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by John Kremer

Hot Times, Cool Places

Celebrities Air Deaths: July

July 1, 1912: Pioneering aviatrix Harriet Quimby (35) and William Willard, an aviation enthusiast, died when they were flipped out of their Blériot during an air show over Dorchester Bay, south of Boston, Massachusetts. They fell a thousand feet into shallow water and were killed. The first American woman to be licensed as a pilot, Quimby was the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. She was the fourth woman flyer to be killed in an aviation accident.

July 1, 1954: John McBride, Alabama halfback, was killed in an ROTC training flight in Texas.

July 2, 1937: Aviator Amelia Earhart (40) and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared on the way from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island during an around-the-world flight. Their Lockheed 10E Electra probably ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

July 2, 2000: Philippine Air Force General Santiago Madrid and Palawan Governor Salvador Socrates were among those killed when a Philippine air force plane crashed into the sea off the western province of Palawan. The Nomad propeller driven plane went down because of engine trouble. The pilot tried to turn back to the airport, but overshot the runway and then crashed into the sea when the propeller stopped as he tried to turn back to the airport.

July 4, 1943: Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski (62), Polish prime minister in exile, was killed along with 11 others when their Liberator II AL 523 plane crashed into the Mediterranean shortly after taking off from the Gibraltor airport. Some claim that his plane was sabatoged (Wikipedia article).

July 8, 1965: Stunt pilot Albert “Paul” Mantz (62) was killed when his Phoenix P-1 plane broke apart on landing while filming the movie The Flight of the Phoenix.

July 8, 2001: Rolim Adolf Amaro (58), who built Brazil's second largest airline after getting his start flying adventurers over the Amazon River, died in a helicopter crash.

July 10, 2007: Dr. Bruce Kennedy, a plastic surgeon and husband of NASCAR president Lesa France Kennedy, and NASCAR Aviation pilot Michael Klemm were killed when their twin-engine Cessna 310 caught on fire and caused them to crash into a neighborhood while trying to make an emergency landing at the Orlando Sanford International Airport. Also killed were a woman and two children who were burned alive when the plane crashed into their two houses. Three others were seriously burned in the accident.

July 12, 1910: Sir Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce, died when his French-built Wright biplane collapsed during a landing competition at Bournemouth Aviation Week.

July 12, 1993: NASCAR driver Davey Allison (32) was critically injured when the Hughes 369HS helicopter he was piloting crashed in the infield of the Talladega Superspeedway near Birmingham, Alabama, while he was attempting to land. His inexperience and poor judgment led to the crash. Allison died a day later in the hospital. Red Farmer, a passenger, escaped with minor injuries. In 1987, Davey Allison became the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series rookie to ever qualify on the front row for a Daytona 500.

July 16, 1960: Eight soccer players from Denmark died in an airplane crash.

July 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 with flying in an instrument-dependent condition in a twilight haze over the ocean. They had been on their way to a family wedding.

July 17, 1996: French country music guitarist Marcel Dadi, Rod Foster (61), corporate pilot for Dassault Falcon Jet, and 228 others were killed in the explosion of Flight 800, a TWA Boeing 747-131, over Long Island Sound. The plane had just taken off from Kennedy Airport and was bound for Paris, France when the explosion occurred.

July 19, 1989: Jay Ramsdell, CBA Commissioner, was one of 112 people out of 296 passengers who were killed when a United Airlines DC-10 crashed at the Sioux City, Iowa airport while attempting to land with a disabled hydraulic system.

July 19, 2003: Dr. George Brumley (68) and his wife Jean (67) as well as a son and his wife, two daughters and their husbands, four grandchildren, and two South African pilots were killed when their plane crashed into Mount Kenya in Africa. Dr. Brumley, former chairman of the department of pediatrics at Emory University's School of Medicine, founded the Whitefoord Community Program as well as chairman of Project GRAD, two inner city charities.Jean Brumley was a board member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

July 20, 1973: American artist Robert Smithson (35) was killed in a plane crash while photographing land near Amarillo, Texas in preparation for a new land art work, the Amarillo Ramp.

July 21, 1963: A private plane carrying four prominent Tampa, Florida residents, including millionaire Karl Kreher, disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key when a squall line hit the area. The group was traveling from Sarasota to Tallahassee on a business trip.

July 23, 1982: Actor Vic Morrow (57) and two child actors (Myca Dinh Le and Rene Chen) were killed when a Bell UH-1B Huey helicopter crashed near them during the filming of the movie Twilight Zone. The helicopter was sent out of control when its tail rotor was hit by an explosive charge from the special effects during the filming of a scene. As it crashed, it tipped over in Morrow's direction, where the still rapidly rotating rotor blades decapitated Morrow and the two children.

July 24, 1972: Lance Reventlow (36), the only son of Woolworth department store heiress Barbara Hutton, was killed in the crash of a single engine Cessna 206 on a mountainside near Aspen, Colorado. The crash was a result of pilot error, high winds, and severe thunderstorms.

July 24, 1966: “Champagne” Tony Lema (32), 1964 British Open golf champion, as well as his wife and two others died in the crash of a Beechcraft H50 near Munster, Indiana.

July 25, 1976: Lee Stryker, president of the Stryker Corporation, died in a plane crash in Wyoming.

July 26, 1998: U.S. Air Force Lt. General David McCloud (51) died in a plane crash.

July 28, 1982: Gospel rock composer and singer Keith Green (29) died when his private twin-engine Cessna plane crashed over the Last Days Ministries property near Lindale, Texas. All passengers died in the crash, including his young son and daughter and a family of eight who were visiting. His Cessna 414 Robertson conversion crashed due to overloading the 7-seat plane with 12 people (windshear might also have been a factor). Founder of Last Days Ministries, Green was taking the family of eight on a sightseeing aerial tour of the LDM property when they crashed on taking off from the private airstrip on the property. Among Green's popular songs were Your Love Broke Through, You Put This Love In My Heart, and There Is a Redeemer.

July 30, 1992: C. Victor Raiser, II (52), finance co-chairman of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, died along with his son and three others when their de Havilland Beaver floatplane went down near the town of Dillingham, Alaska. Raiser and his son were on a fishing vacation when the accident happened.

July 31, 1944: Antoine de Saint-Exupery (44), French author of The Little Prince, died when his P-38 Lightning disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea during World War II. At the time, he was flying for the U.S. Air Force as a reconnaissance pilot photographing German troop positions in the French Alps.

July 31, 1955: Actor Robert Francis and a friend were killed when the friend's light plane crashed near Burbank, California. Francis was an up-and-coming actor who had portrayed Ensign Willie Keith in The Caine Mutiny in 1954.

July 31, 1964: Country music star Jim Reeves (40) and his piano player Dean Manuel were killed when his Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in dense woods near Nashville, Tennessee during a major thunderstorm. Reeves might have experienced vertigo during the storm (he was not a licensed instrument pilot). His hits had included “Welcome to My World” and “He'll Have to Go.”

July 31, 1981: General Omar Torrijos, then dictator of Panama, died in a crash when the instruments in his plane failed to function upon takeoff.

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