Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents

Date/Time Person Location Aircraft Details Notes
Sep 17, 1908
Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge
26, first person to be killed in recorded aviation history.
Fort Myer, Virginia Wright Flyer III During a demonstration flight, a U.S. Army flyer flown by Orville Wright nose-dived into the ground from a height of approximately 75 feet, killing Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge who was a passenger. This was the first recorded airplane fatality in history. One of two propellers separated in flight, tearing loose the wires bracing the rudder and causing the loss of control of the aircraft. Orville Wright suffered broken ribs, pelvis and a leg. Selfridge suffered a crushed skull and died a short time later. 1 killed

details in database
Jan 4, 1910 Ferdinand Léon Délagrange
36, French aviation Pioneer
Pau, France Blériot XI Monoplane Was killed when the left wing to his plane collapsed. This was caused by fitting too powerful of a motor to his plane. 1 killed.  
Jul 12, 1910 Charles Stewart Rolls
33, co-founder of Rolls Royce
Bournemouth, England Wright Flyer His biplane broke-up in mid air. Although falling only 20 feet, he was killed when he cracked his skull. Britain's first aviation accident fatality. 1 killed.  
Sep 27, 1910 Jorge Chavez
23, aviator, first person to fly over the alps
Milan, Italy Bleriot Crash landed his plane at Milan while attempting to fly over the alps from Brigue to Milan. He died of his injuries four days later. 1 killed.  
Jan 9, 1911 Edvard Rusjan
25, aviation pioneer and airplane constructor
Belgrade, Serbia EDA V Strong winds broke off a wing resulting in the plane crashing into a railway embankment. 1 killed.  
Oct 19, 1911 Eugene Burton Ely
24,  U.S. naval aviator. First to land an airplane on a ship.
Macon, Georgia Wright Flyer Crashed during a demonstration flight at the Georgia State Fair.  
Apr 3, 1912 Calbraith Perry Rodgers
33, U.S. aviator, first to make a transcontinental flight
Long Beach, California Wright EX Crashed into the Pacific during an air show after hitting a seagull which fouled his controls. He died of a broken neck. First person to die from a bird strike. 1 killed.  
Jul  1, 1912 Harrriet Quimby
37, pioneer female aviator
Dorchester, Massachusetts Blériot Monoplane Quimbly was killed when she was hurled out of the plane as the aircraft suddenly pitched forward during an air show demonstration. A friend, William Willard, was also killed. 2 killed.   
Sep 13, 1913 Aurel Vlaicu
30, Romanian airplane designer
Câmpina, Romania Vlaicu II Killed while attempting to cross the Carpathian Mountains. 1 killed.  
Mar 14, 1915 Lincoln Beachey
28, aviation pioneer
San Francisco, California Taube monoplane Died after crashing San Francisco Bay after the wings tore off his plane while attempting to perform a stunt during an exhibition flight at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. 1 killed  
Aug 7, 1913 Samuel Franklin Cody
46, aviation pioneer
Newbury, Berkshire, England Floatplane While out for a joyride in his floatplane, which he designed, it broke up at 500 ft and he and his passenger were both killed. 2 killed.  
Feb 15, 1918 Vernon Castle
33, dancer
Benbrook, Texas American flyer Castle was killed during a training mission. He was thrown out of the plane and fell 45 feet after maneuvering to avoid a collision with another plane. He was a pilot during WWI.    
Apr 21, 1918 Manfred von Richtofen
"The Red Baron"
25, famous WWI flying ace
Somme Canal, France Fokker Triplane Killed during a WWI air battle. Canadian pilot Captain Roy Brown was originally credited with shooting down Richthofen, but some accounts credit Australian forces on the ground. 1 killed.  


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