Stewart, Kenneth M.
Mail Service Began:
||August 11, 1920
Mail Service Ended:
||February 3, 1921
||College Park, Maryland
||September 7, 1920 - Chicago
Kenneth Stewart was killed on February 3, 1921 as he was flying twin-engine de Havilland airplane #130 just six miles away from the Minneapolis, Minnesota field. Stewart was flying with mechanic George Sampson and 160 pounds of mail. There had been some trouble with the first take-off, but Sampson warmed up the engine and the second take-off was perfect.
According to the reports of witnesses, when
the airplane was about six miles out and across the Minnesota
River, "at an altitude of probably 1500 feet, it was
noticed that a right turn was made and then the ship was soon
to come down, but not in a spin.
"We thought a landing was being made in
one of the small fields in the hills and several mechanics
and myself immediately started in a truck to render assistance
if needed and to pick up the mail in case the airplane could
not continue. Pilot Lee arrived at the Minneapolis field from
LaCrosse in ship No. 10 a few minutes after our departure
and he, with Chief Mechanic King as a passenger, flew to the
point of forced landing.
"From the best evidence obtainable it appears
that the left motor cut out after ten minutes flying and that
Stewart attempted to return to the field. Mechanic Sampson
says Stewart made a sharp turn to the right and gave opposite
rudder with the result that the airplane side-slipped and went
into a nose dive on the farm of August Goetzke.
"Mr. Goetzke was the first person to reach
the airplane. He found Stewart dead in the pilot's pit
and Sampson conscious in the rear pit. He took Sampson to a
hospital in West Saint Paul, arriving there at 11:50 a.m.
Sampson's left warm and left leg were broken but apparently
he suffered no internal injuries. Today, Feb. 7th, the attending
physician reports that his condition is very favorable."
Stewart's crash was one of several incidents
that ultimately led the Post Office Department to abandon
the twin de Havilland as a "horrible mistake."
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