Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Douglas A-4C

As a result of continued research, we know that this A-4C is Bu No 148520, USN assigned to VA-34, and that it was involved in a mid-air collision on 3/6/68 with another A-4C from VA-34. Lt. Cmdr Sam Hawkins ejected safely, and the second A-4C limped into China Lake NOTS to make a safe landing. Sources include Scramble Special Edition-US Military Mishaps 1950-2004, various newspaper articles, and special thanks to Ryan Gilmore.

Thanks to George Petterson and his Super Cub we were able to locate the A-4C wreck in a remote and mountainous area in August 2009. Our ground team that included myself, son Pat J, Tom Maloney, Dave Mihalik, Chris LeFave and his wife Megan reached the crash site of the mystery A-4C in November 2009. Data plates seen on the wreckage included; A4D-2, A4D-2N, and A-4C. The faded name of the pilot Lt. Dick Wiggin, USN was still visible on a section located just below the cockpit rim, as was a partial Bureau Number that has yet be resolved.


In November 2009 our team reached the A-4C crash site following a lengthy drive, hike, and climb. Data plates observed in  the wreckage confirmed that the aircraft was a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk flown by the U. S. Navy, and that the pilot may have been Dick Wiggin. While there was no evidence that this was a fatal accident, we hope that on going research will resolve many questions about this remote wreck.
(G. P. Macha photo)


Trailing edge of wing section with part of the flap and aileron visible.  (G.P. Macha photo)

Smashed, unburned A-4C wreckage as photographed in November of 2009. (G.P. Macha photo)

A-4C main impact, note lack of fire damage to wreckage. The flag is displayed while we examine a military crash.
(G.P. Macha photo)

Scattered wreckage of the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk looking SW from main impact. (G.P. Macha)

Oxygen tank from the mystery A-4C. (G. P. Macha photo)

Aerial view of the Douglas A-4C crash site in rugged Mojave Desert country thanks to George Petterson.
(G.P. Macha photo)

Here is the caption: Aerial view of A-4C Bu No 148520 in the rugged Bristol Mountains. (George Peterson, pilot. G.P. Macha photo)



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