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Gazette and Bulletin: October 22. 1943 – Unidentified Aircraft Circles City, Arouses Residents

A low-flying, unidentified, multi-motor airplane which circled the city for about an hour last night, caused excitement galore, as residents worried over possibilities of the craft to land at the unlighted Williamsport airport.

First noticed shortly after 9 o’clock last night, the plane flew east and west across the city and led Williamsporters to believe that it was lost and looking for a place to land.

Within 15 minutes the northwestern portion of the city airport was lighted with the headlights of numerous automobiles, floodlights of local and Montoursville fire companies, and the Civil Aviation Authority ceiling light in addition to the smudge pots that lined the runway.

Attempts to contact the plane by radio from the local field were fruitless as airport officials reported the crafts either was without radio or the radio was not in order.

Paul Wagner, chief county air raid warden reported the machine flew low over the Lycoming Division of Aviation and several times skimmed low over houses in the vicinity. Lycoming reported each time it spotted the plane with floodlights, the pilot would extinguish his flying lights and change his course.

All the telephones at the Gazette and Bulletin editorial offices as well as those at the police station were swamped with calls from aroused residents. Several asked if the machine were an enemy craft.

At first only the lights of half-dozen cars were used light the field at Montoursville but as the plane continued to circle, the borough’s car owners and residents abandoned the community to flock to the airport and lend all possible support. Over 200 cars were reported to have lined the bordering road of the field.

The field ambulance was stationed on the field in the event of crash landing, although reports indicated the motors on the craft seemed to running smoothly and were not missing.

Compiled by Lou Hunsinger Jr.

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