Aviation was the source of much news in the 1930s; newspapers gave pilots attention that later was diverted to rock stars and celebrity wannabes from television reality shows.

Tragically, many pilots had short lifespans. Hardly a day passed without a fatal plane crash, or one in which survival of the pilot and seemed miraculous.

Pictured above is a government-owned plane after a crash that claimed the life of pilot Marshall S. Boggs, an airline inspector for the U. S. Department of Commerce. He struck a high tension wire when he attempted to land near Norco, California, a few miles west of Los Angeles. He and two women passengers were headed for a dinner at the Norconian Hotel, which had its own small airport. The women survived.

What follows are stories about 1933 aerial disasters, big and small. While progress was being made, flying was a risky business, but one which fascinated the public. On the other hand, it should be pointed out that commercial flights were crossing the United States regularly and without much fanfare.

The flights attracting attention were those in which the pilots were attempting to set records for distance and speed, or those which involved well-known people.


Syracuse Journal, January 9
Matty Jr. survives, wife is killed
SHANGHAI (INS) — Christy Mathewson Jr., son of the famous pitcher, battled for his life today in Shanghai County Hospital.

In his brief periods of consciousness Mathewson asked about his wife of two weeks who was killed when the Chinese government plane he was piloting crashed in the Whangpoo River off Lunghua. Mathewson broke both arms and his left leg, suffered numerous bruises and lacerations and was in critical condition, though doctors believed he would recover.

It was his wife’s first airplane ride. The plane, owned by T. V. Soong, finance minister in the Nationalist government, was a modern Sikorsky amphibian. Mathewson is an instructor in China’s aviation school.

Mrs. Mathewson was the former Margaret Phillips of Philadelphia. The couple was married in Shanghai on Christmas Eve. They were headed for Hangchow in the plane, which crashed soon after takeoff. Chinese authorities are investigating, but so far have not pinpointed the cause of the accident.

Mathewson survived. He had started the flying school with 14 other pilots, headed by Colonel John H. Jouett. Mathewson lost his left leg and had to struggle to regain use of his arms. However, with an artificial leg he eventually was physically able to play golf, and during World War 2 was on active duty with the Army Air Corp, with the rank of captain, eventually advancing to lieutenant colonel with the Air Transport Command in Europe.

He remarried in 1936 to Mrs. Lee Morton of Saranac Lake. They were divorced in 1945. His third wife was Miss Lola Finch of London, whom he met during the war. They were married in 1945, soon after his divorce. He was fatally burned in 1950 after an explosion in his home outside of San Antonio, Texas.

A house is more likely to be struck by lightning than hit by a falling plane, and the chance of either happening is very slim. In 1933, however, it was a good idea to look up if you heard an airplane in the vicinity. Planes often were in trouble, and where there's trouble, there's tragedy.

Syracuse American, March 26
Plane hits house, several deaths
HAYWARD, California (INS) — At least nine persons were killed when a tri-motored transport plane, forced down by a cloudburst, crashed into a house here last night. The plane’s gasoline tanks exploded, blowing the plane to atoms and scattering burning gasoline over nearby residences.

A family of five persons and two guests were burned to death in one of the houses that caught fire. Two bodies, charred beyond identification, were seen in the flaming wreckage of he plane.

Four persons from two other homes were set afire by the blazing gasoline. They were taken to nearby hospitals suffering from critical injuries and burns.

Final death toll in this aerial disaster was 13, all but three of them occupants of the houses set on fire. Pilot of the plane was Noel B. "Jack" Evans, who was a World War 1 flier.

Syracuse Journal, November 6
Unusual crash kills seven
RED BANK, New Jersey (INS) — Inquiries got underway today into a most unusual air tragedy in which two New Jersey National Guard fliers and five Negroes met flaming deaths when a plane piloted by Lieutenant George R. Johnson, 32, and carrying Sergeant Alfred W. Poole, 35, crashed into a frame dwelling on the outskirts of this town, set it ablaze and trapped the fliers and the Negro victims.

Besides the fliers, the dead are Mrs. Margaret King, 28; her daughters, June, 7, and Patricia, 2; Cora Ragland, 25, the children’s aunt, and Edward Wilson, 35, of Little Silver, New Jersey, a visitor at the house.

Johnson, co-leader of the Shippee-Johnson expedition which explored the Inca ruins of Peru in 1930-31, was an internationally famous aerial photographer, and formerly chief aerial photographer for the Peruvian Army. Poole had been a member of the air division of the New Jersey National Guard since its organization.

