Westport, MA. – September 20, 1945

Westport, Massachusetts – September 20, 1945      

SNJ Trainer Aircraft
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 20, 1945, a flight of eight U. S. Navy SNJ trainer aircraft left Buffalo, New York, for a routine ferry flight to the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Charlestown, Rhode Island.  As the flight neared Rhode Island it encountered bad weather and once over Charlestown found themselves above the cloud cover. 

     The flight circled the area for about 20 minutes, after which one of the section leaders radioed that he was low on fuel and requested a vector to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, R.I.  After receiving the information, the section leader set course for Quonset, and the two other planes of his section followed.  Unfortunately they discovered that the vector information was incorrect, and when they broke through the clouds they found themselves over the town of Westport, Massachusetts.   

     At this point all three planes were low on fuel, and due to the bad weather, and the uncertainty of locating the Quonset NAS, the section leader decided to make a wheels up landing on Horse Neck Beach.  The other two pilots did the same, and although the aircraft were damaged, none of the pilots were injured.

     The aircraft involved had Bu. Numbers of 91065, 91066, and 43890.  Aircraft 91005 was not repairable, for although there was only slight damage to the fuselage, the tide came in before salvage crews could reach the scene and the plane was submerged causing salt water damage to the engine and electronics.   


     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated September 20, 1945.  

Westport, MA. – August 10, 1927

Westport, Massachusetts – August 10, 1927

     On the morning of August 10, 1927, two army reserve officers, Lieutenant Paul Green of South Bedford, Mass., and Lieutenant Raymond Taplin of Quincy, Mass., left East Boston Airport in an army biplane for a training flight.  They flew south towards New Bedford, where they circled the new landing field on the estate of Colonel Edward Greene.  After doing so, they turned back for Boston, and shortly afterwards their fuel supply ran out.  The pilot attempted to switch to the reserve tanks but they were empty.  The aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in the northern portion of the town of Westport.  In doing so, the plane struck a stone wall and burst into flames.  Both men escaped with minor injuries, but the airplane was destroyed.    

     Source: New Britain Herald, (Connecticut), “Reserve Fliers In Escape From Death”, August 10, 1927 

Westport, MA – December 17, 1944

Westport, Massachusetts – December 17, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     At 1:40 p.m. on December 17, 1944, Lieutenant John Brodka left Martha’s Vineyard Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Massachusetts bound for Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  He was piloting an F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41380).

     Twenty minutes into his flight, while passing over the town of Westport, Massachusetts, the engine began to miss fire and the plane began losing altitude.  Forced to make an emergency landing, Brodka picked out a open field.  As he was making his approach the engine suddenly lost all power and stopped which caused the plane to settle faster than anticipated, which put it on a collision course with a wooded area just ahead of the field.  All the while the pilot continued to try restarting the engine.  Just before he was about to crash into the trees, the engine started and ran for three or four seconds before stopping again, but it was enough to carry the plane over the trees and into the field.

     The field was muddy which affected the brakes.  The aircraft crashed through a fence, crossed a road, and struck a telephone pole and went into a roadside ditch.  Despite extensive damage to the plane, Lieutenant Brodka was not hurt.    

     Lt. Brodka was assigned to VF-52.

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated December 17, 1944

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