Belchetown, MA. – May 3, 1962

Belchertown, Massachusetts – May 3, 1962

Near Quabbin Reservoir    

F-102A Delta Dart – U.S. Air Force Photo

      At 9:00 p.m. on the night of May 3, 1962, Lt. Col. William B. Howell, 39, took off from Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a routine training flight in an F-102 Delta Dart fighter aircraft.  At 10:32 p.m., as he was passing over the area of the Quabbin Reservoir, the aircraft abruptly disappeared from radar.  The weather at the time was rainy with flashes of lightning.

     A search was instituted, and the aircraft was located the following day in a thickly wooded area of Belchertown near the Pelham town line, to the west of Rt. 202, about a half mile from the nearest home.  The fuselage was demolished and it was apparent that Lt. Col. Howell had been killed instantly.  The cause to the accident wasn’t stated.  

     Lt. Col. Howell was assigned to the 76th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based at Westover AFB.


     Springfield Union, “100 Men Searching For Westover F-102 In Quabbin District”, May 4, 1962, page 1

     Springfield Union, “Board Set Up To Investigate Plunge Fatal To Maj. W. B. Howell”, May 5, 1962, page 1 




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