Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Missing Aircraft in California


Date of
Aircraft Type Number/Serial Persons
on Board
Point of Departure / Destination

5/2/16 Cessna 172N N739ZE 2 En route from Catalina Island to Van Nuys Airport on training flight. Stratus clouds present. Reward $125,000 for location of crash site, and recovery of student pilot’s body. Presumed in Pacific Ocean. No ELT signal received.


Mooney MK20F N952AM 1 Santa Ynez Airport to Mammoth Lakes Airport. Wreckage located by hiker near the Vogelsang in Yosemite National Park on July 6, 2013.
2/2/08 Kidd Harmon Rocket N96KR 1 Small airstrip near Taft /
Ranch in New Cuyama
Wreck found 2/6/08 south of Maricopa.
Cessna 340A N354TJ 4 Bermuda Dunes/Chino /
Wreck was located 2/9/08 San Bernardino Mnts.
9/3/07 Bellanca 8KCAB-180 N240R 1 Flying M Ranch, NV /
Unknown (possibly in CA)
  Hikers found personal effects belonging to Steve Fossett on 9/28/08 near Minaret Lake NW of Mammoth Lakes in the High Sierra of California. Fossett wreckage found 10/03/08.
7/7/07 Cub Crafters CC11-100     N222TB 1 Disappeared on local flight from Aurora State Airport, Oregon
9/24/06   Cessna 172K   N2700Q 2 Aircraft departed Deer Valley Airport near Phoenix, Arizona en route to the Sedona, Arizona. Last known location within nine miles NE of Sedona.


On 4/19/09 a search team appears to have located the burned wreckage of N2700Q that vanished on a local flight north of Sedona, AZ. The research and detective work by Chris Killian was key to resolving this case. The wreckage was located close to the last known radar position on 9/24/06. More updates on this important story will be posted soon.
Wreck found: News reports:  and 
6/3/01 Piper PA-28-181 N8253W 1 Perris Valley /
Brackett Field
  On 9/21/08 San Bernardino County Sheriff’s helicopter crew located the remains of pilot Daniel Katz and his aircraft at the 5,700’ MSL in the San Gabriel Mnts. only a few air miles from his last known location.
Katz Found

8/29/87 Cessna 172P N65797   Departed Van Nuys CA to coastal area with one person on board. Aircraft is presumed to have crashed in the Pacific Ocean.
6/2/67  Piper PA-28 N4389J 3 San Jose /
Ogden, Utah (last radio contact Tracy/Modesto area)
12/20/64 Piper Tri-Pacer N9536D 2 Las Vegas NV /
Long Beach CA
8/12/64  Cessna 210A N9492X 1 Oakland to Las Vegas. No flight plan filed. Pilot, Charles C. Ogle
3/3/64 Cessna 150 N1910Z 1 Van Nuys local flight
9/21/62 Champion Tri-Champ N9888B 2 Compton /
Local flight presumed in Pacific Ocean
6/19/61 Grumman F9F-8T
BuNo 146381 2 Moffett Field NAS /
Local flight presumed in bay/ocean
3/15/61 Cessna L-19A ANG 51-12546  2 Oxnard AFB /
Santa Barbara (presumed down in Santa Barbara Channel)
2/5/58 Boeing B-47E USAF 52-388 3 Missing approximately 50 nautical miles WSW of San Miguel Island without trace at night.
5/9/57 Lockheed T-33A USAF 52-9232 1 Oakland International Airport /
Luke AFB AZ   (pilot rescued but his plane has never been found)
Mid-April 1953 Piper Cub N62708   Vanished on local AM flight from Santa Clara Valley Airport with twenty-one year old pilot Bruce Olson a Stanford University Student. While this aircraft may have crashed in San Francisco Bay, the Santa Cruz Mountains were considered a prime search area in 1953.
North American
42-32900 2 Kingman, AZ /
Palmdale, Mines Field, CA
3/5/45 Grumman F6F-3
Bu No  42702 1 Training mission over Monterey Bay
10/26/44 North American
44-15669 1 Mines Field/LAX /
Palm Springs  Presumed to be in Santa Monica Bay
1/29/44 Lockheed B-34 USAAF Serial # unknown 8 March Field /
Santa Maria AAB
9/4/43 Grumman TBF-1
Bu No 06414 3 Training mission over Monterey Bay
7/16/43 Grumman TBF-1   2 Vanished over Monterey Bay, CA  on training flight in cloudy conditions with Lt. Cmdr. S. Stephens, pilot and radio operator/gunner A.D. Gilder. Information courtesy Rhian Ellis
4/26/43 Grumman TBF-1
Bu No 01743 3 Training mission over Monterey Bay
3/14/43 (3) Grumman TBF-1
Bu Nos unknown 6 Arizona to North Island NAS /
presumed in Pacific Ocean
3/13/43 Douglas SBD-4 Bu No 10331   en route Reeve NAS, CA /
Seattle, WA  wreck found 11/5/81. No trace of pilot
12/6/42  Consolidated B-24D #41-24260    5 The flight originated at Tucson, AZ, landing at Hamilton Field, CA from where the long range training mission continued over the Pacific Ocean. #41-24260 vanished somewhere NW of Stewarts Point possibly several hundred miles from the nearest land. Weather may have been a factor in this disappearance.
10/24/41 Curtiss P-40 USAAF 39-194 1 March Field /
Sacramento   (pilot rescued but his plane has never been found)


Kinner XRK-1  Bu No 9748  2

Missing on a flight from Palm Springs to North Island Naval Air Station U.S.N.

7/30/35 Northrop 3A Test aircraft 1 Jack Northrop Field to Santa Monica Bay for stall spin tests
Additional listings to be posted soon!

The missing how they haunt us,
how we need to know their fate
for the sake of families and friends
closure is essential,
and never comes too late.

G. Pat Macha 2/6/08



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