Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Stinson L-5 USAAF 42-98206


Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Jim Gray founder of the L-5 Owners Club a  mystery has now been solved.  The accident photos displayed on this page are in fact from a USAAF Stinson L-5  42-9806 that crashed on 7/20/45 during a search mission for a then presumed missing U. S. Navy Beechcraft SNB. The L-5 pilot was Capt. David E. Hicks, and his observer was 1st Lt.  Alvin Radiloff. Both men were assigned to March AAB in Riverside County, CA, and both escaped the crash with minor injuries. 

Another L-5 crew from March observed the crash and helped expedite the rescue of Capt. Hicks and Lt. Radiloff whose L-5 did suffer a post impact fire.  When Jim Gray saw the Stinson accident photos I had posted he identified the wreckage as an L-5 and not the USMC OY-2 Bu No 04011 that crashed in the same general area on 5/29/51.  The pilot of the OY-2 1st. Lt. James D. Righton, USMCR survived his accident with minor injuries.

Based on the accident reports for the L-5 and OY-2 we now know that both wrecks are within a mile of each other, hidden in the dense chaparral of the rugged Santa Ana Mountains. Perhaps Mike Boeck will one day stumble on the remains of the OY-2 just as he did on the L-5 in January of 2010. If Mike does find the OY-2 well send the photos to Jim Gray for confirmation just to be absolutely sure, because Ive learned the details are important, and all production L-5s and OY-1s and 2s had six cylinder engines despite what what some aviation reference books suggest.

Thanks to Mike Boeck, and Jim Gray for helping to make this story possible.


Fuselage framework of 42-98206 (Mike Boeck photo)

185 hp Lycoming six cylinder engine (Mike Boeck photo)


Cylinder head cover for the Lycoming engine (Mike Boeck photo)

12 volt electrical box attached to fuselage tubular structure. (Mike Boeck photo)


Finding a data plate is a key aspect of confirming aircraft type and identification. This fuel tank mounted plate was found by Tom Maloney. (G.P. Macha photo)

The front top of the rudder still has some #508 International Orange paint on the fabric covering. (G.P. Macha photo)

Fuel tank selector switch from L-5 42-9806 (G.P. Macha photo)




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