Lewis Rockwell.
Lewis Rockwell.
Lt. Lewis C. Rockwell
Contributed by Craig Bryan, 10-23-09


The Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: September 29, 1912,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 6-11-04
"Sacrificed to Aviation were Two More Lives
on U. S. Army Aviation Field.
Aeroplane Fell 35 Feet Killing Both Occupants.
Brother Officers Who Witnessed the Accident
Were Unable to Account for It.
"Washington, Sept 28. - Two more lives were sacrificed to aviation at the United States army aviation field, College Park, Md., today when an army aeroplane fell thirty-five feet to the ground instantly killing Corporal Frank S. Scott and so seriously injuring Second Lieutenant Lewis C. Rockwell that he died a few hours later. Hundreds of people, including fellow army officers, breathlessly witnessed the accident.
     "Lieutenant Rockwell had started up with Corporal Scott as a passenger to make a test flight in his trial for a military aviator's license. They had been in the air about eight minutes, ascending to a height of five hundred feet, then gliding down, had gotten within thirty-five of the ground. At this point the aviator turned the machine upward again and something went wrong. Instantly the aeroplane buckled and crashed to the ground.
     Scott was hurled several hundred feet from the machine while Rockwell lay a few feet away from him. Brother officers found Scott lifeless. Rockell, his head buried partly in the earth, still showed signs of life but was unconscious. He was rushed to a hospital. He never regained consciousness. Brother officers who witnessed the accident were at a loss to account for it.
     Captain Charles DeForest Chandler, commanding officer of the aviation school, immediately convened a board of inquiry to make an investigation. The board will meet next week.
     A single utterance of Lieutenant Rockwell probably brought death to Corporal Scott and saved the life of Captain Hennessy. When Rockwell was about to start aloft, Captain Hennessy requested that he be taken along as a passenger. Lieutenant Rockwell replied: "No, You're too heavy." And Corporal Scott was selected to accompany the Lieutenant.
     Lieutenant Rockwell was regarded as a most careful aviator. Three weeks ago he received his certificate as (a) civilian pilot.
     Lieutenant Rockwell was the fourth commissioned officer of the United States army to meet death in an aviation accident. The death toll levied through accidents of the United States army now totals six.
     Lieutenant Rockwell's home was in Cincinnati. He was almost twenty-eight years of age. Entering the United States military academy in 1903 he graduated and received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1907. He was assigned to the Third infantry and afterwards was transferred to the Tenth infantry, from which he volunteered his services in the aviation corps.
     Corporal Scott was attached to the signal corps of the army."


The Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: Saturday, October 4, 1912,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - August 18, 2007
""Defective Eyesight Caused Aviator's Death,"
"Washington, Oct. 3. - Lieutenant L. C. Rockwell's defective eyesight probably was responsible for the aeroplane accident at the army aviation school last Saturday in which Lieutenant Rockwell, who was flying the aeroplane, and Corporal F. S. Scott, were killed. The army investigating board reported today expressing the opinion that "their accident was caused by the aviator misjudging his height from the ground and his failure to bring the machine out of the glide in sufficient time to clear the ground."
     Since the tragedy many of Lieutenant Rockwell's friends have recalled that he was subject to sudden spells of blurred vision. It is not unlikely that in the future all army aviators will have to pass a more rigid occular test."

     If you search for "Lewis C. Rockwell" +aviation, using the Google search engine,
(9-2-07), you will find about 26 links.

Lewis C. Rockwell
     This entry on the Arlington National Cemetery website offers a comprehensive revue of his life, with special emphasis on his death. Included is a photograph of the crashed plane. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

First Military Multiple Fatality Airplane Crash
     This page on the USAF Museum website offers a picture of Corporal Frank S. Scott, in addition to a summary of the event. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Up From Kitty Hawk
     This page on the Air Force Association website offers a nice summary of the events surrounding his death. You can access the page by clicking on the title above. If time permits, I think you will enjoy sampling some of the other notable events on the timeline.

2nd Lt. Lewis C. Rockwell was killed in a crash at College Park in 1912.
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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