Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
G. Pat Macha

  Speaking Engagement:  April 20, 7:00 pm, La Crescenta Historical Society - .PDF 
  Video:  F9F-8T Crash site near Ramona, CA. 
Air Classics Magazine,
March 2015 issue has book review on page 64 for Historic Aircraft Wrecks of Los Angeles County
L.A. Times /Book Review Historic Aircraft Wrecks of L.A. County
Beechcraft D50 Twin Bonanza Accident May 5, 1979
Video:  Martin P5M-2 Marlin accident January 1, 1959
Video  Fairchild C-82A crash near Big Bear Lake, CA  PR
Video:  Son visits AD-6 crash site
PR Video:  Man visits late fathers crash site near Big Bear Lake, CA


Pat's Speaking Engagements
List of Pat's Power Point Presentations

Complete List of Site Visitation Videos
Books Written by Pat Macha

Veterans Pages
Project Remembrance

Pat Macha's New Book

Available at book sellers
November 2014.

Pat Macha Speaking Engagement March 21, 2015, 11 A.M.
Western Museum of Flight
Torrance CA
 Click on the .PDF Flyer

On June 25, 1965 USAF Boeing C-135A 60-373 departed El Toro Marine Air Base at 1:44 AM with eighty-four men and one woman on board. At 1:46 AM the C-135A struck cloud enshrouded Loma Ridge to become the worst aviation accident in the history of Orange County, CA.

During a survey on behalf of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy in May-June 2007 I found the dog tags of USMC Lance Corporal Howard Duane Hall, Jr. The tags were held by the IRC until the fall of 2013 when I was contacted by a representative of the Hall Family. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy promptly returned the dog tags to the family in December, 2013.  (Photos courtesy Stephen A. Hall)

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G. Pat Macha
Speaker  Engagement list
Author  "Aircraft Wrecks..." Book
Host  "Wreck Finding" DVD
Host  "History Channel's "Broken Wings"

Books By Macha

View Videos

Recent Crash Site Visitations

Missing Aircraft Appeal

Missing Aircraft in California

"The Wreck Finder Aircraft Archaeologist" KCET SoCal Connected Video

"An Aircraft Historian's Logbook"
Courtesy of KCET SoCal Connected

Project Remembrance = PR  

Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins in her leather flight jacket with Fifinella emblazoned on it.
(Courtesy Whittall-Scherefee Family)

Ongoing Search for
Gertrude Tompkins Silver

Silver update August 26, 2010
Congressional Gold Medal

Aircraft Crash Site Pages

Stories with Returned Artifacts

B-24D   4/9/44
B-24L   1/30/45
  10/2/44   PR

Story Archive
B-17F   5/30/43

B-24E   12/5/43
6/21/43   PR
B-36D   8/5/52   PR
B-47B 10/13/55  PR
BT-13B   10/2/44
BT-2B   2/8/31
C119C   1980
C-46A   10/5/45
C170A   3/2/57
Champion Citabria   7/4/67  New Story
Curtiss AT-9A   12/30/42
DC-2   3/1/38
DC-3   10/23/42
DC-3   11/21/50  
DC-3 GS  
2/18/69   PR
F-105D   12/7/67
F3D-2   1952-53
10/3/56   PR
F-4D    4/20/67   New Story
(3) F4F-3A   2/13/42   New Story
F4U-4   4/23/46   PR
JF-104A   5/1/57
Dakota MK IV  
3/13/45   PR
Lear Jet 24B  
Mooney M20  
 6/18/44 & 9/10/62
SNB-4   1/9/55  PR
5/15/55  PR
TWA Martin 404  
Steve Fossett

