Pilot E.E. LaParle has no biographical files at the Smithsonian. A couple of site visitors have provided some information that allows us to paint this sketchy portrait of his life. Friend of dmairfield.org, Russ Plehinger, gives his birth date in Wisconsin as September 19, 1902. And on July 19, 1925 he was an entrant in a 125 mile race at Milwaukee, sponsored by the Wisconsin News. Aircraft flown is unknown.
At one time, he was a flight instructor in Chicago, IL, as seen in this advertisment in a 1927 issue of Popular Mechanics. Look in the upper right corner for the ad and a photograph of LaParle. On October 21, 1928 he took 3rd place in the 20 mile NEPCO Trophy Race at Wisconsin Rapids, sponsored by the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Company. Aircraft flown was the Fairchild FC-2 NC6730 (not a Register airplane).
I have no other information about his life or flying experience before 1940, other than his landing at Tucson recorded in the Register on Thursday, March 2, 1933 at 1:00PM. Based at Milwaukee, WI and arriving from there, he carried five unidentified passengers in Bellanca (CH-400, S/N 610) NC10293. They did not cite a date of departure or destination.
A little over seven years later, he became a Captain (seniority number 47) for Northwest Airlines (NWA) on June 9th,1940. During WWII he flew on a special foreign mission to India in March, 1943 along with fourteen other NWA pilots. They flew C-46 Commandos with cargo for China via "The Hump".
Their mission was to take cargo planes and supplies into China to support Chiang Kai-Shek fighting the Japanese. There were 30 planes, 15 flown by NWA, 10 by TWA, and five by Army pilots. See Register pilot Lee Willey for further information about the China-Burma-India Theater. After the war, LaParle flew Northwest Airline's inaugural flight to the Orient over the Northwest Passage to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Manila on July 15, 1947 in a DC-4.
Captain Edgar LaParle died on March 17, 1960 in the crash of NWA Flight 710 in a snow covered field in rural southern Indiana near Cannelton, along the Ohio River. Sixty-three people died in the four-engine Lockheed Electra airplane. It was later determined that there was a defect in the construction of the plane. A memorial is located at the site of the crash and another memorial is located at a cemetery in nearby Tell City where some of the victims were buried. Full details of the crash are in the April 24, 1961 Civil Aeronautics Board accident report (PDF 2.2MB, 25 pages). The Board stated: "It is the conclusion of the Board that flutter was induced by oscillations of the outboard nacelles and that this reached a magnitude sufficient to fail the right wing, Reduced stiffness of the structure and the entry of the aircraft into an area of severe clear air turbulence were contributing factors." A memorial service was held March 13, 2010 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the unfortunate crash. Note, the page at the link loads very slowly.
I have no images of him. The story of the crash, and its aftermath, was written up in the Evansville (IN) Press of March 21, 1993.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/31/10 REVISED: 04/01/10