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Copyright © 2013
by John Kremer

Hot Times, Cool Places

Celebrities Air Deaths: September

September 2, 1983: George Cogar has been missing since his plane went down in British Columbia. Cogar helped found Mohawk Data Sciences Corporation during the 1960s. He left MDS and founded the Cogar Corporation, designing and manufacturing computer chips. He also invented the intelligent terminal, an early forerunner of the modern personal computer.

September 3, 1998: Dr. Jonathan Mann, a pioneer in the fight against AIDS as the outspoken head of a U.N. program on the disease, died in the crash of Swissair Flight 111.

September 3, 2007: millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett (63), crashed his single-engine Bellanca airplane into a mountainside near Mammoth Lakes, California. His plane and remains weren't found until almost 13 months later.

September 5, 1949: At the 1949 National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio, race pilot Bill Odom died when he crashed his P-51 Mustang as he tried to bank too sharply around the second pylon. His plane flipped upside down and crashed into a nearby Berea home, killing a young mother and her baby son as well as Odom. Odom was best known for making the longest solo non-stop flight in the history of aviation up that that time. On March 6, 1949, Odom flew his Bonanza known as Waikiki Beech from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Teterboro, New Jersey (a total of 4,957 miles in 36 hours and 2 minutes).

Lokomotive ice hockey team

September 7, 2011: 36 members of the Lokomotiv ice hockey team and 7 crew members were killed when a Yak-42 jet crashed into a riverbank moments after taking off from the Yaroslavl airport. The plane had struggled to gain altitude, collided with a beacon antenna tower before crashing into the bank of the Volga River. The cause of the crash was apparently technical problems with an aging plane.

Among those killed were head coach Brad McCrimmon, a former NHL player and long-time assistant coach most recently for the Red Wings; his assistants former NHLers Igor Korolev and Alexander Karpovtsev, who played for the 1994 Ranges Stanley Cup team; and team members Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachůnek, Karlis Skrastinš, Josef Vasicek, Alexander Vasyunov (all former NHL plahers), and former NHL draft picks Stefan Liv, Robert Dietrich, Vitaly Anikienko, and Ivan Tkachenko. Sergei Ostapchuk played two years in the Quebec Major Junior League.

September 9, 1942: The Duke of Kent (39), the father of the present one and an uncle to the Queen of England, was killed in an airplane crash over Caithness, Scotland, while on active duty during World War II.

September 9, 1972: Lt. Gen. George B. Simler and his aid, Capt. Gil L. Gillespie, were killed on taking off from Randolph Air Force Base. Simler was en route to assume command of the Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

September 10, 1993: Dr. Stanley Heard, Chairman of President Clinton's National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee, died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash.

Heard and Dickson died in a plane crash outside Dulles airport, after their aircraft, rented after Heard's personal craft developed troubles, crashed while attempting an emergency landing after reporting a fire on board.

Let's repeat that. They took off in a plane. It developed problems. They got it back to the airport. They rented a new plane. They took off in the new rented plane and it developed a problem

September 11, 2001: More than 3,000 people were killed when terrorists hijacked four jet planes and crashed them into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City as well as the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth plane crashed in the wilds of Pennsylvania as passengers fought with the hijackers. It was the worst terrorist attack in world history. Obviously all the people who died in this tragedy are important, but below are a few of the better known casualties. For a complete list of victims, see the following web site:

American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 en route from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into Tower 1 of New York's World Trade Center about 8:48 a.m. EDT. The plane carried 81 passengers, two pilots, and nine flight attendants. Among those killed in the plane were David Angell (54), co-founder of Grub Street Productions and executive producer of NBC's Fraser and Wings; actress and photographer Berry Berenson (53), Anthony Perkins's widow; Edward Glazer (41), CFO of MRV Communications; Charles "Chuck" Jones (48), manager of space programs for BAE Systems; Daniel John Lee (34), road crew member for the Backstreet Boys; Daniel Lewin (31), co-founder of Akamai Technologies; Jeff Mladenik (43) and Andrew Curry Green, executives with eLogic; Laura Lee Morabito (34), national sales manager for Qantas Airways; Tom Pecorelli (30), TV cameraman for Fox Sports News, E! Entertainment, and many awards broadcasts; Sonia Puopolo (58), ballet dancer; David Retik, founding member of Alta Communications, a media investment firm; and Douglas Stone (54), co-owner of Odyssey Press.