The crash occurred as Johnson and Poole set out from the local airport on a return flight to Newark. They had been on a training mission, testing a new type of camera recently issued to the air unit of the National Guard.

About a quarter of a mile from the airport here, it became apparent the plane was in trouble. Johnson put it into a steep bank, evidently intending to return to the field here. As the plane swung over a cluster of houses, it went into a side slip, plunged down and crashed through the rear wall of the two-story frame house. The ship tore away the bathroom walls, plunged through the flooring and dropped into the lower story, where the gasoline tank exploded and turned the building into an inferno.

Cause of the crash was uncertain. State Commissioner of Aviation Gil Robb Wilson said he was convinced there was no mechanical defect in the plane, which had been inspected before leaving Newark and was in perfect mechanical shape.


A reporter and a photographer assigned to cover the story were in a plane that took off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island. That plane, piloted by John W. Whitney, cousin of Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange, got caught in a hailstorm and crashed into a tree. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.

I found no cause for the fatal crash, though changing weather conditions may have been responsible.

What's disturbing is pilots in trouble bailed out and played the odds their plane would come to earth harmlessly away from a populated area. Only sometimes they didn't.

Syracuse American, October 15
Disabled plane destroys two homes
WILMINGTON, Delaware (INS) — Disabled when it collided with another plane in mid-air while maneuvering at the Junior League air meet here yesterday, an airplane crashed onto the roofs of two houses in the center of the city.

The houses were set afire about 20 minutes later when the gas tanks exploded.

The pilot, Roy Hunt, of Oklahoma City, bailed out and landed safely about three blocks away. A half-dozen spectators were hurt in the crush to escape a shower of flaming gasoline.

Force of the blast blew four policemen off the roof of one of the houses. They were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Spectators said a wing was torn from Hunt’s plane as it rolled over in the air suddenly and collided with a smaller craft piloted by Lev Povey. Hunt’s craft plunged dizzily down as he leaped out with his parachute.

Povey managed to pilot his plane back to the Bellanca Airport, about three miles away, where the meet was being held.

A crowd of several hundred persons gathered at the scene when the planes crashed, unaware of the danger of the exploding tanks.

None of the residents of the houses was hurt. The plane fell across the rear portions of the roofs.

In this next incident it's as though unguided missiles were fired toward New Jersey and Long Island.

Syracuse American, September 10
Plane drops keep falling
NEW YORK (INS) — Six Army fliers were safe today after making parachute jumps during the night when their planes were lost in the heavy fog. Two of the planes crashed in the New Jersey suburbs, and the third fell in the ocean off Jones Beach, Long Island.

The corps of seven Army planes returning from Chicago lost their way over Long Island when fog wrapped the metropolitan area.

On December 11 two airmail pilots for Transcontinental Western Air Express ran into a blizzard over western Pennsylvania. Both pilots bailed out of their planes and landed safely. One plane came down near Portage, the other crashed near Roaring Spring. Both communities are near Altoona.
Not surprisingly, stunt fliers were frequently in the news for the wrong reasons. But that was one reason people flocked to watch them perform.

Syracuse American, May 14
Killips killed in crash
OKLAHOMA CITY (INS) — Art Killips, Chicago stunt flier, was killed here today as his plane crashed before thousands of persons at the Oklahoma City Air Show. The plane failed to come out of a barrel roll at a height of 150 feet. Killips died a short time after the crash.


Syracuse Journal, May 31
Two fliers spin to their deaths
LOS ANGELES (INS) — Stunt flying today cost the lives of Wayne Merrill, 22-year-old transport pilot and instructor, and his friend, George “Bunny” O’Banion, 25. They crashed 1,000 feet in their spinning airplane.

Speaking of miracles, that could explain why only one person was killed as a result of the next mishap.

Syracuse Journal, June 19
Plane lands on a crowd
NANCY, France (INS) — Twenty-five persons lay injured today after a falling airplane landed in a crowd of spectators here. Four of the injured were critically burned by flaming gasoline, and the pilot of the craft was killed.

This is another of those what-might-have-been stories, the tragedy lightened only slightly by the fact none of the spectators was killed and by the circumstances that saved the life of one of the pilots.

Syracuse Journal, October 30
Circus stunt ends tragically
AMARILLO, Texas — Crashing in midair as they dove at paper streamers in an air circus stunt here, three air circus fliers were killed and a fourth injured late yesterday.

