Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West



The U.S. Navy purchased three Kinner Envoy light transport aircraft in 1936. Two were assigned for use by the navy, and one went to the marines. These aircraft were designated XRK-1 Bu No 9747-9749. These aircraft were used as staff transports, accommodating three passengers and one pilot.  Two Envoy’s were lost in fatal accidents, including Bu No 9748 that disappeared without a trace on March 28, 1938.  Lieutenant Commander La Rue C. Lawbaugh and his passenger Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Erin Key were flying from Palm Springs, CA en route to Naval Air Air Station North Island when they vanished. It was initially thought that the XRK-1 had gone down in the San Gorgonio Pass area, but an extensive search effort failed to find any wreckage. It was later presumed that Bu No 0748 had crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Special thanks to Walt Witherspoon, Dave Mihalik, and Tom Maloney for newspaper research and accident report information.


Rare 1/32 scale model of the Kinner XKR-1 Envoy similar to Bu No 9748 that disappeared without trace on March 28, 1938.
(G.P. Macha photo)


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