Wallingford, CT. – September 8, 1984

Wallingford, Connecticut – September 8, 1984 

     On September 8, 1984, the American Helicopter Association was holding an annual picnic at the former Mountainside Outing Club in Wallingford.  The association is a professional organization for those connected to the helicopter industry.  Some of those attending arrived in helicopters.

     One helicopter, a Bell 206 Jetranger, with a pilot and three passengers, arrived from Garden City, Long Island.  The aircraft had been loaned to the pilot by the chairman of the company which owned it.  

     After attending the event, the helicopter took off at about 4:30 p.m. to return to Garden City.  Just after takeoff, the pilot began to make a long low circle over the club area.  While doing so the left pontoon of the helicopter struck some high voltage power lines strung over a hilly wooded area.  Witnesses reported that the aircraft was at about 50 feet when the pilot took sudden evasive action to avoid the powerlines, but caught the top-most line.  The craft dove into the ground killing all aboard.    

     Neighbors living in the area told reporters that they’d been concerned about the power lines because there were no marker lights indicating their presence, and they are virtually invisible when looking up the mountain with foliage behind them.    


     Providence Sunday Journal, “Helicopter Strikes Utility Wires, Kills 4”, September 9, 1984, page A-1

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Helicopter Crash Takes Four Lives”, September 9, 1984, page 10

      The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Pilot’s Evasive Move Recalled By Witness”, September 10, 1984, page 8


Shelton, CT. – March 25, 1975

Shelton, Connecticut – March 25, 1975

     On the morning of March 25, 1975, two men left North Bergen, New Jersey, in a Bell Jet Ranger 206B helicopter.  Their destination wasn’t reported, but their flight path took them over Connecticut.  At about 11:15 a.m., while passing over the town of Shelton, the helicopter crashed and exploded in the backyard of a private home on Fawn Hill Road.  Both men were killed, but there were no injuries of persons on the ground.  A section of the helicopter struck the house.

     It was further reported that on February 25, the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered all Bell Jet Ranger 206 series helicopter models to have the upper and lower main rotor pitch-change “clevises” inspected and scheduled for retirement.  A “clevis” is a bolt-like attachment to the helicopter’s rotor.  This mandate was due the recent fatal crash involving a Bell 206A into Long Island Sound on February 1, 1975.     


     Hartford Courant, “Bell Copter Crashes, Killing Two”, March 26, 1975. (With photo of crash scene.)     

     Norwich Bulletin, “Shelton Copter Crash Kills Two N.J. men”, March 26, 1975, page 24.  (With photo of crash scene.)


East Hartford, CT. – February 28, 1960

East Hartford, Connecticut – February 28, 1960

     On February 28, 1960, 1st Lt. John K. Rude, Jr., 24, was piloting a National Guard helicopter over the East Hartford area when the aircraft suddenly developed engine trouble.  With little time to react, Lt. Rude set the helicopter down in a cemetery located in a crowded residential area.  Upon making the emergency landing the rotor blades were seriously damaged when they lopped off the top of a tall monument.  There were no injuries, and Lt. Rude was praised for his handling of the emergency situation and avoiding nearby homes.

     The helicopter had been in the air for a couple of hours on a routine training flight out of Brainard Field when the trouble developed.  Damage was estimated to be $15,000.


     New London Day, “Waterford Pilot Safely Lands Disabled ‘Copter”, February 29, 1960 


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