Wilton, CT. – June 26, 1946

Wilton, Connecticut – June 26, 1946

     On June 26, 1946, a student pilot and his instructor took off from Westchester County Airport in New York in a converted Army training plane.  The plane headed eastward and crossed over into Connecticut.  While passing over the town of Wilton it crashed in a lot killing both men aboard. 

     Connecticut State Police Sergeant Edmund S. Flanagan interviewed a witness who stated the aircraft “seemed to fall apart in the air”.

     When the aircraft hit the ground it severed phone and power lines, and was so completely demolished that officials thought it might be difficult to determine the cause.

     The make and model of the aircraft was not reported.


     The Waterbury Democrat, “Wilton Plane Crash Probed”, June 27, 1946, pg. 16.   

Manchester, CT. – August 24, 1946

Manchester, Connecticut – August 24, 1946

     On August 24, 1946, a 25-year-old pilot from East Hartford, Connecticut, was giving a plane ride to a 13-year-old youth from Manchester.  The pilot flew over the youth’s home and while doing so swooped in for a low pass.  In doing so, the landing gear clipped the tops of a row of trees causing the plane to crash into a lot and burst into flames.  Both the pilot and passenger perished in the accident. 

     The type of aircraft was not mentioned. 


     The Waterbury Democrat, (CT.), “Five Violent Deaths Listed”, August 26, 1946.  (The article related five deaths over one weekend in Connecticut.  Only two were aviation related.)

Old Lyme, CT. – May 20, 1983

Old Lyme, Connecticut – May 20, 1983

     At about 1:40 p.m. on the afternoon of May 20, 1983, a 52-year-old Vermont man took off from Mattituck, Long Island, in a Mooney M20K, (N231HT), bound for Lebanon, New Hampshire.  Thick low-lying clouds blanketed Long Island Sound and the Connecticut coast. At some point after its departure from Mattituck, the aircraft suffered a systems failure and the pilot reported that his artificial horizon and autopilot were inoperative, and he was then given a radar vector heading to Norwich, Connecticut.  Shortly afterward, the pilot reported he was rapidly loosing altitude.

     At 2:23 p.m. the aircraft crashed and burned in a wooded area of Old Lyme, not far from the intersection of Mile Creek and Whipporwill roads.  The pilot was killed instantly.


     The Day, (New London, CT.), “One Killed, Three Hurt In Two Plane Crashes”, May 21, 1983, page 1, with photos. (The other crash occurred in North Stonington.  The two accidents were not related.)

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase #36590


Connecticut River – August 26, 1980

Connecticut River – August 26, 1980

     At about 3:00 p.m. on August 26, 1980, a single-engine Beech Mustang with a family of four from Long Island, New York, aboard, took off from Goodspeed Airport in East Haddam.  Just after becoming airborne, the aircraft was caught in a down draft and crashed into the Connecticut River.  All four occupants escaped without injury before the plane sank, and were rescued by nearby pleasure boaters.


     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “None Hurt As Plane Ends Up In River”, August 27, 1980, page 2.  

Bethlehem, CT. – October 3, 1979

Bethlehem, Connecticut – October 3, 1979

     On October 3, 1979, a twin-engine Cessna 310 with three men aboard left Richmond, Virginia, bound for Oxford Airport in Oxford Connecticut.  That evening, while over Connecticut, the pilot encountered thick fog conditions.  He attempted to land at the airport, but was forced to “go  around” for another try.  As he was doing so, with the airplane’s landing gear down, one of the aircraft’s wheels struck the roof of a garage that was attached to a private home on Kasson Road in the neighboring town of Bethlehem.  The aircraft then cartwheeled across an open field behind the house before coming to rest against a stone hedgerow about 300 feet away.  As the plane cartwheeled, both passengers were thrown out and killed.  The plane didn’t catch fire. The pilot survived and was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital with serious injuries.

     A 25-year-old woman was inside the house when the plane struck, but was not injured. When she looked outside, the fog was so thick that she couldn’t see the wreckage.  She called the state police, and the trooper who responded found the airplane.   


     The Hartford Courant, “Bethlehem Plane Crash Kills Two Men”, October 4, 1979, page 6     

     New London Day, “Plane Hits Home; Two Die”, October 4, 1979, page 27.

East Granby, CT – May 7, 1954

East Granby, Connecticut – May 7, 1954 


F-51D Mustang U.S. Air Force Photo

F-51D Mustang
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 7, 1954, Major Robert Anderstrom, 33, was piloting an F-51 Mustang from Mitchell Field on Long island, N.Y. to Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, when he crashed into a wooded hillside on the west side of historic Old Newgate Prison in East Granby.  The subsequent explosion blasted the plane to pieces, and left a crater 12 feet deep, 20 feet wide, and 30 feet long. 

    One witness, Mrs. Frances B. Allen, recalled to reporters, “I thought it was a bomb it went up so fast.”

     Major Anderstrom was an experienced pilot having served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.  He was recalled to active duty in 1952 and assigned to the 131st Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Massachusetts Air National Guard based at Barnes Airport in Westfield, Mass.  At the time of his accident he was the Commanding Officer of the 831st Replacement Training Squadron, and training officer for the 131st FIS.  During his career he earned three air medals.

     Anderstrom was survived by his wife Theresa and three young daughters. He’s buried at St. Thomas cemetery in West Springfield, Mass.  To see a photo of Major Anderstrom, go to findagrave.com and see memorial #6722890 


Hartford Courant, “Air Guard Major Loses Life In East Granby Plane Crash” May 8, 1954.

Air Force Print News Today, Release # 030413, “104th Fighter Wing Remembers Fallen Heroes With F-100 Rededication”, April 30, 2013

Findagrave.com  memorial # 6722890



Niantic, Ct., – July 16, 1921

Niantic, Connecticut – July 16, 1921

Updated June 5, 2017


     On July 16, 1921, pilot Wesley L. Keough of Springfield, Massachusetts, and George Phillips of Providence, Rhode Island, left Westerly, Rhode Island, in a two passenger Curtis aircraft bound for Niantic, Connecticut.  Keough had been at Pleasant View Beach in Westerly for the previous few weeks giving rides in his airplane.  On this particular flight, Keough and Phillips were flying to Niantic where the “Governor’s Foot Guard” were encamped. 

     As the plane neared Niantic at an altitude of 2,500 feet, a connecting rod in the engine suddenly broke and the engine came to a stop.  Keough was an experienced flyer and calmly put the aircraft into a glide hoping to land in an open area on the campground, but as it neared the ground it struck an air pocket and began to fall.  Keough shouted to Phillips to jump, and both did so as the plane was reportedly barely twenty feet from the ground.  Both men hit the ground and began tumbling and rolling, but when they came to a stop they discovered they were relatively unhurt.  The plane continued on and slammed into a trolley pole at Station #8 and came to rest on the tracks, with its wings crumpled and its landing gear wrecked.          



     Hartford Courant, “Keough Leaps For Life From Disabled Plane”, July 17, 1921

     New York Times, “Fall 2,500 Feet In Plane”, July 17, 1921   

Ridgefield, CT – June 10, 1973

Ridgefield, Connecticut – June 10, 1973

     At approximately 1:30 a.m. on June 10, 1973, a Piper Cherokee 140 aircraft with four people aboard left Danbury Airport bound for MacArthur Field in Islip, New York.  Shortly after takeoff the plane crashed in a thickly wooded area of the Pine Mountain section of Ridgefield.  The plane was heavily damaged, but there was no fire.  (Ridgefield is a town that borders Danbury to the south.) 

