Otis Field – April 23, 1946

Otis Field, Massachusetts – April 23, 1946


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 4:36 p.m., on the afternoon of April 23, 1946, a navy SB2C Helldiver, (Bu. No. 85265), was coming in to land at Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, when the aircraft stalled on approach and crashed, ending up on its back and bursting into flames.  The pilot was rescued, but suffered severe burns and a lacerated scalp.   

     The pilot had come from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island and was assigned to Fighter Bomber Squadron 18, (VB-18).

     There was nobody else aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 23, 1946.   

Otis Field – September 10, 1944

Otis Field, Falmouth, Massachusetts – September 10, 1944


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     Just after 2 p.m. on September 10, 1944, a U. S. Navy SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 54180), with two men aboard, took off from Otis Filed.  The pilot was a navy ensign.  The second man was Army Sergeant James Edwin Senter, (21 or 22). 

     The aircraft was seen to climb several hundred feet before it suddenly went into a downward spin to the left.  The pilot managed to jump clear of from an altitude of 500 feet, and his parachute opened just before he hit the ground.  Although injured, he would survive.

     Meanwhile the aircraft crashed just twenty feet away killing Sergeant Senter.

     Sergeant Senter is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  He enlisted in the army in 1940 at the age of 18.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #173920812.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 10, 1944.

Otis Field – May 12, 1944

Otis Field, Massachusetts – May 12, 1944

     On May 12, 1944, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 44913), ground looped after landing at the Otis Army Air Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  The right wing and aileron were damaged but no injuries were reported.


     U.S. Navy accident report #44-44085, dated May 12, 1944. 

Otis Air Force Base – May 31, 1949

Otis Air Force Base – May 31, 1949

Falmouth, Massachusetts


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of May 31, 1949, Lt.(jg.) Roland G. Wittig, (25), was making a landing approach to Otis Air Force Base in a F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121522).  While at an altitude of 500 feet the engine suddenly began to loose power.  The pilot continued his descent with wheels and flaps down and the canopy locked open.  At approximately 60 feet of altitude, the aircraft was seen to stall and crash into the ground where it exploded, killing the pilot instantly.

     Lt.(jg.) Wittig was assigned to Fighter Squadron 32, (VF-32), at Quonset Point, R.I.  He’s buried in George Washington Memorial park in Paramus, New Jersey.  He was survived by his wife.    


     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 31, 1949

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #102167281 

Otis Air Force Base – June 12, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 12, 1947


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

    On June 12, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95125), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island bound for Otis AFB in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Upon landing at Otis, the right wing dropped and struck the runway causing the aircraft to flip onto its back and skid for approximately 500 feet before it came to rest.  The aircraft was badly damaged, but the pilot was not seriously injured.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-17A at Quonset.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 12, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 27, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – June 27, 1947


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 27, 1947, a flight of F8F Bearcats left the Quonset Naval Air Station bound for Otis Air Force base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, to conduct practice carrier landings and takeoffs The aircraft were assigned to VF-8A at Quonset.

     Once at Otis the aircraft commenced the takeoff and landing exercise.  As one aircraft, (Bu. No. 95227), was making its approach for its sixth landing, in came in too close behind the aircraft ahead of it.  After landing, the pilot applied the brakes to avoid a rear-end collision with the plane ahead, but at that moment the left brake failed which caused the aircraft to swerve off the runway and onto a grassy area.  On the grassy area was a parked truck, which the pilot would have struck had he not intentionally ground-looped the aircraft.  After missing the truck, the aircraft went into a small ravine and nosed over onto its back.  The aircraft was substantially damaged, but the pilot was not seriously hurt.   


     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 27, 1947

Woods Hole Harbor – March 3, 1944

Woods Hole Harbor – March 3, 1944  

Woods Hole, Falmouth, Massachusetts  

U.S. Army - Douglas RA-24B, U.S. Air Force Photo

U.S. Army – Douglas RA-24B, U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 10:13 a.m. on March 3, 1944, it was reported that an aircraft had crashed into the water at the entrance to Woods Hole Harbor, about halfway between Nonamessett Island and Juniper Point.  The plane had been seen circling low in the sky when it suddenly “pancaked” into the water.

      Observers on shore stated it appeared to be a navy plane with two men inside.  However, the first boats on the scene recovered an army fliers hat and some paperwork from Otis Field in Falmouth. 

     It was later announced by the Navy public relations office in Newport, R.I.  that the aircraft did not belong to the navy, and the Camp Edwards office on Cape Cod stated none of their coastal patrol aircraft were unaccounted for. Boston naval officials also reported that none of their aircraft were missing.  

