San Francisco, CA Famous Aviator Killed, Mar 1915
BEACHEY KILLED IN A TAUBE DROP.
AIR PRESSURE CRUMPLES MONOPLANE'S WINGS AS AIRMAN TRIES TO RESUME GLIDE.
CROWD OF 50,000 HORRIFIED.
MACHINE AND AEROPLANIST FALL INTO SAN FRANCISCO BAY -- RECOVERED BY NAVY DIVER.
BROTHER SAW HIS PLUNGE.
FATAL PERPENDICULAR DROP FROM 3,000 FEET LIKE FEAT BEACHEY OFTEN HAD EXECUTED IN BIPLANE.
San Francisco, March 14. -- LINCOLN BEACHEY, noted as an aviator the world over and perhaps the greatest rival of the Frenchman Pegoud, in the execution of hair-raising aerial feats, fell to his death here today in the new German Taube monoplane in which he had been attempting to duplicate the spectacular performances of which, in the biplane, he was the acknowledged master.
The fatal drop was made from a height of 3,000 feet at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, and was witnessed by a crowd of 50,000 people. The Taube, with BEACHEY, fell into San Francisco Bay. The machine, with the body of the ill-fated aeroplanist still strapped in the aluminium body of the Taube, was recovered two hours later.
Hillary Beachey, a brother of the aviator, witnessed the tragedy. He was standing on the deck of the transport Crook watching the flight. He said he heard a crackling sound like the breaking of a ship's mast. He cried out as the monoplane began to plunge toward the bay. It fell only a few feet away from the transport.
The young airman -- he was 31 -- was completing his second flight of the day. Having previously electrified the crowd with a series of aerial somersaults, the airman sought to add an additional thrill by making one of the sensational
perpendicular drops which usually featured his flights.
The fatal fall was attributed to the fact that BEACHEY intrusted his life for the first time in several years -- to a monoplane. An exceptionally large crowd had been attracted to the fair grounds to see whether he would attempt the same breath-taking stunts in the new machine that he had performed in his biplane.
On the first flight all went well, and the aviator's familiar tricks were indulged in with the exception of the perpendicular drop. This BEACHEY had saved for the climax. It proved too much of a strain for the frame of the monoplane.
The machine was at an altitude of about 3,000 feet when BEACHEY shut off his power. For a great distance it dropped head on. Then the aviator grasped his control levers to adjust the planes for the graceful descent which had characterized his previous flights. Almost at that moment the wings crumpled, and the aeroplane, turning over and over in its fall, plunged into the bay.
Thousands of spectators rushed to the nearby waterfront, but with the exception of a few splintered fragments of the aeroplane floating on the surface of the water, no sign of the wrecked machine could be seen. Launches put out immediately, equipped with grappling hooks, and a boat's crew from the battleship Oregon, which was anchored in the stream a short distance away, joined in an attempt to recover the machine and its occupant from their resting place forty feet under water. The body was recovered shortly after 5 o'clock.
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