Warwick, R. I. – July 9, 1942

Warwick, Rhode Island – July 9, 1942

     On July 9, 1942, a small plane with a pilot and two passengers aboard took off from Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick for a routine flight.  The pilot, was an experienced flyer with about 2,400 hours in the air.  He also held a commercial pilot’s license with an instructor’s rating.       

      One of the passengers was a 26-year-old man from Putnam, Connecticut, who’d had an interest in aviation, and had obtained his student pilot’s license two days earlier. 

     The other passenger was a 31-year-old man from Killingly, Connecticut.  

     After becoming airborne the pilot began to put the aircraft through a series of aerobatic maneuvers. At one point he reportedly “zoomed” the flight office and then climbed to 1,500 feet.  The aircraft then went into a loop, after which the pilot reportedly deliberately stalled the engine and put the airplane into an intentional spin.  (Investigators later wrote in their final report of the crash that the pilot, “made a practice of thrilling his audience by spinning close to the ground before affecting recovery.”) (The report wasn’t released until January of 1943.)

     The aircraft had almost leveled out when it crashed wheels down near the airport.  The impact killed the West Warwick man, and seriously injured the other passenger and the pilot. 

     The type of aircraft is not known. 


     The Windham County Observer, (Putnam, CT.), “Pilot Blamed For Death Of Putnam Aviation Student”, January 13, 1943, pg. 3.   


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