Hillsgrove Airport – May 14, 1947

     Hillsgrove Airport – May 14, 1947

Warwick, Rhode Island

     On the afternoon of May 14, 1947, a Bell helicopter containing a student pilot and an instructor took off from Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick.  (Today the airport is known as T. F. Green)  Just after take off, according to witnesses, the aircraft was about 200 feet in the air when one of the rotor blades suddenly broke away. 

     The helicopter fell and burst into flame.  Two women who witnessed the crash, Mrs. George Page, and Mrs. William Buell, ran to the site and managed to pull one of the men from the wreckage.  Unfortunately, despite the rescue effort, both men aboard the helicopter perished.  They were identified as: Robert F. Chott, 29, of Providence, the instructor, and Gardiner Watts, 27, of Boston, the student.    


     New York Times, “2 In Helicopter Killed” May 15, 1947 

     Unknown Paper, “Helicopter Crash Kills Two In Mass.”, May 15, 1947.  Headline should read R.I., not “Mass.”

     The Pawtucket Times, “Copter Parts Studied For Wreck Clues”, May 16, 1947, pg. 9

     Niagra Falls Gazette, “Bell Copter Death Case Is Resumed”, November 12, 1955.  Article pertains to a lawsuit relating to the accident. 


Hillsgrove Airport – September 21, 1936

     Hillsgrove Airport – September 21, 1936

Warwick, Rhode Island


Martin B-10 Bomber U.S. Air Force Photo

Martin B-10 Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     In the beginning of September, 1936, members of the U.S. Army 99th Bombardment Squadron came to Hillsgrove Airport for two weeks of training.  On the evening of September 21st, three B-10 Bombers took off a night training mission.  Shortly afterwards, heavy fog settled over the area, and when the planes returned the pilots were given instructions via radio on how to land.

     The first bomber to attempt a landing overshot the runway, and according to witnesses, its wheels almost touched down before the pilot gunned the engines for another attempt.  Due to the heavy fog, the pilot evidently didn’t realize how close he was to the end of the runway, and the plane plowed into a patch of woods, broke apart, and caught fire.  All three crewmen aboard died as a result of the crash.   

     The other two planes left the area and landed at Boston and Albany, New York.    

     The crew were identified as:

     (Pilot) 2nd Lieut. Jack J. Neely, 25, of Hempstead, N.Y., died at St. Joseph’s Hospital. (Newspaper accounts state he was from Texas, but death records state Hempstead.)  

     Corporal Angelo Mazzaco, 26, of Long Branch, N.J., died at the scene. (Newspaper accounts state he was from Jersey City, N.J., but death records state Long Branch.)

     Private Thaddeus Macaziewski, 28, of Schenectady, N.Y., died at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  (Newspaper accounts identify him as Joseph, J., but Providence death records list him as Thaddeus.)     


Woonsocket Call, “Tragic Hillsgrove Accident Subject Of Two Inquiries”, September 22, 1936, Pg. 1

City of Providence, R. I. death records.

City of Warwick, R.I. death records.







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