While thousands watched, pilots Ezra Wiggins of Hooker, Oklahoma; Bill Tullis of Woodward, Oklahoma, and Frank Clay of Morrill, Nebraska, died when their plane crashed into the street.

Arthur Stude of Woodward fell through the roof of a laundry and escaped with a fractured leg and arm. Stude’s plane met the larger plane as they both dove into paper streamers tossed from another plane as part of the circus attractions.

Stude’s plane crashed through the roof of the laundry, where, on week days, many workers are employed. Wiggins’ plane fell in front of Salvation Army headquarters.

Earlier, on July 16, two Detroit pilots — Henry T. Vermoortell and George Dunn— died in a 200-foot dive while stunting at a picnic held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Another Detroit flier, Lieut. Joseph A. Muffat, a National Guard aviator, was killed when his plane lost a wing at 3,000 feet.
Chicago is where the action was in 1933, thanks to the Century of Progress World's Fair. The biggest aerial event of the year — the trans-Atlantic flight of 24 Italian seaplanes — was staged in connection with the fair. Germany's Graf Zeppelin paid a brief visit in the fall. But it was an ill-fated flight of a sight-seeing plane that momentarily, at least, cast gloom over the festivities.

Syracuse Journal, June 12
Sight-seeing plane crashes;
nine persons are dead

CHICAGO (INS) — Investigators today blamed a damaged wing for the crash of a World’s Fair sight-seeing plane which fell to earth near Glenview and burst into flames, burning to death seven passengers and two of the crew.

Coroner Frank Walsh said the giant Sikorsky amphibian apparently had been damaged structurally when Carl Vickery, World War aviator and pilot, made an unsuccessful attempt to bring the plane down on Lake Michigan.

A sudden squall had whipped up choppy waters on the lake while the plane was aloft on a 30-minute flight. When the plane “porpoised” on the water for a landing, witnesses saw the right pontoon crumple. Taking the plane into the air, Vickery headed for the Pal-Waukee land airport rather than risk damaging the ship further.

Near Glenview hundreds of motorists saw the right wing snap away at an altitude of 600 feet. Down the big plane came in a spin. Burying its nose in the ground, the amphibian caught fire. A terrific explosion followed, sending flames 100 feet in the air.

The blazing mass prevented rescuers from reaching the ship.

Six weeks later another plane went down, this one on a Chicago street. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

Syracuse American, July 23
Marine plane crashes in Chicago
A Marine Corps plane carrying three men crashed at 65th Street in Chicago, two blocks from Cicero Avenue. The plane was headed to San Diego. No one was killed, but one man suffered two broken legs.

Those who tested new planes were more vulnerable than pilots of proven craft. What's frightening about the following mishap is how long during the test flight it was before the plane's problem surfaced.

Syracuse American, July 16
Test pilot killed in crash
WILMINGTON, Delaware (INS) — J. Allison Buck, Delaware’s best-known pilot, and Inspector John Moran of the aeronautics division of the U. S. Department of Commerce, were killed in a plane crash yesterday.

The plane, which they were testing for the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, fell into the Delaware River from an altitude of about 500 feet opposite Delaware City, 10 miles south of here.

According to rivermen who witnessed the tragedy, the plane exploded in midair. It burst into flames and pieces went flying in every direction. The pieces and the bodies of the two men hurtled down into the river.

G. M. Bellanca, president of the aircraft company, denied the plane had exploded, and asserted the crash was caused by propellers cutting loose from the engine. He said both men bailed out, but because of the low altitude, their parachutes failed to open. They took off from Bellanca Field and had been cruising for several hours prior to the crash.

Buck’s body and part of the fuselage of the plane were dragged from the river about 9 p.m. River craft and state police continued to search for the other body.

The plane was a skyrocket monoplane and was scheduled for delivery to the Richfield Oil Company, at Pittsburgh, in a day or two.

Buck was a member of a prominent Delaware family. He was the first person in Delaware to get a flying license.

One of the most unusual planes unveiled during the early 1930s was the Soviet Union's K-7. The only fortunate thing about the November crash was that the huge plane had only a small fraction of the passengers the K-7 was designed to carry.

Syracuse Journal, November 22
Giant Russian Plane Goes Down
MOSCOW (INS) — Carrying 14 persons to their deaths, the Soviet airplane K-7, pride of the Russian fleet and the largest land plane in the world, crashed yesterday near Kharkov, it was officially revealed today.

