This mid-air collision occurred near Spokane,
Washington, on the afternoon of July 23rd, 1944. Three Curtiss RA-25A
"Shrike" aircraft (the Army's version of the naval "Helldiver")
were in formation, and the two in the center and left collided.
Aircraft from throughout the Army Air Forces were slated to fly
during an airshow, sponsored by the Spokane Air Service Command, at a natural amphitheater north of
Baxter General Hospital, an event with an estimated one hundred
thousand onlookers in attendance, as well as a newsreel crew from
The airplanes had been circling in an area to the north of Spokane waiting for their turn to fly
past the crowd. After a flight of two Douglas A-24
"Dauntless" aircraft overflew the area, the formation of
A-25s started to make their approach but
still had not received permission to overfly the amphitheater. The flight
of three made an S-turned
and lengthened their flight path until they received approval. The
three Shrikes then
made a left diving turn and then a right diving turn toward the spectators.
The left most aircraft turned into the center aircraft on the right
turn, forcing both aircraft down into the valley below, spraying
fuel and burning metal. Pilot 2Lt George
E. Chrep and engineer-rated passenger Sgt. Joseph M. Revinskas were
killed in the crash of RA-25A # 42-79804; pilot 2Lt William R. Scott
and passenger Captain Ford K. Sayre, a noted snow skier on the east
coast, were killed in the crash of
RA-25A # 42-79826.
The footage was shot by the Paramount Pictures
Newsreel crew and can be seen on a documentary titled "The
Spectacle of Flight," as well as black & white stock
footage in several movies. Stills from the newsreel feature
heavily in the official mishap report.
was finally solved correctly by Anthony Mireles, of
Illinois... Thanks a million, Anthony!