     The four occupants of the plane, all from Long Island, New York, survived the crash and spent the night with the aircraft, and at first light began hiking back to the airport. 


     Providence Journal, “Plane Crashes In Connecticut After Takeoff”, June 11, 1973, page 21.

Ledyard, CT. – April 27, 1973

Ledyard, Connecticut – April 27, 1973


     On April 27, 1972, a New York doctor left Tweed-New Haven Airport in a single-engine Mooney MU-2 airplane bound for Fishers Island, New York.  He was alone at the time. Fishers Island is located in Long Island Sound, off the northern fork of Long Island, N.Y., not far from the Connecticut shore.   

     When the plane reached Fishers Island it was unable to land due to poor weather conditions, and was re-directed to Trumbull Airport in Groton, Connecticut.  The cloud ceiling was at 400 feet, and it was raining as the doctor made his way towards Groton.  Sometime around 7:00 p.m. radio contact with the plane was lost and it disappeared from radar screens.      

     A woman reportedly witnessed the plane crash and explode near her home in Ledyard around 7:00 p.m., but didn’t report it.  The following day she told her son about it and he notified police.  Troopers found the wreckage of the plane about 2:30 p.m. on April 28th, in a wooded area off Gallup Hill Road. 

     The Providence Journal, “Doctor Is Killed In Conn. Crash Of Light Plane”, April 29, 1973, page A-8 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Doctor Killed In Ledyard Plane Crash”, April 29, 1973, page 17.


East Hartford, CT – August 15, 1939

Hartford, Connecticut – August 15, 1939


     On August 15, 1939, a Lockheed Electra owned by a prominent New York advertising executive was flown from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, to Rentschler Field, in East Hartford, Connecticut to have the engines inspected.  After the inspection, the aircraft took off at 4:15 p.m. to go back to New York. 

     There were five people aboard, a crew of two, and three passengers.  

     The pilot, Wynn Bradford of Flushing, N.Y.

     The co-pilot, Eli Abramson, of Hempstead, N.Y.

     Michael Madrazo, of Corona, N. Y.

     Joseph Kransky, of Jamaica, N.Y.

     George Daulfkirsch of East Elmhurst, N.Y.

     Just after the plane cleared the border fence at the end of the runway, the left wing dipped, hit the ground, and spun the plane which crashed.  All five aboard were thrown clear of the wreckage.  Michael Madrazo, and Joseph Kransky were killed.  The pilot and co-pilot were transported in critical condition to a nearby hospital.  George Daulfkirsch was also hospitalized, but with lesser injuries.   The fuselage was destroyed by fire.


     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Killed, Three Hurt In Hartford Plane Crash”, August 16, 1939 


Stratford, CT – January 10, 1975

Stratford, Connecticut – January 10, 1975

Updated July 30, 2018

     At 12:30 p.m. on January 10, 1975, a twin-engine Piper Apache airplane took off from Meriden-Wallingford Airport bound for Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y.  Shortly before 12:53 p.m., the engine developed mechanical difficulty while passing over Stratford.  Witnesses later told reporters that they heard the engine skipping before the airplane went into a nosedive and crashed and exploded.  The aircraft went down on Cutspring Road, a residential area in the northern part of Stratford, but no homes were damaged.  The 54-year-old pilot from Long Island was the only person aboard, and was killed instantly.


     New York Times, “L.I. Businessman is Killed In Connecticut Plane Crash”, January 11, 1975.    

     Hartford Courant, “Man Dies In Plane Crash”, January 11, 1975, with photo of accident scene. Page 9.

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Conn. Plane Crash Kills Pilot”, January 11, 1975, page 2

Trumbull, CT – August 4, 1967

Trumbull, Connecticut – August 4, 1967

     At 10:40 p.m. on August 4, 1967, a Cessna 182 with two couples aboard took off from Bridgeport Airport. (Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport) 

     It is speculated that shortly after take off the plane’s engine began to malfunction based on two witnesses who told police they heard the engine sputtering just before the plane crashed off Porter’s Hill Road in the neighboring town of Trumbull.  The crash occurred less than fifteen minutes after departure.

     The plane came down in a wooded area about 250 yards from a development of private homes, and about 75 yards in from the roadway, and burst into flames. 


     The Morning Record, “Four Killed In Trumbull Plane Crash”, August 5, 1967

     New York Times, “Connecticut Crash Kills Four In Plane”, August 6, 1967


East Granby, CT – March 4, 1953

East Granby, Connecticut – March 4, 1953


C-46D Commando  U. S. Air Force Photo

C-46D Commando
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On March 4, 1953, a civilian C-46 cargo plane owned by Slick Airways,  (N4717N), took off from Idlewild (Kennedy) Airport in New York City bound for Bradley International Airport.  (Bradley is on the town lines of East Granby and Windsor Locks Connecticut.)   The aircraft was carrying radio recordings for Armed Forces Radio Service.   

     As the C-46 approached for landing in a driving rain storm it crashed and exploded in a wooded area of East Granby, about 1.6 miles southwest of the runway, between South Main St. and Seymour Rd.   Both crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as Jefferson R. Elliott, 32, of Des Plaines, Ill., and John Bielak, 37, of Elmhurst, Ill. 

     Updated August 4, 2016

     The aircraft involved in the accident was built for the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII, (Ser. #2509).  It was acquired by Slick Airways as surplus in July of 1947 and converted for civil use.  At the time of the accident it had 14,310 flying hours. 


     Spokane Daily Chronicle, “Crash Kills 2 Airmen”, March 4, 1953

     Reading Eagle, “Two Killed In Crash Of Big Cargo Plane”, March 5, 1953

     New York Times, “Connecticut Air Crash Kills 2”, March 5, 1953

     Wikipedia – Bradley International Airport

     Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report, file number 1-0015, adopted September 17, 1953, released September 22, 1953


Pomfret, CT – August 28, 1988

Pomfret, Connecticut – August 28, 1988

     In the early morning hours of August 28, 1988, a small airplane with four people aboard left Keene, New Hampshire, bound for Windham Airport in Connecticut.  At 2:30 a.m. the aircraft abruptly disappeared from Windham radar and a search was instituted.  The wreckage was found at noon in a thickly wooded area of Pomfret.  All four persons aboard were killed.

     Source: New York Times, “4 Die In Plane Crash In Rural Connecticut”, August 29, 1988

Connecticut River – July 12, 1996

Connecticut River – July 12, 1996

Hartford-Brainard Airport

     At about 11:15 a.m., on July 12, 1996, a single-engine Piper Malibu with six people aboard took off from Hartford-Brainard Airport bound for Block Island, Rhode Island.  Five of the six  were members of the same family, the pilot was not related.  

    Just after take off the plane began to loose altitude as it passed over the nearby Connecticut River.  Two fishermen in a boat watched as the Piper as it dropped lower and lower.  One later remarked to reporters that at first he thought the pilot was going to buzz the river just before one wing caught the water and the plane dove in roughly 100 yards away from them.   

     The fishermen immediately went the assist any survivors, and were quickly joined by another boat.  Together they plucked two children and two adults from the water.  Two women were given floatation devices and kept afloat until fire department rescue boats arrived.  Although badly shaken from the ordeal, all six persons survived.


     New York Times, “Fishermen Save 6 After Crash Of Small Plane”, July 13, 1996


Glastonbury, CT – October 11, 1989

Glastonbury, Connecticut – October 11, 1989

     On the evening of October 11, 1989, a single-engine Piper-Cherokee airplane crashed in the woods about 300 yards in from Route 3, near the Connecticut River and Putnam Bridge.  both the pilot and passenger were killed, but their names were not immediately released.