Monument Sites
A4D-2   7/8/59   PR
A.C. 690A
12/6/42   PR
B-24E   7/5/43   PR
B-24E   3/3/44  
B-24J    5/4/45
B-24J/TF100C 7/2/44 & 4/9/57
B-25D WASP   10/2/44   PR
B-26    12/30/41
Beechcraft 95   6/7/64   PR
C-47D   12/1/52
C-130A   6/17/02
C-180   1/31/05
DC-6B   10/1/92
DH-4B   12/7/22
F8F-1   7/17/45  
FG-1   5/4/44   PR  New Photo
FJ-4   3/27/61   PR
HUP-2   11/7/09
N-3PB   4/21/43
P-40's  10/24/41
P2V5/C118A   2/1/58
PV-1   2/24/44
SNB-5   11/18/50   PR
X-2   9/27/56
X-15   11/15/67
BLM Aircraft Historical Sites


Idaho & Nevada Crash Sites
by Marc McDonald

B-17F   12/2/1942   
B-17F   5/5/43
B-24J   1/8/44   PR   New Info
B-24J   2/9/45
B-24J   8/19/44   New Page
B-23   1/9/43
BT-13A   4/29/47 
C-46F   1/6/53
C-130E   5/13/95
P-39   2/6/43
PA-23-250   3/23/63


Recent find in Oregon
Loggers find WWII-era wreckage
62 year old crash

Picture Archive
Latest picture posted

Veterans pictures

How to ID a micro-site
ID a micro-site
Info added   5/15/07

Related Story
World War II Airman Found
Frozen in Glacier

Continuing story 9/28/07

For a complete list of articles featuring
G. Pat Macha

Related Links, Organizations
& Associations

Links   European links

Recommended Readings
Latest posting   Jan 8, 2015

Thomas F. Gossett
E. "Butch" Gates


Patricia "Patty" Nannes was only twenty-one years old at the time of the crash.

DC-3 Gamblers Special Story



Memorial marker located on a cliff face. Photo by Tom Maloney

Pat J. Macha located the starboard cabin door. Photo By Tom Maloney

On May 5, 1979 a Beechcraft Model 50 Twin Bonanza N16MM departed the Butterfield Ranch Airstrip at 3:00 p.m. with a pilot and four passengers on board. Winds at the time were gusting to 60 MPH as the pilot attempted to fly up a steep canyon west of the airstrip, something he may have done successfully before. Tragically, at 3:05 p.m. N16MM collided with a canyon ridge more than 400’ below the Sunrise Highway killing all on board instantly. Project Remembrance Team member David Lane located the crash site in precipitous terrain on 11/14/14. He returned to the crash site to better document it with five other Project Remembrance Team members on 12/6/14.

  Video:  Beechcraft D50 Twin Bonanza Accident May 5, 1979 


Brandon Shippy, Eagle Scout candidate presents his completed project on 12/13/14 in Robinson Ranch, an area within the City of Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County, CA. Brandon’s memorial project honors the memory of four marine airmen lost in two accidents. The first loss occurred on May 5, 1944 killing Captain Calvin K. Vermillion, USMCR. The second loss occurred on February 12, 1987 killing Major William J. Anderson, USMCR, Major Dudley W. Urban, USMCR, and Sergeant Bradley A. Baird, USMCR. Both crash sites are near the memorial marker. (Photo by G. P. Macha)

FG-1 Story
Video: Corsair crash site


Lieutenant Edward F. Bickford served with distinction during WWII in Europe assigned to the 9th Air Force. He flew sixty-eight combat missions with the 356th Fighter Squadron, shooting down 5.5 enemy aircraft. Lt. Bickford earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters for heroism.The 356th Fighter Squadron received a Presidential Unit Citation during Lt. Bickford’s combat tenure.

Lt. Bickford remained in the army air force reserve following the war, and had completed his first year at Cal Tech. He was twenty-three at the time of his death in the crash of a USAAF AT-6C Texan, 42-48918 on July 2, 1947. The accident occurred following a fly-over of his home in Altadena, California. After performing a few aerobatic maneuvers he flew north into the San Gabriel Mountains, and up a steep canyon where he crashed. He was survived by his wife, and a year old daughter. (Photo courtesy Eileen Vesely)

Lt. Edward F. Bickford in combat flying gear while assigned to the 356th Fighter Squadron. (Photo USAF Official via Eileen Vesely)

Photo depicts the starboard wing of the AT-6C with star and bar insignia (Photo by G.P. Macha circa 1989)



Honoring our Veterans of the skies who made the ultimate sacrifice!