The K-7 had a crew of six men and was capable of carrying 64 passengers. She had a wingspread of 196 feet and was powered by six huge motors.

Only one other heavier-than-air craft in the world, the German seaplane Do-X, surpassed her in size.

Only last week announcement was made that the K-7 had successfully passed all her tests. With exception of the engines, which were imported, the giant craft was built entirely of Russian materials at the Kharkov aviation plant under the direction of Soviet officials.

The K-7 was a monoplane, and one of its unique features was that it had no fuselage. Sixteen cabins, each containing four berths, arranged in sleeping-car fashion, were built inside the huge wings of the plane.

At the time the tests were completed, the Soviets hailed the K-7 as an achievement for Soviet engineering, outstripping the best products of American, British, French and German aircraft builders. The K-7 was one of a series of giant planes planned by the Soviet government.

Among the dead are pilots and mechanics, representatives of the government board of civilian aviation and officials of the factory where the K-7 was built.

A government investigating commission is proceeding to the crash scene.

The next story is one of the year's saddest and most unusual. It seems to me this incident must have been recreated in at least one movie since then, but, if so, I've yet to find it (or them). Months later, a children's book, "The Story of Deadstick the Airport Kitten," was published, posthumously, I'm assuming, because the author was Louise Turck Stanton. The book's forward was written by Amelia Earhart.

Syracuse Journal, November 22
Suicide by airplane
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (INS) — Attaches at the municipal airport here today abandoned hope of rescuing Mrs. Louise Turck Stanton, socially prominent Junior League member, who flew out to sea in a borrowed airplane to end her life.

Relatives attributed her desperate flight to despondency over the recent death of her husband in an automobile accident.

No trace of the airplane had been found today, although searching ships had flown over a wide stretch of the ocean here after notes outlining her plans had been found.

The airplane carried only enough fuel for four hours of flight, according to Major H. A. Maloney, airport superintendent.

Just four hours after her departure, Maloney looked through Mrs. Stanton’s automobile and found a letter addressed to him:

“I’m just going out into space and find out what it’s all about, and if there isn’t anything — that’s okay, too. I’ll be at sea, and you can count on me; the job will be thorough.

“I don’t want any wreckage found. I don’t want anyone wrecked. I am banking on you to do two things. First, keep any of the men from doing any searching. I can guarantee that it won’t do any good. Second, I don’t want any sensationalism or cheapness in the papers.”

Mrs. Stanton had arranged to replace the airplane she had borrowed.

The young widow gave no destination before the takeoff, but headed toward the ocean

She held a special pilot’s license granted by “special dispensation” because of the after-effects of an attack of infantile paralysis. However, she was an accomplished flier, in spite of her slight disability.

The following item, short though it may be, is painful to read, and may cause an uncomfortable flashback to a memorably gruesome scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Syracuse Journal, July 15
Turbulence tosses him to his death
HONOLULU (INS) — Navy airplane pilots today skimmed over the waters of the bay seeking the body of Stanley J. Jaros, 33, of Chicago, chief aviation mate and Navy pilot, who was killed when rough air threw him from his seat into the propeller of an airplane flying at a height of 1,000 feet.

Lieutenant Kenneth Craig, who was piloting, landed the plane safely and reported the accident.


Auburn Citizen-Advertiser, February 8
SALISBURY, England (AP) — Four men of the Royal Air Force were killed today when their bombing plane crashed during a practice flight and burst into flames. A fifth man aboard escaped with burns.

It was not a good year for Britain's Royal Air Force. While not all of the statistics in the item below refer to RAF planes, their pilots. three months later, would be involved in a tragic mistake.

Syracuse Journal, May 20
Planes piling up in England
LONDON — Two Royal Air Force pilots were killed today when their planes collided at Sealand. This was the sixth fatal accident of this month and the nineteenth of the year, bringing the death toll to 27.


Syracuse Journal, August 15
RAF Accidentally Kills Two Rowers
LONDON (INS) — Machine guns added a new hazard to holidaymakers on the Kent coast today when Jean Chesterton, 23, and his sister were shot and killed by a Royal Air Force squadron which mistook their rowboat for a target.

The youth and his sister rowed into the line of fire while the squadron was engaged in machine gun practice at the mouth of the Thames.

