Vancouver, WA Pearson Field Plane Crash, Apr 1927


Vancouver, Wash. -- While flying is hardly the novelity it had been 10 or 20 years previous, it was still an unusual and (occasionally) dangerous pastime. Such was demonstrated on April 24, 1927, when pilot DAN GRECCO offered to give HARRIET FRANKLIN and ZOLA SCHAU an aerial tour.
According to GRECCO, conditions were good and the takeoff was fairly routine until he turned ast in an attempt to line himself up with some railroad tracks adjacent to Pearson Field. Approximately 150 feet in the air, GRECCO leveled out when the rudder became jammed, he later speculated that one of the women may have accidentally gotten a foot stuck in the instrument cables. This left GRECCO unable to maneuver the plane, despite frantic efforts to regain control.
According to witnesses, GRECCO'S plane went into a sudden dive and plowed into a railroad embankment, stopping 300 yards short of the Columbia River. Onlookers and airfield personnel rushed to the crash site, but judging from the crumpled fuselate FRANKLIN and SCHAU most likely died on impact. GRECCO was alive but unconscious, he was immediately rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital in Vancouver.
Mechanics at Pearson Field, who had worked on the plane earlier that day, reported nothing that would indicate potential mechanical failure. GRECCO, in fact, had already flown the plane that Sunday and was very satisfied with the way it handled.

From 1927-04-24