NTSB to Reopen Buddy Holly Accident Case?

Aviation accident known as “The Day the Music Died”

More than five decades after what was termed "The Day the Music Died," when rock and roll legends Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin), Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela) and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson died after the Beechcraft Bonanza Model 35 they were flying in crashed, a Petition for Reconsideration or Modification (49 CFR - § 845.41) has been filed with the National Transportation Safety Board to reopen the case. The petition, filed by a pilot named L.J. Coon, claims that key information regarding the flight was missing in the original report from 1959.

The Storm Lake Pilot Tribune published an article in January stating that L.J. Coon had contacted them regarding the case. Coon claims that the pilot may have taken too much of the blame for the crash as key information such as fuel load, and weight and balance on the airplane appeared to not have been adequately discussed as part of the investigation. Coon also suggested that there may have been some type of commotion aboard the airplane that compromised the safety of the flight. The article says Coon was encouraged by the NTSB to file the petition.

While there appear to be many unanswered questions, it is hard to imagine that, after all these years, a lot of answers can be found. However, it is clear that the NTSB is considering delving deeper into the process of an investigation. The agency yesterday posted the original Civil Aeronautics Board's accident report on its Twitter page as well as details clarifying in which cases a new investigation would be warranted. If the NTSB finds that there is new evidence or that the original findings could be erroneous, the case could be reopened.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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