Marlborough, CT. – July 31, 1983

Marlborough, Connecticut – July 31, 1983

     At about 8:15 p.m. on the night of July 31, 1983, a Cessna 210H with four people aboard left Nantucket bound for Somers Airfield, a private airport in Colchester, Connecticut.   The airfield is near the Marlborough, Connecticut, town line.   By 9:15 p.m. the aircraft was approaching the airport, but the area was shrouded in thick fog and low clouds making for low visibility.  The aircraft crashed in a thickly wooded area about a half-mile from the airstrip.  Three of the four people aboard were killed in the crash.  The forth, a 17-year-old youth, escaped with broken bones.  Despite his injuries, he managed to make his way through the dark woods to a private home. 

     State police were notified of the crash at 3:30 a.m., and the wreckage was located about three hours later.    


     Norwich Bulletin, “Three Killed In Marlborough Plane Crash”, August 2, 1983, page 1

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Federal Investigators Seek Cause Of Fatal Colchester Plane Crash”, August 2, 1983, page 14  

     Despite the contradicting headlines, the accident occurred in Marlborough, Connecticut.   

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Small Plane Crash Kills 3 In Conn.”, August 1, 1983, page A-7


Marlborough, CT. – July 5, 1975

Marlborough, Connecticut – July 5, 1975

     It is unclear exactly where in Marlborough this accident took place.  A newspaper account states it occurred at Lesniewski Airport in Marlborough, but there is no such airport with that name listed today.    

     On July 5, 1975, what was described as a “light aircraft” with two men aboard, a student pilot and an instructor, was making a simulated emergency landing at Lesniewski Airport, while at the same time, a second aircraft, also with a student pilot and instructor aboard, was preparing to take off for a cross-country training flight.  The descending aircraft struck the stationary aircraft, with its propeller slicing into it as it passed over.  The propeller struck just to the rear of the cabin, slicing through the control cables in the process.  The descending aircraft then nosed over onto the runway.  Both aircraft suffered serious damage, but there were no reported injuries.


     Hartford Courant, “No Injuries Reported As Two Planes Collide”, July 6, 1975    

Marlborough, CT – April 10, 1933

Marlborough, Connecticut – April 10, 1933

         Rentschler Field was an airfield that opened in East Hartford, Connecticut, in 1931, and remained active into the 1990s.  It was named for Frederick Brant Rentschler who established the aviation division at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of East Hartford.  Today the Pratt & Whitney (football) Stadium at Rentschler Field occupies the site.    

      On April 10, 1933, Lieutenant Harold Fairchild, 24, took off from Rentschler Field for a test flight of a new aircraft.  Lt. Fairchild received his flight training through the army at Kelly Field in Texas.  He then went on to advanced training and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant.  A month later he joined the Aeronautical Research Department of Pratt & Whitney as a test pilot.  The purpose of this flight was to test the altitude limits of the aircraft. 

     It was well known at the time that a pilot needs supplemental oxygen when flying above 10,000 feet.  When Fairchild reached an altitude of 35, 000 feet, it was believed that his oxygen system either ran dry or failed, causing him to loose consciousness.  The plane plummeted nose first out of the sky and crashed on a farm belonging to John Rankl in Marlborough, Connecticut, a town southeast of East Hartford.   

     Lieutenant Fairchild was born in Pelham, New York, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1921.


     New York Times, “Lieut. Fairchild Dies In Connecticut Crash”, April 11, 1933

     Historic Pelham,  “Two Pelham Brothers Lost Thei Only Sons In Eerily-Similar Early Aviation Incidents”, June 11, 2015


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