Buddy Holly Plane Crash Investigation Might Be Reopened, Which Would Be Both Historic & Very Rare
It's been 56 years since the day the music died, but one man now wants Ritchie Valens, J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and Buddy Holly's plane crash investigation reopened. According to NBC News, the National Transportation Safety Board has agreed to consider taking another look at the plane crash that took the lives of these three very famous and talented singers. A New England man and pilot, L.J. Coon, petitioned the NTSB to review the crash, because he thinks the pilot should be considered a hero, rather than getting most of the blame.
Initially, the plane crash was blamed on pilot error and snowy weather, per the Globe-Gazette and the Civil Aeronautics Board. For those who don't know, the three singers were traveling on Feb. 3, 1959, and flew less than five miles and were in the air for less than four minutes before crashing into a Clear Lake farm field.
Coon feels other factors like weight, balance calculations, the plane's rate of climb and descent, fuel gauge readings, and questions about a passenger-side rudder pedal, should all be analyzed. Coon told the Globe-Gazette that he believes the NTSB will see "the heroic effort that took place in those 4.9 miles" on the part of the pilot.
As for Gary W. Moore, the author of a book about Buddy Holly, said, "I think that what they are going to find it is its pretty simple. The pilot was unqualified to fly in those conditions and he lost control of the airplane."
So, is Coon's request rare? Is it something that the NTSB hears often? Most importantly, will they grant Coon's request? According to The Washington Post, the federal agency receives between eight and nine requests every year asking for a plane crash investigation to be reopened. However, for a case that is over 50 years old, well, that is indeed unusual.
Per NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel, she wants it to remain clear that the investigation hasn't been reopened, but that the organization is considering and reviewing the petition. She said,
We have received a petition for reconsideration and are in the process of reviewing the petition to determine if it meets the criteria for submission. The petitioner must present new information or evidence or must demonstrate that the Board erred in its determination of probable cause. To give some context, we receive less than 10 petitions a year and less than 50 percent of them meet the criteria.
With that said, Coon's chances of another investigation don't look good. However, if an official investigation does happen, well, then I guess you could say Coon would be changing history.
At the time of their deaths, Holly was 22, Valens was 17, and The Big Bopper was 28. Their music still touches the lives of many, especially with Holly's hits, including "Peggy Sue" and "Every Day," Valens' "La Bamba," and The Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace." In light of the crash, Don McLean wrote "American Pie," which is where the very famous lyric, "The day the music died," comes from.