Morgantown, MD Curtiss Airplane Crashes, May 1921
Two Planes Arrive Safely.
General Mitchell, assistant chief of the air service, and Captain Ocker who returned from Langley Field at the same time as the hospital ship ran head into the storm as they were crossing the Potomac, and by skirting it succeeded in reaching Bolling Field in safety. Ocker described the storm as one of great intensity, and said the air currents were such that they resembled miniature cyclones making the planes exceedingly difficult to handle.
Wright's Plane Wrecked.
Capt. Burdett S. Wright, aide to Brig. Gen. Mitchell, assistant chief of the air service, also crashed to the ground during the storm. He was riding in a small single seated machine, following the hospital ship, when he was caught by a gust of wind and hurled to the earth. The plane was wrecked, but Wright escaped with no other accident than a broken nose. The accident occurred at Rock Point, Md.
Wright described the storm as the worst he had ever encountered in the air, and said he considered himself fortunate in escaping death. Wright said his difficulty in handling his machine caused him to seek a place to land, when a sudden flurry took the machine out of his control.
Designated An Ambulance.
The hospital ship was a new type of flier - an ambulance airplane - with which the air service has been experimenting for some time, it was modeled after European types of passenger-carrying planes.
The cockpit of the plane had four stretchers, in which patients were to be placed. These were removed for the journey to Langley Field, and chairs were placed for the passengers.
The plane was piloted from the front cockpit, and the motor was hung in front, which made a crash unusually dangerous, since the motor would be hurled back toward where the passengers were sitting.
Three Saved By Illness.
Fate played a strange hand when Representatives Phillip P. Campbell, of Kansas; Joseph Welsh, of Massachusetts and Capt. De La Verne, of the French flying commission, who made the trip down to Langley Field, suddenly decided to return by way of boat and in their places Lieuts. McDERMOTT and PENNYWELL, of Kelly Field, Tex., rode their last air journey in the ill-fated airship.
"Representative Walsh and I were extremely seasick on the trip going down," said Representative Campbell. "We would have undoubtedly made the return trip had it not been for our condition. It was the first time I had ridden in a closed plane and the fumes from the engine coming in to the closed compartment made me feel dizzy," he said.
The Washington Herald District of Columbia 1921-05-30