Charlestown, R.I. – February 15, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 15, 1945 


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

     On February 15, 1945, Ensign James T. Wylie, piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42970), was making practice landings and take-offs on Runway 22 at the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Charlestown, Rhode Island.  (The air station was located on the shore of a large body of water known as Ninigret Pond.)  After his fourth landing he took off again, and when he was about 3/4 of a mile off the end of the runway at an altitude of 200 feet, the aircraft’s engine began to sputter, and then stopped.  Ensign Wylie made a successful emergency landing in the water and was able to inflate a rescue raft before the plane sank.  He was rescued by a crash boat about 20 minutes later.


 National Archives TD450215RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

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