Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West



 On April 26, 1944 a flight of three USMC North American PBJ-1D, and a C-47 departed Fairfield AAB en route to Hawaii. Bad weather forced the entire flight to return to Fairfield, except for PBJ-1D BuNo 35099 that was posted missing. An air search for 35099 was initiated on 4/27/44 and lasted several weeks without result.

 In late June 1944 a cowboy tending cattle in Bear Basin, located in the Trinity Alps, spotted wreckage on a mountain side and reported it to the USFS. The Forest Service confirmed that USMC PBJ-1D had been discovered along with it's crew of five Marines. After the bodies of the crew were removed the wreck was marked with a yellow X's. The remoteness of the crash protected the site until the early 1970's when the Sierra Club solicited the USFS for permission to remove it as a wilderness eyesore. Many locals opposed this idea to no avail. Using Sierra Club volunteers and National Guard heavy lift helicopters most of 35099 was removed. Only a change in weather and funding limits saved the remnants of the PBJ from complete destruction. Thanks to the  Antiquities Act and the fact that 35099's final resting place is in the Trinity Alps Wilderness does this WWII site have protection.

Special thanks to Oscar Ramirez for all of the photographs, and to Craig Fuller of AAIR for help with story details. Additional photos taken in the 70's, and more story detail will be posted soon. 



Click on thumbnail to see large view!

Even though extensive salvage work was done on BuNo 35099 a large section of wing remains today.

Long silent 1,700hp Wright R-2600-29 radial engine from North American Aviation PBJ-1D BuNo 35099 USMC.

Propeller from NAA PBJ-1D.

Wing section, both engines, and assorted parts of BuNo 35099 as they appear today.

View of the crash site in the rugged and remote Trinity Alps Wilderness of Northern California.



Members of the Sierra Club work on removing the fuselage and wings of BuNo 35099 in the Summer of 1970.


Both Wright R-2600-29 engines are visible in this photo circa 1970. Only one remains today.




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