     The plane was determined to be a U.S. Army RA-24B Banshee, (Ser. No. 42-54555) piloted by 2nd Lt. Joseph H. Gardner, 29, of Sierra Blanc, Texas.   Gardner had been on a training flight from Otis Filed to practice stalls and spins. 

     Confusion over the plane’s branch of service was cleared up when it was explained that the RA-24B was the army’s version of the U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless dive bomber.       


Falmouth Enterprise, “Plane crashes At Woods Hole” March 3, 1944  

Lawrence Webster, Aviation Historian and Archeologist.    

Falmouth, MA – August 17, 1945

Falmouth, Massachusetts – August 17, 1945 

     On August 17, 1945, Ensign Daniel Ware Goldman, 24, took off from Otis Field in Falmouth in a navy fighter aircraft.  He had no sooner had he taken off when he radioed that he needed to make an emergency landing.  His altitude at the time was about 200 feet, and when he turned to approach the runway his aircraft went into a dive and crashed into a wooded area about a mile from the field.  Ensign Goldman had no chance to bail out and was killed in the wreck.

    Ensign Goldman had been at Otis since May of 1945 training for carrier duty on the new aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Midway. His body was brought to Quonset Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island before being sent to Arlington National cemetery for burial.

     Update: May 17, 2018

     According to a Cape Cod Standard Times article, this accident occurred in the neighboring town of Mashpee.   


Falmouth Enterprise, ”Otis Field Flyer Dies In Crash”, August 24,1945

North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-78

Cape Cod Standard Times, “Otis Field Pilot Dies In Mashpee Crackup”, August 18, 1945, page 1.

Falmouth, MA – May 31, 1949


Falmouth, Massachusetts – May 31, 1949

     On May 31, 1949, a group of U.S. Navy F-8F Bearcats left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, bound for Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, to take part in a rocket firing training exercise.  As the planes approached Otis, one of them suddenly dropped out of formation and crashed in a rotary traffic circle near the 33rd Fighter Wing Headquarters. 
     The pilot was identified as Lieut. (j.g.) Ronald J. Whitting of Bergenfield, New Jersey. 


New York Times, “Crash Kills Navy Pilot”, June 1, 1949 

Falmouth Enterprise, “Navy Pilot Dies In Crash At Otis”, June 3, 1949 

Off Falmouth, MA. – June 9, 1974

Off Falmouth, Massachusetts – June 9, 1974 

     On June 9, 1974, a Stinson 108 Voyager aircraft, (N97154), crash landed in deep water off Monument Beach in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, Cape Cod. The man and woman aboard escaped with minor injuries, and were rescued.  The aircraft was towed to shore by the Coast Guard.    


     Providence Journal, June 10, 1974, page A-22, photo with caption.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, June 10, 1974, page A-6, photo and caption.

Otis Air Force Base – July 9, 1954

Otis Air Force Base – July 9, 1954

Falmouth, Massachusetts

     On the afternoon of July 9, 1954, air force captain Robert J. Fox was scheduled to fly a single-engine L-20 airplane on a routine training flight from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts.   As he was lifting off the runway at 4:05 p.m., the aircraft suddenly lost altitude dipping its wing which caught the ground causing the plane to crash.  Despite heavy damage to the plane, was no fire, and Captain Fox escaped without injury. 

     Fox was assigned to the 4707th Air defense Wing as a communications electronics officer.         


     Falmouth Enterprise, “Capt. Robert Fox Unhurt In Crash”, July 9, 1954

Falmouth, MA – May 26, 1960

Falmouth, Massachusetts – May 26, 1960

Coonamessett Airport

     On the morning of May 26, 1960, Carl D. Jeschke, was practicing a landing approach at Coonamessett Airport in Falmouth, when the Aeronca Champ he was piloting suddenly lost power and crashed behind “the Knollwood” on Boxberry Hill Road.  Although the plane was heavily damaged, Jeschke was unhurt.

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Pilot Unhurt As Light Plane Crashes”, May 27, 1960



Falmouth, MA – July 15, 1951

Falmouth, Massachusetts – July 15, 1951

     On July 15, 1951, a two-passenger Luscombe trainer aircraft took off from Coonamessett Airport, (A small airport in Falmouth), for a sight seeing flight over the area.  As the pilot, Harold A. Fasick Jr. was flying over the home of his passenger, Larry Sands, the engine suddenly quit, and the plane crashed near St. Anthony’s Church in East Falmouth.  Neither of the two men were hurt. 

     Source: Falmouth Enterprise, “Pilot Is Fines After Crack-up In East Falmouth”, August 10, 1951.   


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