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. 

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