Langley Field, VA Planes Collide In Air, Dec 1922

SIX ARMY AVIATORS DIE AS PLANES CRASH IN AIR.

SCOUT FLIER CUTS TAIL FROM BOMBER.

FIVE CAUGHT IN WRECKAGE, ARE BURNED BEYOND RECOGNITION.

ONE, THROWN CLEAR, DIES.

MAJ. GEARHARDT, VICTIM, WAS FOREMOST IN ARMY AIR DEVELOPMENT.

By Universal Service.
Langley Field, Va., Dec. 6. - When a small scout plane cut off the tail of a large bomber 250 feet above Langley Field today, two officers and four enlisted men were killed. The planes crashed in flames. The six airmen were killed almost instantly.
List Of Dead.
The dead:
Maj. GUY L. GEARHARDT, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Capt. A. BENTON DOYLE, San Francisco.
Staff Sergeant ARTHUR MARNICK, 2395 West Forty-First Street, Cleveland, Ohio.
Private F. J. BLUNKA, 1018 Fry Street, Chicago, Ill.
Private THOMAS JORDAN, Deepstep, Ga.
Private LEON ROLAS, 61 North Fourth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Captain DOYLE was piloting a Martin bomber and leading a formation of planes, and was banking for a turn when Major GEARHARDT took off from the field in a Fokker scout plane.
The smaller, faster plane struck the fuselage of the bomber and cut off the rudder and elevator. The big plane broke into flames, hovered clumsily for a moment and crashed. The smaller ship also caught fire and plunged to earth. They fell close together, landing on the Hampton Normal School farm, adjoining Langley Field.

ROLAS Leaps Clear.
Private ROLAS leaped from the bomber, in which were five of the six men killed, and was injured so badly he died almost immediately. He was badly burned before leaping.
Five other machines in the air at the time broke their formation and landed, but their crews were too late to be of any assistance to the victims of the crash.
It was the first serious accident at Langley Field in the last sixteen months. Its direct cause is not yet known, and probably never will be, but it is believed that a gust of wind deflected the course of Major GEARHARDT'S light machine and threw in against the bomber.

The Washington Herald District of Columbia 1922-12-07