Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

C-119C Mystery


C-119C Ontario Ridge

In the Fall of 2003 Southern California was ravaged by wildfires. As work crews assessed the damage and cleared mountain roads some interesting discoveries were made. Richard Wingate of the Mt. Baldy Volunteer Fire Department found aircraft wreckage on rugged Ontario Ridge. He contacted me, and later escorted me to the area where the parts were found. I know the San Gabriel Mountains well, but not well enough in this case. What Richard found was a Fairchild C-119C USAF or ANG. In the past month dozens of sources have been examined in an effort to discover the history of this aircraft. Civil Air Patrol records, various newspapers, law enforcement agencies, internet data bases, and recollections of old-timers have all come to naught. Any help appreciated!

Solved:  Thanks to Kenny Chapman our mystery has been solved. During the air tanker missions flown on the 1980 Ontario Peak Fire one of the Hemet Valley Flying Service C-119Gs lost both clamshell doors. Shortly after the Ontario Peak fire was extinguished Kenny used his Super Cub to fly the C-119G co-pilot in search of the missing doors. Kenny said he flew the area of the incident for quite a while without result.


Fog enshrouded Ontario Ridge and draw where wreckage was discovered.

Richard Wingate uncovers, then removes data tag from door of the mystery Fairchild C-119C.

Parts with numbers 110-31392-22 again confirm that the aircraft in question is a C-119.

Inside of door latch assembly from C-119.

Richard Wingate ascends the steep draw above the door section in an effort to locate the main impact. No luck this time.

C-119C data plate recovered 3/04 from Ontario Ridge crash site.



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