Westerly, R. I. – April 14, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – April 14, 1943


P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 14, 1943, 2nd Lt. Robert W. Coleman took off from Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut, for a gunnery training flight.  Shortly after take off his aircraft, a P-47B  Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-5998), developed engine trouble as it was passing over the town of Westerly.  He was forced to make an emergency landing in an open field strewn with boulders.  When the aircraft struck the boulders it erupted in flames.  Lt. Coleman did not survive. 


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

Westerly, R. I. – November 13, 1944

Westerly, Rhode Island – November 13, 1944


F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On November 13, 1944, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70977), crashed into some trees at the end of the runway of the Westerly Airport as it was making a landing approach.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the aircraft was a total loss. 


     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated November 13, 1944.    

Westerly, R. I. – September 5, 1999

Westerly, Rhode Island – September 5, 1999

     At 11:30 am on September 5, 1999, a Piper Cherokee aircraft, (Reg. No. N4830S), with a pilot and four passengers from Connecticut aboard, crashed seconds after becoming airborne from the Westerly State Airport.   The plane broke apart on impact and debris was scattered between the end of the runway and Post Road.  The pilot and two people from Hartford, Connecticut, perished in the accident.  The two survivors, both from South Winsor, Connecticut, were transported to medical facilities for treatment. 


     Hartford Courant, “Plane Crash Kills Three In Rhode Island”, September 6, 1999.  

     NTSB Brief, #NYC99FA220

Westerly, R. I. – October 16, 1945

Westerly, Rhode Island – October 16, 1945


Corsair Aircraft
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 16, 1945, a pilot was making practice carrier landings at the Westerly Auxiliary Naval Air Station in an FG-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 88397).  After five successful landings and take offs, the aircraft ground-looped and flipped on its back.  The pilot was not injured, but the aircraft required a major overhaul.    

Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated October 16, 1945. 

Westerly, R. I. – December 4, 1991

Westerly, R. I. – December 4, 1991

     Shortly before 11:30 a.m. on December 4, 1991, a Cessna 182 with two men aboard took off from Westerly Airport bound for Block Island.  Just after take off, while at an altitude of about 500 feet, the engine suddenly lost all power, and the aircraft went down in a cow pasture off Airport Road across the street from the airport entrance.  While making the emergency landing, the aircraft struck a rock causing it to flip onto its back, but it didn’t catch fire.  Both men extricated themselves without injury.  The aircraft was a total loss. 

     Source: Providence Journal, “Plane Loses Power And Crashes In Pasture; Two Aboard”, December 5, 1991, page C-1    


Westerly, R. I. – September 25, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – September 25, 1943

     On September 25, 1943, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 29446), was landing in a strong cross wind the Westerly Air Field when the aircraft bounced causing major damage to the landing gear.  The plane then came down and struck the runway damaging the propeller and left wing and fuselage before coming to rest.  None of the four men aboard were injured.

     This aircraft was repaired and put back into service.  It was involved in another accident at Otis Air Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1944.  The aircraft ground looped upon landing; there were no injuries.   


     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8786, dated September 25, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-43906, dated May 5, 1944.

Westerly, R. I. – September 20, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – September, 20, 1943


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On September 20, 1943, Ensign Charles Frederick Leiserson, age 21, was piloting an SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 10470), on a gunnery training mission when the aircraft crashed and burned in Westerly, R.I.   Also aboard was Ensign Raymond R. Strimel, age 28.  Both men were killed. 

     Ensign Leiserson moved to Washington, D. C. in 1933, and upon graduation from Woodrow Wilson High School, attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduating in 1942.  He worked at Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage, Long Island, and enlisted in the Navy in September, 1942, and earned his pilot’s wings at Corpus Christi, Texas.  He continued his training at Fort Lauderdale, Florida before being sent to Rhode Island.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.



     Ensign Strimel was born in Marietta, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University and the University of of Oklahoma.   He’s buried in East Lawn Memorial Park in Reno, Ohio.



     U. S. Navy Accident Report #44-8706, dated September 20, 1943

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Ensign Charles F. Leiserson Killed In Rhode Island Crash”, September 21, 1943, pg. A-8


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