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Last updated: 28 October 2021
Status:
Date:Tuesday 31 March 1931
Time:ca 10:50
Type:Fokker F.10A
Operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC999E
MSN: 1063
First flight: 1929
Total airframe hrs:1887
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Total:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:6 km (3.8 mls) SW of Bazaar, KS (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO (MKC/KMKC), United States of America
Destination airport:Wichita Municipal Airport, KS, United States of America
Flightnumber:TW599
Narrative:
A TWA Fokker F.10A crashed near Bazaar, Kansas, after one of the wings failed in-flight.
The aircraft operated on a scheduled TWA service from Kansas City Municipal Airport, Missouri, to Los Angeles, California. En route stops were planned at Amarillo, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Winslow, Arizona.
The flight departed Kansas City at 09:15. The aircraft encountered worsening weather conditions en route with fog, clouds and icing. When maneuvering near Bazaar, Kansas, one of the wings failed and the aircraft crashed out of control. All eight on board were killed. Among the passengers was Knute Rockne (43), coach of the "Fighting Irish" American football team of the University of Notre Dame.

The probable cause of the accident was never made public by the Civil Aeronautics Branch. A requirement was issued for aileron counterbalancing on all F.10A's, suggesting aileron flutter may have been a factor.
Fifty-five years after the crash, a former TWA mechanic, came forward and claimed he saw that wing panels had come loose on the aircraft. He made this observation during an inspection of the aircraft a few days before he crash.
The wings of Fokker F.10 aircraft were manufactured out of wood laminate; in this instance, moisture had possibly leaked into the interior of one wing over a period and had weakened the glue bonding the structure. The failure of a spar could have caused the wing to develop uncontrolled flutter.

Classification:
Aileron issue
Loss of control

Sources:
» The Legacy of the Rockne Crash / Herbert M. Friedman and Ada Kera Friedman ( Aeroplane Magazine, May 2001)


Follow-up / safety actions
In response to this accident, in 1934 the Air Commerce Act was amended to require that reports on probable causes of fatal aircraft crashes be made public.

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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Kansas City Municipal Airport, MO to Wichita Municipal Airport, KS as the crow flies is 285 km (178 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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