Manchester, ME – August 19, 1971

Manchester, Maine – August 19, 1971

Allen Hill

     At 8:28 p.m. on August 19, 1971, Downeast Airlines Flight 88 departed Boston’s Logan Airport bound for Rockland, Maine, however, due to fog conditions the flight was re-routed to Augusta State Airport in Augusta Maine.  There were eight people aboard; the pilot and seven passengers.   

     The aircraft was a Piper PA-31, registration N595DE. 

     The flight reached the Augusta area just after 9:00 p.m. and was cleared for a VOR landing approach, but at 9:27 p.m. the pilot reported he’d missed the approach and received clearance to try another.  Intermittent clouds and fog were over the Augusta area hampering visibility.  

     At 9:40 p.m. the pilot radioed that he was now “four miles out” from the airport. This was the last transmission received from the aircraft. 

     Two minutes later the tower at Augusta tried to contact the flight and got no response.

     Flight 88 had plowed into the side of Allen Hill, a thickly wooded prominence in the town of Manchester.  Allen Hill is about 640 feet high, and the aircraft struck at about the 520 foot level.  The wreckage path extended for 325 feet from the point of impact along a heading of 170 degrees.  The crash site is about four nautical miles from the airport’s runway 17.

     The pilot, Dwight French Jr., and two passengers were killed.  Two other passengers were seriously injured, and three other passengers received minor injuries.       


     Source: NTSB report# NTSB-AAR-72-6, File No. 3-0388, adopted Dec. 29, 1971

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