Since the two Boeing 737 Max crashes since 2018, some have become wary of air travel, but it’s small planes that have a spottier safety record.
Sixty-one years ago Monday, a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza took flight from a small-town Iowa airport, carrying three pioneers of early American rock ‘n’ roll music.
The musicians, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson, chartered a plane with hopes of cutting travel time between frigid Midwestern tour stops. A few extra hours of sleep waited at the destination, Moorhead, Minnesota.
But the plane wouldn’t make it out of Clear Lake, Iowa, crashing in a field just miles north of the Surf Ballroom, where the early rock stars wrapped a gig hours earlier. It was one of the first tragedies to strike modern American music and a figurative end to 1950s culture. Don McLean coined it “The Day the Music Died” in his 1971 opus “American Pie.”
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