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paulmcmillan 23rd June 2017 13:00

US Navy Parachute Incident July 16, 1929
Following news report:

Navy Airmen Land Safely After Part of Motor and the Propeller Fall Off
Philadelphia , July 16 (AP)
Two navy airmen came down to the earth safely today after the front part of their motor and the propeller fell off during parachute testing flights at the navy yard field here.
It took a bit of adroit flying by Commander Oscar W Erickson to bring the disabled biplane down.
His observer L. S (sic) O. E.. Williams, a former war aviator, made possible the feat by going over the side in his
parachute. This lightened the tail of the plane, permitted Erickson to right it and, while his companion floated down in the 'chute, the pilot spiralled and jockeyed his way to the field

I believe L. S (sic) O. E.. Williams is actually Chief Radio Electrician Obed Everett Williams (awarded Croix de Guerre with Palm by the French during WW1 for his involvement in sinking a Submarine)

Commander Oscar W Erickson is LCDR Oscar William Erickson (1896 - 1931)
Killed in Navy Crash "Nov 5 1931" maybe Vought O2U-2 Corsair A8127 "Nov 3 1931" (though I think this unlikely). He was commander of VC-28 Sqn on the USS Saratoga and the time and the other crewman involved George H/W Cummings aviation pilot, first Class was rescued from the water. Apparently the plane plunged over the side of the carrier during a landing while the Saratoga was anchored ten miles off shore.

The date of Erickson's death was definitely 5th Nov 1931

Obed Everett Williams 22 Nov 1885 to 6 Nov 1964 later was commissioned and ended up a Commander. He is buried in Arlington

Erickson was planning to tow a target for aerial gunnery practice, but as he took off the towing cable broke, and he circled the ship to land. The landing hook caught in the arresting gear on the deck and the plane swerved over side. Erickson and Cummings freed themselves and started swimming, but before a rope could be thrown to them, Erickson sank. Two sailors dived overboard to assist the officer, and he was taken aboard the Saratoga a few minutes later unconscious. All efforts to revive him failed. The only apparent Injury Erickson suffered was a slight laceration on the forehead

Can anyone please confirm the aircraft (type and serial) involved in the July 16, 1929 accident and maybe confirm details of Oscar William Erickson death ?

update George H/W Cummings is enlisted Pilot George H/W Cumming



twocee 23rd June 2017 20:36

Re: US Navy Parachute Incident July 16, 1929
The aircraft was XT3M-4, A-7224.

One propeller blade detached, following which the engine was torn from its mountings. Fortunately Erickson managed to land it with just minor damage.

I can confirm that it was Chief Radio Electrician O.E. Williams who jumped.

twocee 23rd June 2017 20:53

Re: US Navy Parachute Incident July 16, 1929
As regards Erickson's death, the aircraft was O2U-2, A-8096, of VS-2B.

When the aircraft swerved over the side it was held a few feet above the water by the arresting cable. Unfortunately, on trying to escape from the cockpit it seems that the pilot pushed the throttle forward, causing the increased engine power to drag the front of the O2U under the water and he was unable to escape.

G.N. Cummings's rank was, as you say, AP1c.

paulmcmillan 24th June 2017 11:53

Re: US Navy Parachute Incident July 16, 1929

Thanks for filling in the gaps for this


paulmcmillan 30th May 2019 18:44

Re: US Navy Parachute Incident July 16, 1929
Finally Identified George H Cumming as George Hosmer Cumming, Jr. 19 February 1909 to 1 Mar 1942

He was lost on the USS Houston

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