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Famous people who died in aviation accidents
July 16, 2006 9:24 PM   Subscribe

"Famous people who died in aviation accidents" -- notables and not-so-notables who have perished in crashes in the last 100 years.
posted by persona non grata (46 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Appropriately posted on the 7th anniversary of JFK Jr's crash. I was asked where I was when his plane went down. I had no idea. Not surprising, to be honest.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:35 PM on July 16, 2006


I don't know why I find this so interesting, but I do. Thanks for finding and posting, png.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:37 PM on July 16, 2006


I find it interesting that both Mohammed bin Laden and Salem bin Laden (Osama's father and brother, respectively) both died while taking off from San Antonio, Texas...

Coincidence..??

Probably, but hey...
posted by WhipSmart at 9:37 PM on July 16, 2006


they died on seperate flights, nearly 20yrs apart, I should add...
posted by WhipSmart at 9:38 PM on July 16, 2006


Also from this site: the 100 worst aviation disasters. No surprise at #1.
posted by brain_drain at 9:38 PM on July 16, 2006


This site plays fast-and-loose with even the definition of "not-so-notable" -- e.g., Joe Dan Petty, former Allman Brothers guitar tech. I'm sure he was a decent, stand-up fellow but I'd hardly label him as "famous".
posted by nathan_teske at 9:44 PM on July 16, 2006


And the Spetember 11 info on that website is incorrect: it labels both aircraft as 767s when United 93 was a 757. I actually just ran across a reference to that plane when looking at United's fleet listing. 97 active 757s, 1 destroyed.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:48 PM on July 16, 2006


Oh cripes never mind. I got my flight numbers flipped.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:49 PM on July 16, 2006


The Oklahoma City airport is named after cowboy humorist Will Rogers... who died in a plane crash attempting a "round-the world" flight in 1935.

I think there are a few more airports named after famous folks who died in plane crashes but I'm too lazy to google.
posted by TetrisKid at 9:50 PM on July 16, 2006


Stay out of small planes.
posted by caddis at 9:58 PM on July 16, 2006


That's an interesting coincidence, allen.spaulding. I wasn't aware of the anniversary when I posted this and I remember exactly where I was when I heard that news: watching CNN in the common room of a San Francisco hostel at Minna and 9th with a bunch of drunk Portuguese people. No, Miguel Cardoso was not present, to my knowledge.
posted by persona non grata at 10:01 PM on July 16, 2006


I was playing golf, and found out about the crash afterwards in the clubhouse.

I haven't golfed since, though that's just a coincidence.
posted by aaronetc at 10:26 PM on July 16, 2006


The Graham Hill crash was one I'm somewhat familiar with, I read that he was trying to land at an airfield close to his home and ended up crashing into a golf course close by.
From what I remember reading about him he was quite a guy, a real practical joker and humorist as well as a great oarsman; his 'picket fence' pattern on his helmet (later duplicated by his son) was in honor of his time as an oarsman at his rowing club.
posted by mk1gti at 10:27 PM on July 16, 2006


I know it's kind of sidetracking a bit and I do apologize, but perhaps if we knew more about those who died we might appreciate them more. Here's a bit about Graham Hill.

Perhaps those who have an attachment to someone featured in these accounts might post their memories too? I feel that one way to restore life to those who've passed on is to think about them, if even for a little bit.
posted by mk1gti at 10:39 PM on July 16, 2006


Mike Moore
posted by Wolof at 12:52 AM on July 17, 2006


Fascinating;
Sep 17, 1935 Len Koenecke
31, baseball player
Dodgers, Giants
is my personal favorite
posted by TedW at 3:57 AM on July 17, 2006


Stay out of small planes with Country singers or Rock stars or Kennedys.. My top three: Patsy Kline, Rickie Nelson, Jim Croce, who for whatever reason I originally thought was killed in a car going off a bridge...No, That was Harry Chapin. Hey is there a similar list for auto accidents?
posted by Gungho at 4:09 AM on July 17, 2006


I didn't know -- or more likely, considering all the times I was forced to watch that damned "All-American" movie when I was a kid, had forgotten -- that Knute Rockne had died in a plane crash.
posted by Gator at 4:32 AM on July 17, 2006


The Oklahoma City airport is named after cowboy humorist Will Rogers... who died in a plane crash attempting a "round-the world" flight in 1935.

Not only that, but there's a smaller commuter airport near downtown OKC named for Wiley Post, the pilot of the plane that Will Rogers was killed in.

Makes ya feel real good flying into Oklamoha City, don't it?
posted by shecky57 at 4:40 AM on July 17, 2006


Sep 17, 1935 Len Koenecke
31, baseball player
Dodgers, Giants
is my personal favorite


I was happier about Thurman Munson, frankly.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:09 AM on July 17, 2006


I was happier about Thurman Munson, frankly.

I wasn't so much happy as I found the manner of his death immensely entertaining.