     One man who saw the wreckage stated that the plane had nosed in and the wings had been torn away.

     Source: New York Times, “2 Killed In Plane Crash In Connecticut Woods”, October 12, 1989 

Windsor Locks, CT – August 21, 1941 – The case of Lt. Eugene M. Bradley

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – August 21, 1941

The Case of Lieutenant Eugene M. Bradley

P-40 Warhawk U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk

U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 21, 1941, Second Lieutenant Eugene M. Bradley was killed when the P-40C fighter plane he was piloting (# 41-13348), crashed at Windsor Locks Army Air Field during a training flight.  What makes this accident historically significant is that it led to the air field being re-named in his honor.  We know it today as Bradley International Airport. 

     The accident occurred while Lt. Bradley was  taking part in a mock dog-fight with 1st Lt. Frank H. Mears, Jr.  Both men were assigned to the 64th Pursuit Squadron of the 57th Fighter group which had just arrived at Windsor Locks two days earlier.

     Portions of the Army crash investigation report of the accident are posted here for historical purposes.     

2nd Lt. Eugene Bradley Accident Investigation Report Face Sheet CLICK TO ENLARGE

2nd Lt. Eugene Bradley

Accident Investigation Report Face Sheet


     Lt. Mears gave a statement to Army investigators in which he related the following:  “Lieutenant Bradley took off at 9:30 a.m., August 21, 1941, for a combat mission.  I took off at 9:35 a.m., and met him at 5,000 feet over the airdrome.  After Lt. Bradley dropped into formation, we proceeded to 10,000 feet.  Normal combat procedures were started and, on the first turn, I got on his tail.  After making several turns we had lost between four and five thousand feet (of) altitude.  Just before getting him in my sights the last time, I called Lt. Bradley on the radio saying that this was enough.  Immediately following this he went into a diving turn and pulled out so hard that heavy white streamers appeared off his wing tips; at this point I was pulling up and away and he went out of sight under my left wing.  I then banked to the left again to see where Lt. Bradley had gone and saw him in a spin; the spin appeared to be a normal spin, but slow.  I immediately told him to straighten out and get out.  He continued in the spin until he crashed, about a mile west of Windsor Locks Airfield”      

Witness Statement Of 1st Lt. Frank H. Mears, Jr. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Witness Statement Of

1st Lt. Frank H. Mears, Jr.


     (Later in the war, Lt. Mears was promoted to Lt. Colonel, and became commander of the 57th Fighter Group.)

     The accident was also witnessed by at least four men on the ground, each of whom gave statements to investigators.       

Witness Statement Of 2nd Lt. Glade B. Bilby CLICK TO ENLARGE

Witness Statement Of

2nd Lt. Glade B. Bilby


     One of those four was 2nd Lt. Glade B. Bilby, who wrote in his statement: “I observed the plane in what appeared to me to be the last 3/4 of a slow roll at approximately 4,000 to 4,500 feet.  It continued to roll until bottom side up and then came down in a half roll.  It was not a spinning motion but one of a roll until it turned one turn to the left.  Then it stopped rolling and continued to dive into the ground.  This cessation of roll was at an altitude of approximately 750 feet.  The plane at all times appeared to roll deliberately as if under control until the pull-out should have been started.”      

     (On July 20, 1942, Lt. Bilby survived a crash landing while piloting a P-40 in Africa, (#41-13911).  While overseas, he would be credited with shooting down  3.5 enemy aircraft, and would go on to command the 64th Pursuit Squadron.)    

Witness Statement Of M/Sgt. Guy C. Howard CLICK TO ENLARGE

Witness Statement Of

M/Sgt. Guy C. Howard


     Master Sergeant Guy C. Howard told investigators: “August 21st, at about 10:00 a.m. M/Sgt. Smith, Baird and I were standing on the ramp watching two P-40’s dog fighting.  The airplanes were to my belief at 5,000 feet or better. After a couple of tight turns one airplane got on the other’s tail and stayed there momentarily then pulled up and away.  The other stayed in the turn and turned over on it’s back, (and) nosed down into a slow spin.  It spun slowly to about 500 feet then stopped, and dove at a slight angle to the ground.”  

     Master Sergeant Smith related, “On or about 10:00 a.m. August 21, 1941, I was standing on the ramp with two other Non-Commissioned officers, Master Sgt. Baird and Master Sgt. Howard, watching the dog-fight between two P-40’s, estimated altitude 5,000 feet.  These planes were circling.  When breaking formation both planes let out twin streamers from the tails of the ships.  While the leading ship was making a left bank going away, the other ship nosed down, went into a tail spin and at an altitude of approximately 800 feet, the ship seemed to straighten out and went into a nose dive.  Before the ship hit the ground it seemed as if the pilot was fighting the controls of the ship to straighten it out, because the ship was wriggling in a manner to indicate this.”

Witness Statement Of M/Sgt. Smith CLICK TO ENLARGE

Witness Statement Of

M/Sgt. Smith


     Master Sergeant Charles C. Baird stated:  “About 10:00 a.m. August 21, 1941, I was standing on the ramp watching two P-40C’s doing aerial combat.  The altitude was about 5,000 feet.  the leading ship made a sharp turn to the left and went into an inverted left spin.  It made about four turns in the spin.  At approximately 500 feet the ship came out of the spin and went into a vertical dive.  The nose had not come up at all when it disappeared from sight.”

Witness Statement Of M/Sgt. Charles C. Baird CLICK TO ENLARGE

Witness Statement Of

M/Sgt. Charles C. Baird


     The accident investigation committee wrote in part: “It is the opinion of this committee that insufficient evidence exists to permit an exact classification of this accident.” 

     After describing the accident in the narrative, the committee wrote: “There is no evidence to establish whether the accident resulted from materiel failure, personnel error, or from other causes.  Whether or not the pilot had full use of his faculties after the spin out and during the decent cannot be determined.  Had there been materiel failure the pilot had sufficient altitude to leave the ship, but since his safety belt was found to be buckled after the accident he apparently made no attempt to get out. There was also ample altitude (5,000 feet) in which to regain control of the airplane after it spun out.  Since a doubt exists in (1) the pilot’s use of his faculties, (2) whether or not the airplane could be controlled in its descent, or (3) whether materiel failure occurred; the cause of this accident cannot be determined.”     

     The investigation committee also ruled out sabotage.

Investigation Committee Findings CLICK TO ENLARGE

Investigation Committee Findings


      There are photographs in existence reportedly showing the wreck of Lt. Bradley’s P-40 aircraft, however there is no indication in the accident investigation report that any official photos were taken as part of the investigation.  In fact, one portion of the accident investigation committee’s narrative states, “Photographs of the wreck would not add useful evidence…”  Therefore, it can be surmised that any photos of Lt. Bradley’s wrecked aircraft were taken by other persons not involved with the investigation.   

     In 2005, a search was begun to locate the site of where Lt. Bradley’s P-40 crashed.  It was no small undertaking, for the airport had grown and changed significantly since World War II, and although Lt. Bradley’s fatal accident was the first to occur at the field, it wasn’t the last.   

     According to an Associated Press newspaper article which appeared September 15, 2009, when Bradley’s P-40  crashed, parts of the engine were buried thirteen feet deep, and only the tail was seen protruding from the ground.  Heavy equipment removed the wreckage, and the hole was filled by using a bulldozer.   Therefore, researchers didn’t expect to find a complete aircraft, only small pieces of one, which would then have to be identified as coming from a P-40.  

