Dayton, OH Famous Pilot Killed In Crash, Sept 1954


Dayton, Ohio - (AP) - An Air Force pilot, who established a new record speed mark only last Friday, was killed Sunday when his jet fighter crashed during another assault on the record at the National Aircraft Show here.
MAJ. JOHN L. ARMSTRONG, 32, of nearby Fairborn, died when his low-flying F96H Sabrejet crashed in a field 10 miles from Cox Municipal Airport at nearby Vandalia, where a holiday crowd of 101,237 was awaiting ARMSTRONG'S flight in the General Electric Trophy event.

Cause Not Determined.
Cause of the crash was not determined. Parts of the plane were scattered over a two-mile area.
About an hour before the crash, the Air Force had announced ARMSTRONG had broken the record last Friday for the 500-kilometer - 310 miles - closed course, at 649.302 m.p.h. That was 42 m.p.h. faster than the record for the distance established last May by Capt. Anders Westerlound of the Swedish Air Force at 607.1 m.p.h.
He was to have made another try to beat his own record Sunday. When he crashed he was preparing for the G. E. Trophy event, five laps around a 100-kilometer - 61 miles - course.

Saw Ball Of Fire.
Despite his death, his record will stand as the trophy winner. He was the only entrant.
Clyde Fulton, manager of the George Christopher estate, Tipp City, saw the crash while sitting on his front porch watching air show planes fly by.
He said:
"I heard the explosion and he was a ball of fire flying in pieces. He was coming in from the southwest."
Cpl. W. D. Braucher of the State Highway Patrol, assigned to help handle heavy air show traffic, said the plane wreckage was scattered over a 100-acre area.

The Pantagraph Bloomington Illinois 1954-09-06