I was also surprised at how many athletes (especially teams of athletes) died in planes, although I guess it is to be expected given how much they travel. You can add me to the list of those who didn't know how Knute Rockne died.
posted by TedW at 5:17 AM on July 17, 2006


In fact, here is more about Koenecke's death from Dead Ball Era, which was coincidentally posted here a few days ago.
posted by TedW at 5:22 AM on July 17, 2006


Wow, thanks for that obit, TedW—what a story! (I missed the Dead Ball Era post because it's one of the many posts that are so "cleverly" framed it's not worth the bother of trying to figure out what the hell they're about, so I skip right over them.)
posted by languagehat at 6:01 AM on July 17, 2006


Apr 11, 1996
08:24 Jessica Dubroff
7, trainee pilot

Flying a plane at age 7? I don't want to meet her parents.
posted by kika at 6:07 AM on July 17, 2006


You're welcome, languagehat. I actually found the Dead Ball Era by googling for more info on Koenecke, then looked to see if it had been posted here. Not only had it just been posted a week ago, but Koenecke figured prominently in that thread. I think I'll stop posting about it now, lest we start seeing Koeneckefilter tags.
posted by TedW at 6:09 AM on July 17, 2006


The message seems to be that famous people are more likely to travel in small aeroplanes/helicopters, which are more likely to crash...
posted by runkelfinker at 6:17 AM on July 17, 2006


"Flying a plane at age 7? I don't want to meet her parents."

Why not? Flying a plane isn't quite like driving a car. A very large number of planes of all sizes (maybe even all?) have two identical sticks. She had backup in a way that no drivers ever do. She was flying cross-country with her dad when the plane crashed. In fact, her dad was apparently the pilot (and he made the decision to fly in poor weather conditions) when the plane came down.

If I remember correctly, this was somewhat of a controversy at the time, exactly because a lot of people have the same opinion as you: seven is too young to do something this "dangerous". I flew a plane at the age of 12 or 13, and it's really quite simple.
posted by Plutor at 6:40 AM on July 17, 2006


Seeing Thurman Munson and Ronnie Van Zant in the 70's list took me back. Munson was the first celebrity death I remember being upset about. I was told the news by a neighbor who looked an awful lot like Thurman, up to and including the mustache, while out riding my bike. (I was 8).
posted by jonmc at 7:01 AM on July 17, 2006


The Oklahoma City airport is named after cowboy humorist Will Rogers... who died in a plane crash attempting a "round-the world" flight in 1935.

Uh, that's not quite right. Rogers and Post were killed on a vacation trip to Alaska (see here: In 1935 Will wrote: "I never been to that Alaska. I'm crazy to go up there, sometime.") Post had previously crashed during a solo round-the-world flight two years earlier in 1933.
posted by mediareport at 7:20 AM on July 17, 2006


Considering how many sports-related crashes are listed, they should probably list the crash in October, 2004 that killed many members of one of NASCAR's best teams.
posted by wabashbdw at 8:34 AM on July 17, 2006


They weren't at all famous, but my Aunt Ayles and cousin Betsy were the only two fatalities in a crash at La Guardia in 1989 (2 meg PDF).
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:02 AM on July 17, 2006


Paul Wellstone

1. FBI agents from Minneapolis arrived at the crash site within 2 hours after the crash, even though the trip from Minnesota to Duluth to the crash site would have taken at least 3 hours.

2. When asked for the times at which private flights had arrived in Duluth that morning, the FAA said the records had been destroyed.

3. Considerable disinformation about weather conditions was quickly given to the press.

4. Although regulations called for the investigation to be carried out by the NTSB, not the FBI (because the crash site was not designated a crime scene), the FBI agents were there for 8 hours before the NTSB team arrived.

5. The FBI prevented the local "first responders" from taking photographs.

6. Although it was the NTSB's responsibility to determine the cause of the crash and although the FBI's prior presence was illegal, the NTSB leader publicly accepted the FBI's declaration, made before the NTSB's investigation, that there was no evidence of terrorism.

7. When the NTSB team finally carried out its own investigation, it was unable to find either the cockpit recorder, which it assumed the plane had had, or the black box.

8. The NTSB held no public hearings, claiming that it was not a sufficiently "high-profile" case.

9. The NTSB's final report concealed the fact of the FBI's participation.

Evidence suggests the plane was brought down by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon:

1. The plane's fuselage burned, although it was separated from the wings, which contained the fuel.

2. The plane's electrical system, which would be affected by an EMP, was in the fuselage, and the fire from the fuselage gave off blue smoke, which is indicative of an electrical fire.

3. An EMP could explain why the plane simultaneously went off course and lost its radio about two minutes before the crash.

4. At the same time, cell phones and garage doors in the area behaved in a way consistent with the occurrence of an EMP.

5. An NTSB spokesman professed ignorance about the existence of EMP weapons that could have brought down the plane, although the existence of such weapons had been known for several years.

