Northampton, MA. – June 15, 1942

Northampton, Massachusetts – June 15, 1942


C-47 Aircraft – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 15, 1942, a C-47, (Ser. No. 41-18377), with three crewmen aboard from Westover Field, was flying low along the Connecticut River on a navigation training flight when it struck a power cable that was strung across the river from MT. Tom to a power substation belonging to the Turner’s Falls Power Company.   The impact snapped the power cable, which was reported to be carrying 13,000 volts of electricity, and also caused damage to the aircraft.  The pilot managed to maintain control and brought the plane in for a crash landing at an open field about two miles away.  None of the crew was injured.


     Unknown Newspaper, “High Voltage Wire Knocks Westover Bomber Out Of Air”, June 15, 1942.     


Northampton, MA. – July 27, 1952

Northampton, Massachusetts – July 27, 1952

     On July 27, 1952, a Stearman bi-plane with two men aboard took off from Atwood Airport on the Mount Tom Highway.  Just after becoming airborne the plane went into a stall and observers reported that the nose of the craft was pointing nearly straight up before the pilot could right it.  The plane then skimmed under some power lines and bounced onto the highway where it barely missed colliding with a passing car. It then went off the road and crashed into an embankment bordering the Boston & Maine Railroad.  The plane was wrecked, but the 28-year-old pilot, and his 22-year-old passenger escaped injury. 

     Police officers John W. Zalesky, James Shea, and Paul McHugh responded to the scene, and directed traffic while curious spectators snapped photographs.

     Source: Springfield Morning Union, “Two Survive Plane crash At Northampton”, July 28, 1952     


Northampton, MA – May 13, 1948

Northampton, Massachusetts – May 13, 1948 

Updated March 23, 2018


Memorial at the crash site.
Established 1999.

     At 12: 10 p.m. on May 13, 1948, an four-engine Army transport plane, (a Douglas C-54 Skymaster), left Westover Air Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, with three men aboard for a routine instrument training flight.  Four men had initially been assigned to the flight, but one failed to go due to being off-base on official business at the time the flight was to leave.

     While over the area of Northampton, Massachusetts, the aircraft encountered thick cloud cover and drizzling rain, and the crew had to switch to instrument flight rules.  At about 1:30 p.m. the plane disappeared from radar and crashed on the Adams farm on Florence Road in Northampton, killing all aboard.  No distress call had been received.

     The aircraft narrowly missed hitting a barn and the Adams farmhouse with family members inside.  When the aircraft crashed and exploded, Mrs. Adams later described to a reporter how pieces of the plane struck the side of the house and came through the windows. 

     Hundreds of people descended upon the scene creating a massive traffic jam that hindered fire fighters efforts to extinguish the blaze.     

     The dead were identified as:

     Captain Paul Lonquich, 40, of Yonkers, N.Y.

     1st Lt. Wilfred W. Lavinder, 23, of Portsmouth, Ohio.

     S/Sgt. Jack Zaresky, 26, of Queens, N.Y.

     All three men were assigned to the 12th Squadron of the 1st Air Transport Group.  Today, a memorial honoring the three men stands near the crash site.     


     Boston Traveler, “3 Die In Air Crash Near Northampton”, May 13, 1948, page 1.

     Springfield Union, (Springfield, Mass.), “Three Fliers Killed In crash Of C-54 At Northampton”, May 14, 1948, page 1.  

     New York Times, “Army Plane Falls; 3 Die”, May 14, 1948


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