May 17, 2010

Harold Geiger

(Wikipedia) Major Harold C. Geiger (October 7, 1884 - May 17, 1927) was a pioneer in Army aviation and ballooning born in East Orange, New Jersey and killed in a plane crash in 1927. The Spokane International Airport is designated with the International Air Transport Association airport code GEG in his memory. ... Geiger was commandant of Phillips Air Field at Aberdeen, Maryland. Continued

Flight Leader Dies in Flaming Crash

Major Geiger, Commander of Aberdeen (Maryland) Field, Is Burned to Death Fails in Desperate Jump
Accident Occurs at Olmstead Field, Pennsylvania - Was a Native of East Orange, New Jersey
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - May 17, 1927 - Apparently only slightly hurt when his De Haviland plane took a fifty-foot nose dive, Major Harold Geiger, commandant of Phillips Air Field at Aberdeen, Maryland, could not extricate himself before the machine burst into flames and he was burned to death at Olmstead Field, near here, at noon today.
Six mechanics and officers of the Middleton Air Station saw the plane rise gracefully on its return to the Aberdeen Field, then suddenly plunge, nose downward. Major Geiger had the presence of mind to release his safety belt and leap out when the plane struck, they said.
The instant of the crash, as the machine swung over on its wing, eighty gallons of gasoline from the fuel tank burst into flames, covering the ship from end to end. Major Geiger made desperate efforts to get clear of the wreckage and, according to the onlookers, half crawled and ran as far as the tail of the machine before he was overcome. There he dropped and the flames prevented the watchers from getting near enough to rescue him.
His body was recovered, lying under the rear part of the fuselage, when the flames has been put out by the officers and men of the depot.
Major Geiger had flown here this morning with Lieutenant Steele, who was to take back to the Aberdeen Field a Curtis plane which was being reconditioned. Geiger, in a No. 4 De Haviland, took the air expecting Steele to follow him, and had risen hardly more than fifty feet when something went wrong and the plane went into a dive.
The accident is the first fatality at the Middleton Field since six years ago, when Captain Donald J. Neumiller, attached to the field, was killed when his plane struck an air pocket belt and leap out when the plane struck, they said (sic). (New York Times, 18 May 1927 via