Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents

Date/Time Person Location Aircraft Details Notes
Oct 5, 1930
Lord Thompson
British air minister
Beauvais, France Airship
The airship crashed into a hill after losing altitude in a rainstorm.  Overweight and underpowered. Forty-eight out of 56 aboard killed. details in database
Mar 31, 1931
c 10:45
Knute Rockne
43, Notre Dame football coach
Bazaar, Kansas Trans Cont. & Western Airways
Flight 599
Fokker F-10A Tri-motor
NC999E  cn:1063
One of the plane's wings separated in flight after penetrating a rainstorm and the aircraft crashed into a wheat field. A structural design flaw caused wing-aileron flutter which led to the wing separation. All 8 aboard killed.

details in database
May 14, 1931 Denys Finch Hatton
43, professional hunter
Voi, Kenya de Havilland Gypsy Moth Lifted off the ground, stalled and crashed.  Hatton was the character played by Robert Redford in the movie Out of Africa. 2 killed  
Apr 4, 1933
Rear Admiral William Moffet
64, naval aviator
Off Barnegat, New Jersey Goodyear-Zeppelin U.S.S. Akron (airship) Killed when the airship USS Akron crashed into the Atlantic after penetrating a thunderstorm. details in database
Jul 17, 1933
Steponas Darius
Stasys Girėnas
Lithuanian- American aviators
Kuhdamm, Germany Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker
Difficult weather conditions and engine defects caused the plane to crash while on a record setting flight.  
June 24, 1934 Jimmie Wedell
34, Airplane designer and speed racer
Patterson, Louisiana de Havilland Gypsy Moth
Wedell was at the controls of the plane. The crash was most likely due to structural failure. 2 killed.  
May 6, 1935 Bronson M. Cutting
46, New Mexico Senator
Macon, Missouri Transcontinental and Western Air
NC13785  cn:1295
Crashed while attempting to make an emergency landing after running out of fuel. 4 out of 10 aboard killed. details in database
Jun 24, 1935
Carlos Gardel
44, actor, singer
Medellin, Colombia Servicio Aero Colombiano
Ford C-31 Tri-motor
C-31  cn:5-AT-112
Collision with another Tri-motor as it was taking off.  Alfredo Le Pera, his lyricist, also killed. 17 of 20 aboard  killed. details in database
Aug 15, 1935 Will Penn Adair Rogers
56, American humorist
Wiley Post
37, adventurer
Walakpi, near Point Barrow Alaska Lockheed Orion Explorer
After making a forced landing in fog, the plane took off, rose about 50 feet and crashed into shallow water. 2 killed.

details in database
Sep 17, 1935 Len Koenecke
31, baseball player
Dodgers, Giants
Over Canada airspace Charter plane After being thrown off an American Airlines flight for being drunk, Koenecke boarded a charter flight.  A fight broke out between the pilot, Koenecke and another passenger.  After Koenecke grabbed for the controls, the pilot hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher killing him.  
Nov 8, 1935
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
38, Australian aviator. WW I ace. First to cross the Pacific from the US to Australia.
Off the southern coast of Burma near Aye Island Lockheed Altair
Disappeared off the coast of Burma while attempting an England to Australia speed record. Both Smith and his mechanic were killed.  
Dec 7, 1936
Jean Mermoz
35, French aviator
Over the south Atlantic, off Dakar, Senegal Latecoere 300 ''Croix du Sud'' Tri-engine The last message from the aviator was "we have switched off the rear engine." The plane and crew of four were never found.  
Dec 9, 1936 Juan de la Cierva
41, pioneer of rotary flight
Arvid Lindman
74, Prime Minister of Sweden
Croydon, England KLM
Douglas DC-2
PH-AKL  cn:1358
The aircraft crashed into houses while attempting to take off in heavy fog.  All 16 aboard killed. details in database
Jan 12, 1937 Martin Johnson
52, explorer
Saugus, California Western Air Express
Boeing 247
Crashed into Stone mountain while attempting to land at Burbank Airport in fog and rain. Pilot error. Descended without knowing his position. 5 of 13 aboard killed. details in
Mar 22, 1937 Mary Du Caurroy Tribe Russell
71, Dutchess of Bedford
Over the North Sea de Havilland Gypsy Disappeared over the North Sea on a solo flight. Her body was never found. 1 killed.  
Jul 2, 1937 Amelia Earhart
40, aviator
Off Lea, New Guinea Lockheed 10E Electra
Disappeared en route from Lae to Howland Island. Most likely ran out of fuel and ditched into the ocean. 2 killed. details in
Nov 16, 1937 Grand Duke Ernest Ludwig and Duchess Eleanore of Hesse
69, 66
Ostende, Belgium Sebena
Junkers 52/3m
OO-AUB  cn:5827
The airliner crashed into a factory chimney on approach, in fog, after being diverted from Brussels to Ostende. All 11 aboard killed.
details in database
Jan 11, 1938 Captain Edwin Musick
44, Pan American's first pilot
Pango Pango, U.S. Samoa Pan American Airways
Sikorsky S-42 seaplane
NC16734  cn:4207
Exploded in mid-air as the crew dumped fuel in preparation for an emergency landing. All 6 aboard killed. details in database
Aug 31, 1938 Frank Barnwell
58, Aircraft designer
Whitchurch, England Experimental Designed Bristol aircraft. He was a poor pilot and banned from flying any Bristol aircraft. He was killed while test flying his home built plane. 1 killed.  
Oct 28, 1938 Ramón Franco
42, Spanish aviation pioneer
Mallorca, Spain Cantz Z-506/73-1
Crashed killing all aboard, cause unknown.  
Mar 18, 1939 Jack Kylstra
Boeing's chief engineer
A.G. von Baumhauer
Dutch helicopter designer
Adler, Washington Boeing 307Stratoliner
Crashed after the tail broke off of the aircraft.  All 13 aboard killed. details in


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