East Hartford, CT. – August 17, 1942

East Hartford, Connecticut – August 17, 1942   

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On August 17, 1942, 2nd Lt. Harry Franklin Sheraw, (21), was at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, scheduled to take a routine training flight in a P-40E fighter plane, (Ser. No. 41-36521).  Just after take off, at an altitude of 200 feet, the engine failed, an the plane crashed and burned.    



     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, By Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006


East Hartford, CT. – September 22, 1942

East Hartford, Connecticut – September 22, 1942


Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On September 22, 1942, Staff Sergeant Raymond R. Kroskiewicz took off from Rentschler Field in East Hartford, for a training flight. He was piloting a Curtiss P-40F fighter plane, (Ser. No. 41-14178).    Shortly after 3 P.M. he returned to the field, and as he was attempting to land his aircraft crashed and burned. 

     S/Sgt. Kroskiewicz was from Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. 




     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006.



East Hartford, CT. – August 8, 1949

East Hartford, Connecticut – August 8, 1949

     On August 8, 1949, a twin-motor Beechcraft airplane with a pilot and six passengers aboard was taking off from Rentschler Field in East Hartford, when it crashed and burned on takeoff.   The plane had been bound for Monmouth Park Race Track in New Jersey. 

     All seven were transported to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.  One woman passed away from her injuries two hours later, and a second woman succumbed to her injuries the following day.  The other five people were reported to be “improving”.    


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C.), “Mrs. Clifford Strike Killed, Six Hurt In Plane Crash”, August 9, 1949, page A-3.  

    The Evening Star, “Death Of Woman Golfer Second After Plane Crash”, August 10, 1949, page A-6.

Rentschler Field – May 3, 1944

Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Connecticut – May 3, 1944

Updated February 2, 2022.


B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the night of May 3, 1944, a B-24 Liberator with a crew of eleven men aboard, took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a night cross-country navigation training flight. 

      While over New York, the number three engine lost power so the pilot turned the plane back towards Westover.  Before long another engine lost power and the plane was rapidly loosing altitude, so the pilot decided to make an emergency landing at Rentschler Field.  Then it was discovered that there was a problem with the landing gear.  The nose wheel had to be cranked down manually, but it couldn’t be locked in place.      

     The plane landed on the main wheels with the nose kept high, but when the nose wheel touched down it collapsed and the front of the aircraft hit the ground and was crushed as the nose dug in, killing the pilot, 2nd Lt. John W. Garrett, age 19, and injuring four members of the crew.  The other six escaped without injury.    

     Lt. Garrett is buried in Green Mountain Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. To see a photograph of Lt. Garrett click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/114672261/john-work-garrett


     Springfield Union, “Westover Pilot Is Killed In East Hartford Crash”, May 4, 1944   


     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1954”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006.  

Newington, CT – July 20, 1931

Newington, Connecticut – July 20, 1931 


U. S. Air Force Photo Showing Early Formation Flight

U. S. Air Force Photo Showing Early Formation Flight

     On July 20, 1931, six U.S. Army Curtis Falcon airplanes left Mitchell Field on Long Island, N.Y. bound for Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, on what was to be a routine training flight.  Once airborne, the planes formed into two groups of three aircraft, each group flying in a triangular vee formation.  The first leg of the flight was uneventful, however as the planes approached Newington, Connecticut, a civilian silver and blue aircraft was seen approaching them head-on.  As the formations took evasive action, two army aircraft (27-286) and (29-306) collided in mid-air, and immediately burst into flame.  

     The crew of one aircraft, Lieutenant Francis Kelly, and his observer, Staff Sgt. David L. Spicer, managed to bail out safely.  Kelly landed in a tree, and Spicer on telephone wires, but fortunately both men received only minor injuries. 

     The crew of the other plane, Lieutenant Benjamin F. Lowery, of Tennessee, and Corporal Harold Strosnyder, of Kansas, were killed either by the flames or when their aircraft crashed near the grounds of the Cedarville Sanatorium in Newington.



     Mitchell Petricelli, a civilian on the ground, was seriously injured when a piece of falling wreckage happened to land on him. 

     The army pilots blamed the civilian aircraft for the accident, but others blamed the army planes for flying too close.  A New York Times story read, “Witnesses differ as to whether or not this plane, (The civilian aircraft) not officially identified, made the proper effort to avoid a collision, such as a single plane should when approaching a formation of six ships”         

     The pilot of the civilian aircraft was suspected of being Connecticut’s Deputy State Aviation Commissioner. 

    Connecticut’s Aviation Commissioner put forth the idea that there may have been a second civilian plane following the first, but that the army flyers hadn’t seen it due to haze, and ground observers missed it due to their attention being focused on the accident. 

     “If the civilian plane had not been there, the accident would not have occurred,” the Commissioner was quoted by the Times as saying, “but that does not mean that the civilian pilot was responsible for the accident.  Whoever the pilot was, he got out of the way and was not actually in the crash.  It was up to the army pilots to do likewise.”   

     A special grand jury for the state of Connecticut was convened to investigate the crash, but on September 1st it was reported the jury “had found insufficient evidence for prosecution.”  


Niagara Falls Gazette, “Two Die, Two Escape When Army Planes Crash In Air, Fall To Ground And Burn”, July 20, 1931

The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C.), “Army Flyers Die As Planes Collide Avoiding Each Other”, July 20, 1931, page 1.

New York Times: “Army Men Roused Over Death Crash”, July 22, 1931

New York Times, “Admits Being Near Colliding Planes” July 23, 1931

Farmers Weekly Review, “Flyers Collide In Air And Perish” July 29, 1931

New York Times, “Clear Flier In Army Crash”, September 2, 1931.



East Hartford, CT – August 15, 1939

Hartford, Connecticut – August 15, 1939


     On August 15, 1939, a Lockheed Electra owned by a prominent New York advertising executive was flown from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, to Rentschler Field, in East Hartford, Connecticut to have the engines inspected.  After the inspection, the aircraft took off at 4:15 p.m. to go back to New York. 

     There were five people aboard, a crew of two, and three passengers.  

     The pilot, Wynn Bradford of Flushing, N.Y.

     The co-pilot, Eli Abramson, of Hempstead, N.Y.

     Michael Madrazo, of Corona, N. Y.

     Joseph Kransky, of Jamaica, N.Y.

     George Daulfkirsch of East Elmhurst, N.Y.

     Just after the plane cleared the border fence at the end of the runway, the left wing dipped, hit the ground, and spun the plane which crashed.  All five aboard were thrown clear of the wreckage.  Michael Madrazo, and Joseph Kransky were killed.  The pilot and co-pilot were transported in critical condition to a nearby hospital.  George Daulfkirsch was also hospitalized, but with lesser injuries.   The fuselage was destroyed by fire.


     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Killed, Three Hurt In Hartford Plane Crash”, August 16, 1939 


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