Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

B-24J & TF-100C


On July 2, 1944 B-24J #42-50780 USAAF caught fire and exploded about 8,000' above the Mojave Desert north of Kramer Junction and west of Hwy 395. None of the nine crew members was able to bailout. Wreckage from #42-50780 is scattered over more than two miles of desert. Finding this wreck took several trips and resulted in the discovery of a North American Aviation partial (tail assembly only)TF-100C crash site that crossed the NE part of the B-24J site. The main TF-100C impact was located more than a year later by Walt Witherspoon some four miles SW of our initial find. TF-100C #54-1966 NA-230 was a one of a kind aircraft that led to the quantity production of the TF-100F. Data plates and parts numbers found at the crash site included those from F-100D, C, and A series aircraft leading to some confusion when the wreckage of the tail was found. #54-1966 broke up in flight on 4/9/57 NW of Kramer Junction. The NAA Test Pilot Mr. Robert Baker ejected successfully and suffered only minor injuries. Small amounts of wreckage remain today at both #54-1966 crash sites.

In 2002 Lt Col Richard A. Nester USAF Ret placed a memorial marker honoring his father, Fight Engineer Cpl Ralph A. Nestor and the entire crew of 42-50780 at the crash site.


Click on thumbnail to see large view!

b24-f10021.jpg (188226 bytes)

Structure from B-24J #42-50780 found one mile NE of impact.

b24-f10022.jpg (153856 bytes)

Main impact site of #42-50780 and flag to honor the of men who lost their lives in service to our nation.

b24-f10023.jpg (189762 bytes)

Debris from #42-50780 at crash site.

b24-f10024.jpg (153882 bytes)

Patric J. Macha holds rib from tail structure of #42-50780 some two miles NE of main impact.

b24-f10025.jpg (110253 bytes)

This intact piece is from the rudder of #42-50780 nearly two miles NE of  main impact.

Although I've visited this site on several occasions they were prior to the placement of this plaque.
Photo by Tim Shaw.

f10021.jpg (167203 bytes)

TF-100C wreckage near tail assembly parts of B-24J.

f10022.jpg (137935 bytes)

Data tag from control surface of F-100D used on TF-100C #54-1966.

In December 2011 I re-visited the Consolidated B-24J crash site, and found it little changed, except that the memorial marker was adorned with flags, and tokens of appreciation and remembrance honoring the fallen crewmen. (G.P. Macha photo)

As I walked the main impact area I noticed a parachute wrapper that belonged to one of the crewmen other than the pilots. The narrow rectangular shape indicates the wrapper came from a clip on “belly” parachute. Due to the tragic nature of this accident, no crewmen had a chance to deploy his parachute. (G.P. Macha photo)



button2.gif (2200 bytes)