MIDLAND, Texas (July 10, 2003) - A Commemorative Air Force (CAF) operated twin-engine World War II German Heinkel He-111 bomber crashed at approximately 1:10 p.m. (Mountain Time) on July 10, 2003, near the Cheyenne Municipal Airport, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The plane was on final approach when the pilot reported an engine failure. After impacting the ground, it skidded into the Laramie County Independent School District school bus wash facility. The pilot and copilot, the only occupants of the airplane, were killed. Both the building and plane were destroyed by the post- accident fire.
The pilot of the plane, Neil R. Stamp, and the copilot, Charles Stephen Bates, perished in the crash. Stamp, 56, resided in Cave Creek, Ariz. Bates, 54, resided in Phoenix, Ariz. Both were members of the Arizona Wing of the CAF.
Based in Mesa, Ariz., and operated by the Arizona Wing of the CAF, the aircraft departed CAF Headquarters in Midland, Texas, Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. (Central Time) en route to an air show in Missoula, Montana.
The Heinkel He-111 was initially designed as a transport aircraft and was first flown in 1935. The modified bomber version was used extensively in the Spanish Civil War and in World War II. It was technologically advanced for its time and was faster than most single engine fighters. In 1941, the Spanish government acquired a license to build the airplane at its CASA plant in Tablada, Spain.
The CAF's aircraft was a Spanish built version of the He-111 and was officially designated a CASA-2111. It was at one time the personal transport plane of Spanish general Francisco Franco. The CAF purchased the aircraft in England in 1977. According to Denis Bergstrom, editor of Gallant Warriors, the CAF's He-111 (CASA-2111) was the last flyable aircraft of its type.
The CAF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based out of Midland, Texas, the organization has over 9,000 members and operates a fleet of over 140 World War II aircraft