USAAF Pvt. Stewart L. Nengel survived the in-flight breakup of a Douglas C-53A on 1/31/43. His amazing story of survival and rescue will be posted shortly. (Photo courtesy Denise Robinson-Bartow)

Video: Douglas C53 Skytrooper and Waco CG-4A Glider accident in 1943 - Part 1

Revised Video: Family members and rescuer visit 1943 Douglas C-53 aircraft crash site-Part 2

Project Remembrance


Stewart L. Nengel

Stewart L. Nengel is remembered for his service during WWII in the U.S. Army from November 1941 to November 1945. His citations included the American Defense, and American Theatre of Operations Ribbons. At the time of his honorable discharge he had earned the rank of Sergeant, and the Good Conduct, and Victory Medals. While in good service to his nation, Stewart L. Nengel  on January 31, 1943 survived an air disaster in California, parachuting from an army transport aircraft at low altitude. He sustained serious injuries that required forty-one days of hospitalization. 



Lt. (jg) Jack E. Joynson was twenty-four years old when he died in the crash of  a U.S. Navy Douglas AD-6 Skyraider on July 6, 1960 near Big Bear Lake, CA. Lt. (jg) Joynson was serving with VA-215 at the time of his death. (Photo courtesy Jack E. Joynson, Jr.)


On June 21, 2014 members of the Project Remembrance Team located the crash site of the U.S.N. Douglas AD-6 flown by Lt.(j.g.) Jack E. Joynson. The pilot’s son will visit the crash site later this summer accompanied the Project Remembrance Team. (Photo by Pat J. Macha)

  Video:  Son visits AD-6 crash site PR Video:  Man visits late fathers crash site near Big Bear Lake, CA

Project Remembrance story to be posted in the near future.


USAAF 2nd Lt. William E. Dryer looking sharp and confident less than a year before his untimely death on cloud enshrouded Mt. Pinos in San Diego County, CA. 2nd Lt. Dryer was flying BT-13A 41-22019 while engaged in a cross-country navigational training flight on March 14, 1945 along with Cpl. Joseph F. Schubert, his ride along passenger. (Photo courtesy David D. Dryer)

2nd Lt. Richard N. Long, USAAF pilot that lost his life on 10/24/41 in Curtiss P-40 39-287. The wreckage of 2nd Lt. Long’s P-40 was not discovered until July 1959 when hikers accidentally spotted the the plane near South Guard Lake in the High Sierra. (Photo courtesy Joshua Long)



1st Lt William Henry Birrell was a West Point graduate who received his wings on March 14, 1941. On October 24th, 1941 1st Lt. Birrell crashed to his death near Bass Lake, while flying P-40 39-200. 1st Lt. Birrell was one of five 57th Pursuit Group pilots to crash or bailout over the High Sierra on that fateful day. (Photo via Tony Kirzan)

P-40 Story
Project Remembrance


Captain John Phillips, Jr. was flying a Boeing KC-97G assigned to the Strategic Air Command’s 96th Air Refueling Squadron when he crashed in the cloud enshrouded Box Springs Mountains on June 27, 1954. The accident occurred at 1:58 AM as the KC-97G approached March Air Force Base in Riverside County, CA. Captain Phillips and all thirteen of his passengers and crew were tragically killed in this weather related loss.
(Photo courtesy Edward Phillips)

KC-97G Stratotanker
at Box Springs Mt, CA

Project Remembrance


USAAF Assistant Radio Operator Private Vern Bassett Smith lost his life aboard B-24D 41-24262 on December 6, 1942 along with five other air crewmen. The accident was caused by an engine malfunction coupled with heavy clouds and icing conditions near the crash site nine miles southeast of Stewarts Point, CA. (Photo courtesy Jacquelyn Morrison)

