Charlestown, R. I. – April 10, 1945

Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field – April 10, 1945


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of April 10 1945, a Curtis Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60242), took off from the Charlestown NAAF for a night training flight.  It was to be the pilot’s first time flying at night.  Shortly after takeoff the pilot realized that the landing gear wouldn’t retract, so he notified the control tower and returned to the base. 

     As it happened, there was an electrical problem with some of the runway lights as those in some areas were brighter or dimer than others.  Other pilots that night had reported this.  As the pilot approached the airfield he became confused with the lighting configuration as it was his first night landing at the field.   The pilot landed to the side of the runway, but not on the runway.  In doing so eight feet of the right wing was torn away and the aircraft skidded into another Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60222), (unoccupied), that was parked off the runway, tearing its left wing off.   

     Both airplanes were severely damaged but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident report dated April 10, 1945. 

Charlestown, R. I. – February 12, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 12, 1943


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On February 12, 1943, a pilot was making practice landings and take-offs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 06850), when he crash-landed due to cross winds.  The aircraft sustained heavy damage, but the pilot and his gunner were not injured.   


     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5790, dated February 12, 1943   

Charlestown, R. I. – June 15, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – June 15, 1949


Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 15, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 123322), was making a normal takeoff from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Airfield when the engine lost all power just after the aircraft became airborne.  The aircraft went down in the water of Ninigret Pond beyond the runway.  The pilot escaped without injury, but the aircraft was significantly damaged.   


     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 15, 1949

Charlestown, R. I. – October 10, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 10, 1949 


Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 10, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122818), was making mock carrier  take offs and landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft crash-landed and burned.  The pilot escaped, but suffered serious burns.    


     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 10, 1949.

Charlestown, R. I. – September 4, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 4, 1947


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 4, 1947, Lieutenant Alfred George Elpern, (26), took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95208), for a night tactical training mission.   About 36 minutes into the flight the cockpit lighting system of his aircraft failed, and he was given clearance to return to base.  His first two attempts to land were aborted.   While making his third attempt, his aircraft was observed to go into a spin while at an altitude of 300 feet.  The airplane crashed and exploded on the field instantly killing Lieutenant Elpern.

     At the time of the crash, the horizon was partially obscured by haze.

     The cause of the crash could not be determined.

     Lieutenant Elpern was assigned to VF-10A.

     Lieutenant Elpern is buried in Paradise Cemetery in Shannondale, Penn.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 4, 1947 Memorial #31314556

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