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Old 23rd June 2017, 13:47
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

The Scranton Republican › 27 September 1929 › Page 14 ...
FLIERS JUMP TO SAFETY . NEWPORT NEWS NEWPORT NEWS, Va.. Sept. 26 m. Dropping 4000 feet in parachutes, Lieut. James W. Baker (sic), pilot, and Aviation Mechanic's Mate J. F. Benecke, of the Hampton Roads naval air station near Norfolk, escaped unhurt tonight when their observation plane fell into the edge 'of the Hampton Roads near here.

Lieut. James W. Baker is actually I believe Lt (JG) James Ellis Baker (1889 to 1984) later Capt. During WW2 he commanded the Oakland Naval Air Station

Aviation Mechanic's Mate is Joseph "Joe" Freeman Benecke (1904 to 1992)

I have seen other dates quoted for this incident: September 20/26/27, 1929 but believe 26th Sept 1929 to be correct

Again, please can anyone supply the type and serial of the aircraft involved?

Thanks Paul
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Old 23rd June 2017, 20:31
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

I looked through the reports for August and September 1929 but could not find anything relating to this accident. Is the year correct?
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Old 24th June 2017, 12:08
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

George

Thanks for looking the only newspaper report (which was a daily paper) I have seems to indicate 26th (though it might be OCR scanning error for 20th) Sept 1929. Though the Irvin Caterpillar list has Sept 20th 1929

So year seems to be correct

thanks for looking!

Paul
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Old 24th June 2017, 12:40
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

BTW Baker had another incident the previous June

Publication: The Independent Record
Location: Helena, Montana
Issue Date: Saturday, June 29, 1929
Page: Page 1


June 28 1929.--(AP) -- Lieut. James E.' Baker of Hampton Roads, Va., was seriously injured in the crash of
the seaplane he was piloting into Morehead City harbor harbor late today. Lieut. William J. Slattery
a passenger, was uninjured. The seaplane was landing when a gust of wind blew it into t h e mast
of the coast' guard cutter Pamlico anchored about 50 yards off shore. It nosed over and plunged into the sound.
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Old 24th June 2017, 13:20
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

Paul,

I cannot find anything on that June 1929 accident. There was a minor accident at Hampton Roads on 29 June, but that involved a H.T. Baker.
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Old 24th June 2017, 15:55
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

George

Thanks for that

Date confirmed as 26th Sept. The story is in
Daily Press Newport News, Virginia Friday, September 27, 1929 - Page 1

It occurred 7 o'clock at night on Thursday 26th Sept and the aircraft was in a formation flight from


In some manner yet undetermined the
engine a 450 horsepower radial
loosened from its base
and fell out. Within a few moments
apparently sensing that their only
salvation lay in their parachutes leaped out into the blackness
far above Camp Stuart" Apparently it seems there was a propeller blade failure.

The plane was a "Vaught land machine" I think it was a Vought O2U Corsair (based on engine size)

If I find any more I will post here
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Old 24th June 2017, 17:35
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

George

I have no doubt that this is the aircraft involved

All circumstantial evidence I know but it just fits?

Was
O2U-3, A-8237 with VO3B?

Many thanks for this and I will post full story from newspaper when I can extract it!



Paul
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Old 24th June 2017, 17:56
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

It was assigned to USS Oklahoma, so it could have been with VO-3B (Battleship Division 3).
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Old 24th June 2017, 18:28
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

Thansks George

Baker was with VO3B in 1929 so more circumstantial evidence

He was posted to Pensacola in 1930


Paul
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Old 27th June 2017, 10:07
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: US Navy Parachute Incident "26th" Sept 1929

More info on the cause and location of incident and also Bakers' previous incident

