Stevens Point, WI plane crash, Apr 1947

Flying Hero Dies In Plane Crash

STEVENS POINT, Wis., April 7 - (AP) - Robert J. Klopotek, the "Mad Pole" who won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 23 oak leaf clusters as a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot, was killed in an airplane wreck today while riding as a passenger. The crash also took the life of his civilian pilot companion.

Klopotek, operator of a charter flying service at the Stevens Point airport, took off this afternoon with Ray V. Barber of Chicago, a manufacturer's representative who did his traveling by air. A few minutes later, witnesses at the airport said, the light airplane was in trouble. They said Barber apparently tried to make a landing at the airport, but instead plowed almost 400 feet through a jackpine thicket and crashed.

The Times Recorder, Zanesville, OH 8 Apr 1947