     Researchers sifted through various state and military records, old aerial photographs of the air field, newspaper collections, and other sources while gathering information in their quest.  Several potential sites were examined.  The wreck site was finally determined to be under Runway 33 of Bradley International Airport.  The runway was extended in the 1960s to allow jet airliners to land, and the site was unknowingly paved over.              

     Eugene Bradley was born in Dela, Oklahoma, July 15, 1917,  and was 24-years-old at the time of his death.  He’s buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, in San Antonio, Texas, Section E, Site 67.  He was survived by his wife and unborn child.     

     Windsor Locks Army Air Field came under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army in 1941 after acquiring the land from the State of Connecticut.  The air field was re-named to honor Lt. Bradley on January 20, 1942.  After the war the airfield reverted to civilian use and is today Connecticut’s primary airport.          


U.S. Army Crash Investigation Report, dated August 25, 1941     

Associated Press, “68-Year-Old Plane Crash Site Possibly Found”, by Joe Piraneo, September 15, 2009 

Associated Press, “Crash Site Of Bradley Airport’s Namesake Pinpointed”, November 26, 2010

Connecticut’s Archaeological Heritage: “The Search For Lt. Eugene Bradley’s Plane Crash”, by Nick Bellantoni, Thomas Palshaw, Paul Scannell, and Roger Thompson. (No Date)  

57th Fighter Group – First In Blue, by Carl Molesworth, Osprey Press, copyright 2011.  

Findagrave.com, Memorial #14952762  (Has photo of Lt. Bradley)  

Wikipedia – Bradley International Airport

Little Narragansett Bay – July 12, 1945

Little Narragansett Bay – July 12, 1945

Updated August 21, 2017


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On July 12. 1945, five navy fighter aircraft from Groton (Ct.) Naval Air Station were participating in a dive-bombing training flight over Little Narragansett Bay on the Connecticut/Rhode Island state line. All planes were scheduled to make eight runs at the target.  The first seven runs were completed without incident.  As the flight of aircraft were making their eighth run, Lt. (Jg.) Frankilton Nehemiah Johnson, 23, piloting an F4U Corsair, (Bu. No. 81435), made his dive on the target from 8,000 feet and leveled off at 80 feet at the completion of his run.  It was at this time that his aircraft was seen to suddenly nose over and crash into the water of Little Narragansett Bay about 140 feet from shore.  The plane exploded on impact and he was killed.       

     Little Narragansett Bay is a body of water located on the Rhode Island/Connecticut state line where the towns of Westerly, R.I. and Stonington, Ct. meet.  

     Johnson’s body was brought to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before being sent home to New Orleans, La., for burial.  He’s buried in Garden of Memories, Metairie, Louisiana. (see www.findagrave.com, Memorial #119852076)   

     Lt. (Jg.) Johnson was assigned to Air Squadron 19, aboard the USS Lexington.   


     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-64

     National Archives, AAR 21-45, TD450712RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.


Preston, CT – October 19, 1944

Preston, Connecticut – October 19, 1944

Updated January 14, 2019


Hellcat Fighters
U.S. Navy Photo

 On the night of October 19, 1944, Ensign George Kenneth Krause, 22, and Ensign Merle Henry Longnecker, 20, took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a night tactics training flight over Connecticut.  Each was piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat.  The Bu. No. for Ensign Krause’s aircraft was 70519, and Ensign Longnecker was piloting Bu. No. 70826. 

     At about 10:30 p.m., both aircraft were over the Norwich State Hospital area conducting mock interceptions when they were involved in a mid-air collision with each other.  Scattered wreckage fell over a large area, some coming down about one mile northeast of the hospital. Neither pilot survived.        

     Both men were assigned to Carrier Air Service Unit (CASU) 25 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island. 

     Ensign Krause is buried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   To see a photo of him, click on the link below.   


     Ensign Longnecker was survived by his wife Blanche.  He’s buried in New Rockford, North Dakota. To see a photo of him, click on the link below.  


     Ensign Longnecker had survived an earlier aircraft accident only a few days earlier on October 12, 1944.  On that date he was practicing night carrier landings at Charlestown NAAF, while piloting another F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42794).  The weather was foggy with a 700 foot cloud ceiling making for poor visibility.  After making four successful landings and take-offs, he crash-landed while making his fifth approach.  The aircraft was damaged, but he was not hurt.  


     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 19, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 12, 1944

     Rhode Island Department Of Health death certificates

     The Norwich Bulletin, “Veterans Group Plans 70th Anniversary Tribute To Pilots killed In Preston Crash”, October 17, 2014 


Lebanon, CT – September 3, 1944

Lebanon, Connecticut – September 3, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat U.S. Navy photo

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On September 3, 1944, Ensign Timothy Edward Sullivan of the 46th Fighter Squadron was piloting  an F6F Hellcat over Lebanon on a gunnery practice mission when he crashed in Red Cedar Lake and was killed.  The accident occurred about 100 yards from Camp Moween, a summer resort for campers. 

     State troopers from the Colchester barracks had to wade through thick brush to reach the crash scene.  Recovery efforts were hampered by a silty bottom strewn with tree trunks and partly submerged logs.  Ensign Sullivan’s body was recovered hours later in about 12 feet of water by a diver from the Groton submarine base.  

    Ensign Sullivan was from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and was 20-years-old at the time of his death.    


The Norwich Bulletin, “Navy Pilot Dies In Plane Crash Into Lebanon Lake” , September 5, 1944

Rhode Island Department of Health Records. (N.K. GOV 82)

History of Fighting Squadron 46, Men-O-War. (Has squadron photos and a picture of Ensign Sullivan.)   digicom.bpl.lib.me.us/ww_reg_his/132/


East Haven, CT – June 7, 1971

East Haven, Connecticut – June 7, 1971

     At 7:14 a.m. on June 7, 1971, Allegheny Airlines Flight 485 departed Washington D.C.  bound for Trumbull Airport, (Today known as Groton-New London Airport) in Connecticut.  The flight arrived at 8:13 a.m. but weather conditions prevented landing, and the aircraft was put in a holding pattern.

     The aircraft was an Allison Prop Jet Convair 340/440, registration number N5832.  

     At 8:35 a.m. the weather at Groton-New London was reported to be an indefinite ceiling at 200 feet, with visibility one mile in fog, and surface winds at 220 degrees blowing at 5 knots.

     At 8:41 Flight 485 requested clearance to land under Instrument Flight Rules, and four minutes later clearance was granted. 

     At 8:52 a.m. Flight 485 reported a “missed approach”.  Over the next few minutes the pilot attempted two more IFR landings without success. By this point visibility had dropped to 3/4 of a mile and the cloud ceiling had dropped to 100 feet.

     Flight 485 landed successfully on the fourth attempt and arrived at the gate at 9:23 a.m.

     At that time 20 passengers got off the plane, and 14 new passengers boarded. The aircraft now contained 31 people: 2 pilots, 1 stewardess, 26 adult passengers, and 2 infants.  The flight departed at 9:33 a.m. bound for Tweed Airport in New Haven, Connecticut.

     At 9:48 a.m. Flight 485 was cleared to land on Runway 2 at Tweed Airport.  The weather at Tweed was a partially obscured sky with visibility at 1.75 miles in fog, and wind blowing at 180 degrees at 5 knots.

