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The Day the Probable Cause Report Died – the NTSB Revisits the Buddy Holly Plane Crash

Posted by bvalaw on March 5, 2015

The NTSB recently announced that it might re-open the February 1959 investigation of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson). The announcement apparently came in response to a petition by a New England man who describes himself as a retired pilot, aircraft dispatcher and FAA test proctor. The man claims to have uncovered additional, possible causes of the crash that include weight loads, rudder issues and fuel gauge readings. The NTSB’s original report attributed the accident to the 21 year-old pilot’s general lack of experience, lack of instrument training and flight into foul weather.

If the NTSB is truly giving this cockamamie request a “Maybe Baby,” (presumably without any preserved wreckage), then the American taxpayers should be yelling “Oh Boy!” I’m from Lubbock and definitely have a soft spot for Holly, but in Buddy’s own words, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” The NTSB needs to spend its time and resources (resources that it receives from our tax dollars) actually getting the present investigations right, and learning to wean itself from the (mis)guidance of aircraft and engine manufacturers.

Surely revisiting a 56 year-old crash cannot be something the NTSB is seriously considering. If it is, then the organization needs to replace its Director with someone willing to give such a request a straightforward “That’ll be the Day.”