Forgotten Fields of America: World War
II Bases and Training, Then and Now -- Volume 2
By Lou Thole
Published February 2000 by Pictorial Histories Publishing Co.
Paperback, 164 pages.
An interesting summary of 12 wartime-era
military bases and the intense aircraft flight training conducted at them. Includes over 200
"then-and-now" photos, and an extensive appendix listing the locations of nearly
700 locations throughout the world in WWII.
12 October: A 1955
Sikorsky S-55B/H-19 Chickasaw helicopter, N443FD (s/n 55-1046), made
a hard landing in a field near Yorktown, New York, USA, after suffering
a power loss. The aircraft rolled over on its side during the accident,
but neither occupant was injured. [Local
news, with photo>>]
29 October: A Mach 2+
Panavia Tornado F.3 fighter-bomber appeared for sale in several
aviation-industry publications. Though the aircraft is largely complete,
it is advertised in "museum display condition" rather than "airworthy"
condition. It is believed to be the only Tornado in private ownership in
the world. [See
4 November: A
Yakovlev / Aerostar Yak-52W, N767RG
(c/n 0012208), force-landed in a field near
Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The sole occupant was not injured. Damage to the
aircraft is unknown.
5 November: A
Hawker Hunter, believed to be
operated by a government contractor, suffered the collapse of its
landing gear upon landing at Pt. Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center,
California, USA. The pilot was not injured.
10 November: A 1943
Boeing E75 Stearman, N1370V, was
involved in a mid-air collision with a Vans RV-12 while the aircraft
were flying in formation near Williamson, Georgia, USA. Both aircraft
landed safely. Damage to the Stearman's rudder was reported.
20 November: The US Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has revoked the pilot's certificate of
notorious pilot Dave Riggs, who was involved in a recent fatal accident
involving an L-39 jet that was
allegedly used in an illegal commercial "adventure ride" program. Among
his other accomplishments, Riggs also used an L-39 to "buzz" a Santa
Monica, California beach pier in 2008; organized an air race that was
grounded by the FAA for safety concerns; and was involved in another
fatal L-39 accident involving a movie production.
20 November: A 1941
Boeing A75 Stearman, N56226, lost
power after takeoff from an airfield near San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Neither the pilot nor passenger were injured, but the aircraft was
damaged after crashing into trees and a fence.
5 December: Aero Union
Corporation is auctioning off its remaining inventory of seven modified
Lockheed P-3A Orion airtanker aircraft. The auction also includes
engines, spare parts, maintenance gear, and MAFFS aerial firefighting
equipment. The aircraft have been active for many years, battling forest
fires for the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of
5 December: A
Douglas C-47TP Dakota, operated by
35 Squadron of the South African Air Force, crashed in the Drakensberg
mountain range in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, killing all 11 people on
board. Poor weather conditions were reported in the area. This aircraft
has been used as a support aircraft for the SAAF's
airshow display team, as well as in numerous other utility roles. [Commemorative
photo issued by the team>>]
5 December: Yet another WWII
aircraft has been recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan. This one,
a Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, crashed in
December 1944 while practicing carrier landings. It will eventually be
sent to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, for
restoration. The aircraft is currently available for public viewing in
Kenosha, Wisconsin. [EAA
8 December: A
North American T-28C Trojan,
N280JM (Bu.No. 140589), landed gear-up in a
field near Temple, Texas, USA. The pilot and passenger suffered minor
13 December: A 1971
Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin, N29NR
(c/n 1941440, crashed into a field near Scurry, Texas, USA, killing both
the owner/pilot and the passenger. Circumstances of the accident are not
known, but it was reported that the passenger was receiving a ride that
he had won in an auction. [News
7 January: A
Supermarine PR Mk. XIX Spitfire,
G-RRGN, suffered the collapse of its landing gear during landing at East
Midlands Airport, UK. The pilot was not injured. The aircraft, recently
restored for Rolls-Royce, is believed to be readily repairable. [BBC
15 January: Noted warbird
pilot, former Reno racer, and Airshow Competency Evaluator (ACE) Fred
Cabanas was killed in the crash of a non-warbird light plane near
Cozumel, Mexico. [Godspeed, Freddy. -Ed.]
19 January: A
Nanchang CJ-6A, N5616N (c/n
5632016), landed gear-up at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA. The pilot
was not injured.
