This week on The Historians Podcast Jim Coulthart, an amateur aviation historian, tells airplane tales based on a collection of aircraft incidents, and accidents dating back to the Second World War with ties to Central New York.
Coulthart spent a year and a half curating family accounts, newspaper clippings, online resources, and official reports to develop a program on local aviation history. Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY, was in use from 1942 until 1995 when the federal government closed the base. At one point B 52 bombers were assigned to Griffiss which is now the Griffiss Business and Technology Park.
In the years that Strategic Air Command was active at Griffiss there were frequently as many as six B-52s sitting on the tarmac ready to be armed and go on a mission, according to Coulthart.
The base was named for Townsend Griffiss, the first American aviator killed during the Second World War in Europe. Griffiss was a native of Buffalo. During the War “More than a few planes crashed in Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake. They were flying primarily transport planes out of Syracuse,” Coulthart said. “A C-46 Curtis Commando went down in the Adirondacks and they didn’t find the plane and the crew until over a year later.”
You can listen to the podcast here.
Coulthart has held public office in Oneida, worked for non-profit organizations and teaches at Mohawk Valley Community College as an adjunct instructor.
You can find more podcasts and stories at bobcudmore.com.
Bob Cudmore is author of Lost Mohawk Valley and three other books. He writes Focus on History in the Daily Gazette and Amsterdam Recorder and hosts The Historians Podcast.
The Historians Podcast is heard on RISE, WMHT’s radio information service for the blind in New York’s Capital Region and Hudson Valley. The podcast is broadcast Saturday at 12:05 pm on WCSS 1490 AM/106.9 FM in Amsterdam and Sunday at 4:30 pm on WBDY 99.5 FM in Binghamton
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.