Looking Back At The October 1933 Flying Circus Crash In Amarillo
Thanks to digital archives and plenty of curiosity you can always find interesting, and sometimes tragic stories, from Amarillo's history. I recently came across a story from 1933 about a flying circus, and a tragic crash in Amarillo that claimed several lives.
What Exactly Was A Flying Circus
Flying circuses were basically air shows. The pilots were usually barnstormers who traveled the country doing tricks and offering rides. According to Wikipedia, barnstorming was the first main form of civilian aviation.
These Events Were Popular
Just like most air shows today, these events were popular. There's something about watching planes soar through the sky pulling off crazy maneuvers that is appealing.
On this occasion in 1933, there were thousands gathered who witnessed the tragedy. That's according to a newspaper report at the time regarding the event.
What Happened To Cause The Crash
The crash happened between two planes. According to the news article, a third plane was releasing streamers, which the two planes were flying through.
At some point, something caused the two to collide.
The Crash Was Deadly
It claimed the lives of four people. The first plane was occupied by three people. It would crash into the street. The newspaper article stated it was blocks from the main business thoroughfare.
The second plane crashed into the roof of a laundry. Two people were inside, but were not harmed. The pilot was severely injured and would die later.
Interestingly, the newspaper story about the crash in Amarillo appears alongside a second story about a separate crash that also killed four on the east coast.
Here is a newsreel from the time from a news story about the crash: