Lost Flier Circles Holyoke As Autos Illumnate Fields

by Laurel | November 22nd, 2011

Vintage Aircraft

22 November 1933

Police and Fire Department Machines, Aided by Hundreds of Private Cars, Light Possible Landing Places — Aviator, After Half-Hour Maneuvering, Skims Off to Bowles-Agawam Port

Police and fire department apparatus, with hundreds of automobiles, commandeered by order of Police Sergeant Michael Smith, tonight vainly tried to guide a lost aviator and his place to a landing place. He had lost his bearings, but recovered them after half an hour of maneuvering over the entire city, and landed at the Bowles Agawam airport.

The incident happened about 6:45. The police wires were taxed with calls from all over the city that an aviator, evidently in trouble, and flying very low, was trying to make a landing.

Orders Field Illuminated

Sergt. Smith at once sent a call to fire headquarters asking that available apparatus be sent to Jones Point, a large field, and illuminate the field with their head and searchlights. Several pieces made a run there in record time with several police cars.

Motorcycle Officers Henry Sullivan and Edward Kennedy, at the corner of Dwight and Main streets, heard the heavy droning motor and felt that something was amiss with the plane. They directed all automobiles to go north to Anniversary Field and illuminate it with their lights.

But although the plane pilot circles these fields several times and dipped low, the lay of the land apparently did not prove inviting and he was off again, being sighted several times over the Hampden Street playground which for several weeks has been brilliantly lighted for football practice at night.

For about ten minutes the plane flew low over the Hampden Street grounds, several times appearing about ready to land. The field has not quite enough area for a plane landing.

Field Too Small, Lights Dimmed

The plane then hovered over the Ward 2 playground, where the Rambler football team was drilling. The players knew from the constant maneuvering of the plane that there must be trouble and realizing that this field was too small for a landing shut off the powerful search lights that are used during practice sessions.

Meanwhile Sergt. Michael Smith was growing busier ordering officers to whatever fields he felt would offer haven for a troubled aviator. He had police cars and fire apparatus with their powerful headlights shooting into the sky and hundreds of autoists who never before had been subject of such police orders,

Learning that the plane had gone in the direction of Springfield, Sergt. Smith called the police of that city, told them of the apparent trouble of the flier and about ten minutes later received word that the plane and pilot had landed safely at the airport.

Sergt. Smith was asked how he thought of the plan of getting automobiles around available fields, “What else could one do,” he replied. “Some of these fellows could land on a dime if the dime was made conspicuous enough.”

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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