street on the Boston side of the river, and about 40 feet from shore on the Cambridge side. 

     The plane came to rest upside down in the water trapping the occupants in their seats, and nearby boaters immediately went to their aid.  The pilot was rescued but the passenger had drowned by the time his body was recovered.          


     Norwich Bulletin, “Passenger Drowned When Plane Fell Into River”, April 29, 1919

     Omaha Daily Bee, “Passenger Drowned When Plane Falls Into River”, April 30, 1919

     Richmond Times, “Pay Passenger Killed As Airplane Falls”, April 29, 1919.

     Unknown Paper, “Flying Boat’s Plunge Kills Passenger and Injures Pilot”, unknown date. Found on 


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