     As the aircraft was making its final approach, it came in very low over the water of Long Island Sound amid intermittent fog and clouds.  Moments before reaching land, it had dropped to less than 30 feet above the water before it struck the upper portions of three beach houses along the shoreline of East Haven, Connecticut, near Morgan Point.  The impact of the homes was later determined to be only 25 feet above sea level.  (The three homes were set ablaze from the accident and were subsequently destroyed.)  

     After striking the homes, the plane hit the ground, broke apart, and caught fire. It had crashed 4,890 feet short of the end of Runway 2.  (Tweed Airport is located on the New Haven/East Haven town lines. The actual impact took place in East Haven.)  

     There were no reports of anyone on the ground being injured.

     Only three people survived the crash: one crew member and two passengers.  The first officer, James A. Walker, 34, was critically injured when he was ejected from the cockpit as the plane broke apart, but he survived.   The two passengers,  Janet McCaa, 28, and Norman Kelly, 38, escaped the from the burning cabin through an emergency exit.

     As to those who didn’t survive, autopsy results determined that of those on board,  only the pilot, Capt. David G. Eastridge, 39,  received fatal injures from the crash.   The rest of the passengers, and the lone stewardess, Judith L. Manning, 27,  perished due to the smoke and or flames that resulted from the crash.


Crash site diagram of  Allegheny Airlines Flight 485,  June 7, 1971,  from the NTSB investigation report  #NTSB-AAR-72-20

Crash site diagram of
Allegheny Airlines Flight 485,
June 7, 1971,
from the NTSB investigation report

                                                    Click on image to enlarge.


     NTSB Crash Investigation Report, NTSB-AAR-72-20, File #1-0006, adopted June 1, 1972

     The Daili Illini, “Plane Crash In Fog Kills 28”, June 8, 1971

     (Sumter S.C.) The Daily Item, “Plane Crash Cause Given”, August 28, 1972, Pg. 13B


Groton, CT – October 9, 1945

Groton, Connecticut – October 9, 1945

Updated July 2, 2019


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the afternoon October 9, 1945, navy Lieutenant John Seymour Tyler, 24, was piloting an Vought F4U-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 81424), 5,000 feet over the Groton area on a familiarization flight.  At about 3:30 p.m. he began practicing a series of aerial loops.  After completing the first loop successfully, he immediately began a second, but as he reached the top of the second loop the aircraft stalled and went into an inverted spin.  As the plane fell it appeared to partially recover before it went back into a spin.  Lieutenant Tyler was killed when the aircraft crashed.        

      Lieutenant Tyler’s body was brought to the Quonset Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before being transported to New York for burial.  According to a Rhode Island death certificate, he was born in San Francisco, California, and listed an address of Hudson Parkway, New York, N.Y. 

     Lieutenant Tyler was attached to VBF-4.  


     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death certificate #45-97

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 9, 1945

     Info provided by Mr. Philip O. Richart who contacted New England Aviation History.  Prior to his contact, the details of this accident and type of aircraft were not known.  Thank you Mr. Richart. 

Stratford, CT – April 13, 1911

Stratford, CT – April 13, 1911

Lordship Park

     On April 13, 1911, George C. Nealy, aka “Steeple Jack” Nealy, aka “The Human Fly”, was making a trial flight in a Bleriot aeroplane at Lordship Park in Stratford, when a sudden gust of wind suddenly sent the aircraft plunging forty feet to the ground.  Nealy was tossed out by the impact and suffered only minor injuries.  It was believed the airplane could be repaired. 

     It was reported in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer that “Nealy is one of Stanley Y. Beache’s “stable of aviators”.  Beach has several machines at his hangar in Stratford, two Bleriots, a Curtiss biplane, and others. ”   

     “Steeple Jack” Nealy gained fame when he hung upside down from the spire atop the Singer Tower in Manhattan, N.Y., and took photographs of the view – something that had not been done before.   

     The 47-story Singer Tower was the tallest building in the world from 1908 to 1909.  It was demolished in 1968.

     Nealy had placed an advertisement in the March 1911 issue of Aircraft  that read as follows:

    “Steeple Jack” Nealy, better known as The Human Fly, would like to run an aeroplane for some reliable company.  I am the man that hung by my toes from the Singer Building flag pole 674 feet high.  Have made many parachute descents and have invented an automatic device for stability.  Geo. C. Nealy, 1454 Rockaway Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.”


     The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, “Steeple Jack Has Mishap In Aeroplane”, April 14, 1911, First Section, Page 4.  

     Aircraft, classified ads, “Steeple Jack Nealy”,March, 1911.

     Wikipedia – Singer Tower



Stafford Springs, CT – January 5, 1929

Stafford Springs, Connecticut – January 5, 1929

     On January 5, 1929, a small plane carrying mail for the U.S. Postal Service crashed in poor weather conditions on the outskirts of Stafford Springs, Connecticut.   

     The plane was a Fairchild FC-2, (NC5650), owned by Colonial Air Transport. 

     The 26-year-old pilot was killed.   



     Hagley Digital Archives at digital.hagley.org

East Haddam, CT – June 24, 1949

East Haddam, Connecticut – June 24, 1949

     On June 24, 1949, an F-47N aircraft (Ser. No. 44-89432) belonging to the Connecticut Air National Guard crashed in the Hadlyme section of East Haddam while on a training flight.  Witnesses reported the plane to be trailing dark smoke as it went down.  The pilot, 2nd Lt. Robert S. Leighton, 25, of Portland, Maine, was killed. 

     Investigators were unable to determine a cause for the crash.

     Lt. Leighton is buried in Saint Hyacinth Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine.

     This accident was the third fatality involving a Connecticut Air Guard F-47 in two years, prompting Major General Frederick G. Reincke  to ground all F-47’s belonging to the Connecticut National Guard until further notice.


     The New Era, (Deep River Ct.) “F-47’s Grounded Following Crash”, June 30, 1049, Pg. 4 

     Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #49-6-24-1

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #157286689



Groton, CT – October 19, 1944

Groton, Connecticut – October 19, 1944

Updated January 13, 2019


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On October 19, 1944, a navy Hellcat fighter plane crashed into the roof of a home belonging to Fillibert L. Bergeron, causing substantial damage to the structure.  (The exact address was not stated in the press.)  As the plane tore through the house, it snagged the blanket off a sleeping 2-year-old girl.  After striking the home, the aircraft continued onward and came down in the nearby school yard of the Colonel Ledyard School on Chicago Avenue.  State troopers found the blanket amidst the aircraft wreckage. 

     The pilot was identified as navy Lieutenant W. J. McCartney, of Toledo, Ohio, who survived the ordeal with non-life threatening injuries. 

     The sleeping girl was unharmed.       

     Update: Lieutenant McCartney later married a woman who lived in the home his aircraft crashed into.  The story of their romance was published in a book titled “New London Goes To War” (c. 2011), written by Connecticut author Clark van der Lyke, who in 1944 was a child attending the school where Lieutenant McCartney’s Hellcat came to rest.   Mr. van der Lyke has also published the story in Kindle format under the title “Cupid Was His Co-pilot”.


     New York Times, “Plane Wrecks Room; Sleeping Baby Saved”, October 20, 1944.    (Two photos with article.)


Lyme, CT – June 21, 1943

Lyme, Connecticut – June 21, 1943


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

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

     On Wednesday, June 23, 1943, two P-47B fighter planes assigned to the 326th Fighter Group, 322nd Squadron, based at Westover Field in Massachusetts, were engaged in a training flight over Lyme, Connecticut, when they collided in mid-air in the vicinity of the Lyme School.

     The pilot of one plane, (41-6035) Lt. Elmer Buss, was able to bail out safely, but the pilot of the other plane, (41-6052) Lt. William Carlton Ives, 21, was killed. 

