Sunday, November 4, 2018

Boeing-Stearman A75N1, N67916: Kauai crop duster Joseph E. Bell Jr. worked for 8 sugar plantations



Born in Oak Park, Illinois, World War II fighter pilot Joseph E. Bell Jr. (1925-1967) had accumulated seven years of experience as a crop duster in Arizona before joining Murrayair Ltd. on the Big Island in 1954.

Described as being one of the world’s best crop dusters, Bell transferred to Kauai in 1957, where at that time and for years to come sugar was cultivated in cane fields extending around Kauai from Kilauea to Mana, with eight sugar plantations in operation: Kilauea Sugar Co., Lihue Plantation, Grove Farm Plantation, McBryde Sugar Co., Olokele Sugar Co., Gay & Robinson Sugar Co., Waimea Sugar Co. and Kekaha Sugar Co.

On Kauai, Bell could be seen flying his 450-horsepower Stearman PT-13 biplane almost every morning six days a week, diving and climbing above canefields and skimming low over them to drop fertilizer pellets, or to spray cane ripener upon them, with an average load of 1,500 pounds, enough to spray 22 acres or fertilize four or five acres.

While dusting a Grove Farm canefield in July 1960, “I ran out of altitude, airspeed and ideas,” Bell later said.

His plane crashed and burned as a result, but he walked away, and after two days spent recuperating from chest injuries, he was back to work.

He often said, “If it’s the last thing I do before I die, I’m going to fly under the Hanalei Bridge,” and on Friday evening, July 14, 1967, he actually did fly his Murrayair Stearman biplane under it.

Then he landed in a pasture at Haena, took off, and was seen by residents of Hanalei, Wainiha and Haena gliding over the ocean and soaring high through aerial acrobatics, when suddenly he crashed near the Haena Dry Cave about 100 yards mauka of the main road and was killed.

Crop duster Joseph E. Bell Jr. was survived by his wife, Ellen Marie, his daughter, Judy, and three sons: Joseph E. III, Scott and John.

Original article ➤  http://www.thegardenisland.com

NTSB Identification: OAK68A0006
14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1, registration: N67916

TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                       
COLLISION WITH GROUND/WATER: CONTROLLED 

PHASE OF OPERATION
IN FLIGHT: ACROBATICS

PROBABLE CAUSE
PILOT IN COMMAND - EXERCISED POOR JUDGMENT.

PLT INITIATED LOOP MANEUVER WITH INSUFFICIENT ALTITUDE FOR RECOVERY.

3 comments:

David Naumann said...

Sounds like he picked a hell of a way to go. God’s speed.

Anonymous said...

1967 and NTSB just finished their report?? =P

Jimbo said...

You don't want to rush a thorough investigation.