Aircraft murders

Discussion in 'Between the wars 1918-1939' started by stan reid, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    #1 stan reid, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
    One of my other chief interests are the classic unsolved murder cases and there are some intersections so I thought I'd start a thread for their discussion.

    Four come immediately to mind and I'll elaborate on them later. They are:

    1-1923-The possible murder of movie stunt pilot B. H. DeLay when his Wasp biplane crashed with evidence that it was sabotaged. His passenger, businessman R. I. Short, also died in the incident.

    2-1928-The possible murder of businessman Alfred Lowenstein during the flight of a Fokker trimotor

    3-1933-The bombing of a United Airlines Boeing 247 that resulted in the crash and loss of all 7 on board.

    4-1937-The Hindenburg Zeppelin crash possibly due to sabotage resulting in 36 deaths.


    Can you think of others? Any thoughts?
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I am intrigued by the possible murder of businessman Alfred Lowenstein during the flight of a Fokker trimotor, but I believe the Hindenburg crash was just that, a tragic accident.
     
  3. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Buddy Holly crash 3 Feb 1959 Clearlake Iowa in the spring while clearing the field for planting the farmer finds a .22 pistol belonging to Buddy which had been fired
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    There was alot of rumors and speculation regarding the Hindenburg disaster, but evidence indicates that the highly volotile dope material on the skin of the airship is what started the disaster. Hydrogen burns with a dull red hue and is largely explosive only if it's under pressure, which it wasn't, being in the airship's large cells. The dope on the otherhand, is extremely flammable and burns with a brilliant and explosive pattern, as seen in the photographs. Once the hydrogen ignited, you could see the dull red flames rising above the much brighter flames of the airship's burning skin.
     
  5. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Dave, the doping material of the skin, was akin to thermite (mythbusters) BUT, pure hydrogen will not, cannot "burn" that requires oxygen which wold not be present in the hydrogen gas bags. However there were "conduits" between the bags leading to vents on the surface. Professor Mark Heald of Princeton, New Jersey, who undoubtedly saw St. Elmo's Fire flickering along the airship's back a good minute before the fire broke out. Professor Heald's view of the starboard side of the ship against a backdrop of the darkening eastern sky would have made the dim blue light of a static discharge on the top of the ship more easily visible.
    American airship historian Dan Grossman, concluded that the ignition took place above the hydrogen vent just forward of where Mark Heald saw St. Elmo's Fire, and that the ignited hydrogen was channelled down the vent where it created a more explosive detonation described by crew member Helmut Lau.
     
  6. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Not your era, but as a Canadian, the death in Rome, Italy,of WW2 RCAF ace George Beurling has always intrigued me. His aircraft crashed on take-off as he was heading to Israel. The aircraft was thought to have been sabotaged.

    Geo
     
  7. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Turns out the farmer who found it had test fired it before he handed it over to the Sheriff.
     
  8. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Which does not preclude it having been fired before Old McDonald fired it
     
  9. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    On July 4 1923, movie stunt pilot B. H. DeLay dies in a crash at a California air show. His passenger, businessman R. I. Short also perished in the incident. During an acrobatic maneuver, the wings of the Wasp biplane folded back and the craft plummeted to the ground. When the plane was checked after the crash, it was found that some elements of the wing structure had been replaced by undersized parts. Delay had earlier been involved a dispute over the ownership of an airport but it was never proven that his probable murder had anything to do with this. The case is still a mystery.
     
  10. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    #10 stan reid, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
    On the evening of July 4 in 1928, powerful Belgian businessman Alfred Lowenstein and six others are flying from Croydon, England to Brussels aboard a Fokker trimoter when it is discovered that he is no longer on board. His body was found floating in the Channel on July 19. Today, it is still argued if he fell out of the plane accidentally, committed suicide by jumping, was pushed out of the craft by an enemy or was killed in the Fokker and then thrown out of the door. Investigators determined that it was nearly impossible to open the door accidentally and fall from the plane.
     
  11. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    On October 10 of 1933, a United Airlines Boeing 247 traveling from Newark NJ to Oakland CA explodes in flight and crashes near Chesterton, Indiana. All four passengers and three crew are killed. It was determined that the plane was deliberately brought down by an explosive device placed toward the rear of the craft. This is the first known act of airliner sabotage. No suspect or motive was ever found.
     
  12. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    On May 6 of 1937, the Zeppelin Hindenburg explodes as it approaches a mooring mast in Lakewood NJ. The airship was completing a trans-Atlantic flight from Frankfurt, Germany. Some survived but 13 passengers, 22 aircrew and one ground crewman were killed. It is mostly thought that the explosion was probably an accident but some have suggested that the incident might have been the result of sabotage. It is unlikely that it will ever definitely be proven either way.
     
  13. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  14. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    Some sources say there were a total of 10 aboard so take your pick. All were murdered at any rate.
     
  15. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    This is one I heard about many years ago; Prince George, the Duke of Kent.

    "On 25th August 1942, Prince George, Duke of Kent, took off from Invergordon in an S-25 Sunderland Mk III Flying Boat. The official story is the Duke was on a morale-boosting visit to RAF personnel stationed in Iceland. The crew had been carefully selected for the task. The captain, Flight Lieutenant Frank Goyen, was considered to be Sunderland flyer in the RAF and had flown some of Britain’s politicians during the war. The rest of the crew was also highly regarded. The co-pilot was Wing Commander Thomas Lawton Mosley, the commanding officer of 228 Squadron. Mosley was one of the RAF’s most experienced pilots having completed 1,449 flying hours. He was also a navigation specialist and was a former instructor at the School of Navigation.

    Officially the Duke of Kent was one of fifteen people on board the aircraft. Also on board were Prince George’s private secretary (John Lowther), his equerry (Michael Strutt) and his valet (John Hales).

    The flying boat took off from Invergordon on the east coast of Scotland at 1.10 p.m. Being a flying boat, its standing orders were to fly over water, only crossing land when absolutely unavoidable. The route was to follow the coastline to Duncansby Head – the northernmost tip of Scotland – and then turn northwest over the Pentland Firth towards Iceland.

    The S-25 Sunderland Mk III crashed into Eagle’s Rock later that afternoon (there is much dispute about the exact time this happened) at a height of around 650 feet."

    Take a look here:

    Prince George, Duke of Kent

    Interesting stuff, then I looked at the book Double Standards, mentioned on the page; I'd be very wary of this book. I've come across one of its authors in my past and have to state that the ideas contained within the book's pages take conspiracy theories to the extreme.
     
  16. Coors9

    Coors9 Member

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    Wasn't there a fella who wanted to kill his wife . She was a novice pilot, so he bought her an F4U hoping she'd kill herself on takeoff. Sure I heard that somewhere.
     
  17. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    That's a bl**dy expensive way to get rid of the wife! A divorce would have been cheaper!
     
  18. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    If you consider individuals specifically targeted during time of war you have to include Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
     
  19. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Though in wartime, an Admiral is still a combatant, so it would be comparable to infantrymen targeting enemy officers and shooting them out of the saddle.
     
  20. stan reid

    stan reid Member

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    On November 11 of 1933, the Soviet 7-engine Kalinin K-7 crashed on its final test flight, killing 14 on board and one on the ground. There was speculation then and since that the craft might have broken up in flight due to sabotage, possibly from a rival design bureau.
     
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