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Hundreds of Planes Have Crashed in Wyoming

Harrison Ford Crashes His Vintage Airplane
Getty Images, Rich Polk

Of all the planes that have ever flown over Wyoming, how many have crashed? That question can be answered on The Plane Crash Site, the website that tracks and logs plane crashes across the USA.

The website logs every reported crash everywhere. Here’s information on those that happened in Wyoming.

322 crashes are recorded on the Wyoming page. The first crash recorded was a Taylorcraft, tail number NC6343 that crashed just a little west of what later became the Casper airport, on Oct. 3, 1943.

But that would be the first logged crash. The first crash this author is aware of, according to local legend stories told up in Campbell County, is a biplane that crashed after flying a demonstration in Gillette. The town folks when out to help the pilot recover his plane, so the story goes. That would have been around 1918.

Probably the most famous plane crash in Wyoming history was the Medicine Bow Peak Crash in 1955. United Airlines Flight 409 departed from Denver to Salt Lake City for what was supposed to be an 83-minute flight. Overcast skies prevented the crew from seeing the solid granite mountain they were heading for.

But crashes of passenger planes are rare. The vast majority of the 322 crashes listed are small private planes.

Yet another famous crash can be found in the tragic story of Jessica Whitney Dubroff who was supposed to become the youngest girl to fly coast to coast. She was just seven years old, when, according to  U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, her flight instructor’s improperly decided to take off in poor weather conditions in an overloading aircraft. She could not maintain airspeed on their Cessna 177B Cardinal, which resulted in a stall of the airflow over the wing and then a crash. Their plane crashed on a street in Cheyenne Wyoming less than a mile from the airport. Jessica, her flight instructor and her father, died on impact.

The most recent crash in Wyoming was May 9 at the Gillette airport in Campbell County. A Cessna 210 landed on its belly with its landing gear still retracted. The pilot and passenger walked away without any injuries.

In the past 74 years, Wyoming has had 322 plane crashes. That averages out to 4.3 a year, and most are not fatal. This is in contrast to an average about 120 people who die driving on Wyoming roads each year.

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