California State Polytechnic College Football Team Goes Down In A Plane Crash

California State Polytechnic College Football Team Goes Down In A Plane Crash  

October 29, 1960, A Curtis Write Super C-46F, N1244 was on a charter flight out of Santa Maria, California to Toledo, Ohio and return back with California State Polytechnic College Football. The aircraft took off from Toledo with the football team, just after take off the plane crashed.

The chartered C-46 plane carrying the California Polytechnic State University football team, hours after a 50-6 loss to Bowling Green State University, crashed on takeoff at the Toledo Express Airport in Toledo, Ohio after the left engine lost power. In addition it was reported that the aircraft was over gross weight. The license gross weight was 4700 LBS. However, when the aircraft took off it weighed over 5800 LBS.

Twenty-two of the forty-eight people on board were killed, including sixteen players, the team’s student manager and a Cal Poly football booster. Of the 45 passengers and three crew members, the caption and co-pilot and 20 of the players were killed. 

The plane, a veteran of World War II, broke in two and caught fire on impact. The Civil Aeronautics Board later concluded that heavy fog caused zero visibility at takeoff. The pilot who made the decision to take off was flying on a license that had been revoked, but was allowed to fly pending an appeal. Following the crash, the Arctic-Pacific Company lost its certificate to charter airplanes.

Among the survivors was quarterback Ted Tollner, who went on to become head football coach of the University of Southern California and San Diego State University. At the time of the crash, Bowling Green State had been the easternmost opposing school ever to play football against Cal Poly.


The university canceled the final three games of the 1960 season. Cal Poly alumnus and NFL Hall of Fame coach John Madden’s fear of flying is commonly attributed to the crash, although he has said it instead stems from claustrophobia. Madden, who played football for Cal Poly from 1957–58 and was coaching at the nearby Allan Hancock Junior College at the time of the crash, knew many passengers aboard the plane.

As a result of the crash, Cal Poly did not play any road games outside California until 1969 (a 14-0 loss at the University of Montana-Missoula). A bigger consequence was that Cal Poly did not play another road game east of the Rocky Mountains until 1978 (a 17-0 loss to Winston-Salem State University in the NCAA Division II playoffs). They would not play another regular season game east of the Rockies until 1989

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