6 February: A 1966
Hispano HA-200 Saeta Jet,
N390WW, suffered the collapse of its landing gear during a landing at
North Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The pilot was not injured and the aircraft
sustained only minor damage.
6 February: A
Hiller UH-12B/OH-23 helicopter, N5072R, made a hard landing at
Merritt Island, Florida, USA after a loss of power. One person was
6 February: In a surprise
move, the U.S. National Park Service ordered the immediate closure of
Museum, located on historic Fort Vancouver, Washington, USA. A press
release from the Trust which operated the museum said the closure was
the result of "an unresolved dispute with the National Park Service
regarding park use policy."
13 March: A group of
business leaders in Wichita, Kansas, USA has united to form "Doc's
Friends," a group dedicated to the restoration to flight status of
"Doc," a Boeing B-29 Superfortress
bomber. Doc spent 42 years on a bombing-range in China Lake, California,
and was rescued from an uncertain fate several years ago. [More
26 March: A
Hughes OH-6 Cayuse helicopter, N910WC (s/n 67-16372) crashed near
Caddo, Texas, USA. A passenger was killed after the aircraft lost
control while hovering over a stock tank and then plunged into the
water. The pilot suffered only minor injuries.
16 April: A
deHaviland DH.82A Tiger Moth
(ZS-OSS, c/n 82982) crashed into the water in Mmabatho, South Africa
during a landing approach. Both occupants were killed.
19 April: A
Siai-Marchetti SF-260W, N224AP,
landed gear-up at San Rafael, California, USA. Neither the pilot nor his
passenger were injured.
20 April: A 1942
Boeing A75N1 Stearman, N985SS (c/n
75-3431), force-landed in a vineyard near Santa Rosa, California. USA,
ending up inverted. The pilot was not injured.
24 April: A 1953
North American/CCF Harvard IV, C-FMWN
(c/n CCF4 267) suffered the loss of its left brake after landing in
Delta, British Columbia, Canada. The aircraft departed the side of the
runway and the left main landing gear collapsed. The aircraft came to
rest in a ditch. Neither occupant was injured, but the aircraft was
5 May: A
Hispano Aviacion HA-200D Saeta
jet, EC-DXR (c/n 20-56), crashed into a hangar during an airshow near
Madrid, Spain. The 34-year old pilot died at the hospital, and several
people at the scene were reported to be injured. The aircraft appeared
to perform a slow-speed wingover-type maneuver, and did not recover
before ground impact.
10 June: The remains of a
Dornier Do.17 bomber were recovered from the English Channel in one
of Britain's most expensive and challenging retrieval operations. The
aircraft is reported as being in "remarkable condition," and the plan is
to eventually display it the Royal Air Force Museum in London. The
aircraft was shot down in 1940 by a pair of RAF Boulton-Paul Defiant
fighters, and came to rest in 50 feet of water. [News
article, with photos and video>>]
13 June: Two
Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros jets
collided during a practice race at Reno, Nevada, USA. Both aircraft
landed. One of the aircraft involved, L-39 N8124N (Race # 777), suffered
the loss of approximately half of its vertical stabilizer and the pilot made a
successful gear-up landing. The other involved aircraft, N2399V (Race
# 99, "Miss Mona"), landed safely. The practice race was being flown in conjunction with the
annual Pylon Racing Seminar, held to train new and prospective Reno
racing pilots. [News
22 June: A 1941
Boeing 1B75A Stearman 450,
N450JW, crashed during an airshow performance in Dayton, Ohio, USA. Both
performers perished after the aircraft appeared to stall while inverted
at low altitude during a wing-walking act. [Jane Wicker and Charlie
Schwenker will be missed. Our condolences to the family and friends of
these two great performers. -Ed.]
22 June: The Military
Aviation Museum, Jerry Yagen's large collection of warbirds and vintage
aircraft in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, is reportedly for sale. [Museum
23 June: A
Nanchang CJ-6, N2726C, crashed in
a field near Wolcott, Colorado, USA. Both the owner/pilot and passenger
were killed. The exact circumstances of the accident are not known.
23 June: A 1955
Beechcraft T-34/A45 Mentor, N434M,
crashed after an apparent engine failure near Boulder City, Nevada, USA.
