In 1908, Orville Wright was injured and his passenger Thomas Selfridge was killed in the first ever airplane accident. Over the years, flying has become increasingly safe, to the point where crashes are relatively rare, but not only were early accidents more common; some were real doozies. Who would expect to find an aircraft hanging vertically between the boughs of three trees, for example? The crash pictured occurred during World War I – and getting the plane down from up there must have taken some doing at the time!
On April 22, 1918, while attempting a forced landing in downtown Oshawa, Canada, this Curtiss JN-4 biplane ended up causing quite a sensation. It got tangled up in telephone wires which, say sources, “pinned it near the top of a store front where it remained suspended for several hours.” Fortunately, the pilot was not injured, and the unusual landing may have saved not only his life but also those of citizens on the ground.
During WWI, both sides obviously had problems with airplane accidents. The German LVG B.II was a reconnaissance and light bomber airplane, though this particular example of one was not armed. Even so, the pilot clearly ran out of luck the day this accident happened in 1917. The plane is so perfectly positioned on its nose that it almost looks like a sculpture.
January 1926 would not be forgotten quickly by the inhabitants of New Farm, for it was then that the inner suburb of Brisbane, Australia had the dubious distinction of being the site of this unusual crash. The plane was a Supermarine Seagull flying boat, but clearly it was unable to land safely – on water or land – and so instead crashed into the grounds of this home.
In November 1920, a scout plane carrying mail dispatches never made its planned landing in Waterford Barracks in Ireland. Instead, it crashed into the roofs of a pair of houses in the town across the road from the garrison, one a private home and the other a licensed premises. We’ve got no information on whether there were any casualties, but if flying officers Briggs and McKiehan made it, we bet they needed a drink downstairs afterwards!