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Stunt Flyer Tex Rankin Crashes in Klamath Falls, Ore.


Only 16 years old in 1910, Tex Rankin joined the U.S. Army Air Corps.  After discharge, he moved to Washington where he learned to fly.  He moved to Portland and started the Rankin Flying Service, and in 1927 opened the Rankin School of Flight.

His system of flying instruction emphasized safety, but that didn’t stop him from touring with the Rankin Flying Circus and performing barnstorming stunts.  In 1941 he assembled the Rankin Aeronautical Academy which trained over 10,450 cadets.  His graduates included 12 World War II aces and two Congressional Medal of Honor winners.  Flying students around the world read his instruction booklets, emphasizing safety.  After World War II, Rankin Aviation Industries became the West Coast distributor of an experimental amphibious plane, the Republic Aviation Seabee. 

On a routine business flight in 1947, Rankin flew the Seabee into the Klamath Falls airport. During takeoff, the plane lost power and struck a 70-foot-high tension cable and overturned, killing Rankin and a passenger.

Famed World War II flyer Jimmy Doolittle described Rankin as “a superb pilot, a fine gentleman, and

loyal American.”

Sources: “Tex Rankin.”  Wikipedia.. Web. 13 June 2015. . Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.  Web. 13 June 2015. http://evergreenmuseum.org; "Hall of Fame." Oregon Aviation Historical Society. N.p., 2012. Web. 13 June 2015. .

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.