Rutland, VT Airplane Crash, Sept 1922
'FLYING PARSON' DIES, 3 OTHER AIR MEN KILLED DURING FAIR.
Lieutenant Maynard and Two Companions Crash to Earth in His Plane in Vermont.
FATAL 2,000-FOOT PLUNGE
Balloonist Meets Like Fate When, Dropping 1,500 Feet, Parachute Fails to Open.
CROWD OF 30,000 SEES FALL.
Maynard Was Test Pilot In France and the Winner of Transcontinental Derby.
RUTLAND, Vt., Sept. 7.---For a crowd of 30,000 people assembled at the Rutland Fair Grounds this afternoon a "flying circus," staged with airplanes and balloons, was turned into a tragedy, four participants meeting death. An airplane crashed from a height of 2,000 feet, carrying to their death the pilot, mechanic and a passenger. A few hours later an aeronaut leaping from a balloon 1,500 feet in the air, was killed when his parachute failed to open.
The dead are Lieutenant Belvin W. Maynard, known throughout the country as "the flying parson," pilot of the airplane; Lieutenant L. R. Wood of Ticonderoga, N. Y., passenger with Maynard; Charles Mionette of Plattsburg, N. Y., mechanic, and Henry A. (Daredevil) Smith of Boston, and aeronaut.
Lieutenant Maynard and his companions, who had been making daily flights at the Fair Grounds, fell to earth about 1 o'clock in a field near the grounds. Hardly had the crowd recovered from the shock of this when the second accident came.
Smith, a professional aeronaut, had already made two successful parachute leaps at various altitudes during the afternoon. At his third attempt the parachute was seen to open slightly, then close. Then the aeronaut dropped like a plummet, falling just outside the fence of the grounds.
Smith, who was 43 years of age, had been giving parachute exhibitions at fairs throughout the East for the last ten years. Two years ago, while attempting a parachute drop from an airplane at Lynn, Mass., he fell 800 feet and was severely injured. The pilot of the plane was killed. The aeronaut claimed that his average was thirty parachute drops a year.
Lieutenant Wood and Mionette, who, with Lieutenant Maynard, comprised the personnel of a "flying circus" that had entertained large crowds daily for a week with stunt flying, went up today as passengers with Maynard. Both were instantly killed, while Maynard was breathing when spectators rushed to the wreck. He died on the way to a hospital.
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