Chicago, IL National Air Race Accidents, Aug-Sept 1930

Naval Plane Plunges To Earth In Chicago 50-Mile Speed Event

J.P. DeShazo, of Alabama, Burned Beyond Recognition When Ship Bursts Into Flames Following Accident-Spectator Seriously Injured-Pilot Attempted Spectacular Roll at Time-Several Person Save Their Lives by Running as Plane Starts to Fall.

Curtiss-Reynolds Airport, Chicago, Aug. 27.-(AP)-J.P. DeShazo, Navy flier from Alabama, was killed and a spectator whose name was not learned was injured seriously today when DeShazo’s pursuit plane crashed just next to the far right bleachers of the national air races.

The crash occurred just as 17 Navy planes passed the last pylon in a 50 mile speed race. DeShazo, flying 100 feet from the ground, attempted to do a spectacular roll. The plane burst into flames as it hit the ground in front of a concession stand.

Several people, seeing DeShazo’s plane rushing down, saved their lives by running. The pilot was burned beyond recognition. He had finished third in the race.

DeShazo was unmarried. He entered Annapolis in 1921 and graduated in 1925. He was a member of the Navy unit of stunt fliers known as the Fifth Fighting Squadron.

Swift confusion followed the crash.

Occupants of the bleachers leaped out of them from all sides and others broke onto the field to run to the scene. Several fire department trucks were rushed across the field as the flames shot into the air.

Deshazo just missed several large transport planes standing at the south end of the field, his plane coming down in a space not more than fifty feet square.

Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo, IN 27 Aug 1930

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Air Racer’s Crash Heard By Brother Listening To Radio

Two Killed, Seven Injured When Naval Plane Falls and Explodes

Onlooker Dead

Ship Making 15 Miles an Hour Veers Crazily Turning Last Pylon
(By Associated Press)
Chicago, Aug. 27.-The noise of the crash in which Lieut. J.P. Deshazo was killed at the National air races today was broadcast from the airport over a radio chain, and apparently was heard by Deshazo’s relatives in Washington, according to radio officials.

The announcer was describing the race in which Deshazo, a Navy flyer, was participating, when the crash occurred.

He gave the number of ship which had crashed and a few minutes later received a telegram from the lieutenant’s brother, G.S. Deshazo of Washington, asking for information.

The racing navy plane, drumming a thunder of speed, plunged its pilot to flaming death, killed an onlooker and jeopardized the lives of horror stricken hundreds of spectators.

The dead are Lieut. J.P. Deshazo of Montevallo, Alabama, and Louis Weiner, a Chicago concessionaire. Seven spectators were injured, none seriously.

Turning the last pylon with 16 navy planes in a 30-mile speed race. Deshazo’s plane, hurling 125 miles an hour, veered crazily as the flyer attempted a barrel roll, crashed and burst into flames. He was 100 feet from the ground, and the plane fell a short distance from the south bleachers.

Weiner was struck by the plane which dropped in front of his concession stand. Most of the injured were struck by flying missiles when the gasoline tank exploded. Others were splattered with burning oil.

As the roar of speed changed to a requiem of death, the bleacher spectators scrambled in terrified hast from the stands. Many leaped to safety under the falling shadow of the plane. J.R. McCoy of Chicago and his wife fell to their knees as the racer swooped down over them and crashed 20 feet away. They were burned by the shower of hot oil.

It will never be known, but many aviators believed Deshazo went to his death because he maneuvered his plane to prevent striking the bleachers head on and causing a tragedy of major proportions.

His comrades took to the air in formation, after the crash with a blank file between the dipping ships, in a gesture of farewell. Silent crowds read in the act a tribute to heroic action.

Deshazo was one of the best known stunt flyers of the navy. He was a member of the 1929 battle fleet stunting trio and again this year was a member of a navy team known as the “Unholy Three.”

A parachute saved his life in September, 1929, when his place failed him on the coast.

There have been two other accidents at this year’s race, but today saw the first fatalities.

After the charred remnants of Deshazo’s plane were carted away, the races went on with all their usual flashing speed, the featured event of which was the finish of the Los Angeles to Chicago derby which was awarded to Wiley Post, Oklahoma City, Okla. Flyer.

Post was in the can of four entries as they crossed the finish line here yesterday with an elapsed time of nine hours, nine minutes and four seconds but was not officially named the winner until after an unsuccessful attempt by Art Goebet to beat his time today.

San Antonio Express, San Antonio, TX 28 Aug 1930

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