B-24D Story
Project Remembrance

USAAF Flight Officer Frank J. Pryor and his wife in photo taken one month before his death in the Crash of B-24J on Mt. Harrison in Idaho. F/O Pryor was the navigator aboard 41-100050. (Photo courtesy Craig Fuller via Marc McDonald)


USAAF Bombardier Instructor, 1st Lt. Bernard Corman was killed along with two of his students on 8/13/43 when the USAAF Beechcraft AT-11 #42-27429 that he was flying in, crashed NW of Hinckley on the Mojave Desert. Also killed was the pilot of the AT-11. (Photo USAAF Official via Mrs. Loretta Kreft)

Captain George F. Bingham was the senior pilot  and aircraft commander aboard Douglas C-47D  #42-1124 when it crashed on Mt. San Gorgonio  on 12/1/52 killing all thirteen men on board.        Weather, darkness, and lack of a VOR at the     Palm Springs Intersection were cited as factors  in this accident. Captain Bingham had served with the USAAF during WW II, and he continued to serve in the USAF until his untimely death on 12/1/52. (Photo courtesy of the George F. Bingham Family)

C-47D Story


Sgt. James B. Shelton, USAAF was an assistant flight engineer on a B-24D that disappeared while on a routine training mission in October 1943.  (Photo courtesy Marc McDonald via the Shelton Family)

On October 6, 1943 Consolidated B-24D 41-24041 departed Pocatello Army Air Field in Idaho for an over water navigational training mission to the Pacific Ocean southwest of Fort Dick, California. The B-24D was to have made radio contact with shore stations every thirty minutes until they landed at Hamilton Field in California. The only radio message received was at Klamath Falls, Oregon. When 41-24041 failed to arrive at Hamilton Field the aircraft and its crew of ten were posted missing, and were presumed to be lost at sea. No trace of the B-24D or its crew has ever been found.  Search missions were flown over the wilds of southwestern Oregon, and northwestern California in case the ill-fated B-24D had crashed on land. 



S/Sgt. Gordon L. Walker was the Crew Chief aboard North American Aviation B-25D #41-30114 assigned to Victorville Army Air Base in fall of 1944. Tragically, S/Sgt. Walker shown in this photo with his wife Alyene, was killed along with his crewmates on October 2, 1944 in a crash on the Mojave Desert. S/Sgt. Walker was twenty-four years old at the time of his death. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Gordon S. Walker, the grandson of S/Sgt. Walker)

B-25D story
Project Remembrance


S/Sgt. Irving B. Kibler was killed flying a USAAF Douglas DB-7B (A-20) on October 10, 1942 while flying a gunnery training mission south of Blythe Army Air Base. The accident was attributed to possible target fixation during a strafing run. S/Sgt. Kibler was the sole occupant of the DB-7B and he was assigned to the 51st Bombardment Squadron at the time of his death. S/Sgt. Kibler was described as eager to serve his country in combat. (Photo courtesy of the Kibler Family)  

2nd Lt. Gordon A. Zempel served as a B-17 pilot during WWII, and he continued to serve in the USAF Reserve until his death at age twenty-three on January 24, 1948. 2nd Lt. Zempel disappeared in a USAF North American Aviation T-6D while on a routine proficiency flight from Norton Air Force Base. The wreck of his aircraft was not discovered until August 6, 1948 in the San Bernardino Mountains. (Photo courtesy William H. Zempel)

AT-6D Video
Project Remembrance



Additional Veterans Pictures


Site Dedication

This site is dedicated to the memory of those men and women who lost their lives in service to our nation,
especially those who remain missing and unaccounted for, in the vastness of the American West and the Pacific Ocean.

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Web site by Ron Funk
 Copyright©, 2000 - 2014, G. Pat Macha