- Historic Sites
October/November 1978 | Volume 29, Issue 6
On March 14 he came out to his machine looking grave and troubled. His mechanics thought he had some sort of premonition of disaster, but fifty thousand people had come to see him, and he went up. He looped over the bay, then lowered the plane’s nose for the death dip. Aviators among the spectators said he was dropping at nearly three hundred miles per hour when the wings tore away.
While the stunned crowd watched silently from the shore, a diver from the battleship Oregon located the plane, and thirty-five minutes later it was hoisted from the bay. They found Beachey tangled in the wreckage, his hands torn from his desperate struggle to free himself. America’s greatest stunt pilot had drowned.