Bio: Schlising, Roger & Lewerenz, Ellis (6 March 1947)

Poster: Jenni Lewerenz



Surnames: Schlising, Lewerenz

---Source: The Tomahawk Leader (Tomahawk, Lincoln Co., Wis.) Thursday, March 6, 1947

(Tomahawk’s) First Fatal Air Crash Here Takes Two Lives

Two of Tomahawk’s most popular young men met death in the city’s first fatal air accident in history last Friday afternoon at 2:20 o’clock, when the light airplane they were flying crashed in a field about three miles north of here.

The young men, both killed instantly, were Roger Schlising, 23, son of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Schlising, and Ellis Lewerenz, 20, son of Mr. & Mrs. Roy Lewerenz. The cause of the crash has not been determined.

The youths took off from the Werner Airport in a 1946 Piper Cub plane, owned by the Werner Flying Service at 2 o’clock, only a few minutes before the fatal crash occurred, it was reported. They had planned to fly over the Schlising Brothers sheet metal shop owned by Roger’s father and uncle, Tony Schlising, to take aerial photographs. Ellis has been a camera fan for about two years, his sister, Mrs. Tony Schlising said shortly after the accident. Roger had received his private pilot’s license only last month after completing a course of instruction at an Oshkosh flying school. He had served in the U. S. Army Air Force as an Engineer-Gunner, but was not an army pilot.

According to the pilot’s father, who witnessed his son’s death from the yard where the sheet metal shop is located, the boys had been flying at an altitude of between 800 and 1,000 feet.

“They flew over the shop in circles”, he reported, “and the circles got tighter and tighter. With each circle the plane lost altitude and then it plunged into the ground. The plane did not tailspin”. Mr. Schlising reported that he could not say for sure whether the motor had quit. According to Ralph Howe who said he saw part of the accident, the motor stopped before the crash. He also said that a woodcutter named Swan had said he heard the plane’s motor sputter and die.

The pilot apparently saw he was about to crash and cut the switch, which may have been responsible for the plane not catching fire.

Gas fumes about the wrecked plane were heavy in the air.

The pilot’s father also said his son had often told him that in the event of an unavoidable crash he would “cut” the motor to avoid the fire hazard.

The plane owned by the Werner Flying service was declared completely wrecked. It was covered by insurance.

Funeral services for Roger and Ellis were held Monday, the complete obituary will be found elsewhere in this newspaper.


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