Brattleboro, VT – August 18, 1922

Brattleboro, Vermont – August 18, 1922

     One source describing this tragedy states it occurred at a new airport dedication in Brattleboro, but  another states it was an aircraft meet sponsored by the Brattleboro Outing Club to demonstrate the safety of aviation.   In either case, eight aircraft were scheduled to participate in the activities, but only seven actually did. 

     During the morning of August 18, 1922, between six and seven thousand people gathered to witness the air show which was to include various forms of stunt flying.  Also in attendance was Vermont’s Governor, James Hartness, a strong supporter of the advancement of Vermont aviation.

     At the opening ceremonies, Miss Evelyn Harris, 25, the sister of Fred H. Harris, the president of the Brattleboro Outing Club, had the honor of raising the American flag while the Governor gave his address.  

     Towards the later afternoon, while four other planes were still stunt flying over the field, a Curtis Oriole C6 airplane prepared for take off.  The pilot was Benjamin Hughes of Long Island, N.Y.  His three passengers included Miss Harris, James Trahan, and his 5-year-old son, Norman.   

     As the airplane left the ground, a wheel caught the top of an Elm tree sending the plane into some high tension wires which set it ablaze.  Hughes was thrown clear in the impact, but the others found themselves trapped in the aircraft.  Although injured himself, Hughes tried to rescue the passengers, but was unsuccessful, and suffered serious burns in the process.  


New York Times, Plane Crashes At Opening Of Vermont Field; Man And Son Killed, Girl Fatally Burned”, August 19, 1922

New York Times, “Third Victim Of Airplane Crash Dies”, August 19, 1922

Aviation (magazine) “Aviation Progress In Vermont”, September 11, 1922, Page 324




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