Daily Press
Newport News,
Virginia
Friday September 27, 1929
Page 12
Fliers Leap from Falling Plane Above Camp Stuart
Links Crash of Navy Observation Craft into Hampton Roads
Swells Membership of Caterpillar Club
Occupants Land Safely from 4,000-Foot Height
Loosened Motor Throws Ship on Night Formation Flight
Throws Out of Control
Whirled though space on parachutes
When the motor from the plane departed its moorings and fell overboard Lieutenant James W, Baker and Aviation Mechanics’ Mate J F Bencke of Hampton Roads Naval Base Norfolk, last night joined the Caterpillar Club by landing safely on the golf links of Camp Stuart after dropping from the dizzy height of almost a mile. Unruffled and unperturbed by narrow escape from death the fliers nonchalantly sought out a telephone and reported the incident to the Naval Base, then proceeded to the ferry slip and took a boat for Norfolk. The machine which was out of control when the birdmen took to their chutes, careened crazily in mid-air during its wild flight earth wood, rolled and dived looped, finally crashing of the Hampton Roads detonating roar heard for blocks around, Then it caught on fire Then near-tragedy occurred at7 o'clock last night. Both men escaped unscathed. In some manner yet undetermined the engine a 450 horsepower radial loosened from its base and fell out. Within a few moments apparently sensing that their only salvation lay in their parachutes leaped out into the blackness far above Camp Stuart. It was the first parachute leap for both fliers and thus the Caterpillar club was swelled by two.
Plane is Destroyed
The plane was destroyed. It fell about 60 feet from the shore of the golf course in about two feet of water and the gasoline tanks caught fire when it struck, The motor, badly damaged and with the propeller struck in a few inches of water near the shore. The plane, of about 34 wing spread and a Vaught (sic) land machine, was on night flight formation over Norfolk News with others of the air station observation planes The other two ships proceeded to air station A flare was dropped by the other planes at a height of 4,000 feet when it was found that the crippled ship was out of control, the light which was seen over most of the city. Mr J. T. Murphy an East End resident, having just observed the planes pass overhead saw the flare moments later and suspected hat a crash had occurred. He drove the golf course and found the fliers walking along the roadway. Mr Murphy took them in his car to the nearest telephone in a confectionery store at Twenty-fifth street and Wickham avenue where Lieutenant Baker reported to the air station.
Leave City on Ferry
Mr. Murphy then took the fliers to the boat harbor, where they were left on a ferry within a few minutes The plane was a complete "washout". A tangled mass of broken and charred wreckage, it was at once the objective of a small crowd of boys began stripping wing fabric and other fragments as souvenirs. The engine was broken in the fall. One blade of the metal propeller was broken off and the other badly bent Officers of the air station dispatched a boat to the scene of the crash as soon as informed of it to salvage the engine. They said that they did not care about the plane itself but that they hoped to save something of value from the motor. A guard was placed over the wreckage at about 10' o'clock by bluejackets from the Naval Base. Officers at the base had previously asked police headquarters here to place a guard until relieved by a naval squad. An investigation is to be made of the cause of the accident, they explained and they feared that souvenir hunters would destroy any evidence that might leads to an explanation of the cause.

A follow up article the day after revealed that they were appealing for part of the propeller and provided more info on Baker’s previous accident

Sept 28 Page 2

Naval Air Base Seeks Part of Fallen Plane

Officers from the Hampton Roads air base, here yesterday to collect the fragments of the plane
which crashed at Camp Stuart Thursday night in order present them to the board of inquiry which is to be held "within the next
24 hours. one of them stated, have in an appeal for the return of a portion of the metal propeller of the plane was removed by a souvenir hunter, it is beloved and have no other value as junk the authorities are concerned except that it may offer a valuable clue to what caused the crash.

The holder of the part has been asked by the base officers to either to leave it with newspapers or to advise its whereabouts so the authorities may send for it. The officers made it plain that they are not interested in learning the name of the holder of this plane. It is believed that the person who removed it would return it gladly when he learned of its importance to the investigation
to be made.
Relics of the plane were sent to the base yesterday with the exception of such portions that were not desired investigation.
The accident was Lieutenant Baker second close call with possible death. He was in a plane at Morehead City, N C two months ago which crashed into the bay there, turning over and pinning him underwater for nearly five minutes before he was rescued by a
coast guardsman who dived from the cutter Pamlico. He remained in hospital there
for several days before he returned to the Hampton Roads air station in an ambulance plane.
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