     Lt. Ives is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. For a photo of his grave, see www.findagrave.com #86564235.   


     The New Era, (Deep River Ct.)  “Pilot Dies In Crash Of Planes At Lyme”, June 25, 1943, pg. 1


Brainard Field, CT – September 3, 1940

Brainard Field

Hartford, Connecticut – September 3, 1940


      On September 3, 1940, an American Airlines DC-3 (NC19974) left Boston at 6:10 a.m. bound for New York City with an intermediate stop at Brainard Field in Hartford.  As the flight neared Hartford, it encountered fog conditions, and after circling the field twice, the pilot elected to land the plane.   As he was making his final approach, the pilot chose to set down on the grassy area parallel to the runway because by doing so he could use the administration building as a guide in lining up for a straight landing as the area where the building was located was clear of ground fog which was obscuring the rest of the field.   

     The available landing area that would have been afforded the incoming plane was 3,880 feet, however, the plane didn’t actually touch down until it had passed over 2, 450 feet, leaving only 1,430 feet to stop.  When the pilot applied the brakes he was unable to stop due to the wet grass, but he managed to steer the aircraft past the airport boundary onto soft bumpy ground where it abruptly stopped, nosed over, then fell back hard on its tail, resulting in extensive damage to the plane, and minor injury to one passenger.  

     The plane carried fourteen passengers and a crew of three, a pilot, co-pilot, and stewardess. 


     Civil Aeronautics Board accident investigation report, #2893-40


Hartford, CT – February 3, 1930

Hartford, Connecticut – February 3, 1930

Brainard Filed


Issued In 1930

Issued In 1930

  On February 3, 1930, air mail pilot Lieutenant Carey T. Pridham, 29, took off from Newark Airport in a Pitcairn biplane bound for Brainard Filed in Hartford, Connecticut.  As he was attempting to land at Brainard, the plane struck an observation platform located on the roof of the field house, tearing off the left wing, and sending the aircraft into the Connecticut River about 100 feet off shore.  The plane landed upside down pinning the pilot inside.  By the time someone could reach the site by boat Lt. Pridham was dead.

     Lt. Pridham was born in Virginia, and lived in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children.   He’d been flying for over eight years and had 2,500 hours of flight time.  He’d been flying the mail since July of 1929. 

     The aircraft belonged to Colonial Air Transport.

     To see a photo of Lt. Pridman click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/161164136/carey-thompson-pridham 


     New York Times, “Mail Flier Killed In Hartford Crash”, February 4, 1930  


Danbury, CT – October 4, 1947

Danbury, Connecticut – October 4, 1947

     At 2:25 p.m. on the afternoon of October 4, 1947, two planes, each with a pilot and student aboard, collided in mid-air over edge of the Danbury Fair grounds.  The crash occurred at an altitude of only 800 feet, in full view of thousands of people.    

     The collision tore a wing off each aircraft.  One plane crashed in a field next to Route 6, while the other came down on the farm of J. Arthur Keeler, just missing his house.  Keeler put the flames of the burning wreckage out with a garden hose before fire fighters arrived.   

     The plane that crashed on the Keeler farm was a Cessna 140.  Both the pilot, Walter James O’Neill, and his student, Mrs. Edith Dowswell, of Hartsdale, New York, were killed.  Mrs. Dowswell reportedly jumped from the plane just before impact.

     The other aircraft was an Aeronca, piloted by Howard C. Dunn, 33, of North Stamford, Connecticut.  Both he and his student, Mrs. Edith R. Heydt, 38, of Darien, Connecticut, were killed.   

     According to one elderly witness, the planes were doing stunts just before the crash, however investigators didn’t feel this was accurate.  An employee of the nearby Danbury Airport was driving past in his car at the time, and it was his opinion the planes were attempting to land at the airport. 


     New York Times, “4 killed As Planes Collide Near Danbury Fair Crowd”, October 4, 1947 


Farmington, CT – April 11, 1945

Farmington, Connecticut – April 11, 1945

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

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

     On April 11, 1945, two P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for an instrument training flight.  One of the aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-22360), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Vincent Hugh Core, 20, of Brooklyn, New York.  While passing over the town of Framington, Lt. Core’s aircraft was observed to plunge straight down into a wooded swampy area and explode leaving a crater reported to be 12 to 15 feet deep, and 30 feet wide.  One source identifies the location as being on a farm belonging to John Lipski, and another as belonging to Leo Grouten.  

       In 1987, 41 years after the crash, David Tabol, a Farmington Boy Scout, erected a granite monument near the crash site as a memorial to Lt. Core.  (The site is now part of the Unionville State Forrest.)   Further back in the woods is a crude piles of rocks, which some believe was left by the military clean-up crew to serve as a marker for the site.  


     The Bristol Press, “Pilot Killed, Plane Blown To Pieces In Crash In Farmington”, April 11, 1945, pg. 1

     The Bristol Press, ” Army Investigating Crash Of Plane In Farmington; Brooklyn Flier Is Killed”, April 12, 1945

     The Bristol Press,”WWII Tragedy, Air Force Pilot Crashes, Dies In Unionville Forest In 1945″, by Ken Lipshez, October, 1995.

     Connecticut Department Of Health Death Certificate


Willington, CT – September 3, 1927

Willington, Connecticut – September 3, 1927

Missing Airmail Pilot 

      At 7:15 p.m. on the evening of September 2, 1927, a U.S. Airmail plane belonging to Colonial Air Transport Inc. left Boston bound for Brainard Field in Hartford.  The pilot was identified as Daniel G. Cline, 33, reported to be “one of the most experienced in the service of Colonial.”  There was also an unidentified passenger aboard.

     The trip was to take one hour, but while in-route Cline encountered misty rain and foggy weather, and was forced to make a landing in a field in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  There he waited for the weather to clear. 

     At 10: 15 p.m. he took off again, but left his passenger behind.  However foul weather forced him to make another emergency landing, this time in Webster, Massachusetts.  There he waited until after midnight to resume his journey.  After Cline’s departure, officials at Brainard Filed were informed that his aircraft  was once again airborne, and should be arriving within a half-hour.   But Cline never arrived, and when no word of another forced landing was received, so a search was instituted.

     The missing plane was discovered in a thickly wooded area along a rocky hill on the farm of John Hitsky, located in an area known as Moose Meadows in the town of Willington, Connecticut.  Cline’s body was found inside. 


     Cline was the first mail pilot flying the newly established Boston – Hartford – New York airmail route to die in the line of duty.  Two others would follow.    https://newenglandaviationhistory.com/mt-lamentation-berlin-ct-september-17-1929/


     Woonsocket Call, “Air Express Plane 16 Hours Overdue, Believed To Be Lost”, September 3, 1927, pg. 1   

     New York Times, “Air Express Pilot Dead After Crash”, September 4, 1927

     Evening Star, (Wash. D.C.), “Mail Pilot Dies As Plane Crashes”, September 4, 1927, pg. 4



East Hampton, CT – August 1, 1968

East Hampton, Connecticut – August 1, 1968

     On the morning of August 1, 1968, the tower at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport received a “very weak and garbled radio distress signal” from a small aircraft piloted by Richard A. Smith, 39.    A search was instituted, and the aircraft was located in a thickly wooded section of East Hampton.  The pilot’s body was still inside.


