Dallas, TX Stunt Plane Crash, Dec 1935
Flying Policeman and Pal Die as Stunting Plane Falls
Pair, in Old Ship Crashed to Death at Oak Cliff Airport
Inexperienced Blamed as Officer, With Wife Watching, Unable to Bring Craft Out of Upside-Down Spin
While his wife looked on, C.G. Karr, 28, of 4632 Marcus, city policeman, and W.W. (Bill) Slater, 22, of 3423 Love Field Drive, plummeted to instant death Tuesday afternoon when the airplane crashed from 2,800 feet at Hampton airport, on the western outskirts of Oak Cliff.
Horror stricken, Mrs. Karr saw the unlicensed plane, piloted by her husband, fall into an upside-down spin after Karr had failed to right it following an attempted loop, and whirl into the deathly glide which demolished the ship and battered the bodies almost beyond recognition.
The crash happened at 5:25 p.m. shortly after Karr and Slater had shot into the air on a stunting trip.
So badly smashed was the plane, which landed upside down, that the rescuers were forced to cut the fuselage to pull the bodies from the cockpits. One of the first on the scene who aided in removing them was Walton Bobo, 15, of 1135 South Waverly, who had been playing around the airport during the afternoon.
Inexperience Blamed for Crash.
The ship was an open biplane and was 7 years old.
Inexperience and an obsolete type of plane probably caused the accident, A.W. Meadows, aeronautics inspector for the Department of Commerce said after investigating.
“It was an old ship and of a type which only a pilot of great experience can handle when it goes into an inverted spin,” Mr. Meadows said. “This apparently happened when Karr was stunting. The ship pulled over on its back in the spin and he didn’t know how to bring it out. It was an unlicensed ship.”
Sergeant Escapes Death.
Death came for the plying policeman and his friend after the former had spent more than an hour at his favorite hobby. He owned he plane.
Because he suffered from cold in the open ship probably saved the life of Sergt J.B. Wicker of the Dallas Police Department. An hour before the crash Sergeant Wicker had accepted Karr’s invitation to take a flight, and the two had winged west to Ferris, circled over Sergeant Wicker’s old home there and then headed back to the city over the city hall and back to the airport.
“How did you like it?” Karr asked me when we landed,” Sergeant Wicker said. “Fine, I told him.”
“Well, wait a bit and we’ll go up again,” Karr replied.
Wicker said he felt to cold for another trip and had to get back to town anyway.
“I asked Karr if he had a way back for I had driven him to the airport, and he told me that his wife was coming out to meet him.”
Policemen Visit Morgue.
A few minutes after Sergeant Wicker left Karr asked Slater, who had been working on an old plane, if he wanted a hop. The latter agreed and the two jestingly strapped themselves in the cockpits after telling onlookers that they were going up to do some tricks.
Sergeant Wicker, shaken at the news of his friend’s death, said Karr had been trying to get him to for an air ride for several months.
“He came to me Tuesday three times before I finally agreed.”
A number of Karr’s friends from the police department during the night visited Lamar & Smith, where the bodies are being held. Karr was a popular member of the force.
On Police Force Eight Years.
Mrs. Karr, unnerved by witnessing the tragic plunge, was placed under the care of a physician.
Karr, who had been on the police force eight years, is survived by his wife, his father, W.F. Karr of Dodd City, two brothers, Cecil Karr of Dallas and James Karr of Dodd City, and one sister, Miss Willie Karr of Dallas.
Slater, Love Field mechanic and an unlicensed pilot, is survived by his mother, Mrs. Shirley M. Slater of Pueblo, Colo., and one sister, Miss Margaret Slater, a student at the University of Texas. He had lived here a year and a half, coming from Colorado.
Bobo, the lad who helped remove the bodies, said Mrs. Karr drove up just in time to see her husband and his friend drop to the center of the field. Onlookers said Karr got his plane halfway through the loop before it faltered and then swung into the spin. It began its mad gyration to earth upside down and landed that way. A few minutes after, as dusk settled on the field, a crowd of morbid youngsters tore off parts of the plane to keep as relics.