Both occupants were killed. Both were active-duty National Guard
members, although they were not flying in a military capacity at the
25 June: Ian Cotton, a
Canadian businessman, is selling his
British Aerospace FA2 Sea Harrier VTOL jet on eBay. The aircraft is
largely complete but not airworthy, and the starting bid is $500,000
USD, with a "Buy It Now" price of $1.5m.
25 June: The Tillamook Air
Museum in Oregon announced that they will be acquiring two new
airplanes: "Chuckie," the well-known
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, and a
Flug Werke/Focke-Wulf Fw-190A-8N
replica -- both of which were, until recently, operated by Jerry Yagen's
Military Air Museum. The B-17 will be making the long flight from
Virginia to Oregon this weekend, weather permitting, with the -190
following shortly. [Tillamook
Air Museum link>>]
27 June: A
Fouga CM-170 Magister, F-GLHF
(c/n 406), operated by the Dutch Historic Jet Association, suffered the
collapse of its landing gear upon landing at Lelystad, Netherlands.
Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured.
29 June: A
Hiller UH-12A / OH-23 Raven helicopter, N6331D (c/n 213), crashed
into a residential yard while maneuvering to land on a trailer. The
pilot sustained unknown injuries and the aircraft was substantially
30 June: A
Nanchang CJ-6A, N116RL, crashed into the
Atlantic Ocean about 500 yards (460m) offshore near Ocean City,
Maryland, USA. The pilot and passenger, both of whom were Ocean City
police officers, were killed. Their bodies were later recovered
Photo courtesy AP
11 July: A
Boeing A75N1 Stearman (PT-17 Kaydet),
N62465 (s/n 75-3096), ended up on its back while taxiing at Canby,
Oregon, USA. Both occupants escaped injury, and the plane suffered
relatively minor, repairable damage. The aircraft had recently been
16 July: A 1965
Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) helicopter, N775AR (s/n 65-10067),
crashed during a seismographic survey flight near Dove Creek, Colorado,
USA. The pilot was killed.
17 July: A
Boeing A75N-1 Stearman biplane,
N5815V (s/n 75-7616), crashed during landing approach at Woodruff, South
Carolina, USA after hitting a tree. The plane was heavily damaged, but
the occupants suffered only minor injuries.
29 July: A 1963
Folland Gnat T.1, N18GT (XS105),
crashed after the pilot attempted to perform an aileron roll following a
low pass of the runway in Georgetown, South Carolina, USA. The pilot
8 August: A 1950
Grumman HU-16 Albatross, N44HQ
(c/n G-99), sustained minor damage after striking a rock while taking
off from Lake Mead, Nevada, USA.
9 August: The world's last
airworthy Fairey Gannet T5,
N752XT (ex-XT752) has made its first post-restoration flight at New
Richmond, Wisconsin, USA. [Website>>]
17 August: A 1943
Interstate S-1B1 / L-6 Cadet,
N46336, suffered the collapse of its landing gear on takeoff from
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. The pilot was not injured.
19 August: A 1943
Douglas DC-3 / C-47A Dakota, C-GWIR
(s/n 42-32509) operated by Buffalo Airways, made a hard landing after an
engine fire. The aircraft has just taken off when flames were seen
coming from the right engine, prompting an immediate return to the
airport. The aircraft clipped some trees and landed in a ditch short of
the runway. None of the 24 people on board were injured.
24 August: A
Chance-Vought / Goodyear FG-1D Corsair,
N773RD (Bu No. 92471) ("Marine's Dream"), suffered a prop strike
after briefly nosing-over on landing at Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania, USA.
The incident has been blamed on the wheel brakes locking up.
2 September: A 1944
Cessna UC-78/T-50 Bobcat ("Bamboo
Bomber"), N41759, crashed in poor weather near Kingsley, Pennsylvania,
USA, killing the owner/pilots, a husband and wife who were returning
home from a fly-in. The aircraft was missing for six days before the
wreckage was located.
7 September: A 1974
BAC Jet Provost Mk.5A, N78SH, went
off the end of the runway during its landing roll at Broomfield,
Colorado, USA. Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured.
10 September: A
Boeing PT-27 Stearman, C-GKUE
(FJ875), landed hard next to the runway shortly after takeoff in
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada for unknown reasons. The pilot and passenger
both received minor injuries.
