Clovis, NM Plane Crashes On Take Off, Aug 1929

THREE AIRMEN KILLED AT CLOVIS.

LIEUTENANT STEPHENS, MITCHEL FIELD, CRASHES WITH TWO AIRPORT MEN.

ARMY VETERAN AND AIR RACER, ON WAY FROM LOS ANGELES TO CLEVELAND FOR BIG AVIATION MEET, LOSES COCKPIT COVER FROM PLANE AND FALLS WHILE SEARCHING FOR IT, ASSISTED BY T.A.T. OFFICIALS; SIDE-SLIP AT LOW ALTITUDE BLAMED FOR FATAL ACCIDENT.

Clovis, N.M., Aug. 11 (AP) -- A side-slip ending in a crash from a low altitude took the lives of three persons here Sunday while they were engaged in a hunt for a cockpit vent cover, lost by a U.S. army racing pilot shortly after he took off from the Clovis airport for Cleveland, Ohio.
The dead:
THOMAS E. SCULLY, 32, manager of the Transcontinental Air Transport field here.
PHILLIP BERRY, 29, assistant manager of the field.
Lieutenant O. L. STEPHENS, attached to Mitchel Field, Long Island.
The victims apparently were killed instantly when the plane slithered sidewise into a dry lake bed and crumpled up. The machine appeared to have crashed from an altitude of about 100 feet, as Lieutenant STEPHENS was putting it into a sharp bank to make a turn. His body was found lying on the wrecked motor, mangled beyond recognition. SCULLY and BERRY, riding in the passenger compartment of the plane, a four-place cabin job, were pinned in the cabin.
STEPHENS arrived here Saturday night from Los Angeles, flying a new plane, a Lockheed-Vega, which he intended to enter in the Cleveland air races late this month. Shortly after he took off Sunday morning the vent cover on the cockpit blew off. He turned and landed at the airport, and with port officials tried to locate the cover afoot, without success.
STEPHENS with two mechanics then went aloft in his plane to scan the immediate countryside for the cover, but he was again unsuccessful. Landing again, the army flyer took SCULLY and BERRY with him as passengers in a third attempt to find the missing cover. They had proceeded only a short way west of the port in a zig zag course when STEPHENS banked the ship for a turn, witnesses said. At the same moment it went into a side-slip and fell like a plummet into the lake bed. The machine was demolished.
SCULLY came to Clovis in March to take charge of the T.A.T. airport. He formerly had been connected with the department of commerce airway fighting service at Washington D.C. BERRY came to Clovis early last spring and was a member of the engineering staff which laid out the airport. He had been construction engineer for the Roland-Parka company at Baltimore, Md., before coming west.
Lieut. STEPHENS was in active army service. He passed through Clovis en route to Los Angeles a few days ago, as a flying companion of Amelia Earhart.
SCULLY is survived by his widow, who lives at the airport. BERRY was single. His mother lived in Baltimore.

Albuquerque Journal New Mexico 1929-08-12