Otis Air Force Base – April 9, 1952

Otis Air Force Base – April 9, 1952 

C-47 Aircraft - U.S. Air Force Photo

C-47 Aircraft – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of April 9, 1952, a C-47 transport plane with ten men aboard, took off from Otis Air Force Base in-route to Niagara Falls, New York.  The transport had landed at Otis from Steward AFB in Newburgh, N.Y.  Shortly after take off, while the C-47 was passing over the neighboring Camp Edwards firing range, it was involved in a mid-air collision with an F-94B fighter jet on its way to a gunnery practice mission.  

     The collision occurred in cloud cover between five to seven thousand feet, and officials speculated that poor visibility may have played a role in the crash.  Both planes exploded and flaming debris rained down over a wide area setting several large brush fires.  One parachute was seen but it was found to be empty – likely deployed by the impact.        

F-94 Fighter Jet U.S. Air Force Photo

F-94 Fighter Jet
U.S. Air Force Photo

     The dead aboard the C-47 were identified as:

     Lt. Col. William C. Bryson, 34, Stewart AFB. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180702015/william-curtis-bryson

     Major Benjamin Beckham, 34, Cornwall-On-Hudson, N.Y. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49120236/benjamin-collins-beckham

     Major L. A. Berg, 36, Goshen, N.Y. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49121079/leland-alfred-berg

     Capt. William H. Erwin, 31, Herrin, Ill. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/158171790/william-henry-erwin

     Capt. Lane S. Hendricks, 31, McHenry, Ill. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/99760821/lane-s-hendricks

     Capt. Richard E. Heder, 31, Rock Tavern, N.Y. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/186251135/richard-e-heder

     Capt. Clinton C. Foster, 33, Gardner, N.Y.

     Tech. Sgt. Deane B. Cooper, 41, Stewart AFB. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/96845526/deane-beryl-cooper

     Airman 1c Harry E. Hardesty, 21, Campbell Hall, N.Y. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49197781/harry-eugene-hardesty

     Tech. Sgt. William D. Pollock, 29, Newburgh, N.Y.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/127196982/william-donald-pollock       

     The crew of the F-94 jet fighter consisted of the pilot, Capt. Charles J. Smoke, 35, of Shenandoah, Iowa, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/125082389/charles-g-smoke

and the radar observer, 1st Lt. Thaddeus C. Kulpinski. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/117905352/thaddeus-chester-kulpinski


Chicago Tribune, “Two Air Force Planes Collide In Air; 12 dead”, April 10, 1952

New York Times, “Planes Crash Aloft; 12 In Air Force Die”, April 10, 1952

Falmouth Enterprise, “Twelve Are Killed In Otis Air Crash”, April 11, 1952

Falmouth, MA – November 26, 1936

Falmouth, Massachusetts – November 26, 1936

     On November 26, 1936, Bernarr Macfadden, a well known physical fitness advocate, author, and magazine publisher, left New York in an airplane with three friends to fly to Falmouth, Massachusetts , to celebrate Thanksgiving at the home of Fulton Oursler, an author and magazine editor.    Also aboard the plane was Doctor Dana Coman, Helen Coman, (daughter of the doctor), Fern Matson, and the pilot.

     As the plane was landing at Coonamessett Airport in Falmouth, something caused it to turn over upside-down on the runway.  All aboard were wearing seatbelts which saved them from any injuries. 

     Coonamessett Airport was located in the Hatchville section of Falmouth, and was in operation between 1933 and 1968. 


     New York Times, “Macfadded In Air Crash”, November 27, 1936   

     Wikiedia – Coonamessett Airport

     Wikipedia – Bernarr Macfadden

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