Portland, ME. – August 11, 1949

Portland, Maine – August 11, 1949


Vintage Post Card View Of
Northeast Airlines Convair N91237

     On the morning of August 11, 1949 a Northeast Airlines, Convair CV-240-13 airliner, (Reg. No. NC91241), took off from Boston’s Logan Airport with a crew of three and twenty-five passengers.  The flight was designated as Flight 812A, bound for the Portland International Airport in Maine. 

     Among the crew were the pilot, co-pilot, and a rookie stewardess, 23-year-old Patricia Donnellan of North Quincy, Massachusetts.  

    The aircraft was new, and had only been in service four months.  

    The flight was uneventful until the aircraft was making its final approach to land on runway 20.  Just before the aircraft was to touch down, while at an altitude between 15 and 25 feet, the pilot throttled back.  At that time the throttle reverse locking mechanism  which was designed to prevent the throttle from being brought too far back failed, causing the propellers to malfunction, which caused the aircraft to drop hard onto the runway.  Then the landing gear collapsed, and the aircraft skidded on its belly for 1,065 feet before coming to rest.  During the skid the fuel tanks ruptured, and sparks created by the propellers scraping along the runway ignited the fuel and engines.

     When the aircraft came to rest, Miss Donnellan immediately tried to open the front exit, but discovered that it wouldn’t open, and flames outside the aircraft blocked emergency exits to the wings.    She then made her way to the rear of the plane and opened the rear door and calmly instructed the passengers to come to the back of the plane. 

     There was no panic, and Miss Donnellan was credited for her calm demeanor during the emergency.  Although the aircraft was destroyed by the flames, there were no injuries to crew or passengers.    


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C. ), “Stewardess Leads 27 To Safety Just Before Fire Engulfs Plane”, August 12, 1949

     Aviation Safety Network

Weymouth, MA – September 9, 1951

Weymouth, Massachusetts – September 9, 1951 


DC-3 Airliner

     On September 9, 1951, a Northeast Airlines DC-3 was in-route from Boston to New York when one of the engines caught fire. 

     The plane left Boston at 12:07 p.m., and the pilot, Wallace Robbins, declared an emergency fifteen minutes later.  He was directed to land at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, and began making his approach.  Unfortunately the field was primarily used for navy blimps, and didn’t have a runway long enough to accommodate a DC-3.  Therefore, Robbins knew he would have to make a wheels-up belly-landing.

     As the engine blazed away, the pilots put the plane into a side-slip so the smoke would blow away from the passenger cabin.  The  flight attendant Ruth Jenkins made sure that all sixteen passengers had their seatbelts fastened. 

     Robbins brought the plane down as slowly as possible, easing it onto the field and allowing it to skid to a stop. The ship came to rest just before a peat bog, and all passengers and crew evacuated safely without injury.   The crew was praised for keeping everyone calm and evacuating the plane in an orderly fashion as base fire crews extinguished the flames.      


     New York Times, “19 Saved In Crash Landing”, September 10, 1951  

     The Nashua Telegraph, “19 Escape As Airliner Makes Crash Landing”, September 10, 1951, page 14. 


Barre-Montpelier Airport – April 10, 1964

Barre-Montpelier Airport – April 10, 1964


    DC-3 Shortly before 1:30 p.m., on April 10, 1964, a Northeast Airlines DC-3, (Flight 373) was taking off from Barre-Montpelier Airport with nineteen people aboard.  The plane had barely left the ground when a sudden strong gust of wind rotated the plane and sent it crashing into a storage hangar, two parked cars, and another aircraft.  Remarkably, there were no reported injuries.

    Although the airliner suffered extensive damage there was no fire, and all aboard were evacuated safely.        

     Source: The Pittsburg Times, “None Injured In Vermont Plane Crash”, April 11, 1964    

Moose Mountain, NH – October 25, 1968

Moose Mountain, New Hampshire – October 25, 1968


     At 5:42 p.m. on October 25, 1968, Northeast Airlines Flight 946 left Boston for Lebanon, and Montpelier, New Hampshire. The aircraft was a Fairchild Hiller FH – 227C, (Registration # N380NE) with thirty-nine passengers and a crew of three aboard; pilot, co-pilot, and a stewardess.

     The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 4:55 p.m., but there had been a delay in getting the aircraft to the gate for passenger loading.

     At 6:08 p.m., the flight was cleared for approach to Lebanon Airport.


     At 6:11 p.m., the crew notified the Lebanon Flight Service Station that they were on a standard instrument approach, and requested a Lebanon weather report. They were advised of overcast conditions and calm winds. This was the last communication with the aircraft. Not long afterwards the plane crashed on the north side of Moose Mountain about 8.2 nautical miles northeast of Lebanon Airport. The impact occurred about 57 feet below the summit.

     In the NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, (NSTB-AAR-70-7) one unidentified surviving passenger described the final moments leading up to the crash.

     “…As we approached Lebanon, the cloud cover had been gradually thinning and before we began our descent, ground had been visible in patches between the clouds for several minutes. On the early part of the descent, the ground continued to be visible. After the turn to the final approach, with the wheels down, we were flying between two nearly vertical cloud banks in the gentle smooth descent which I described in my prior statement.   There was no cloud directly below us, and the level of the base of the clouds at this point was slightly below the level of the aircraft so that the ground was clearly visible under the cloud to a substantial distance ahead and to the side. I was looking out and observed a pond and that the terrain had very few roads and no houses.

     As we continued our descent, I continued to observe and watched the slope of the ground rising ahead of us at about twenty degrees in the direction of the flight. We were so near the ground at this time that I could clearly see the individual trees which appeared fist size and began to look ahead in the direction of the flight for airport approach lights as I assumed that we must be very near the touch down point. I observed the rising ground until I suddenly lost all visibility as we had entered a cloud.

     After a few seconds in the cloud, I felt the initial impact which was gentle and seemed no more severe than a normal touch down. I do not remember any severe impact.”

     According to the report, other survivors described the impact as “smooth”, “not a crash, but more of a settling”, and “a rough landing”.

     Upon hitting the mountain, the plane plowed its way through trees and immediately caught fire after coming to rest. All ten of the survivors were seated in the rear of the aircraft, and managed to escape through the rear service door or by squeezing through openings in the fuselage. In all, seventeen people managed to escape the flames, but seven were fatally injured and succumbed to their injuries before help arrived. The injuries to the remaining survivors ranged from lacerations to broken bones.  

     Darkness, the remote location of the crash, combined with rain and freezing temperatures hindered rescue efforts. Those who could, made their way down the mountain on their own, while the rest were air lifted off by helicopter. The helicopters landed on the green at Dartmouth College, and from there the survivors were transported to Mary Hitchcock Hospital.

   The crash site is located at longitude 72 degrees, 8’.7 west, and latitude 43 degrees 43’.3 north, at an elevation of approximately 2, 237 feet.


     NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB-AAR-70-7

     New York Times, “32 of 42 On Plane Killed In New Hampshire Crash”, October 26, 1968










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