Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2012

State marks 81st anniversary of Knute Rockne’s death this weekend

March 21, 2012


— Kansas has been gearing up for the 81st anniversary of the central Kansas plane crash that killed Notre Dame football legend Knute Rockne and seven other people.

The Wichita Eagle reports that events this weekend will include the unveiling of the 1932 Rockne Family Studebaker at the Chase County Historical Museum. They also will include live music and tours of the Chase County Courthouse and Rockne crash site.

Rockne's death at age 43 at the height of his career — having led the Fighting Irish to consecutive undefeated seasons his final two seasons — made front-page news across the country.

The crash site is located near the small town of Bazaar and is marked with a marble-and-limestone monument.


Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

I was the school principal for nine years near where this wreck happened. This crash was a sensation and caused the FAA to begin investigating airplane crashes. The people from Bazaar and elsewhere picked over the wreck and took souvenirs home, including one local legend that an ear was taken. Knute once called my Uncle Mike one of the best interior linemen in American football back in the day. The memorial for the crash is on private property and out in the middle of a pasture. My California cousin, Michael Getto pointed out that Knute recommended his father Mike to Phog Allen , who then hired him as line coach in 1929. Mike Getto Sr. was one of those who identified Rockne's body at the crash scene. Two of Mike’s brothers, Ernie (physician) and Paul H. (local dentist) came here to school because of this and got their degrees here. Some of you may have known my late father who was a fixture in the community for decades. When he came to KU, Dr. James Naismith was still teaching P.E. at KU and Dad took his class. Some pictures of the crash, etc. Not much left of the plane once it hit the ground.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." - Knute Rockne

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Another consequence of this accident, besides the one noted above, is that passenger aircraft built out of basically plywood went out of production very quickly.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

I believe that the actual cause of the crash was determined to be that ice formed inside the wings, between the layers of wood, and spread them apart. That ancient method of aircraft construction had no redundant strength, and so then the wings simply fell apart in flight.

An accident like that is totally impossible with modern aircraft, and that is especially true of jet airliners. In severe turbulence, if the wings were to be subjected to the absolute limit, you would probably die from the G forces draining all of the blood from your brain long before the wings would break.

The jet airliner wings of today are much, much stronger than highway bridges.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

This is a good article that describes how this tragedy most likely unfolded, and it goes on to explain how this particular crash was instrumental in accelerating the manufacture and use of the modern and safe aircraft in use today.

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