Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Airplane Crashes

I happened upon an interesting website today entitled Celebrity Crashes. Here are a few of the people listed: http://www.check-six.com/lib/Famous_Missing/Celebrity_Plane_Crashes.htm

October 25, 2002: U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (58) of the Democratic party, along with his wife Sheila, (58), daughter Marcia and five others in a snowy northern Minnesota plane crash that injected uncertainty into congressional elections only 11 days away. They had been on their way to a funeral for the father of a state lawmaker from the town of Virginia at the time of the accident, and had been scheduled to continue on for a debate in Duluth later in the day.

The NTSB concluded the likely cause of the crash was, "the flight crew's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover."

October 16, 2000: Missouri governor and Senate candidate Mel Carnahan (66) was killed along with his son Roger (44) and the governor's campaign adviser Chris Sifford when the Cessna 335 they were in crashed. The three had been en route to a rally for Carnahan's U.S. Senate campaign when the plane went down about 25 miles south of St. Louis in a hilly, wooded area.
The NTSB concluded the likely cause of the crash was, "the pilot's failure to control the airplane while maneuvering because of spatial disorientation. Contributing to the accident were the failure of the airplane's primary attitude indicator and the adverse weather conditions, including turbulence."

16, 1999: John F. Kennedy Jr. (38), his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (35), and her elder sister Lauren Bessette (37) were killed when their Piper Saratoga II HP crashed into the ocean off Martha's Vineyard. Their crash may have been caused by John's inexperience in flying with only instruments in a twilight haze over the ocean. They had been on their way to a family wedding.

October 12, 1997: Singer John Denver (53) died when his experimental single-engine Rutan Long EZ plane crashed near Monterey, California. At first, rescuers could not identify the body because the face was damaged beyond recognition, but authorities were later able to identify Denver by his fingerprints. Denver was famous for writing and performing “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Country Roads,” and other songs.

The crash occurred when Denver inadvertently pressed down on the plane's right rudder pedal while trying to switch fuel tanks by reaching for the fuel selector switch behind him. The plane had been modified to place the fuel selector switch behind the pilot rather than between his legs.

March 16, 1991: Seven band members of singer Reba McEntire, and her manager died in the crash of their Hawker Siddeley DH.125-1A/522 near San Diego, Calif. A rushed flight schedule, combined with improper flight planning resulting in a controlled impact into mountainous terrain, killing all ten aboard. This mishap was the imprimis for her following album, For My Broken Heart.

Members of the band aboard the plane were: Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Terry Jackson, Michael Thomas, and Tony Saputo.

December 31, 1985: Rock & roll singer Rick Nelson (45), five members of his Stone Canyon band, and his fiancée were killed when a fire broke out on board a DC-3 taking them to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas, Texas. Two people survived the crash landing near DeKalb, Texas. The fire was caused by a malfunctioning heater.

Nelson was first known as the son of Ozzie and Harriet in their TV show of the late 1950s. He later became famous as the singer of such hits as “Travelin' Man” and “Garden Party.”

August 2, 1979: Baseball player Thurman Munson (32) died when his twin-engine Cessna Citation jet fell 1000 feet short of the runway while practicing touch-and-go landings at the Akron-Canton airfield and tragically burst into flames. Two others were injured. Munson, the catcher for the New York Yankees, was a seven-time All-Star, the 1976 MVP, and the 1970 rookie of the year

June 28, 1979: Philippe Cousteau (35), son of Jacques Cousteau, was killed when his Catalina PBY-6A airplane crashed as he was landing. His plane had just been repaired when he took it out for a flight. As he landed, one of the plane's propellers sheared off, cut through the cockpit, and killed Cousteau.

October 20, 1977: The Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash. Killed lead singer and song writer Ronnie VanZant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. Also killed were pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray.

According to the NTSB report, the pilots miscalculated the amount of fuel provided in Lakeland, Florida on October 18, 1977. When they refueled in Greenville, South Carolina on the 20th, they compounded this error by believing they had more fuel than they really did. The airplane was also experiencing some mechanical difficulties which required the pilots to operate the right engine in the "auto-rich" position which burned fuel at an excessive rate. The combination of these problems resulted in nearly complete fuel exhaustion.

September 20, 1973: Rock singer Jim Croce (30), members of his company (accompanist Maurice Muehleisen, manager Dennis Rast, and comedian George Stevens), and the pilot died when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed while taking off from the Natchitoches, Louisiana airport. The plane hit a tree when it failed to gain enough altitude on takeoff. Croce was famous for his rock hit, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”

December 31, 1972: Baseball great Roberto Clemente (38) and three others were killed when their overloaded Douglas DC-7CF plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off San Juan, Puerto Rico, on its way to providing relief supplies to the victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake.

October 16, 1972: Hale Boggs, the House Majority Leader, along with Alaska congressman Nick Begich, and two others disappeared in their Cessna 310 flying through the Chugach Mountain range in southeast Alaska.

August 31, 1969: Rocky Marciano (45), the former heavyweight champion boxer, and two others died in the crash of a Cessna 172H airplane near Newton, Iowa. It had been a dark and stormy night. He was one day short of celebrating his 46th birthday.

December 10, 1967: Rock 'n roll singer Otis Redding (26) and four members of his Bar-Kays band were killed when their Beechcraft H18 plane crashed in icy Lake Monoma near Madison, Wisconsin, on a foggy night. Redding is best known for his hit, “Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay,” which was released after his death. Redding had recorded the song just three days earlier.

March 5, 1963: Patsy Cline (30), Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cline's manager were killed when their Piper PA-24 Comanche plane crashed near Camden, Tennessee, in adverse weather conditions. Cline was famous for her country hit, “Crazy.” Copas and Hawkins were Grand Ole Opry stars.

February 3, 1959: The Day The Music Died. Rock Hall of Famers Buddy Holly (22), the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) (29), and Ritchie Valens (18) as well as the pilot Roger Peterson died when their Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed just outside Clear Lake, Iowa, during a stormy winter night. Holly was famous for many hits including “Peggy Sue.” The Big Bopper had one big hit, “Chantilly Lace,” and Valens was best known for his hit, “La Bamba.”

July 2, 1937: Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared aboard her Lockheed 10E "Electra" on one of the final legs of her 'around-the-world' flight. While flying to Howland Island in the south Pacific, the aircraft became lost, and believed to be lost at sea, despite the largest search in naval history.

August 15, 1935: On a flight to the Orient, humorist Will Rogers (56) and aviator Wiley Post (37) died when their Lockheed Orion-Explorer plane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska, after taking off in bad weather.

Also of note: At least 18 U.S. senators and members of Congress have died in plane crashes. Among them were Senator John Heinz, R-Pa., and former Senator John Tower, R-Texas, who died in unrelated plane accidents within a day of each other in April 1991.