Fairchild PT-19



Including A Personal Account and Newspaper Clipping from Clark Nelson


The crash of the PT-19 in Washington, Utah took place at 5:30 p. m. March 22, 1946. This was "D" Day, an annual celebration at Dixie High School and Dixie College. The individuals aboard the PT-19 were Paul Neilson and Antone Neilson, Jr.

Antone Jr. was commonly known as 'Junior' Neilson. Paul and Junior were cousins. They were Army Air Corps veterans; both excellent pilots. Paul had been the president of the "Dixie Hellcats" flying club. Paul's parents were Israel and Caddie Neilson. Junior's parents were Antone and Vilate Neilson.

What I witnessed: Dr. Wilford J. Reichmann's home was located on the southeast corner at the intersecion of Tabernacle Street and 400 East. Their youngest son was my age. I was with my friend in the Reichmann's front yard the evening of March 22, 1946. It was sunset when my father drove up and asked me to get in the car. We were on our way to the site of a plane crash five miles to the east.

Upon our arrival at the crash site, a small crowd had gathered. Darkness was settling in. We were on the east side of the Israel Neilson home. I saw a bright red Fairchild PT-19; a tail section pitched upward at a fifteen degree angle. The fuselage and wings were intact but the nose was heavily damaged. Considering the damage and pitch of the tail section it appears it came straight in.

The occupants had already been removed but the floodlights remained focused. There were murmers in the crowd about Paul's parents being on the porch when the tragedy took place. But I have no method for verification. There were rumors regarding the cause. A witness claimed the plane pulled up at the last moment; that the engine had stalled.

What I've read and heard: A flight instructor at the airport observed the PT-19 being rolled out. Paul and Junior were already in their leather flight suits. He observed their sloppy and dangerous takeoff. They were both skilled pilots. The instructor could only assume they'd been drinking. He described what occurred following departure. He said they flew to Washington for the purpose of flying loops above the old cotton mill. He said they did one loop after another. During one of the loops, a wing drug the highway. The flight abruptly came to an end. Paul died on the scene. Junior died the following day without regaining consciousness.

Newspaper article:

Newspaper article


Paul Neilson in 1941
Paul Neilson in 1941
        Junior Neilson in 1941
        "Junior" Neilson in 1941


Washington County News
March 28, 1946
Pp. 1, 12

The Deseret News
Volume 341, Number 70, March 23, 1946
Front page headline: Two Utahns Die in Plane Crash: Parents See Son Killed In Stunting
Note: The article erroneously identifies the plane as a Fairchild PT-13; it was actually a Fairchild PT-19.