Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
G. Pat Macha
Email Pat@aircraftwrecks.com

  Video:  Son visits AD-6 crash site
PR 
  ABC.com Video:  Man visits late fathers crash site near Big Bear Lake, CA 
  Video:  50th Anniversary of Beech Travel Air crash 6/7/14  PR 
Video:  Grumman TBM-3E, Tanker 69 crashed near Redlands, CA. 7/5/1959

 

Pat's Speaking Engagements
List of Pat's Power Point Presentations

Complete List of Site Visitation Videos
Books Written by Pat Macha

Veterans Pages
Project Remembrance


The 50th anniversary return to the Travel Air crash site was accomplished on June 7, 2014 when twenty-three next of kin and Project Remembrance Team members made the difficult climb to pay respects and offer tributes to the memory of Rex C. Corder, Ray E. Snodgrass, and Curtis F. Turrill who lost their lives on June 7, 1964.

See Beechcraft Story
2014 New Video
2013 Video

Jeff Corder with his sister Jan Corder-Dillard, and her daughter Cameron Dillard and wreckage from Beechcraft Travel Air N2055C.

Bob Turrill and his sons Steven and Brendan who reached the crash to honor the memory of Curtis F. Turrill.

Rick Snodgrass holds the electric razor he loaned his father Ray E. Snodgrass for the fatal flight that ended in an air traffic controlled tragedy. The razor was recovered from the main impact zone of N2055C on 6/7/14. Rick’s grandson Karl was the Snodgrass representative at the crash site.


On June 25, 1965 USAF Boeing C-135A 60-373 departed El Toro Marine Air Base at 1:44 AM with eighty-four men and one woman on board. At 1:46 AM the C-135A struck cloud enshrouded Loma Ridge to become the worst aviation accident in the history of Orange County, CA.

During a survey on behalf of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy in May-June 2007 I found the dog tags of USMC Lance Corporal Howard Duane Hall, Jr. The tags were held by the IRC until the fall of 2013 when I was contacted by a representative of the Hall Family. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy promptly returned the dog tags to the family in December, 2013.  (Photos courtesy Stephen A. Hall)


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Web Site Updated  08/25/14

G. Pat Macha
Speaker  Engagement list
Author  "Aircraft Wrecks..." Book  
Host  "Wreck Finding" DVD
Host  "History Channel's "Broken Wings"

View Videos

Recent Crash Site Visitations  

Missing Aircraft Appeal

Missing Aircraft in California

"The Wreck Finder Aircraft Archaeologist" KCET SoCal Connected Video

"An Aircraft Historian's Logbook"
Courtesy of KCET SoCal Connected


Project Remembrance = PR  


Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins in her leather flight jacket with Fifinella emblazoned on it.
(Courtesy Whittall-Scherefee Family)


Ongoing Search for
Gertrude Tompkins Silver

Silver update August 26, 2010
Congressional Gold Medal


Aircraft Crash Site Pages

Stories with Returned Artifacts

B-24D   4/9/44
B-24L   1/30/45
B-25D
  10/2/44   PR
P-59A  
3/1/45
T-37B  
11/8/82
TP-39N 
9/6/44

Story Archive
AA-58
   1/3/82
A-17  
A-4C  
3/6/68
B-12A  
5/28/35
B-24E   12/5/43
B-24J 
 5/16/44
B-24J 
 5/5/44
B-29A 2/5/52 (not yet posted)  PR
B-36D   8/5/52   PR
B-47B 10/13/55  PR
BT-13A  
1/8/43
BT-13B   10/2/44
BT-2B   2/8/31
C119C   1980
C182
 11/10/69
C-46A   10/5/45
C-47D  
12/4/51
C170A   3/2/57
Curtiss AT-9A   12/30/42
DC-2   3/1/38
DC-3   10/23/42
DC-3   11/21/50   New picture
DC-3 GS  
2/18/69   PR
F-105D   12/7/67
F3D-2   1952-53
F3H-2N  
10/3/56   PR
F4U-4   4/23/46   PR
F6F-5N 
 3/6/49
F7F-3P  
1/28/47
F9F-5  
2/2/57
FG-1A  
5/4/44
FM-1/FM-2  
Unknown  
JF-104A   5/1/57
JF-104A 
11/22/66
Dakota MK IV  
3/13/45   PR
L-5  
7/20/45
Lear Jet 24B  
1/6/77
Mooney M20  
12/31/76
P-38  
5/4/44
P-38/EA-3B 
 6/18/44 & 9/10/62
PA-18  
5/22/78
PA-22  
10/28/56
PA-28  
6/3/01
PBJ-1D  
4/26/44
PT-17  
7/15/45
SA-16A  
1/24/52
SBW-4E  
6/19/45   New Pictures
SNB-4   1/9/55  PR
T-33A   
2/10/59   
T-33A  
5/15/55  PR
TB-25N  
1/26/56  
TBD-1  
1/14/40  
TBM-3  
10/1/52
TBM-3E  
6/16/61
TS-2A  
10/5/98
TWA Martin 404  
2/19/55
YF-89D
  