United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 bound from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the other tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. The plane carried 56 passengers, two pilots and seven flight attendants. Among those killed were Garnet "Ace" Bailey (53), former NHL player and director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings; Mark Bavis (31), Los Angeles Kings scout; James Hayden (47), CFO of Netegrity; Heinrich Kimmig (43), Klaus Bothe (31), and Wolfgang Menzel (60), executives with BCT Technology; Robert LeBlanc (70), professor emeritus of geography at the University of New Hampshire; Timothy Ward (38), an executive of Rubio's Restaurants; and William Weems, a commercial producer.

World Trade Center. 2,801 people were killed in the demolition of the two World Trade Center towers and the two flights that hit them. Among them were the following rescue workers: Patrick Brown (48), NYFD captain and inspiration for Elissa Wald's romantic novel, Holding Fire; Ray Downey, NYFD chief of special operations command: “Sometimes in this job, good-bye is really good-bye.”; William Feehan, NYFD first deputy commissioner; Peter Ganci, NYFD chief; NYFD Captain Timothy Stackpole; NYFD Captain Kathy Mazza (46); NYFD Battaion Chief Richard Prunty (57); NYFD Lieutenant Michael Warchola (51); NYPD Captain Daniel Brethel; Chris Amoroso, Port Authority officer who led people to safety and died in the collapse after returning to lead more people to safety; and Rev. Mychael Judge, New York Fire Department chaplain. Among people in the towers were Rosa Gonzalez, a Port Authority secretary; David Alger, president of Fred Alger Management; Eamon McEneaney, three-time All American in lacrosse and one of 700 Cantor Fitzgerald employees who died in the collapse of one of the towers; and John O'Neill, former head of the FBI's counterterrorism section and head of security for the World Trade Center.

American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Dulles Airport near Washington to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon at 9:40 a.m. The plane was carrying 58 passengers, two pilots, and four flight attendants. Among the passengers killed were Charles Falkenberg (45), director of research for ECOlogic Corporation, his wife Leslie Whittington (45), professor of public policy at Georgetown University, and their two children Zoe (8) and Dana (3); Bud Flagg, retired Navy admiral; Ian Gray (55), healthcare consulting firm president and a principal with McBee Associates; Steven "Jake" Jacoby (43), COO of Metrocall; Karen Kincaid (40), partner in the law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding; Barbara Olson (45), TV commentator, lawyer, and author as well as wife of the U.S. Solicitor General; Mari Rae Sopper, women's gymnastics coach at UC Santa Barbara; Lisa Raines (43), senior vice president of Genzyme; Todd Reuben (40), partner in the Venable LLP law firm; and a number of teachers and students on a National Geographic Society school trip, including Ann Judge and Joe Ferguson of the NGS (who had two undersea volcanoes in the north Pacific named for them in early 2002).

Pentagon. More than 100 Army and Navy staff were killed in the crash, including Capt. Gerald Deconto (44), Capt. Robert E Dolan, Capt. Lawrence Getzfred (57), and retired captain Jack Punches (51).

United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 en route from Newark to San Francisco, crashed near Shanksville southeast of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m. The plane was carrying 38 passengers, two pilots, and five flight attendants. Among those killed were Thomas Burnett, Jr. (38), COO of Thoratec Corporation; Donald Greene, manager of Safe Flight; Richard Guadagno (38), manager of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge; Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, author of You Can Do It! (posthumously); and Leroy Homer, co-pilot and an honorary Tuskegee airman.

September 12, 2001: Theodore Zylstra (67), a former member of the Washington state bar association's board of governors; Geoffrey Vernon (59), a retired publisher and ex-president of the University of Washington alumni association; Dwight Mitchell, a former Oak Harbor city councilman; the daughter of boatbuilder Ed Monk, and 15 others were killed when their plane crashed as they were returning from a side-trip to see Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico.

September 13, 2009: Captain Asaf Ramon (21), son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, was killed when his F-16 jet crashed south of Hebron during a routine training flight.

September 15, 2006: Actor Pablo Santos (19) died in an airplane crash near Toluca, Mexico. He and five friends had convinced the pilot of his father's airplane to take them up for a flight. Since the plane only can carry six people, the pilot chose to put in less gas so the seven of them would fit. 400 feet from landing, the plane ran out of gas and dropped to the ground. Two passengers died in the crash. Santos had acted in a number of movies, including Party Animalz, and TV shows.

September 16, 1929: Pilot Russ Merrill died when his plane went down in Cook Inlet. Merrill Field in Anchorage and Merrill Pass in the Alaska Range are named for him.

September 16, 1985: Stunt pilot Art Scholl (53) crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Encinitas, California, while performing an inverted flat spin as a stunt for the Top Gun movie.

September 17, 1908: During a demonstration flight for the U.S. Army in 1908, Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge died of a crushed skull after crashing in an airplane near Fort Myer, Virginia. He was the first person to die in an airplane accident. The pilot Orville Wright suffered broken ribs, leg, and pelvis. The accident occurred when one of the propellers separated and tore loose the wires holding the rudder, thus causing Wright to lose control of the plane.