Lack of experience with hazards posed by the weather prompted a great deal of pilot error, which led to accidents that could have been avoided. Three men lost their lives in the accident described below, but all three were heroes at the end, thanks to their efforts to help one passenger survive.

Syracuse Journal, June 24
Plane goes down in Lake Michigan;
woman passenger survives

KEWAUNEE, Wisconsin (INS) — Near collapse and horribly blistered from the sun, Mrs. Charles Rennie Jr., 27, sole survivor of an airplane crash in Lake Michigan that took the lives of three men, today told of a dramatic 33-hour battle for life in the cold lake waters.

Mrs. Rennie, wife of a Traverse City, Michigan, oil company executive, was rescued last night by car ferry No. 7 of the Ann Arbor fleet and brought here.

The dead are her 29-year-old husband; his uncle, James Gillette, 28, and a mechanic, Peter Keller.

Through parched lips she told doctors on her arrival here that the three men apparently had given up their lives that she might cling to a battered gasoline tank they had torn from the sinking airplane.

She held tight to the makeshift raft for 33 hours, awaiting the rescue which came at dusk last night when the car ferry nosed through the gathering dusk and picked her up 15 miles west of Frankfort.

Her husband and the other two men had slipped, one by one, into the cold water after they became convinced the light tank would support only her weight.

The plane left Traverse City at 10 a.m. Thursday, she related, and ran into a fog that engulfed them. They were flying across the lake to Milwaukee. Unable to recognize fog from water, pilot Gillette dropped the plane into the lake when he attempted a landing in the mist.

The plane floated for a time, Mrs. Rennie said, and the men swam about, steadying the wreckage, while she sat in the cockpit. The three had suffered injuries in the crash, she believed, but refused to admit their plight to her.

As the wreckage sank beneath the waves, the three tore away the gasoline tank, emptied its contents, and used it as a makeshift float, placing Mrs. Rennie upon its top. She had to lie on her stomach, the blistering sun beating down on her back.

The combined weight of the three men constantly threatened to pull the tank under, she said, and at dusk Thursday, Gillette, pilot and owner of the plane, pleaded exhaustion and slipped beneath the waves.

“I think he did it because he feared he was overbalancing the tank,” the widow explained.

Near dawn yesterday Keller, too, disappeared, as the tank began to leak water.

For four hours, Rennie and his wife remained afloat together, but Rennie was fast losing his strength, the lone survivor said.


On February 11 passengers in a burning airliner bound for Los Angeles escaped death when their pilot managed to land the plane at Bakersfield Airport. Fire was a common hazard in planes at the time. This one broke out about 40 minutes after the plane took off from San Francisco. A few minutes after the passengers stepped from the plane and the mail cargo was removed, the fuel tank exploded and flames enveloped the entire plane.

Most of the passengers on the five flights mentioned below were not so fortunate.

On March 28 a British plane carrying 12 passengers and a crew of three crashed near Dixmude, Belgium, during a severe storm, killing all aboard.

Three days later, near Neodesha, Kansas, four persons were killed and 10 injured in the crash of a tri-motor plane carrying the Winnipeg Toilers basketball team home from a game in Oklahoma against the Tulsa Oilers, national AAU champions.

On April 28, a French airliner was located near Saracena, Italy, in the Calabrian Mountains. The plane had been missing for several days. Three persons aboard the plane were still alive, five were dead.

A day later, a new German Junkers airplane, undergoing tests prior to shipment to China for commercial use, crashed in Bavaria, killing four persons.

In October a United Air Lines plane bound from New York to Oakland exploded over Indiana, near Chesterton. The seven people aboard were killed. After an investigation, airline officials listed the cause as a bomb that had been placed aboard the airliner when it was being serviced at the Newark airport. This was the first time a bomb had been used to destroy a commercial airplane in flight. The person responsible was never caught.

As the year neared its end, on December 30, a British airliner hit a radio mast in a dense fog, crashed and burned near Bruges, Belgium. Eight passengers and the two crew members were killed.

What jumps out from the next story is the idea of someone climbing out onto an airplane wing in mid-flight to attempt repairs.

Syracuse Journal, July 26
Plane Loses Wing, Seven Killed
OCEANSIDE, California (Universal) — Widespread inquiry was launched today into the fatal air crash which yesterday sent one Army officer and six enlisted men to their deaths.

A board of inquiry composed of high Army officers will be convened at March Field, Riverside, to open a probe into the crash.

