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Author Topic: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday  (Read 569 times)

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Offline TheOtherWhiteMeat

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1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« on: September 28, 2016, 09:19:26 AM »
I was at that game, the only game where Razorback fans cheered the entire game for both the Hogs and the other team.

***

1970 Hogs welcome courageous Shockers

By Wally Hall 





Bruce James will never forget that moment as one of the Arkansas Razorbacks captains when he looked up as he approached midfield for the coin toss on Oct. 24, 1970, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Arkansas' opponent that day was Wichita State, which had been involved in a fiery plane crash 22 days earlier that killed 14 starters and left eight other players injured.

It was one of those survivors, too banged up to be out there, who struggled across the field on crutches to participate in the coin toss with James and the other Arkansas captains.

The crash, which occurred in the Rocky Mountains, killed 31 total, including the 14 players. Eight of the nine survivors were players.

A plane with substitutes and assistant coaches decided against the scenic route, choosing to fly around the mountains, and arrived safely in Logan, Utah, where Wichita State had been scheduled to play Utah State.

In the days after the crash the team, staff and administration voted 76-1 to finish the season to honor the dead and to help the survivors heal.

Twenty-two days after the crash, the Shockers came to The Rock to play the ninth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, and it's a game neither team apparently will ever forget.

Through some heavy lifting by Chuck Dicus, and with the help of many of his teammates from that season, many of those former players on both sides will have another chance at healing and closure.

This Saturday, at War Memorial Stadium, one day before the 46-year anniversary of the plane crash, several members of the Shockers football team will be back in Little Rock, watching the Hogs take on Alcorn State.

The game will help, but it is the visit that the Shockers are looking forward to, because all those years ago, from kickoff to the final second, they were treated with grace, dignity and respect.

The fans at War Memorial Stadium made Wichita State the home team, cheering every play on offense and defense.

Before the game, the Shockers asked the Razorbacks to play their best and not take it easy on them.

They did, but it wasn't the same Razorbacks who were in the midst of winning nine consecutive games, sandwiched between losses to No. 10 Stanford and No. 1 Texas.

In those days of smaller planes, not as many players traveled, but that week Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles told members of the scout team that he couldn't put them on the team plane but that if they found a way to Little Rock, they would play and play a lot.

Defensive coordinator Charlie Coffey told his guys they would start, out of respect to Wichita State, but to expect no more than four snaps for that game.

The Hogs were deep and talented and still won 62-0, but the score didn't matter. The Shockers came and they played their hearts out for their school and for the guys who would remain teammates forever.

Arkansas players were allowed by Broyles, for perhaps the only time in his coaching career, to stay on the field after the game and meet the Shockers.

"It was very emotional," said James, who was an All-American that season and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Maybe it was a coincidence that Saturday's event came about; maybe it was fate.

A North Little Rock woman was at a conference in New Orleans and met a guy from Wichita, Kan. When he found out where she was from, he was incredibly enthusiastic and optimistic about Little Rock and Razorbacks fans.

She got Dicus' email for him. Dicus called a team meeting, and those guys knew what they wanted and needed to do.

The university is providing tickets and the former Hogs are acting as hosts for the 15 to 20 Shockers, most of whom will be making their first trip back since that game.

It will be a great weekend for a bunch of guys who still remember what sportsmanship is about.

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/sep/28/1970-hogs-welcome-courageous-shockers-2/#/

Offline notaslibro

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 09:24:12 AM »
That was such a stupid and needless tragedy. The pilots decided to take the passengers on a tour of the mountains without realizing their surroundings.

Online TexZilla

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 09:55:14 AM »
I too was at that game.  I was eleven, and that week and game taught a lot of lessons.  I think JFB handled as best he could, very respectfully, after he tried to get WSU to cancel the game.  I'll never forget the absolute silence of the crowd for the coin toss as the WS player hobbled out there on crutches.  The gathering at midfield after the game was stirring as well; it was unheard of back then. 

this was a powerful team, maybe better than the previous Shootout squad, that had seen the NC hopes evaporate with that opening loss to Jim Plunkett and Stanford.  1970 was a very tough season in many ways.

Offline Law_Hawg

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 10:21:04 AM »
this was a powerful team, maybe better than the previous Shootout squad, that had seen the NC hopes evaporate with that opening loss to Jim Plunkett and Stanford.  1970 was a very tough season in many ways.


They went 9-2, finished ranked #11 in one poll and #12 in the other, and still didn't play in a bowl game.

How times were different!
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Online Joe Swine

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 10:24:46 AM »
I listened on the radio.  I wanted us to score a hundred.

Offline TC

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 10:28:04 AM »
Ronald Skipper was the Pilot in Command, and never accepted responsibility for the crash.  He died in 2003 still steadfast in that belief. 
I just want to let you all know the authorities have been contacted

Offline muslimsdonteatme

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 10:36:30 AM »
Ronald Skipper was the Pilot in Command, and never accepted responsibility for the crash.  He died in 2003 still steadfast in that belief.