10/20/53  
Steve Fossett
 

Monument Sites
A4D-2   7/8/59   PR
A.C. 690A
 8/10/02
B-24D  
12/6/42   PR
B-24D  
2/9/45
B-24E   7/5/43   PR
B-24E   3/3/44     New Pictures
B-24J    5/4/45
B-24J/TF100C 7/2/44 & 4/9/57
B-25D WASP   10/2/44   PR
B-26    12/30/41
Beechcraft 95   6/7/64   PR
C-47D   12/1/52
C-130A   6/17/02
C-180   1/31/05
DC-6B   10/1/92
DH-4B   12/7/22
F8F-1   7/17/45  
FJ-4   3/27/61   PR
HUP-2   11/7/09
N-3PB   4/21/43
P-40's  10/24/41
P2V5/C118A   2/1/58
PV-1   2/24/44
SNB-5   11/18/50   PR
X-2   9/27/56
X-15   11/15/67
YB-49  
6/5/48
BLM Aircraft Historical Sites

 

Idaho Crash Sites
by Marc McDonald

B-17F   12/2/1942   
B-17F   5/5/43
B-24J   1/8/44  
B-24J   2/9/45
BT-13A   4/29/47  New Pictures
C-46F   1/6/53
C-130E   5/13/95
PA-23-250   32363

 

Recent find in Oregon
Loggers find WWII-era wreckage
62 year old crash

Picture Archive
Latest picture posted

Veterans pictures

How to ID a micro-site
ID a micro-site
Info added   5/15/07

Related Story
World War II Airman Found
Frozen in Glacier

Continuing story 9/28/07

Articles
For a complete list of articles featuring
G. Pat Macha

Related Links, Organizations
& Associations

Links   European links

Recommended Readings
Latest posting   June 13, 2014  

Obituaries
Thomas F. Gossett
E. "Butch" Gates

 


Patricia "Patty" Nannes was only twenty-one years old at the time of the crash.

DC-3 Gamblers Special Story

 

Lieutenant Edward F. Bickford served with distinction during WWII in Europe assigned to the 9th Air Force. He flew sixty-eight combat missions with the 356th Fighter Squadron, shooting down 5.5 enemy aircraft. Lt. Bickford earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters for heroism.The 356th Fighter Squadron received a Presidential Unit Citation during Lt. Bickford’s combat tenure.

Lt. Bickford remained in the army air force reserve following the war, and had completed his first year at Cal Tech. He was twenty-three at the time of his death in the crash of a USAAF AT-6C Texan, 42-48918 on July 2, 1947. The accident occurred following a fly-over of his home in Altadena, California. After performing a few aerobatic maneuvers he flew north into the San Gabriel Mountains, and up a steep canyon where he crashed. He was survived by his wife, and a year old daughter. (Photo courtesy Eileen Vesely)

Lt. Edward F. Bickford in combat flying gear while assigned to the 356th Fighter Squadron. (Photo USAF Official via Eileen Vesely)
 

Photo depicts the starboard wing of the AT-6C with star and bar insignia (Photo by G.P. Macha circa 1989)

 

 

This photograph was taken at the crash site of DC-3 N74586 in August 1951.

See DC-3 Story

 


 

Tom Maloney on left, and Pat J. Macha hold the vertical stabilizer of Cessna 170A, N1391D following a grueling search effort on August 14, 2013. N1391D vanished with four persons on board on March 2, 1957, and it was not located until October 17, 1973.  More photos will be posted soon, and the complete story can be read in my new book, releasing mid-September 2013. (Photo by David Lane)

Cessna 170A Story

 

The empennage and tail assembly of U.S. Navy P2V-5F Bu No 127733 lies in a quarry pit following a mid-air with a USAF Douglas C-118 transport aircraft. Forty-eight people were killed February 1, 1958. Incredibility two Navy crewmen survived in the empennage shown in this photo taken by Sewell Griggers. (G.P. Macha Collection)




Honoring our Veterans of the skies who made the ultimate sacrifice!

