Hillsgrove Airport, R. I. – April 14, 1948

Hillsgrove Airport – April 14, 1948

     On April 14, 1948, a 31-year-old pilot was soloing in a Piper Cub J-3 airplane.  The pilot was a student training under the GI benefit program and was making practice landings at the Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick.  The pilot began a landing approach, but while still 1,000 feet short of the runway the engine suddenly stopped.  The pilot managed to “mushroom” the plane atop a cluster of trees just outside the airport.  The plane suffered heavy damage, but the pilot was not injured. 

     Source:  The Pawtucket Times, “Pawtucket Pilot Unhurt In Crash”, April 15, 1948, pg. 18 

Hillsgrove Air Field, RI – December 21, 1941

Hillsgrove Air Field

Warwick, Rhode Island – December 21, 1941


O-52  #40-2714 Hillsgrove, R.I., Dec. 21, 1941 U.S. Air Corps Photo

O-52 #40-2714
Hillsgrove, R.I., Dec. 21, 1941
U.S. Air Corps Photo

     On the morning of December 21, 1941, an army 2nd lieutenant was piloting an O-52 observation aircraft, (#40-2714), from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to Hillsgrove Field in Warwick, Rhode Island. 

     At 9:23 a.m. the pilot radioed Hillsgrove Tower  and received permission to land on runway 4.  As the pilot was making his approach, he received instructions from the tower to land on the grass to the left of the runway because a flight of three P-39 aircraft were also approaching the same runway.  The pilot altered his approach and landed on the grass. 

     As he taxied along the grass, two of the three P-39s came in for a landing on runway 4.  As he watched for the third to land, one of the P-39’s (#41-6744) moved off the runway and into the path of the O-52, and parked with its propeller still turning.  Due to the configuration of the O-52 while on the ground, with its nose high and its tail low, the lieutenant couldn’t see the P-39 in his “blind spot” until it was too late.  The prop of the P-39 cut the wings off the O-52.  Neither pilot was injured.     

     The O-52 was assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron.   

     Source: U.S. Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, #42-12-21-14

Hillsgrove Airport, RI – December 31, 1934

Hillsgrove Airport, Rhode Island – December 31, 1934

Warwick, Rhode Island

     At 3:30 p.m. on December 31, 1934, an army reserve 2nd Lieutenant took off from Boston Airport bound for Hillsgrove State Airport in Rhode Island.  He arrived at Hillsgrove at 4:10 p.m. and attempted to land.  As he came in over the runway he overshot the landing and crashed through a fence and ended up on the roadway beyond. 

     Although the plane suffered damage, neither the pilot or his passenger were injured. 

     The aircraft involved was an O-1E observation plane, (Ser. No. 29-304) 

Click on image to enlarge.


Consolidated PT-3A, Ser. No. 29-121
Damaged at Hillsgrove, R.I.
November 4, 1935

     About ten months later on November 4, 1935, the same pilot was flying a PT-3A trainer aircraft, (Ser. No 29-121) from Mitchel Field, Long Island, N.Y., to Hartford, Connecticut, when he was blown off course by a strong easterly wind and wound up over Rhode Island.  After finding Hillsgrove Airport, he landed to refuel.  At time he landed there was construction going on at the airport involving the installation of runway lights.  Landing in a strong cross wind, the lieutenant’s aircraft drifted over into one of the construction ditches situated along the runway and ground looped.  Damage to the aircraft consisted of left wing crumpling and the left landing gear being torn off.   The pilot was uninjured.


     Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, (Two reports) dated January 14, 1935, and November 15, 1935.  

     Photo Credit: Louis C. McGowan, R.I.


Hillsgrove Airport, RI – June 24, 1942

Hillsgrove Airport, Rhode Island – June 24, 1942 


Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     At 7 p.m. on June 24, 1942, 2nd Lt. Herbert Chester Chamberlain, 23, was scheduled to take off from Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, in a P-40E-1 aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-24990), for a routine training flight.  Just as the aircraft left the ground, the engine quit, and the plane crashed about fifty feet from a private home at 20 Earlham Way.   Lt. Chamberlain was transported to a hospital in Providence where he succumbed to his injuries.

     The accident was blamed on mechanical failure of the aircraft.

     Lt. Chamberlain received his pilot’s wings April 29, 1942, and at the time of the accident he was assigned to the 66th Fighter Squadron stationed at Hillsgrove.  He’s buried in Long Island National Cemetery, in East Farmingdale, Long Island, New York.  To see a photo of Lt. Chamberlain in uniform click here:  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/480983/herbert-chester-chamberlain

     Lt. Chamberlain had survived another aviation accident only a few days before his death.  On June, 16, 1942, he was piloting a P-40E, (Ser. No. 41-25161) over Norwood Massachusetts when the aircraft experienced engine trouble.  He attempted an emergency landing at Norwood Airport, but crash landed in a swampy area near the edge of the field.  He was uninjured in that accident.

     Norwood, Ma. – June 16, 1942


     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, #42-6-24-10, and # 42-6-16-37


     The Pawtucket Times, (R.I.), “Aviator Killed At Hillsgrove”, June 25, 1942, pg. 2.     

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