Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
Stinson L-5 USAAF 42-98206
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Jim Gray founder of the L-5 Owners Club a mystery has now been solved. The accident photos displayed on this page are in fact from a USAAF Stinson L-5 42-9806 that crashed on 7/20/45 during a search mission for a then presumed missing U. S. Navy Beechcraft SNB. The L-5 pilot was Capt. David E. Hicks, and his observer was 1st Lt. Alvin Radiloff. Both men were assigned to March AAB in Riverside County, CA, and both escaped the crash with minor injuries.
Another L-5 crew from March observed the crash and helped expedite the rescue of Capt. Hicks and Lt. Radiloff whose L-5 did suffer a post impact fire. When Jim Gray saw the Stinson accident photos I had posted he identified the wreckage as an L-5 and not the USMC OY-2 Bu No 04011 that crashed in the same general area on 5/29/51. The pilot of the OY-2 1st. Lt. James D. Righton, USMCR survived his accident with minor injuries.
Based on the accident reports for the L-5 and OY-2 we now know that both wrecks are within a mile of each other, hidden in the dense chaparral of the rugged Santa Ana Mountains. Perhaps Mike Boeck will one day stumble on the remains of the OY-2 just as he did on the L-5 in January of 2010. If Mike does find the OY-2 we’ll send the photos to Jim Gray for confirmation just to be absolutely sure, because I’ve learned the details are important, and all production L-5’s and OY-1’s and 2’s had six cylinder engines despite what what some aviation reference books suggest.
Thanks to Mike Boeck, and Jim Gray for helping to make this story possible.