Bradley Field, CT. – August 19, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – August 19, 1944 


P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 19, 1944, 1st Lieutenant Walter L. Gibson Jr., took off from Bradley Army Air Field for a test flight in a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser# 42-8307).  The reason for the test flight was due to troubles previously reported with this aircraft.  Prior to take off, Lt. Gibson had spoken with the line chief, and performed two thorough “run-up checks” of the aircraft.  Almost immediately after take off, when the plane had reached an altitude of only 250 feet, the engine began to cut out and emit black oily smoke.  Lt. Gibson called the tower and advised he was making an emergency landing and the tower replied that he could use any runway as all were clear.  As Gibson began to make a left turn the engine lost all power and the plane fell into a wooded area about a half-mile from the end of the runway.   The plane was wrecked and Lt. Gibson was killed.

     Lt. Gibson had attained his pilot rating on August 5, 1942. 

     Source: U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident #45-8-19-17 


Stafford Springs, CT – April 15, 1949

Stafford Springs, Connecticut – April 15, 1949

     On April 15, 1949, a small plane carrying two men was en-route from Florida to Smithfield, Rhode Island, when they encountered foggy conditions over Connecticut, and crashed on a farm in Stafford Springs. 

     The plane, an Aeronca “Champion”, was a total loss, but the two men escaped with only minor injuries. 

     The pilot was identified as Peter J. Vecchio, 21, of Miami, Florida, and the passenger as Edward Hayden, 20, of Wallingford, Connecticut.   


     St. Petersburg Times, “Pilot Escapes Plane Crash”, April 16, 1949

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