Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West


On 10/28/56 a family of three departed Apple Valley Airport on the Mojave Desert en route to Fullerton Airport in Orange County, CA. They were flying in a Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer N7046B. Bad weather was a factor in their disappearance, but the wreck of their plane was not found until 6/6/60, when a hiker stumbled upon the crash site and saw human remains.

An intensive aerial search effort in 1956-57 failed to find any trace of N7046B. The pilot had filed a flight plan and the wreck site was only a few air miles west of his intended course, yet the PA-22 remained un-located. The fabric covered Tri-Pacer did not burn, was painted a light reflective color, and the wreckage contrasts well with the undergrowth. Still it was not seen by a passing aircraft, or if it was, perhaps the PA-22 might have been thought to be "just an old known wreck".

The crash site is near rugged Cucamonga Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. Another missing plane may be nearby, the Piper PA-28 flown by David Katz who vanished on 6/3/01. Is it any wonder that Steve Fossett and his Bellanca Decathlon have not been yet? ( photos G.P. Macha collection)







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