Fatal Plane Crash at Reading Airport – On this Day, June 5th 1969

Reading Plane Crash

On Wednesday, June 5th, 1969 the Reading Air Show was at the Reading Municipal Airport. Shortly after 6:30 pm, Capt. Richard Schram was performing a routine he had done for 23 years involving him pretending to be a professor who high-jacks a plane without knowing how to fly it. A few minutes into the routine he lost control of the aircraft which was in a nosedive. His son, Lt. Richard Schram Jr., was a part of the performance, describing over the PA speaker the acts his father was supposed to be doing in air.

The sound of the impact was described as a dull thud in the Reading Eagle, with almost perfect silence from the crowd afterward. Capt. Schram’s body was pulled from the wreckage and pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after. The rest of the festivities for that day were cancelled.

Reading Plane Crash
Reading Plane Crash

The plunge Wednesday evening of the single-engine plane piloted by stunt pilot Capt. Dick Schram is captured in this photo as the Piper Cub smashed into the ground hose first. Schram died in the crash photographed by Walter Mayer of Reinholds, who operated a machine shop at the Reading Municipal Airport where the accident occured.

Reading Plane Crash
Reading Plane Crash

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

4 Replies to “Fatal Plane Crash at Reading Airport – On this Day, June 5th 1969”

  1. I was there that day. Dull thud is an accurate description of the sound when the plane hit the ground. Obviously it is an event that I witnessed and will never forget.

    1. I was working tickets at the Air Show. You are right . It was a thud, no explosion. We initially thought it was a prank, soon to find out it wasn’t.

  2. I also had a clear view of the crash. It was not something you’d ever forget. The captain’s son kept his composure on the PA. I remember his concern for the responders.

  3. I was there attending my first air show as a little kid and to see the USN Blue Angels flying their F-4J Phantoms. Unfortunately, I also witnessed the crash that day.

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