Nantucket, MA. – October 18, 1943

Nantucket, Massachusetts – October 18, 1943


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the morning of October 18, 1943, a navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27276), was landing in a strong cross wind at the Nantucket Naval Air Station when the aircraft ground-looped just after touching down.  The pilot and his civilian passenger were not injured but the aircraft suffered significant damage.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-9145, dated October 18, 1943. 

Nantucket, MA. – January 11, 1970

Nantucket, Massachusetts – January 11, 1970

     At 9:29 a.m., a U.S. Marine Corps Beechcraft TC-45J training aircraft took off from the South Weymouth Naval Air Station near Boston for a routine training flight to Nantucket island.  There were two men aboard.  The pilot was Captain Robert Girouard, 33.  The other officer was Captain Almon F. Townsend, 30. 

     The airplane made a safe landing at Nantucket Airport and took off again at 11:00 a.m.  Shortly after takeoff, just as the plane reached an altitude of 1,000 feet, the engines suddenly lost all power.  Captain Girouard was able to bring the aircraft in for a crash landing in an open field near the end of the runway.  There was no fire, and neither of the men were hurt. 


     Providence Journal, “2 Marines Escape Training Plane Crash In Mass.”, January 12, 1973  


Over Nantucket, MA – November 4, 1970

Over Nantucket, Massachusetts – November 4, 1970

     On the evening of November 4, 1970, Pan American World Airways Flight 114 departed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York bound for Orly Airport in Paris, France. 

     The aircraft was a Boeing 747-121 (N739PA) with 148 passengers and 15 crew aboard.

     The aircraft had been cleared to 31,000 feet, and as it climbed to 27,000 feet turbulence had been minimal. 

     At 9:46 p.m., while passing over Nantucket Island at an altitude of 27,000 feet, the aircraft suddenly experienced severe turbulence that lasted about four minutes. Although the seatbelt sign was on, and had been on since takeoff , 21 passengers and 2 stewardesses sustained injuries – some of them serious.

     At 10:07 p.m. Flight 114 requested clearance back to J.F. K. Airport, and landed on Runway 31R at 11:39 p.m.

     In the NTSB investigation report of the incident it was stated in part, “The national Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the entry of the aircraft into an area of moderate to briefly severe turbulence associated with convective activity while numerous occupants were unsecured by seatbelts, even though the seatbelt sign was lighted.”        


     National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation Report, #NTSB-AAR-72-14, File# 1-0001, Adopted May 3, 1972  

Off Nantucket – April 25, 1967

Off Nantucket – April 25, 1967

     At 6:30 p.m. on April 25, 1967, a “radar picket plane” with sixteen men aboard took off from Otis Air Force Base for patrol duty over the Atlantic.  “A half hour later,” it was reported, “eye witnesses heard the plane roaring over their homes at Madaket on the western end of Nantucket.”   

     The plane crashed into the sea off the western end of the island.  A commercial pilot flying in the area saw the plane go down, and said the Air Force pilot had made a deliberate effort to avoid crashing in the center of town.      

     The plane was piloted by Col. James P. Lyle Jr., 47, commander of the 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing based at Otis.

     Of the sixteen men aboard, there was only one survivor: the navigator, Lieut. Joseph H. Guenet, 29, of Montreal.

     To learn more about this accident click here:

     This was the second radar plane out of Otis to be lost within two years.  The other went down in July, 1965, with sixteen lives lost.   


New York Times, “Plane with 16 Crashes Off Coast”, April 26, 1967

New York Times, “Air Force Seeks Survivors Of Crash Off Nantucket”, April 27, 1967

New York Times, “Hope Gone For 13 On Plane”, April 28, 1967

Nantucket, MA – July 5, 1964

Nantucket, Massachusetts  – July 5, 1964

     On July 5, 1964, two honeymooning couples were returning to Nantucket after a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard when their single-engine plane suddenly crashed on a former golf course on Nantucket.  Police Chief Wendell Howe speculated that the aircraft ran out of gas due to a lack of  gasoline fumes at the wreck site. 

     The dead were identified as Charles and Mary C. (Corbett) Cavanaugh of Boston, and Everett and Beverly (Patron) Jones of Warwick, R.I.   Both couples had only been married for three days. 


New York Times, “2 honeymoon Couples Killed In Plane Crash On Nantucket”, July 5, 1964 

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