Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents

Images may be subject to copyright Learn More

Date/Time Name / Group Age Notability Accident Location Aircraft Circumstances Photos
Sep 17, 1908
Thomas Selffield
26 First person to be killed in a powered aircraft in recorded aviation history. Fort Myer, Virginia Wright Flyer III
Model A
During a demonstration flight, a U.S. Army flyer flown by Orville Wright nose-dived into the ground from a height of approximately 75 feet, killing Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge who was a passenger. One of two propellers separated in flight, tearing loose the wires bracing the rudder and causing the loss of control of the aircraft. Orville Wright suffered broken ribs, pelvis and a leg. Selfridge suffered a crushed skull and died a short time later.


Jan 4, 1910 Ferdinand Léon Délagrange
36 French aviation pioneer Pau, France Blériot XI Monoplane Was killed when the left wing to his plane collapsed. This was caused by fitting too powerful of a motor to his plane. One fatality.  
Jul 12, 1910 Charles Stewart Rolls
33 Co-founder of Rolls Royce Motors Bournemouth, England Wright Flyer His biplane broke-up in mid air. Although falling only 20 feet, he was killed when he cracked his skull. Failure of the tail structure. Britain's first aviation accident fatality. PHOTO
Sep 27, 1910 Jorge Chavez
23 Peruvian aviator, first person to fly over the alps Milan, Italy Bleriot Crash landed his plane at Milan while attempting to fly over the alps from Brigue to Milan. He died of his injuries four days later.  PHOTO
Jan 9, 1911 Edvard Rusjan
25 Slovenian aviation pioneer and airplane constructor Belgrade, Serbia EDA V Strong winds broke off a wing resulting in the plane crashing into a railway embankment. PHOTO
Oct 19, 1911 Eugene Burton Ely
24 U.S. naval aviator. First to land an airplane on a ship. Macon, Georgia Wright Flyer Crashed during a demonstration flight at the Georgia State Fair. PHOTO
Apr 3, 1912 Calbraith Perry Rodgers
33 U.S. aviator, first to make a transcontinental flight Long Beach, California Wright "Vin Fiz" Flyer Crashed into the Pacific during an air show after hitting a seagull which fouled his controls. He died of a broken neck. First person to die from a bird strike. PHOTO
Jul  1, 1912 Harrriet Quimby
37 American pioneer female aviator Dorchester, Massachusetts Blériot Monoplane Quimbly was killed when she was hurled out of the plane as the aircraft suddenly pitched forward during an air show demonstration. A friend, William Willard, was also killed. PHOTO
Aug 7, 1913 Samuel Cody
William Evans
Aviation pioneer
English cricketeer Wild West showman
Farnsborough, England Cody float plane While out for a joyride in his floatplane, which he designed, broke up at 500 ft and he and his passenger William Evans were both killed. PHOTO
Sep 13, 1913 Aurel Vlaicu 30 Romanian airplane designer Câmpina, Romania Vlaicu II Killed while attempting to cross the Carpathian Mountains. PHOTO
Mar 14, 1915 Lincoln Beachey
28 American aviation pioneer San Francisco, California Taube monoplane Died after crashing into San Francisco Bay after the wings tore off his plane while attempting to perform a stunt during an exhibition flight at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. PHOTO
Feb 15, 1918 Vernon Castle
33 Ballroom dancer Benbrook, Texas American flyer Castle was killed during a training mission. He was thrown out of the plane and fell 45 feet after maneuvering to avoid a collision with another plane. He was a pilot during WWI.   PHOTO
Apr 21, 1918 Manfred von Richtofen
"The Red Baron"
25 Famous German WWI flying ace Somme Canal, France Fokker Triplane Killed during a WWI air battle. Canadian pilot Captain Roy Brown was originally credited with shooting down Richthofen, but some accounts credit Australian forces on the ground. PHOTO

Return to Famous Index

Copyright ©1997-2023 PlaneCrashInfo.com