Not sure how he could carry that belief.  This is lifted from the NTSB report.

"The intentional operation of the aircraft over a mountain valley route at an altitude from which the aircraft could neither climb over the obstructing terrain ahead, nor execute a successful course reversal. Significant factors were the overloaded condition of the aircraft, the virtual absence of flight planning for the chosen route of flight from Denver to Logan, a lack of understanding on the part of the crew of the performance capabilities and limitations of the aircraft, and the lack of operational management to monitor and appropriately control the actions of the flightcrew."

The scenic route...
This is a high quality post.

Online Razor B

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 10:48:32 AM »
My dad often talks about this game.  He attended it and talks about what it was like to cheer for Wichita State when they came on the field.  Gives you goosebumps.
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Offline capnthog

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 10:52:40 AM »
Ronald Skipper was the Pilot in Command, and never accepted responsibility for the crash.  He died in 2003 still steadfast in that belief.

Read the Wikipedia article.  That's about as much fail as you can pack into something.
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Offline notaslibro

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2016, 10:56:11 AM »
Not sure how he could carry that belief.  This is lifted from the NTSB report.

"The intentional operation of the aircraft over a mountain valley route at an altitude from which the aircraft could neither climb over the obstructing terrain ahead, nor execute a successful course reversal. Significant factors were the overloaded condition of the aircraft, the virtual absence of flight planning for the chosen route of flight from Denver to Logan, a lack of understanding on the part of the crew of the performance capabilities and limitations of the aircraft, and the lack of operational management to monitor and appropriately control the actions of the flightcrew."

The scenic route...

There are good photos of the site today on this page.  I was shocked when I learned how much wreckage is still just sitting there.



Offline TC

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2016, 11:01:55 AM »
Not sure how he could carry that belief.  This is lifted from the NTSB report.

"The intentional operation of the aircraft over a mountain valley route at an altitude from which the aircraft could neither climb over the obstructing terrain ahead, nor execute a successful course reversal. Significant factors were the overloaded condition of the aircraft, the virtual absence of flight planning for the chosen route of flight from Denver to Logan, a lack of understanding on the part of the crew of the performance capabilities and limitations of the aircraft, and the lack of operational management to monitor and appropriately control the actions of the flightcrew."

The scenic route...

No shit, he flew into a box canyon over useful load.  He was high and heavy and couldn't climb out.  By the time he realized it he had flown so far in he didn't have room to turn around.
He had tried to argue that he wasn't PIC because he wasn't checked off on the Martin, even though he was in the left seat and admitted he was at the controls at the time of the crash.  He claimed his employee, the right seater who died in the accident, was PIC.  The NTSB and FAA called bullshit.
I just want to let you all know the authorities have been contacted

Online Joe Swine

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2016, 11:04:07 AM »

They went 9-2, finished ranked #11 in one poll and #12 in the other, and still didn't play in a bowl game.

How times were different!

Frank refused invites.

Offline The Pig in Black

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 11:22:53 AM »
Here's a story from the Wichita Eagle about the incident and the pilot's version of what happened, including the results of the subsequent investigation:

BY LAURETTA MCMILLEN
The Wichita Eagle
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This story originally appeared in The Eagle on Sept. 30, 1990.

Until the final seconds before the Wichita State football charter crashed, co-pilot Ronald Skipper was at the controls.

He was one of nine survivors in an accident that killed 31 people. He also was the person who federal officials said was most responsible for the crash. In federal hearings on the crash, Skipper denied he was at fault. He still does.

“I feel I did everything that I could have done in the situation,” Skipper said recently. “I feel badly that it happened, of course. I feel badly that we were even flying the team that day.

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“But I don’t feel badly about anything I did.”

Skipper, 34 at the time of the accident and president of the firm that provided the pilots for the flight, now lives in Cocoa, Fla. After a 16-year career flying cargo and passengers for TransAmerica Airlines, Skipper retired because of health problems.

He lives in a house built on stilts on the shores of Lake Poinsett and says,”only me and the alligators live out here in the swamp.” He says he is happy now and feels, in most respects, he has led a successful life.

But in the period immediately following the crash, Skipper says he lost everything he owned and was forced to move in with his parents in Florida. His Oklahoma City-based company, Golden Eagle Aviation, was shut down by the Federal Aviation Administration shortly after the crash and Skipper lost his pilot’s license for a little more than a year.

“It was a trauma in so many different ways,” Skipper said. “It took everything I’d ever made in my whole life, everything we had worked for. . . . Our feet were definitely held to the fire by the FAA.”

Following an FAA investigation and hearings conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board, the NTSB placed the official blame for the crash on the pilots. Years of legal battles, however, never produced a single civil or criminal judgment against Skipper or his company.

