Knute Rockne Makes An Impact, Even in Death

Today in History, March 31: 1931 – As TWA Flight 599, a Fokker F.10 Tri-Motor wings it’s way over Kansas between Kansas City and Wichita, the structure of one of those wings fails, and shears off. The aircraft immediately crashed into the prairie, taking the lives of all eight passengers and crew. Included in the Reaper’s tally that day was a celebrated American hero. The famous player and most winning coach of Notre Dame’s football team, who led his team to morality as well as victory, Knute Rockne. The entire nation mourned as if a President had died; and the President paid tribute as Knute’s home nation of Norway knighted him. The airline industry was forever changed; TWA nearly went under and aircraft safety became a priority.

Tragedy on the 79th Floor 

Today in History, July 28: 1945 – A US Army Air Corps B-25 “Mitchell” bomber, lost in the fog over Manhattan, crashes into the Empire State Building. The same type aircraft had been utilized in the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in 1942. The airplane had missed the Chrysler Building, but in diverting from impact with that skyscraper, turned into the Empire State Building, then the tallest building in the country. The aircraft’s high octane fuel severely damaged the structure, several of her parts landed on or in nearby buildings, and one of her engines caused an elevator to fall. the safety features in the elevator stopped it’s free-fall, and the woman occupying it was saved just before the engine landed upon it. All three crew members and 11 workers in the building were killed.