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


Simsbury, CT. – November 17, 1978

Simsbury, Connecticut – November 17, 1978

     On the night of November 17, 1978, a U.S. Marine helicopter with four Marines aboard left South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Massachusetts bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  While in-route, the helicopter experienced a mechanical problem, and the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in an open field in the town of Simsbury, Connecticut, but the rotor blades clipped a tree near the edge of the field and a crash resulted.  All four were transported to a hospital with serious injuries.   


     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Conn. Helicopter Crash Injures 4 Marines”, November 18, 1978, page A-2

Rentschler Airport, CT. – April 16, 1976

Rentschler Airport, East Hartford, Connecticut – April 16, 1976  

     On April 16, 1976, a Connecticut Army National Guard Huey helicopter left Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks bound for Groton.  The crew consisted of the pilot, Major John M. Sivilla, and Chief Warrant Officer Gary Reviczky. 

     While over a residential section of East Hartford, sections of the tail rotor suddenly broke loose for no apparent reason.  Major Sivilla was able to maintain control and head towards Rentschler Airport about a quarter-mile away.  As he reached the airport and was in the process of landing, the helicopter bounced off the ground and spun around before crashing.  One of the rotor blades tore into the cockpit barely missing Sivilla and Reviczky.  There was no fire after the crash and both men escaped without injury. 

     One six foot long piece of the tail rotor imbedded in the roof of a private home on Margery Drive.  No occupants of the home were injured.  Another piece came down in the parking lot of the Edward B. Stevens School on Butternut Drive, and another section fell in a wooded area.  There were no injuries on the ground.


     Hartford Courant, “Guard Helicopter Crashes In E. Hartford; Pair Unhurt”.  April 17, 1976, page 6. (With photo of crash) 


Long Island Sound – February 1, 1975

Long Island Sound – February 1, 1975

     On the morning of February 1, 1975, a Bell Jet Ranger  helicopter left Garden City, Long Island, N.Y., bound for Tweed-New Haven Airport in New Haven, Connecticut, to pick up two passengers for a charter flight.   As the helicopter was off the coast of Milford, Connecticut, at an altitude of about 300 feet, the main rotor suddenly snapped, sending it plunging into Long Island Sound.  The helicopter went down about 500 yards off Merwin Point, in Milford’s Woodmont section. The lone pilot aboard was killed.

     Two eyewitnesses reported hearing the engine sputter just before the accident.  


     Hartford Courant, “Helicopter Crashes In Sound; Pilot Dies”, February 2, 1975

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