Topics - C-47 Transport/F-94B Fighter Jet Collision
Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts
April 09, 1952

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On the morning of April 9, 1952, a C-47 transport plane with ten men aboard, took off from Otis Air Force Base en-route to Niagara Falls, New York.  The transport had landed at Otis from Steward AFB in Newburgh, New York.  Shortly after take off, while the C-47 was passing over the neighboring Camp Edwards firing range, it was involved in a mid-air collision with an F-94B fighter jet on its way to a gunnery practice mission.  

The collision occurred in cloud cover between five to seven thousand feet, and officials speculated that poor visibility may have played a role in the crash.  Both planes exploded and flaming debris rained down over a wide area setting several large brush fires.  One parachute was seen, but it was found to be empty – likely deployed by the impact.

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Fatalities - C-47 Transport

  • Beckham, Maj. Benjamin Collins, 34, Cornwall-On-Hudson, New York
  • Berg, Maj. Leland Arthur, 36, Goshen, New York
  • Bryson, Lt. Col. William C., 34, Stewart AFB
  • Cooper, TSgt. Daniel B., 41, Stewart AFB
  • Erwin, Capt. William H., 31, Herrin, IL
  • Foster, Capt. Clinton C., 33, Gardner, New York
  • Hardesty, Airman 1c Harry Eugene, 21, Campbell Hall, New York
  • Heder, Capt. Richard E., 31, Rock Tavern, New York
  • Hendricks, Capt. Lane S., 31, McHenry, IL
  • Pollock, TSgt. William Donald, 29, Newburgh, New York

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Fatalities - F-94B Jet Fighter

  • Kulpinski, 1Lt. Thaddeus Chester - radar observer
  • Smoke, Capt. Charles J., 35, Shenandoah, Iowa - pilot

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Biographies of the Airmen

Beckham, Maj. Benjamin Collins

Major Beckham was a son of Benjamin Collins Beckham (1872-1965) and Fanny Carroll Barbour Beckham (1874-1946).  His sister was Fanny Coleman Beckham Stewart (1907-2004) and a brother was John Strode Beckham (1909-1998).

Maj Benjamin Collins Beckham

Berg, Maj. Leland Arthur

Born October 14, 1916, Major Berg was from New York.  He was a World War II veteran.

Bryson, Lt. Col. William C.

Cooper, TSgt. Daniel B.

Erwin, Capt. William H.

Foster, Capt. Clinton C.

Hardesty, Airman 1c Harry Eugene

Born February 25, 1931, Airman Hardesty was from Maryland.

Heder, Capt. Richard E.

Hendricks, Capt. Lane S.

Born December 21, 1920, Captain Hendricks was a son of Ollie A. Hendricks (1900-1969) and Eathel [sic] Sarver Hendricks (1900-1982).  His brother was Delmar Levane Hendricks (1928-1982).

Kulpinski, Capt. Thaddeus Chester

Captain Kulpinski was born July 12, 1920 in Poland.

Pollock, TSgt. William Donald

Born March 16, 1923 in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, Sergeant Pollock was the son of Earl Calvert Pollock (1896-1972) and Mary Viola Speck Pollock (1895-1981).

Smoke, Capt. Charles J.


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