13 September: A
Yakovlev Yak-3UM, F-AZZV, went
off the end of a runway in Dijon, France during its landing roll. The
aircraft suffered the collapse of its landing gear, but neither the
pilot nor his passenger were injured.
17 September: Notorious
felon and aviation misfit David Riggs was killed in a non-warbird
aircraft accident near Shenyang, China. He was apparently practicing for
an upcoming airshow by performing a "water-skiing" stunt with his
homebuilt Lancair 320 when the plane struck the water and broke up.
Unfortunately, the accident also claimed the life of an 18-year old
female translator, who was riding in the aircraft. Riggs' body was recovered
several days after the accident. [Editor's note: Among other misadventures, Riggs was the pilot who
buzzed the Santa Monica Pier with an L-39 jet in 2008, leading to the
suspension of his pilot's certificate. His certificate was later
suspended a second time for operating an "adventure-flight business"
using L-39s, an endeavor that resulted in a fatal accident. He was also
the director of an aerial movie shoot that resulted in yet another fatal
L-39 accident.] [News
22 September: A 1940
deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth,
N9410 (s/n DE941), lost power and the pilot made a forced landing into
some trees during an airshow at Old Rhinebeck, New York, USA. The
aircraft was substantially damaged, but the pilot was not injured.
23 September: A
deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth,
DH-RAY (s/n 3787), flipped on its back upon landing at a private
airstrip near Woolgoolga, South Australia. The pilot was not injured.
4 October: A
Grumman / Marsh S-2T Turbo Tracker, N437DF ("Tanker 73"),
operated as a firebomber by the California Department of Forestry and
Fire Protection (Cal-Fire), made a hard landing at its base in Hemet,
California, USA, suffering unknown damage and spilling fire retardant on
the runway. The pilot was not injured. [News
article and photos>>]
11 October: A 1943
Bell P-63F King Cobra, N6763,
operated by the Commemorative Air Force, made a gear-up forced landing
on a small grass airport near Midland, Texas, USA. The engine reportedly
failed due to fuel starvation due to a faulty fuel selector. The pilot
was not injured. The aircraft suffered substantial damage.
23 October: A
North American TF-51D Mustang,
N4151D (s/n 44-73458, "Galveston Gal") operated by the Lone Star
Flight Museum, crashed into the water between Galveston Bay and Chocolate Bay near Freeport,
Texas, USA, killing both occupants. The passenger was a tourist from the
UK who was taking a ride in the aircraft.
24 October: A
Yakovlev Yak-18T, ZU-FLE, crashed
after takeoff in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. The pilot was
30 October: A 2004
N652Y (c/n 0412510), struck power lines during a forced landing in a
field near Milledgeville, Georgia, USA. The pilot was not injured.
Damage to the aircraft is not known.
1 November: A
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 UM,
N20739 (c/n 4171), went off the end of the runway and into a rough gulch
at Reno-Stead Airport in Reno, Nevada, USA after losing its brakes on
landing. The pilot suffered non-life threatening injuries. The aircraft
was substantially damaged.
1 November: Organizers of
one of the major warbird airshows in the USA have announced that the
(Indiana) Air Show will be their last one. The organizing committee
cites "current circumstances" as the reason for the cancelation. The
final show will be held 13-14 June 2014.
18 November: A 1960
N132FW, crashed in a wooded area near Kenansville, North Carolina, USA,
killing the pilot.
21 November: An airport
owner was arrested in North Carolina, USA on Federal charges after he
was hired in 2011 by an air museum to perform maintenance work on a
Curtiss C-46F Commando and fly it
as "second in command" to several different locations. An FAA Inspector
discovered that Paul Douglas Tharp possessed neither Airframe and
Powerplant (A&P) mechanic ratings nor a Multi-Engine pilot rating. Tharp
allegedly used another man's A&P certificate number as his own, and flew
the aircraft on several occasions, including to and from an airshow.
22 November: The
Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced that their membership approved a
proposal to build a National Airbase that will become the organization's
headquarters. Final site selection will take place within the first six
months of 2014. The six finalist sites are all in Texas. [More
3 December: After filming a
WWII-themed movie entitled Fury, well-known actor Brad Pitt is
reported to have purchased a
Supermarine Spitfire of his very own, following in the footsteps of
such Hollywood luminaries as Tom Cruise, who owns and flies a North
American P-51 Mustang. [More
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