     Woonsocket Call, “Welles In-Law Killed In Plane”, August 2, 1968, pg. 1

Somers, CT – April 6, 1942

Somers, Connecticut – April 6, 1942

    Updated March 6, 2016

P-38 Lightning U.S. Air Force photo

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

    On April 6, 1942, a U.S. Army P-38 Lightning, (AF-112) piloted by 2nd Lt. Raymond Allen Keeney, 24, crashed in a potato field in the Somersville section of the town of Somers, Connecticut, and burst into flames.  The wing of the plane clipped a tree just before the crash.  

     Lt. Keeney was born and raised in Somers, Connecticut, and was familiar with the area which he was flying over.  He attended local schools, and after graduation from the Texas Institute of Technology he enlisted in the Air Corps on March 17, 1941, in Lubbock, Texas.  It was while attending Texas Institute that he met his wife Christine, whom he married October 31, 1941, which was also the day he received his pilot’s wings.    At the time of his death he was assigned to the 62nd Pursuit Squadron.    

     Lt. Keeney died on his 24th birthday.  He’s buried in the family mausoleum in West Cemetery in Somers, CT.


     Pawtucket Times, “U.S. Pilot Killed In Plane Crash”, April 6, 1942,Pg. 7

     Findagrave.com #137939503

     U.S. Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-12-30-1

    Unknown newspaper attached to Air Corps investigation report, “Flyer Meets Death Near Somers Home”, unknown date.

     Unknown newspaper attached to Air Corps investigation report, “Lt. Keeney Killed In Somersville”, unknown date.  

     Hartford Times, “Funeral Wednesday For Lieut. Keeney Air Crash Victim”, April 7, 1942.


Brooklyn, CT – August 4, 1986

Brooklyn, Connecticut – August 4, 1986


TBM-3E Avenger National Archives Photo

TBM-3E Avenger
U.S. Navy Photo

     On August 4, 1986, a former U.S. Navy TBM-3E Avenger (With civilian registration N6581D) took off from Danielson Airport in Danielson, Connecticut, en-route to Florida for its annual inspection.  Shortly after takeoff the engine began to sputter and skip, and then the aircraft began trailing black smoke.  On witness told state police that the plane was low over the tree tops, and when the engine quit, the plane rolled over and crashed upside-down and exploded.  

     The plane crashed in a wooded-swampy area off Route 6,, between Church St. and Day St., and firefighters had to clear a path to the site.  It then took four hours to put out the flames because they were fed by the magnesium metal used in the plane’s construction.

     The lone pilot, Charles A. Sewell, 56, of Setauket, Long Island, N.Y. was killed.  Sewell was a highly decorated former U.S. Marine Corps pilot having served in both Korea and Vietnam with 330 combat missions to his credit, and more than 10,000 hours flying time. 

     During his 20-year military career he earned the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Corsses, fifteen Air Medals, and two Purple Hearts.  He retired a lieutenant colonel 1969, went to work for Grumman Aircraft on Long Island.  Within two years became their chief test pilot, and was still employed as such at the time of his accident.

     Investigators who examined the wreckage determined that the #8 and #10 piston heads each had a hole burned through them, and others showed signs of head damage.  The last inspection on the plane had been conducted September 7, 1983, and the aircraft had been issued a special permit for this flight.


New York Times, “Grumman’s Chief Test Pilot Dies In Crash Of World War II Bomber”, August  5, 1986.   

NTSB brief #NYC86FA196, microfiche #33675  

Providence Journal Bulletin, “A Top Test Pilot Dies As WWII Bomber Slices Into Woods After Takeoff In Danielson, Conn.”, August 5, 1986, page A9.

Providence Journal, “Top Test Pilot Crashes WWII Craft Near Foster”, August 5, 1986, page 1, (2 photos of crash.)

Westerly Sun, “Vintage Plane’s Crash Kills Grumman Pilot”, August 5, 1986, page 17.

Norwich Bulletin, “Brooklyn Plane Crash Kills Pilot”, August 5, 1986, page 1. (2 photos of crash.)




North Haven, CT – July 7, 1941

North Haven, Connecticut – July 7, 1941

Updated January 17, 2022  

     On July 7, 1941, a Stinson monoplane with three people aboard took off from New Haven Municipal Airport.  Weather conditions were poor, with heavy fog and a very low cloud ceiling.  Minutes later, witnesses stated the craft swooped low roughly 50 feet off the ground and flew between two trees at the edge of a field, before accelerating and clipping a wing on another tree 250 feet away.  After striking the tree, the ship nosed into the ground and burst into flames.

     The 35-year-old pilot and one of the passengers were thrown clear by the impact but received fatal injuries.  The other passenger  was pulled from the flaming wreckage by several men who were working nearby, but she did not survive. 

     It was surmised that the pilot was attempting to land in the field when he aborted the attempt due to rough terrain.  


     Nashua Telegraph, “Three Killed, North Haven Plane Crash”, July 7, 1941, page 1

     New York Times, “Air Commuter Killed With Two In Crash”, July 8, 1941

     The Waterbury Evening Democrat, “Manufacturer OF New Haven, Pilot Of Burned Craft”, July 7, 1941  


Brooklyn, CT – December 26, 1977

Brooklyn, Connecticut – December 26, 1977 

     On December 26, 1977, a Piper Cherokee with three people aboard was passing over Brooklyn, Connecticut, approaching Danielson Airport in the neighboring town of Killingly.  When the plane was about 2,000 yards from the runway, it fell in a wooded section on the Brooklyn side of the town line. 

     A 54-year-old man was killed in the crash, the other two persons aboard were injured.

          Source: New York Times, “One Killed, 3 Hurt In Connecticut Crashes Of Two Small Planes”, December 27, 1977       (The headline refers to another crash earlier that same day where two men were inured when their small plane crashed just after takeoff at Tweed-New Haven Airport.) 

Mount Higby, CT – August 15, 1966

Mount Higby, Connecticut – August 15, 1966  

     On August 15, 1966, a single-engine Cessna 172, (N6003R), with two men aboard left Block Island, Rhode Island, bound for Hartford, Connecticut.  En-route the plane encountered foul weather and crashed into the summit of Mount Higby, roughly sixteen miles from their destination.  

     The pilot, Richard Grimaldi, 32, of Newington, Connecticut, was killed in the initial crash, but the passenger, John Emanuel, 39, survived, and was pinned in the wreckage. 

     The plane was reported missing and a search was instituted, but the plane wasn’t located until August 21st, six days after the crash.  The wreckage was located in a rocky-cliff area about 45 feet from the top of Mount Higby.  Remarkably, John Emanuel was still alive.  He was airlifted off the mountain and brought to Meriden General Hospital in critical condition.  Unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries three days later.     


     New York Times “Flier Is rescued In Connecticut After 6 Days In Plane Wreckage”, August 22, 1966

     New London Day, “Man Survives Six days Trapped In crashed Plane”, August 22, 1966

     New York Daily News, “Man Pinned In Plane 6 Days Should Recover, Doc Say”, August 23, 1966, (With photo of airplane.)

     Lewiston Evening Journal, “Hartford Man Dies As Result Of Plane Crash”, August 24, 1966, pg. 9 

     New London Day, “Man Who Spent 6 Days Trapped In Plane Dies”, August 24, 1966

Wallingford, CT – November 23, 1940

Wallingford, Connecticut – November 23, 1940

     On November 23, 1940, Omar Simonds, 20, a student at Yale University, and part of the University’s student pilot training program, was taking off from Lufbery Airport when the aircraft pancaked into a gully near the end of the runway.   He was transported to New Haven Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.  It was reported that the airplane, although heavily damaged,  could be repaired.   