 

         

Lt. (jg) Jack E. Joynson was twenty-four years old when he died in the crash of  a U.S. Navy Douglas AD-6 Skyraider on July 6, 1960 near Big Bear Lake, CA. Lt. (jg) Joynson was serving with VA-215 at the time of his death. (Photo courtesy Jack E. Joynson, Jr.)

     

On June 21, 2014 members of the Project Remembrance Team located the crash site of the U.S.N. Douglas AD-6 flown by Lt.(j.g.) Jack E. Joynson. The pilot’s son will visit the crash site later this summer accompanied the Project Remembrance Team. (Photo by Pat J. Macha)

  Video:  Son visits AD-6 crash site PR 
  ABC.com Video:  Man visits late fathers crash site near Big Bear Lake, CA 

Project Remembrance story to be posted in the near future.

 

USAAF 2nd Lt. William E. Dryer looking sharp and confident less than a year before his untimely death on cloud enshrouded Mt. Pinos in San Diego County, CA. 2nd Lt. Dryer was flying BT-13A 41-22019 while engaged in a cross-country navigational training flight on March 14, 1945 along with Cpl. Joseph F. Schubert, his ride along passenger. (Photo courtesy David D. Dryer)

2nd Lt. Richard N. Long, USAAF pilot that lost his life on 10/24/41 in Curtiss P-40 39-287. The wreckage of 2nd Lt. Long’s P-40 was not discovered until July 1959 when hikers accidentally spotted the the plane near South Guard Lake in the High Sierra. (Photo courtesy Joshua Long)

 

 

1st Lt William Henry Birrell was a West Point graduate who received his wings on March 14, 1941. On October 24th, 1941 1st Lt. Birrell crashed to his death near Bass Lake, while flying P-40 39-200. 1st Lt. Birrell was one of five 57th Pursuit Group pilots to crash or bailout over the High Sierra on that fateful day. (Photo via Tony Kirzan)

P-40 Story
Project Remembrance

 

Captain John Phillips, Jr. was flying a Boeing KC-97G assigned to the Strategic Air Command’s 96th Air Refueling Squadron when he crashed in the cloud enshrouded Box Springs Mountains on June 27, 1954. The accident occurred at 1:58 AM as the KC-97G approached March Air Force Base in Riverside County, CA. Captain Phillips and all thirteen of his passengers and crew were tragically killed in this weather related loss.
(Photo courtesy Edward Phillips)

  Video: 
KC-97G Stratotanker
at Box Springs Mt, CA

Project Remembrance

 

USAAF Assistant Radio Operator Private Vern Bassett Smith lost his life aboard B-24D 41-24262 on December 6, 1942 along with five other air crewmen. The accident was caused by an engine malfunction coupled with heavy clouds and icing conditions near the crash site nine miles southeast of Stewarts Point, CA. (Photo courtesy Jacquelyn Morrison)

B-24D Story
Project Remembrance

USAAF Flight Officer Frank J. Pryor and his wife in photo taken one month before his death in the Crash of B-24J on Mt. Harrison in Idaho. F/O Pryor was the navigator aboard 41-100050. (Photo courtesy Craig Fuller via Marc McDonald)

 

USAAF Bombardier Instructor, 1st Lt. Bernard Corman was killed along with two of his students on 8/13/43 when the USAAF Beechcraft AT-11 #42-27429 that he was flying in, crashed NW of Hinckley on the Mojave Desert. Also killed was the pilot of the AT-11. (Photo USAAF Official via Mrs. Loretta Kreft)

Captain George F. Bingham was the senior pilot  and aircraft commander aboard Douglas C-47D  #42-1124 when it crashed on Mt. San Gorgonio  on 12/1/52 killing all thirteen men on board.        Weather, darkness, and lack of a VOR at the     Palm Springs Intersection were cited as factors  in this accident. Captain Bingham had served with the USAAF during WW II, and he continued to serve in the USAF until his untimely death on 12/1/52. (Photo courtesy of the George F. Bingham Family)

