I don't think I've ever been really scared of dying in a plane crash. Not even post-9-11. The last time I flew was in 2007, when I went to San Diego. I remember being seated in the back, and that bothered me more than anything else. I remember feeling a little trepidation at the moment of takeoff, which I imagine is natural, but once we were comfortably in the air, it was all good. When I flew to Charlotte, we had already taken off and were well above the airport, when the captain announced that he had to re-land the plane due to a problem with the air pressure within the plane. That pissed me off, but again, I didn't necessarily feel like I was in imminent danger. These days, people are more concerned about terrorism on aircraft than crashes - and not without reason, I suppose - but when it comes to crashes, the evidence seems to suggest that flying is safer than ever.
The plane crash that killed Golden Age actress Carole Lombard was a result of pure chance - the flip of a coin. She was eager to fly home after attending a war bond rally in her home state of Indiana, but the press agent to her second husband, Clark Gable, as well as her mother, insisted she take the train instead. Like singer Ritchie Valens did before his deadly flight 17 years later, they let fate settle the decision. Lombard's plane crashed into a mountain just outside of Las Vegas on January 16, 1942, killing all 22 people aboard, including fifteen army servicemen. Lombard was only 33. Her death prompted Gable to join the Army Air Corps, and he reached the rank of major, flying a B-17 as an observer-gunner. In 1944 a ship was named after her.
Lombard is remembered as one of the great comedic actresses of the 30s. Admittedly, I haven't seen many of her movies, but I've seen the big ones: Twentieth Century, My Man Godfrey, and her last film, To Be or Not To Be, and she's quite enjoyable in all of them. Her career dates back to the silent era, and she worked with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh and William Wellman, and actors such as Cary Grant, John Barrymore, Frederic March, and Jack Benny. Her only Oscar nomination was for Godfrey.
Lombard's first husband was actor William Powell, whom she met in 1930, married less than a year later, and divorced two years after that, though on friendly terms. They appeared in three films together, including Godfrey, which came after their divorce. She met Gable while still married to Powell - they did a film together as well - and pursued a relationship with him after her divorce, even though Gable himself was married at the time. Gable, as it turned out, accepted the part of Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind only when MGM head Louis B. Mayer offered him enough money to get a divorce from his wife so he could marry Lombard. They stayed together until her death.
If you want to know more about Lombard, this is one of the better fan sites.