The huge amphibian Army bomber, carrying the officer and the enlisted men, left March Field yesterday, bound for Rockwell Field, San Diego. The crash occurred one-quarter of a mile outside the south city limits of Oceanside, with the plane less than 40 miles from its destination.

Shortly before the plane started its downward plunge a man was seen on one of the wings, apparently attempting to repair it. Army officers, inspecting the wreckage, expressed the opinion a guy wire had become loosened and that one of the men climbed out on the wing in an effort to strengthen the wire.

The wing left the plane entirely and fell to the ground alone near the wreckage of the huge two-motored amphibian.

Two weeks later a twin-motored United States seaplane lost its tail and crashed into Pearl Harbor, killing five members of its six-man crew. The survivor was injured, but escaped the plane where four of his comrades were trapped. A patrol boat rescued him.

Syracuse Journal, Monday, July 17
Two Accidents Claim Three Lives

DETROIT (INS) — Air accidents over the weekend claimed the lives of three Detroit fliers.

The victims: Lieut. Joseph Arlie Muffat, 28, National Guard aviator; Henry T. Vermoortell, 32, and George Dunn, 30.

Lieutenant Moffat was killed when his plane lost a wing at 3,000 feet.

Vermoortell and Dunn died in a 200-foot dive while 10,000 persons looked on. The pair had been stunting at a picnic held by Veterans of Foreign Wars.


Planes flew at altitudes that seem ridiculously low by today's standards. Smashing into mountains, even hills, was a frequent cause of crashes.

On May 20, Captain Frank "Lonnie Hay," a former member of the British Royal Flying Corps, who had become a technical advisor for movies about aviation, was a passenger in a small plane that crashed into a hillside near Pound Ridge, New York. The pilot was John A. Smiley of Windsor, Connecticut. They were returning from a carnival in Pennsylvania when they encountered fog. It was estimated they were flying at an altitude of only 300 feet.


Syracuse Journal, June 2
SAN BERNARDINO, California — Army officials today began in inquiry into the crash of a transport plane of the Army Air Corps yesterday in which three enlisted men, including one from Syracuse, were killed and two commissioned officers and two other enlisted men were injured.

The dead included Lawrence D. Romano, son of Mr and Mrs. Vincent Romano of 914 North Salina Street, Syracuse.

The crash occurred while Lieutenant Charles M. McHenry, the pilot, was attempting to fly the big transport through heavy fog overlying the San Bernardino mountains en route from his home base at March Field to Crissey Field, San Francisco.

The pilot said he was trying to pull the plane up through what he thought was a hole in the fog when it tore into the side of a hill. McHenry was the only one able to walk away from the wreckage and he signaled motorists who went to a nearby Civilian Conservation Corps camp for aid.

Romano graduated from North High School and was a former football star there. He had served two and one-half years of a three year enlistment in the Army.

Luckier were the seven passengers and two American pilots who survived when a Chinese government airmail plane struck a mountain on Chuhan Island on November 24. Once again the problem was fog. The plane had taken off from Shanghai, headed for Canton, when pilot George Rummill turned around and tried to return to Shanghai. Everyone aboard suffered injuries, but none was serious.
Air races were popular ... and dangerous.

Syracuse Journal, September 5
GLENVIEW, Illinois (INS) — Investigators blamed torn wing fabric today for the crash that killed Miss Florence Klingensmith, 26, of Minneapolis, as she gunned her plane at 220 miles an hour in the final free-for-all speed classic of the International air races.

The aviatrix had completed three-fourths of the 100-mile closed course and was in fourth place when the 40,000 spectators saw a piece of the right wing fabric tear loose. Sensing the danger, she zoomed her racing ship upward and headed south of the field and the plane crashed in a ravine one mile and a half away.

Miss Klingensmith, winner of the Amelia Earhart trophy at the National air races last year, held the women’s record for looping the loop with 1,078 turns.


Winner of the event in which Miss Klingensmith died was James Wedell, who set a new world's speed record for land planes at an average of 305.33 miles per hour. The former record was 264.38 mph set by Major Jimmy Doolittle.

Incidentally, one consequence of Miss Klingensmith's death was that race organizers banned women fliers from future events.


Syracuse Journal, August 26
NEUSTADT-ON-DOLLE, Germany (INS) — Reinhold Poss and Paul Weirisch, aviators participating in a cross-Germany air race, were killed today when the wing of their plane struck a church tower and crashed.