C-47D Story

 

Sgt. James B. Shelton, USAAF was an assistant flight engineer on a B-24D that disappeared while on a routine training mission in October 1943.  (Photo courtesy Marc McDonald via the Shelton Family)

On October 6, 1943 Consolidated B-24D 41-24041 departed Pocatello Army Air Field in Idaho for an over water navigational training mission to the Pacific Ocean southwest of Fort Dick, California. The B-24D was to have made radio contact with shore stations every thirty minutes until they landed at Hamilton Field in California. The only radio message received was at Klamath Falls, Oregon. When 41-24041 failed to arrive at Hamilton Field the aircraft and its crew of ten were posted missing, and were presumed to be lost at sea. No trace of the B-24D or its crew has ever been found.  Search missions were flown over the wilds of southwestern Oregon, and northwestern California in case the ill-fated B-24D had crashed on land. 

 

 

S/Sgt. Gordon L. Walker was the Crew Chief aboard North American Aviation B-25D #41-30114 assigned to Victorville Army Air Base in fall of 1944. Tragically, S/Sgt. Walker shown in this photo with his wife Alyene, was killed along with his crewmates on October 2, 1944 in a crash on the Mojave Desert. S/Sgt. Walker was twenty-four years old at the time of his death. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Gordon S. Walker, the grandson of S/Sgt. Walker)


B-25D story
Project Remembrance

 

S/Sgt. Irving B. Kibler was killed flying a USAAF Douglas DB-7B (A-20) on October 10, 1942 while flying a gunnery training mission south of Blythe Army Air Base. The accident was attributed to possible target fixation during a strafing run. S/Sgt. Kibler was the sole occupant of the DB-7B and he was assigned to the 51st Bombardment Squadron at the time of his death. S/Sgt. Kibler was described as eager to serve his country in combat. (Photo courtesy of the Kibler Family)  
 

2nd Lt. Gordon A. Zempel served as a B-17 pilot during WWII, and he continued to serve in the USAF Reserve until his death at age twenty-three on January 24, 1948. 2nd Lt. Zempel disappeared in a USAF North American Aviation T-6D while on a routine proficiency flight from Norton Air Force Base. The wreck of his aircraft was not discovered until August 6, 1948 in the San Bernardino Mountains. (Photo courtesy William H. Zempel)

AT-6D Video
Project Remembrance

 

Lt. Cmdr. Robert F. "Bob" Coad USNR was aboard Lockheed SP-2E Bu No 131487 that crashed in bad weather in the Santa Ana Mountains on 2/11/69 with loss of the entire crew:
Lt. Cmdr. Beal G. Dolven, Jr.
Lt. Cmdr. Oliver B. Walley
Lt. Jon E. Surratt, USNR
A/O Walter R. Jacobson
A/O John E. Hansen
A/MM Harris R. Hendrickson
(Photo courtesy John Ibson)

Harris Russell Hendrickson Aviation Machinist Mate USN in photo circa 1942 at age twenty. A/MM Hendrickson had a long career in the U.S. Navy that ended tragically on 2/11/69 aboard Lockheed SP-2E Bu No 131487.
(Photo courtesy Gail Hendrickson)

Lieutenant Commander Oliver Bruce Walley, USNR was the navigator aboard Lockheed SP-2E Bu No 131487 on February 11, 1969. He was thirty-three years old at the time of his death. Lt. Cmdr. Walley was happily married with a son and a daughter.

On  May 18, 2012 his daughter Susan Walley Schlesman went to her father’s crash site with the assistance of the Project Remembrance Team. During her visit she placed a memorial message honoring the memory of her beloved dad. (Photo courtesy of Susan Walley Schlesman)

A/MM H.R. Hendrickson in his flight suit with a Lockheed P2V/P-2 Neptune on which he served.
(Photo courtesy Gail Hendrickson, photo restoration by Ron Funk)

ABC 7 News Report and Video
OC Register Article and Video, May 25, 2012
Daughter visits father's SP-2E Neptune crash site after 43 years, May 18, 2012
OCRegister.com article
ABC 7 News Report
Project Remembrance


 


Additional Veterans Pictures

 


Site Dedication

This site is dedicated to the memory of those men and women who lost their lives in service to our nation,
especially those who remain missing and unaccounted for, in the vastness of the American West and the Pacific Ocean.

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Web site by Ron Funk
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