Skipper is reluctant to answer specific questions now about the events immediately preceding the accident. He says 20 years of trying to block the incident from his mind would make it too easy to inadvertently contradict the testimony he gave shortly after the crash.

And he does seem to have successfully erased much of his memory of the event. At one point in an interview this month, Skipper could not remember the name of the pilot, Danny Crocker, who died in the crash. At another, he said he could not remember the name of one of the flight attendants, who also died, although he identified her as his girlfriend.

Regarding details of the crash, Skipper says that he stands by the statements he made then and that he still disagrees with the NTSB’s report.

In the report, the NTSB said the accident happened because Skipper and Crocker flew the plane into a box canyon at an altitude that would not allow it to clear the mountains at the other end. The report also said they had flown so far into the canyon that the plane was in an area where it was too narrow to turn around.

The report listed other “significant factors” in the crash, including the overloaded condition of the plane and a lack of understanding on the part of the crew of the airplane’s capabilities and limitations.

Crocker was designated as the pilot in command on the flight because he had a rating to fly that particular plane and Skipper did not. But as president of the company that provided the pilots, Skipper actually was Crocker’s boss.

The report says Skipper also admitted to making the decision to take the mountain route and that he was seated in the pilot’s seat on the left-hand side of the cockpit at the time of the accident. Skipper also did not dispute that he was in control of the plane until the very last seconds before the crash.

Experts who examined the engines in Denver after the crash testified that they appeared to be working normally at the time the plane hit the mountain.

But Skipper maintains the plane crashed because the right engine caught on fire and failed. He says Crocker saw the engine on fire before the crash and that other witnesses on the ground did as well.

The NTSB report says most ground witnesses testified the engines appeared to be operating normally. It does note, however, that some witnesses reported a “small amount of black smoke coming from the right engine.” The report said that if there was smoke, it might have been caused by the “rich” mixture of fuel the plane was using and would not have caused the accident.

After detailed examinations of the engines and propellers in Denver, the NTSB said,”There was no evidence in either engine to indicate that the engines were not capable of producing power up to the point of impact.”

Skipper said officials from Golden Eagle were not allowed to examine the engines.

“It became clear very early in the aftermath what was going to happen,” Skipper said. “Someone needed to be blamed, so they blamed pilot error. And there was very little that could be done about it by us.

“It’s hard to fight the full might of the United States government.”

Skipper not only disagreed with the findings of the NTSB report, he also was unhappy with the way the hearings were conducted.

They began Oct. 21, less than two weeks after Skipper was released from the hospital. They were held in the auditorium at the Duerksen Fine Arts Center on the WSU campus in front of hundreds of people and were carried live on Channel 12. Survivors were rolled onstage to testify from their hospital beds.

Skipper said that before the crash, the FAA was trying to pass legislation to regulate more closely large charter flights and used the accident to further its political goals. The legislation eventually passed.

“It was a kangaroo court, designed to capture the imagination of the public, which it did,” Skipper said. “It was never intended for the bottom-line truth to come out. We were scapegoats.”

Skipper’s pilot’s license was pulled by the FAA but reinstated after he passed examinations about a year after the crash. He and the two other partners who had formed Golden Eagle Aviation were all pilots who had been furloughed from the same company, Saturn Airways. In 1972, Skipper was recalled by that airline, which was purchased by TransAmerica.

For the next 16 years, Skipper flew for TransAmerica, flying mainly to Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong. and Bangkok, Thailand. He said he flew 300-passenger DC-8s and spent the last three years of his tenure flying Boeing 747s worldwide.

In January 1988, Skipper was forced to retire when his FAA medical certificate was not renewed because tests showed he had suffered a heart attack. Skipper said he did not know about the damage to his heart until it showed up in the routine EKG tests required for the certificate’s renewal.

He never married; he will turn 55 in November. Though he can no longer fly commercially or for pleasure, Skipper says he is fairly content. He has lived a full life, traveled to far-off lands and now is working on becoming a writer.

“To the extent that I grew up and did what I had set out to do as a child, I’ve been a success,” Skipper said. “And I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”

He describes the crash of the plane carrying the WSU football team as a “dreadful thing,” pointing out that he had become close to several players on the team and several members of the athletic department who died. But he does not accept responsibility for the accident and says it is not something that weighs heavily on his mind.

“It’s just not something that I think about all the time,” Skipper said. “I have never minded talking about it. But it’s not something I think about very much.

“I have never had a bad dream or a bad night since the crash.”

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/sports/college/wichita-state/article2353586.html#storylink=cpy

Offline notaslibro

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2016, 11:37:19 AM »
Quote
It was a trauma in so many different ways,” Skipper said. “It took everything I’d ever made in my whole life, everything we had worked for.


Boo fucking hoo.