     Source: New York Times, “Student Pilot In Crash”, November 24, 1940

Tolland, CT – July 4, 1973

Tolland, Connecticut – July 4, 1973

Updated July 20, 2017

     On July 4, 1973, a Piper Cherokee with a father and his two sons aboard left Orange County, New York, bound for Hopedale Airport in Hopedale, Massachusetts.  Shortly after 6:00 p.m. the aircraft crashed into a home on Columbine Road in the Hillside Estates section of Tolland.  All three occupants of the airplane were killed instantly.  The plane did not catch fire, however the house suffered major damage. 

     The homeowner was not home at the time of the crash.

     One witnesses told reporters that the plane had suddenly appeared from the low cloud cover with its “engine roaring”.  It looked as if it would clear the house, but then its right wing dipped and struck a tree near the home.  The fuselage slammed into the home and came to rest about 50 feet away near a wooded tree line.            

     Police and firefighters had trouble reaching the scene due to curious people clogging the road with their cars.   


     The Hartford Courant, “Plane Rams House; Three Die”, July 5, 1973 (Two Photos)

     Pawtucket Times, (R.I.), Photos of house with caption, July 5, 1973, Page 12

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Conn. Air Crash Kills Mass. Father, Sons”, July 5, 1973, page 12

     Providence Journal, “3 Die In Crash Of Light Plane In Connecticut”, July 5, 1973, page 19 

     The Hartford Courant, “Witness Knew None Survived”, July 5, 1973    

      New York Times, “3 killed In Crash Of Private Plane”, July 5, 1973

Stamford, CT – August 27, 1933

Stamford, Connecticut – August 27, 1933

     On August 27, 1933, Army Air Corps pilot Captain Ernest Emery Harmon, 40, took off from  Washington, D.C. bound for Mitchel Field on Long Island, N.Y.  As he neared the New York City metropolitan area he encountered heavy fog and wound up over the coast of Connecticut instead of Long island, N. Y. 

     At 10:00 p.m. he was seen circling low over the  Turn-of-the-River section of the town of Stamford, Connecticut.  After making a wide circle his plane suddenly dove towards the ground and struck group of trees.  The aircraft glanced off the top of one tall tree and then flew on into another smashing the ship to pieces.  The ship came to rest about 300 feet off the Long Ridge Highway, which today is Route 104. 

     Captain Harmon’s body was found about 1/8 of a mile from, the wreck.  It was speculated that he was either thrown from the plane during the first tree strike, or bailed out of the plane at too low of an altitude for his chute to deploy.  It was noted that the plane’s fuel tank was empty. 

     Captain Harmon was a well known and skilled aviator.  He gained national fame in 1919 when he made the first “Round-the -Rim” flight of the United States, flying counterclockwise along the entire borders of the U.S.  The flight, made in a Glenn Martin Bomber, took 114 hours and 45 minutes, covering a distance of about 10,000 miles. 

     Captain Harmon was raised in Tuxedo, Maryland, where he played football at Eastern High School and later attended Bethany College, in West Virginia.  AT the time of his death he was stationed at Mitchell Field on Long Island.  He was survived by his wife Harriette, and three sons.  He’s buried in Arlington national Cemetery.

     For photos and other information about Captain Harmon, click on the links below to go to the Arlington National Cemetery, and Find A Grave Websites.  http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/eeharmon.htm



     New York Times, “Army Plane Crash Kills Air Veteran”, August 28, 1933

     Arlington National Cemetery Website



East Granby, CT – July 9, 1982

East Granby, Connecticut – July 9, 1982

     On July 9, 1982, 1st Lieutenant Daniel Peabody, 27, of the Connecticut Air National Guard, took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks in an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, (Ser. No. 78-0585), for a routine training flight.   His was one of three A-10s taking part in the training exercise.  All of the aircraft were assigned to the 103rd Tactical Fighter Group based at Windsor Locks.

     At 3:35 p.m. as he was returning to Bradley Filed and approaching Runway 6, the aircraft lost all power. and Lt. Peabody was forced to eject at an altitude of only 1,000 feet.  While he landed safely, the A-10 crashed in a field in East Granby, tumbled across a roadway, and through a boundary fence at the edge of  Bradley Field, leaving a debris field that stretched more than 100 yards.    


     The Hour – Norwich Ct. “Air Force To Investigate Jet Crash”, July 10, 1982, Pg. 3, by Martin J. Waters.  

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Guard Pilot Safely Ejects From Fighter Before Crash”, July 11, 1982

Bradley International Airport – June 4, 1984

Bradley International Airport – June 4, 1984

Windsor Locks, Connecticut

     On June 4, 1984, a Learjet 23, (N101PP) left Lorain County Airport in Ohio with scheduled stops at Cleveland, Syracuse, N.Y., Bradley International Airport, and then on to Philadelphia.  At 11:40 p.m., as the plane was making its final approach to Bradley, it veered to the right and crashed in a massive fireball to the right of Runway 33, about 1,000 feet from the airport fire department.  All three people aboard were killed. 

     The dead were identified as:

    (Pilot) Charles Huffman, 32, of North Canton, Ohio.

    (Co-pilot) Ronald Dulay, 26, of Lakewood, Ohio.

    (Passenger) Eldridge Sheetz, 71, of Warsaw, Indiana.

    The cause was blamed on a malfunction of the wing spoiler system which led to a loss of control.    


The Bulletin, UPI article, “Crash of Learjet Takes Three Lives”, June 6, 1984 (Bend and Duthces Co. Oregon)

Aviation Safety Network – Flight Safety Foundation, NTSB

The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Three Killed In Bradley Airport Airplane Crash”, June 5, 1984, page 7

Norwich Bulletin, “Jet Crash At Bradley Claims 3 Lives”, June 5, 1984, page 5.

The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Investigators Puzzled By Crash”, June 6, 1984, page 8, with photo.   

Norwich Bulletin, “Investigation Begins Into Fatal Jet Crash”, June 6, 1984, page 5     

Norwich Bulletin, “Witnesses Describe Learjet Crash”, June 7, 1984, page 8.  


Lake Waramaug, CT – July 7, 1929

Lake Waramaug, Connecticut – July 7, 1929

     Lake Waramaug lies in three towns, Kent, Warren, and New Prospect.  It is unclear in which town this accident occurred. 

     On July 7, 1929, two men, Martin F. (Texas) Brown, 34, and Gordon Spencer Whittley, 19, were in an open cockpit Waco biplane heading from New Jersey to an outing at Lake Waramaug.  Brown was an experienced airman, and of late had been teaching Whittley how to fly.  (Brown was married to Wittley’s older sister, Eleanor.)  The aircraft was equipped with dual controls, and it’s unknown which of the two was piloting the plane as it approached a small landing strip known as Hopkins (Field) along the shores of the lake.  

     Whittley’s older brother Phillip had been awaiting their arrival at the air strip, and as the aircraft passed overhead he signaled which way the wind was blowing.  As the plane began to turn around to land against the direction of the wind, it suddenly lost power and dove nose first into the ground from an altitude of about 400 feet.  Both occupants died instantly.

     Martin Brown was a veteran military pilot (and ACE) of World War I. During his service he was wounded three times by anti-aircraft fire.  After the war he became a pilot for the U.S. Mail.         


     New York Times, “Connecticut Crash fatal To 2 Fliers”, July 8, 1929.

     The Washington Times, “Fatal Airplane Crash Investigation Planned”, July 8, 1929, pg. 19.

     The Daily Worker, (Chicago), “Two Killed In Wreck Of Airplane”, July 9, 1929

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