Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

P- 38  6/18/44
EA-3B  9/10/62

In September 2004 some friends and myself visited a number of crash sites in the Antelope Valley. One of these was a Lockheed P-38 west of Palmdale Airport that had crashed killing the pilot on 6/18/44. Details regarding this accident are still being sought. The wreckage is widely scattered and amounts to less than a one percent micro site. Once again one find begets another. 

The P-38 parts are commingled with another much later accident that of a Douglas A3D-2Q (EA-3B) BuNo 142257. Thanks to Bruce Cunningham President of the AAHS, and A-3 Skywarrior expert, we know that 142257 crash landed on the desert following the loss of one engine and other problems. There were no injuries to the crew and the aircraft was recovered and returned to flight status.

The crash did leave a 1/4 mile long groove in the ground and a trail of small parts with tell tale Douglas part numbers and stamps. The accident occurred on 9/10/62. BuNo 142257 crashed again later in the Mediterranean Sea on 8/4/74 while assigned to VQ-2 USS America. All seven crew members escaped and were saved by the plane guard helicopter.


Click on thumbnail to see large view!

Douglas A3D-2Q (EA-3B) BuNo 142257 that crash landed west of Palmdale Airport on or about 9/10/62.
Photo courtesy Douglas Aircraft Company, via Bruce Cunningham.


Aft view looking west of BuNo 142257 showing debris trail. Photo courtesy Douglas Aircraft Company, via Bruce Cunningham.

Fragment from Lockheed P-38 found by Dave Schurhammer.

Parts from Douglas EA-3B BuNo 142257 and parts from the Lockheed P-38 that included prefix numbers 19- and 20-.

The crash scar of BuNo 142257 remains today, still visible after more than forty years.




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