Offline TheOtherWhiteMeat

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 11:49:04 AM »
Frank refused invites.

I thought he let the team vote and they voted not to go to a bowl?

Offline Law_Hawg

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2016, 11:52:57 AM »
I thought he let the team vote and they voted not to go to a bowl?

That's the case according to this:

Quote
After the 1969 Arkansas-Texas game, ABC did not want to miss out on a rematch. After all, Bill Montgomery was a only a junior and Shootout II would be in Austin. Texas had won 29 in a row by the time the December 1970 rematch arrived. Once again, the winner would take the title and the Cotton Bowl. The Razorbacks were a beat-up football team, and Texas was tired of hearing how lucky it was in Fayetteville. The Longhorns blasted to a 14-0 lead. Arkansas fought back to 14-7 and had first-and-goal on the Texas 3. Three tries from Arkansas tailbacks got it to the 1. On fourth and goal, Montgomery went left on the option and ducked inside. He came up short. Texas went 99 yards to put the game away. The second half turned into a Texas spring practice and the No. 1 Longhorns beat the No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks 42-7. The UA seniors had voted before the season that it was Cotton Bowl or nothing. A Top 10 ranked Razorback team (9-2) ended its year missing a chance to be the first team in Arkansas history to win 10 games three years in a row.

RazOrbaX Hot Points Checkup post-LSU with flashback to 1970
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Offline Hogeye_Pierce

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2016, 12:04:02 PM »
That's the case according to this:

RazOrbaX Hot Points Checkup post-LSU with flashback to 1970

Wonder if they regret that decision now that they're old and gray.

Online Joe Swine

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2016, 12:06:13 PM »
I thought he let the team vote and they voted not to go to a bowl?

Sounds right.  I was 8 and pissed that we got blown out in Austin, weren't going a bowl and only scored 60 on WSU.

Offline TheOtherWhiteMeat

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 12:15:54 PM »
I remember after the game (Texas) that some of the players were quoted as saying they had thought about nothing for a year except getting revenge for the '69 game and by the time they got there it had taken it's toll on them. And yes they were beat up, most notably Bill Burnett who I think may have played a few plays but was nowhere near full speed. And Texas was tired of hearing how lucky they were in '69 because it was a fact; everybody but Texas would agree they got out played in that game. It basically came down to 4 plays: 1) Street's touchdown run, 2) his pass to Peschel, 3) the 2 point conversion, and 4) our decision to pass on 3rd and goal that resulted in an interception when a run would have either been a touchdown or set up a chip shot for McClard that would have won it.

Offline Ty Webb

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 12:30:43 PM »
I remember after the game (Texas) that some of the players were quoted as saying they had thought about nothing for a year except getting revenge for the '69 game and by the time they got there it had taken it's toll on them. And yes they were beat up, most notably Bill Burnett who I think may have played a few plays but was nowhere near full speed. And Texas was tired of hearing how lucky they were in '69 because it was a fact; everybody but Texas would agree they got out played in that game. It basically came down to 4 plays: 1) Street's touchdown run, 2) his pass to Peschel, 3) the 2 point conversion, and 4) our decision to pass on 3rd and goal that resulted in an interception when a run would have either been a touchdown or set up a chip shot for McClard that would have won it.
Choice #4 is mind blowing. I never knew this until I actually watched the game about 6-7 years ago. As I watched I couldn't figure out how we were gonna lose.

This was the game where my dad (who passed away just 2 months ago) was so mad afterwards that I've been told he didn't want to tear anything up in the house so he took a hammer and beat the shit out of the concrete on the driveway.  ;D I was 1.5 years old at the time but I never ever saw him that mad in my 48 years with him.
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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2016, 01:02:59 PM »
Choice #4 is mind blowing. I never knew this until I actually watched the game about 6-7 years ago. As I watched I couldn't figure out how we were gonna lose.

This was the game where my dad (who passed away just 2 months ago) was so mad afterwards that I've been told he didn't want to tear anything up in the house so he took a hammer and beat the shit out of the concrete on the driveway.  ;D I was 1.5 years old at the time but I never ever saw him that mad in my 48 years with him.

That game and how we lost is still a monkey on the program's back.

Offline Fairweather Hog Fan

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2016, 01:28:02 PM »
There are good photos of the site today on this page.  I was shocked when I learned how much wreckage is still just sitting there.




Great pics of that beautiful country out there.
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Offline Splurge

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2016, 01:58:48 PM »
There are good photos of the site today on this page.  I was shocked when I learned how much wreckage is still just sitting there.




The plane crash was in southeast Missouri?

Offline Loma

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Re: 1970 Wichita St. Team To Be Honored Saturday
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2016, 03:34:40 PM »
There are good photos of the site today on this page.  I was shocked when I learned how much wreckage is still just sitting there.




 :tiw:

 

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