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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!

KC KS Jet Fighter Crash


A few years ago, I was given a photograph by the family of a deceased firefighter. The photo showed the remains of a burned house with debris from an apparent plane crash in the front yard. For years, I've been trying to identify the location, date, circumstances, etc. If it would not be too much trouble, can I please send you an email with the photo attached, to see if you can identify it as being the crash that you remember? I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, S. Bailey

KS Jet Fighter Crash


Several years ago, I received a photograph of an aircraft crash involving a house, from a deceased firefighter friend. All I know is that the crash occurred somewhere in the Kansas City area. Could I possibly ask you to take a look at the photo and see if you can identify the house shown in the photo? This would help to solve the mystery of the photo and would be greatly appreciated. I can email the photo, if you like. Please let me know, thanks,
Steve Bailey

1957 plane crash in KCK

seeing your comment made about the above article, would you be able to tell me the name of the street where the crash was? I'm in a group that as an interest in Kansas City history and we came upon this article but that's all the information we've come across. We'd like to pinpoint the actual crash site. Thank you for your time.

Hi Freddi, I am researching a

Hi Freddi, I am researching a picture of the crash. What was your address at the time of the crash?

Remembering the crash

I too remembered the crash. I was six years old, and lived at 553 Freeman. The crash was at 8th and Nebraska. Everything was destroyed, and I remember hearing people talking about the fact that the plane had caused all of the damage. I still think about the crash every time I go down Nebraska between 8th street and 9th street.

article | by Dr. Radut