Civilian Twin-Engine Cessna
September 04, 1951 - Anchorage, Alaska

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Just after take-off on September 04, 1951, a civilian twin-engine Cessna owned by Christianson Air Service crashed in suburban Rogers Park (Anchorage).  Witnesses on the ground said that one engine caught fire and the plane came down, narrowly missing two houses and crashing into the backyard of a third residence.  Everyone onboard the aircraft died--some while enroute to the hospital.  Credit was given to the Cessna's pilot, Norm Maither, for his heroic effort to avoid crashing the plane into suburban homes.


  • Arndt, Laurence Frank
  • Beaver, Orlyn Maurice
  • Drake, Clara Sullivan
  • Drake, Donald Varner
  • Maither, Norman

Bios of the Fatalities

Arndt, Laurence Frank

Arndt was born January 22, 1892 in Marion, Wisconsin, son of Frank F. Arndt (1867-1938) and Emma Wilhelmina Haase Arndt (1872-1963).  He is buried in Crandon Lakeside Cemetery, Crandon, Wisconsin.

Beaver, Orlyn Maurice

Beaver was born May 10, 1914 in Kasson, Minneosta, son of Bernard O. Beaver (18880-1960) and Pearle E. Nichols Beaver (1888-1978).  Orlyn graduated from Kasson High School, Rochester Junior College, and the University of Minnesota.  He married Rosemary Agnes Mar (later Ferrin) on July 3, 1936.  Rosemary was born in 1915 and died in 1984.  The couple had four children: Bernard "Bernie" Beaver (1941-2021), Coralie Beaver (Fiegel), James Beaver and Catherine Mary Beaver (Brossard).  Orlyn was survived by his wife and children, his parents, and a sister Marcella Elaine Beaver Hansen (1917-2003).  Beaver was a Lieutenant (jg) in the Navy during World War II.  In 1948 he purchased the accounting firm of William Head and then in 1950 he formed the partnership of Beaver and Van Seventer.  They opened branch offices in Seward and Palmer and he was en route to the Seward office when the Cessna crashed.  Orlyn Maurice Beaver is buried in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

Drake, Clara Sullivan

Drake was born January 9, 1923 in Ballston Spa, New York.  She was a World War II veteran and captain in the US Air Force attached to the 39th Air Force Medical Group as a nurse stationed in Anchorage.  She was married to Capt. Donald V. Drake, who also died in the plane crash.  The couple had married just a few days before the plane crash.  Clara is buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery, Ballston Spa, New York.

Drake, Donald Varner

Drake was born August 01, 1920 in Pennsylvania, a son of John Wesley Drake (1895-1991) and Lulu M. Varner Drake (1895-1986).  He was a World War II veteran who enlisted in the Air Force on October 21, 1939.  He married Clara Sullivan, who also died in the plane crash.  The couple had married just a few days before the plane crash.  Donald was survived by his parents and his siblings Mrs. Herbert Glenn (Eleanor Drake) Benton (1922-2017), Wilfred "Bud" Drake and Roger Drake.  Donald is buried in Scrubgrass Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Emlenton, Pennsylvania.

Maither, Norman Francis

Maither was born April 11, 1908, in Santa Cruz County, California, son of John Benjamin Maither (1877-1912) and Susan "Susie" Murrish Maither.  Norman married Helen Louise Bendowski (1911-1960) in 1927.  They were parents of Brian Maither and Betty Maither (Benedict).  Norman was formerly with the Civil Aeronautics Administration and was formerly the manager of the Anchorage Airport.  Besides his wife and children, Maither had known siblings Elizabeth H. Maither and Doris M. Maither.  Norman is buried in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.


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