Does anyone else out there remember this-- surely, somebody does... the "James River Pacemaker" (FH-227) which crashed on landing at the Charleston WV airport on August 10, 1968? I heard the bulletin on the T.V. news less than an hour after the accident-- 'deja vu'-- just over a year after hearing the bulletin on the car radio about the Flight 22 accident in Hendersonville NC.
Among the passengers who died aboard Flight 230 was 10 year-old Barbara Swiggett of Hampton VA. She had been visiting an aunt in Cincinnati, and her parents wanted her to experience the marvels of her very first flight on her return to VA, which was supposed to terminate uneventfully at ORF. She was the daughter of my oldest sister's English teacher at Hampton High School. I started into the 9nth grade of junior high school in September 1968. On one gray, overcast day, this dark-haired woman wearing sunglasses entered my English classroom and spent several minutes chatting with my English teacher at the front of the classroom. After the friendly conversation ended and this woman had left our classroom, our teacher announced to us that she was the mother of that 10 year old girl who had died in a plane crash in August.
I remember flight 230 and the crash at CRW very clearly. I had been flying for Piedmont for little less than a year.
After the crash at CRW, the company pulled a M-404 to continue flight 230 on the remainder of its routing. My roommate was called to work flight 230 out of Roanoke. I know they would had to have called pilots also, but I do not remember who they were.
Chic Ayers and I were the Piedmont maintenance representatives to the NTSB or CAB investigation.(Not sure which was in charge but I think it was NTSB) We arrived a few minutes after the incident and were the last to leave.
The Air National Guard there did everything they could do to help make our job easier.
I called Mr Cartwight at least twice a day and told him what the findings were. I am not sure if Dave Smith was station manager then or not.
When my job was finished and the NTSB and insurance company said I could go home I called Mr. Cartwight that I was thru and would be home
the next day. He said he would send an airplane after me. Soon Bo Davis showed up in a twin engine airplane and we went home.
Ronnie, that story says a lot about how Piedmont (and Howard Cartwright) treated its employees. Of course, on the other hand, there was no other airline that had employees like Piedmont - especially the ones like you!
Just read the above and recalled some old memories. I was Statation Manager at DAN at that time. Capn Gene Sugg was the pilot that morning on PI230. We were taking delivery of the YS-11 and had it scheduled on a morning departure from INT to DCA that stopped in DAN and returned in the evening-same route. Pilotrs were being checked out on this A/C as quickly as possible. Capn Gene had just completed his YS-11 training and gone back to his regular trip when this mishap occurred. Capn Phil Beason was also one of the pilots who was checking out if I remember correctly. We were at bare minimums one morning with him flying. He spoke with me on the radio and advised he would have to overfly account him being a high-Minimum Captain on the A/C and not legal to shoot an approach with the minimums we were reporting.Piedmont truly had exceptional people working together with a concern for each other back then!
To Mr. Verne Crisp, and anyone else who may be interested:
I recently looked the NTSB accident report up (AAR-69-6) and printed it. As you said, the Captain was Gene A. Sugg, age 40. The F/O was John F. Messick, age 34. I never worked for Piedmont, so I have no idea where any of the crewmembers of 230 were based. Also, this report does not mention any information about the F/A who also lost her life in the accident.
Chip, just read your story about the 10-year old girl killed in the Flt 230 crash. Barbara Swiggett's dad, Sidney Swiggett, was my A'Capella teacher at Hampton High School in 1968. What a tragedy. I remember going to their house after the funeral. I know he and his wife got divorced a little while after Barbara's death. What a blow.
Yes I remeber the plane crash of flight 230 on August 10, 1968. I shall never forget it my very best friend up to that point in my life was a F/A on that flight, her name was Anna Pearl Steward who grew up in Cookeville, TN. It was just a few weeks before I started my Senior Year in High School. I had just turned 17 years old just three weeks before and we had plans for me to follow in her foot steps with Piedmont. Needless to say that never happened. How I have missed her smile and laughter. She left behind eight siblings, her Mother and Father and a VERY Large host of friends. She will forever be in our hearts.
I was only six years old when Flight 230 happened,yet, I remember it as if it were yesterday.Barbara Swiggett was a chilhood friend of mine,living two doors down. All the neighborhood children were envious that she was flying all by herself and we all eagerly awaited her return,anxious to hear her adventure as she was the oldest of friends and a great storyteller.
I remember sitting on my porch as the postal worker reluctantly delivered a telegram to her father, Sidney Swiggett. He crumpled the paper and agonizing screams echoed in the street.
Shortly after that tragic day,I began to find little plastic flowers everywhere-the house,the yard,the woods and sidewalk. I felt perhaps these flowers might comfort the grieving parents so I would sneak over to their house and place them in the side of the doorbell. This continued for several weeks and I never questioned the reason why they appeared or why they suddenly stopped.
Years later,her father became my accapella teacher in high School but the subject was never broached. I did, however, call them a few years ago and asked permission to write about this. They were happy to hear from me and touched that someone would remember.I believe that those of us who were impacted by that horrendous accident will indeed always remember. Ronna Miller
I do not remember the flight, however I do know of it. My father was the only male survivor on this flight. I was not yet born and my mother was pregnant with her sixth child (my older brother). If my dad had not survived, My three younger brothers and a sister and all of our children would not be here today. It was a miracle....and I cannot explain why in an instant in time something can become either a miracle or tragedy. I pray for the victims and their families then and now.