Southampton, MA. – June 19, 1964

Southampton, Massachusetts – June 19, 1964

     At 11 p.m. on the night of June 19, 1964, a twin-engine Aero Commander 680, (Reg. No. N3445), with five people aboard, was making an approach to Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, when the plane crashed in an apple orchard in the town of Southampton.  The weather was drizzly and foggy at the time of the crash.  Those in the control tower at Barnes later stated that they had been in radio contact with the plane prior to the crash, and the pilot had not reported any difficulty.     

     Passengers aboard the plane included two Unites States senators; Edward Kennedy and Birch Bayh, along with Bayh’s wife and Kennedy’s aide.  The pilot and the aide perished as a result of the crash.  


     Woonsocket Call, (R.I.) “Plane Plummets Into Orchard – Ted Suffers Broken Back; Aide, Pilot, Killed In Crash”, June 20, 1964. 

Southampton, MA – July 18, 1964

Southampton, Massachusetts – July 18, 1964


F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 18, 1964, a flight of four Massachusetts Air National Guard F-86 Sabre jets were returning to Barnes Airport after a gunnery training mission.  One of the Sabre’s was piloted by Captain John H. Paris, 33, of Newburgh, New York. 

     As the jets approached the airfield, Paris’s aircraft suddenly lost power and dropped out of formation.  Captain Paris ejected, but his parachute failed to open.  He fell into Pequot Pond and was killed.

     Meanwhile, his F-86 came regained level flight and belly land on its own in an open field about 2 miles northeast of the north end of Runway 20 at Barnes Airport; about 700 feet east of Ross Road.   The aircraft sustained major damage but there was no fire.

     Captain Paris was part of the 131st Fighter Squadron.   


     Providence Journal, (R.I.), “Flier Killed In Crash As Thousands Watch”, July 19, 1964

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I. 

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