[Editor’s Note: We received an anonymous tip regarding this crash. Thank you for your contribution. This CAP plane crash in Massachusetts was attributed to mechanical failure and pilot error.]
On February 9, 1970, a CAP Cessna 182 [N3339Y] with two men aboard took off from Sterling Airport bound for Nashua, New Hampshire, and disappeared en-route. A search was instituted which involved Civil Air Patrol Aircraft.
Three days later, on February 12, a Civil Air Patrol Aircraft taking part in the search took off from Sterling Airport. The pilot was Stewart C. Woodworth Jr., 50, of Weston, MA, and his observer was Stephen Nottonson, 33, of Newton, Mass.
According to a witness, just after leaving the ground, the aircraft circled back toward the runway, and upon landing, collided with another airplane (with nobody aboard) that was parked on the runway. The CA P aircraft burst into flames, and two onlookers ran forward and managed to rescue Nottonson before the flames drove them back. Mr. Woodworth perished in the accident.
The missing CAP plane was later found by snow mobilers taking part in the search.
• Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search Pilot Dies In Fiery Crash”, February 13, 1970
• Providence Journal, “Missing Plane, 2 Dead Fliers Found In Mass.”, February 13, 1970