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Tue, May 11, 2004

A Dream Becomes A Nightmare

New Hampshire Pilot Buys Dream Floatplane, Crashes, Dies

It was to be a red-letter day for 37-year old Daren Banfield. An avid fan of antique aircraft and aviation from days gone by, Banfield (below) bought a 1942 Cessna T-50 Friday and decided to fly it home.

He never made it.

Instead, the vintage twin-engine floatplane crashed in a wooded area near Sharon (MA) -- just 50 yards from the shores of Massapoag Lake.

"There's no telling now what might have happened," Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating said in a news conference, referring to what could have been, had Banfield only been able to make it to the water. Keating was quoted in the Quincey (MA) Patriot-Ledger.

Keating said Banfield, of Brookline (NH), "very familiar with airplanes." He owned a company called Golden Age Restorations, was president of the New England Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum, and aviation director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head (ME).

The T-50, dubbed the "Bamboo Bomber" during World War II, was both a trainer and a utility transport. Only two dozen or less remain in flying condition.

FAA Preliminary Accident Report

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 45P        Make/Model: T50       Description: T-50 Bobcat (AT-8, AT-17, UC-78, Crane)
  Date: 05/07/2004     Time: 1846

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: SHARON                      State: MA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  ACFT CRASHED INTO THE TREES UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, ONE PERSON ON
  BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, ACFT WAS DESTROYED, SHORT OF LAKE MASSAPOAG,
  SHARON,  MA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:    0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:           Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: NOT REPORTED                                                               
                                                                                    
                                                        

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: General Aviation

  Departed: UNK                         Dep Date:    Dep. Time:     
  Destination: UNK                      Flt Plan: UNK          Wx Briefing: U
  Last Radio Cont: NONE
  Last Clearance: NONE

  FAA FSDO: BOSTON, MA  (NE01)                    Entry date: 05/10/2004

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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