September 17, 1935: Len Koenecke (31), who played baseball for the Giants and Dodgers, died after being hit on the head by a fire extinguisher during a drunken brawl aboard an airplane (shortly after being dropped by the Brooklyn Dodgers.

September 17, 2006: 10 Nigerian army generals and three other military personnel were killed when a small Nigerian air force plane crashed in central Benue state in Nigeria.

September 18, 1948: Businessman Eugene Joseff (43), founder and president of Joseff Precision Metal Products, a maker of aircraft and missile parts, and Joseff-Hollywood, a producer of costume jewelry, died in the crash of a private plane he was piloting.

September 18, 1961: Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld (56), U.N. Secretary General, and 15 others were killed when their U.N. Douglas DC-6B plane crashed in the jungle of northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Sgt. Harold Julian, an American security officer who survived the crash for five days, reported a series of sparks in the sky and an explosion before the crash. There might have been an attempt by Katanga rebels to intercept the plane in an attempt to take the U.N. Secretary General hostage. A warning shot might have hit the plane and caused it to crash.

September 18, 1994: Nigerian soccer player Omalie Aimuanmwosa was one of four who died in a plane crash in southern Algeria. 24 others were injured.

September 19, 1944: Royal Air Force pilot Guy Gibson (26), who was awarded the Victoria Cross for leading the Dambuster Raid, died along with his co-pilot when their Mosquito crashed over Holland after returning from a war mission as master bomber.

September 20, 1956: Tom Gastall, the Baltimore Orioles catcher, died in a plane crash in Maryland.

September 20, 1973: Rock singer Jim Croce (30), accompanist Maurice Muehleisen, manager Dennis Rast, 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 hits, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle.”

September 21, 1943: U.S. representative John William Ditter (55) of Pennsylvania was killed in a private plane crash near Colombia, Pennsylvania.

September 23, 1966: George Skakel, Jr. (Ethel Kennedy's brother); Dean F. Markham, former head of the Commission on Narcotics; and several others were killed in the crash of an airplane near Riggins, Idaho.

September 23, 1985: Broadway playwright Larry Shue (39) was killed in a plane crash in Virginia. An Obie Award-winning author, Shue had two major Broadway successes: The Nerd and The Foreigner.

September 25, 1978: When a Cessna private plane and a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 collided over San Diego, California, 144 people died, including 135 on the jet, 2 on the private plane, and 7 on the ground. Among those killed was either a California government official or a San Diego city official.

September 25, 1999: Stephen Canaday (55), formerly of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, was killed when the vintage airplane he was riding in crashed into a vacant house in Nashville, Tennessee. He died on the way to the hospital. Computer software programmer Rick Loudermilk (52) was pronounced dead at the scene. The plane was a North American SNJ-5, a World War II era single-engine training plane.

September 25, 2002: Law professor Wesley J. Liebeler (71) and his flight instructor were killed when their plane crashed in Lake Winnipesaukee near Gilford, New Hampshire during a training flight. Liebeler served as counsel to the Warren Commission that investigated President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

September 25, 1983: Jim O'Brien, sportscaster, weatherman, and news anchor at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania died in a skydiving accident while helping a fellow skydiver. While making a tandem jump on a warm September morning near Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Jim noticed that another jumper was having trouble opening his chute. During freefall, Jim was able to untangle the other jumper's parachute allowing him to drift safely to earth. Unfortunately, by that time it was too late for Jim to open his own chute so he fell to his death.

September 26, 1969: 25 members of Bolivian soccer team, The Strongest, died in the crash of a Douglas DC-6B in the Andes near La Paz, Bolivia. 49 others aboard the plane were also killed.

September 26, 1999: Fighter pilot Mark Hanna (40) died in a flying accident at Sabadell, near Barcelona, Spain. After his successful fighter pilot career, Hanna founded the Old Flying Machine Company with his father in 1981 to preserve and maintain vintage aircraft. As a result, he acted as aerial advisor and chief pilot on many movies featuring vintage aircraft. His movies included Air America, Empire of the Sun, Memphis Belle, Piece of Cake, Saving Private Ryan, and Tomorrow Never Dies.

September 27, 1946: English aviator Geoffrey de Havilland (35), chief test pilot and son of the aircraft manufacturer, was killed while attempting to become the first man to break the sound barrier. His single-seat DH-108 Swallow swept-wing jet broke up in midair while in a dive.

September 30, 1988: Al Holbert, six-time IMSA champion, died in a plane crash near Columbus, Ohio.

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