February 7, 1981: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was involved in a serious plane crash, after which he left the company for the first time. In those years, Wozniak flew a turbine single-engine and six-seater Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC. On the plane with him are his wife, Candace Clark, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend. Luckily, no one is killed in the crash, although Woz suffers minor head injuries.
Just a few months after Apple launched IPO, during which Wozniak’s stake in the company earned him $116 million, the crash came at a time of major change in Woz’s life. He watched Apple grow more than he ever imagined, and at the same time change in a way that he didn’t quite like.
As for his personal life, he had just divorced his first wife. Woz then began dating Clark, Apple’s secretary. During their first date, he took her to see a sci-fi movie at a theater he bought with some of his IPO money.
Steve Wozniak and the plane crash
The couple planned to get married quickly. Wozniak decided to give them a ride to see Candice’s uncle, who offered to make her an engagement ring. With Woz only flying 50 hours at the controls, the plane rose too abruptly. Then it stalled and crashed through two fences into the parking lot of a skate rink. Wozniak later said he thought Candace might have accidentally leaned on the controls of the plane.
Wozniak was hospitalized with amnesia. He spent most of his time recovering. Played video games and constantly asked his old friend from Homebrew Computer Club, Dana Sokola, send him pizza and milkshakes. He did not immediately return to Apple. This turned out to be the beginning of Woz being released from his full-time job at Apple. While he technically remained an Apple employee, he began pursuing other interests.