On the Trail of the Catskills’ Downed Planes

On the Trail of the Catskills’ Downed Planes

By: Yitzy Fried 

An estimated forty plane crashes have taken place in the Catskills region beginning in the year 1930, when Stewart Airport was opened to enable West Point Cadets to learn to fly. 

Stash Rusin and Joseph Ferri—both aviation experts—are seeking to locate every one of the estimated forty planes abandoned in the woods of the Catskill Mountains following crashes. 

“Many of these planes are military planes that were doing drills and training flights during WWII,” said Ferri.

This story emerges just as we have only recently covered multiple small-plane crashes, with one of them right on Route 42 in the mountains. 

The pair each became interested in the stories behind these crashes following their individual hikes in the woods, and coming upon abandoned planes in various states. 

They explain that the Catskills terrain is uniquely challenging for pilots who can often find themselves surprised by sudden changes in the skyline, giving them little time to react, and that this may be the reason for the volume of crashes. 

Photo: TimesUnion

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