ON 26 MAY 1942


2nd Lieutenant Maxwell J. Jones (0429769) of the 80th Fighter Squadron (USAAF) was killed instantly on 26 May 1942 when his P-400 hit a tree while landing during a training period at Petrie airfield. The aircraft dropped in from 100 yards and was completely destroyed. Petrie airfield was a dangerous airfield to approach as it was partially hidden due to the large trees that used to surround it. It was often necessary for pilots do to an "S" turn on their final approach to keep the runway in view. This was a particularly dangerous maneuver at low speed and low altitude.

Lt. Col. Malcolm C. Sponenberg, another pilot of the 80th Fighter Squadron, witnessed the accident. He stated that Jones would not have been killed except for the fact that his seat had torn loose from the aircraft and catapulted through the windshield and landed 20 yards in front of the wrecked aircraft. Jones was still strapped into the seat. The cockpit area of the aircraft was relatively undamaged.

2nd Lt. Jones was a very short person and need to sit on 2 cushions in his Airacobra to see through the windscreen.

Sponenberg was later involved in another fatal accident at Redcliffe on 2 July 1942.


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This page first produced 21 February 1999

This page last updated 20 February 2020