Sunday, February 01, 2015

Pilot and Dispatcher Asks National Transportation Safety Board to Reopen Investigation of Buddy Holly Plane Crash

LUBBOCK, TX AND STORM LAKE, IA -- A New England man, L.J. Coon, has asked the National Transportation Safety Board to reexamine the deadly plane crash that killed Buddy Holly of Lubbock along with J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson, Ritchie Valens and the pilot, Roger Peterson. According to the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, Coon is a pilot and an aircraft dispatcher. He contacted the NTSB to request the February 3, 1959 crash be reexamined. 

Coon said there is no mention of the fuel gages in the original accident report. He also said the plane’s center of gravity would be compromised with too much weight loaded on the rear of the plane. 

In an email to on Sunday, Coon said at a minimum the 1947 Bonanza 35 was 100 pounds outside the center of gravity and that's if the passengers had their luggage in their laps. 

Coon said in his email, “Attempting to load the 60 pounds of luggage into the Bonanza's [rear] compartment would prove interesting, especially if this luggage was allowed to move further to the rear away from directly behind the rear seating.”

While the fuel gauge was not described by the original Civil Aeronautics Board report, the fuel pressure gauge did show normal pressure. The investigation showed the engine was turning at 2,200 rpm at the time of the crash. 

Coon disputed the idea that Peterson was flying in white-out conditions. He said the visibility was still 6 miles at the Mason City airport and therefore, he disagreed that Peterson is to blame for flying in conditions that were beyond his experience. 

The original report said, “It is believed that shortly after takeoff pilot Peterson entered an area of complete darkness and one in which there was no definite horizon.”

Coon also pointed out that the front passenger seat included a pair of rudder pedals. If Holly had placed pressure on one of the pedals – accidentally, intentionally, or for whatever reason – Coon said it would have made control of the airplane more difficult. 

Will the NTSB reopen the case? Within the last week, the NTSB gave Coon instructions on what needed to be submitted for consideration and Coon is in the process of trying to follow those instructions to the satisfaction of the NTSB. 

Story and photo:

Beechcraft 35 Bonanza, N3794N, Dwyer Flying Service

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