An important part of the authors' case is the fact that the Bush administration would have had several motives:

1. Wellstone's defeat would return control of the Senate to the Republicans.

Wellstone was the biggest obstacle in the Senate to WH policies Iraq, Colombia, the SEC, tax cuts, and Homeland Security, and he was the strongest voice in Congress calling for a full investigation into 9/11.

2. Two days before his death, Wellstone reported that Cheney had told him: "If you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you."
posted by wfc123 at 9:47 AM on July 17, 2006 [3 favorites]


Sorry: The trip from MINNEAPOLIS to Duluth takes 3 hours...
posted by wfc123 at 9:51 AM on July 17, 2006


Seems offhand like a small radio/timer-activated charge would be more cost-effective than an EMP, but what do I know.

EMP weapons are still exotic to me, maybe not to everybody anymore.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:51 AM on July 17, 2006


The trip from MINNEAPOLIS to Duluth takes 3 hours

FBI agents always obey the speed limit, too. /scratches head
posted by Gator at 10:54 AM on July 17, 2006


Bill Barilko is the first entry for the 1950s.

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer,
he was on a fishing trip
(in a plane).
The last goal he ever scored
(in overtime)
won the Leafs the cup.
They didn't win another until 1962,
the year he was discovered.

Fifty Mission Cap, The Tragically Hip
posted by timeistight at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2006


Yamamoto was shot down. How is that an accident? "Well, we fired our guns into empty air, but he accidentally crossed in front of us and accidentally intercepted our bullets."
posted by forrest at 11:17 AM on July 17, 2006


An NTSB spokesman professed ignorance about the existence of EMP weapons that could have brought down the plane, although the existence of such weapons had been known for several years.

I find it amusing that you would assume a spokesman's ignorance to be feigned. You'd be amazed how many times I've telephoned spokespeople to inquire about how their bosses (state representatives) had voted on high-profile legislation only to be met with, "Hang on, let me check..."

I can't imagine why you would think an NTSB spokesman would possess even basic knowledge of modern weaponry. I'll bet that same spokesman couldn't distinguish between a missile and a rocket, and you interpret his bewilderment about EMP weapons to be indicative of a cover-up? The only thing that proves is that you don't know much about government work.
posted by cribcage at 11:23 AM on July 17, 2006


The interpretation you read is not necessarily warranted, cribcage.

I thought that section was simply pointing out that the NTSB spokesman would not have been able to recognize the effects of an EMP.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:28 AM on July 17, 2006


1. Wellstone's defeat would return control of the Senate to the Republicans.

Wellstone was the biggest obstacle in the Senate to WH policies Iraq, Colombia, the SEC, tax cuts, and Homeland Security, and he was the strongest voice in Congress calling for a full investigation into 9/11.


Dude. The election was a couple of weeks away, and the polls were still very, very tight. Wouldn't it have made more sense to bank on the very real chance that he would've lost before killing him?

Also, and I say this as someone who liked Wellstone and was sad that he died: what the fuck is up with this idea that Wellstone was this one-man bulwark stopping the Senate from doing bad things? he may have opposed them, but it's not like he was all that succesful in doing anything about them.
posted by COBRA! at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2006


Cribcage, you don't understand. They're all part of The Conspiracy™. (Well, you and me are, too, because we refuse to see the truth. Clearly we're part of the coverup.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2006


Yes- everyone knows that no one- in the history of planet earth- has ever conspired to do anything to anyone. Ever.

The Hale Boggs event is also suspicious, by the way.

Boggs was a vocal opponent of the Warren Commission Report-- and support was growing as he tried to re-open the JFK assassination investigation.


And everyone knows E. Howard Hunt's wife was just plain murdered (pardon the pun). You'd have to really be naive not to see that.

That "accident" is not on this list.
posted by wfc123 at 1:05 PM on July 17, 2006


Yes- everyone knows that no one- in the history of planet earth- has ever conspired to do anything to anyone. Ever.

So you're arguing, William of Ockham, that because conspiracies exist, we should always assume conspiracy even in the presence of more obvious and likely explanations?

We've seen people like you before.
posted by cribcage at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2006


other popular conspiracy theories:

Saddam was in league with al Qaeda
Zarqawi was in league with Saddam
the NYT Travel section is in league with al Qaeda
the WMDs are in Syria

whether one swallows one so-called 'conspiracy theory' or not depends a lot on one's predisposition toward the implications of that theory.

al Qaeda's attacks on 9-11 are a 'conspiracy theory': 20 guys conspired to hijack some planes and crash them.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2006


A minor squabble: the trip from Minneapolis to Duluth doesn't necessarily take 3 hours unless you hit major traffic or are traveling to the outer suburbs. It's about a 2-2.5 hours drive.
posted by Zosia Blue at 5:19 PM on July 17, 2006


Oops, missed the "to the crash site" bit. ::slinks away::
posted by Zosia Blue at 5:20 PM on July 17, 2006


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