On Oct. 25, 1968, a Northeast Airlines passenger plane crashed near the top of South Peak on Moose Mountain. In what remains New Hampshire's deadliest aviation accident, a total of 32 people died. However, 10 survived the accident, which happened during the plane's approach to Lebanon Municipal Airport.
With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the crash of Northeast Airlines Flight 946, the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire will sponsor a program about the accident as well as a hike to the site, which is off the Appalachian Trail in a remote part of Hanover, N.H.
The program will take place at Granite Air Center at Lebanon Municipal Airport on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8:30 a.m.
Speakers will include Jeff Rapsis, executive director of the Aviation Museum and son of Northeast Airlines pilot John A. Rapsis of Nashua, N.H., captain of Flight 946 who was among those lost in the crash.
Following the presentation, participants will drive to the trailhead in Hanover, N.H. closest to South Peak and hike up the Appalachian Trail to the accident site.
A brief memorial ceremony will take place at the location where the Northeast Airlines plane, a Fairchild-Hiller 227 turboprop flying from Boston to Lebanon, crashed into ledges just below the summit while attempting to land at the Lebanon airfield.
"Unlike some other air crash sites, there's not a lot left up where it happened," said Rapsis, a longtime journalist who recently joined the Aviation Museum, which is based at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. "Much of the wreckage was removed for investigation and, over the years, the forest has grown back to where you wouldn't know anything had happened there."
"But it was a major incident that affected the lives of many people, including my own family," Rapsis said. "We hope that the opportunity to pause and remember this accident and visit the site, will honor the memory of all those lost in the crash and all those whose lives were changed by it."
The Northeast Airlines FH-227 N380NE that would be lost in the October 1968 accident. The aircraft was built in 1966.
|The surviving tail portion of the fuselage still on the mountain following the crash. It has since been removed.|
Based in Boston, Northeast Airlines was considered New England's hometown regional air carrier in the decades following World War II. Northeast served many small communities in New Hampshire and offered popular "Yellowbird" flights to Florida. The airline merged with Delta in 1972.
The morning program on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Granite Air Center, 58 Airport Road, West Lebanon, is free and open to all. The hike, which involves a total of four hours traversing rugged terrain, is also free and open to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
Those wishing to participate are asked to register in advance with Stacy Borden at the Aviation Museum of N.H. via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 603-669-4820.
The program at Granite Air will begin on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 10 a.m. Following the program, carpools will be organized to the trailhead in Hanover, about 12 miles from the Lebanon Airport.
Directions to the trailhead and instructions will be distributed prior departing Granite Air Center for the hike; transportation to and from the trailhead will be coordinated at the event for those who need it.
Plans call for the crash site to be reached at about noon. Participants in the hike are advised to bring water and pack a lunch if desired. A brief ceremony will be held at the summit, followed by time for exploring the site before descending as a group. The hike is expected to finish at about 2 p.m.
The program and hike will take place rain or shine. Participants are advised to dress accordingly. Sturdy footwear is recommended to negotiate the trail to South Peak and back.
The event is sponsored by the Aviation Museum of N.H., Granite Air Center of West Lebanon, and the Lebanon Municipal Airport.
For more information on the program and hike on Saturday, Oct. 13th, contact Jeff Rapsis at email@example.com or 603-236-9237.