Kansas City, KS Jet Fighter Crash, July 1954

The F-84F Thunderstreak.jpg


Kansas City, Kan., July 8 -- (UP) -- The Air Force today began an investigation into why a brand new jet fighter crashed into a residential section, killing the pilot and three persons on the ground.
The new F-84-F Thunderstreak dove into the group of houses, two blocks from Kansas City's business district, less than half an hour after it took off on its maiden air force flight Wednesday.
The dead were identified as:
2nd LT. JOHN H. KAPALES, Bergstrom Air Force base, Austin, Tex.
EARL RODWINE, all of Kansas City.
Five other persons and three firemen were injured as the plane plowed through one house, hurtled across a street and a used car lot, and crashed into another house where it exploded.
The first house collapsed against another. Fire, touched off by flaming fuel, damaged two more.
The plane was one of four buildt by General Motors Corp. and was being ferried by Fairfax Air Force base to Bergstrom.
The Fairfax control tower reported one of the planes radioed it was in trouble shortly after the take off. The tower chief said the pilot reported he was flying at 6,000 feet, but was having trouble elevating the nose of the plane.
"We advised him to land at nearby Olathe, Kan., but he never did respond," the tower chief said.
VERNE BOWMAN, who was at fire department headquarters within two blocks of the crash, said he saw the plane drop out of formation.
"It appeared to circle, then dipped into a dive that sent it roaring down," BOWMAN said.

Record Eagle Traverse City Michigan 1954-07-08


I was a child

This has stayed in my mind for over 55 years. The pilot was found in my back yard when I was 4 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday. Our house was one that caught on fire. I am often wondered about the pilot and glad that I have his name. I am at peace with it because I always felt I should reach out to the family, but after all this time it would be pointless, but glad to have a name!