China Lake accidents, incidents & SOC's. Last updated 23 June, 2017
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BuNo

Modex

Type

Command

date

fatal

SOC code

Comments

39632

 

R5O-6

MBDAG-44

09 Mar 1944

 

No history card.

Pilot Capt. B.D. Bramhall and co-pilot Maj. J.W. Wyland started takeoff on runway 34 at NOTS Inyokern. Plane swerved to the left, corrected and then swerved right and ground looped. The left wheel collapsed and the left engine caught fire. The entire aircraft excluding the tail was destroyed by the fire. All four crew members and 13 passengers escaped without injury.

44929   NH-1 CASU-53 29 Apr 1944     Landing accident, H. J. Camps

40860

 

F6F-3

NOTS

20 Jun 1944

Innis

 

Lt. Donald A. Innis after whom Innis Road at Harvey Field is named, was over the Salton Sea in Southern CA on a rocket firing flight when a rocket body exploded prematurely on his starboard wing. His F6F Hellcat fighter which was in a 14-degree dive at the time went into a slow spin and crashed into the sea.

46185

 

 TBM-1C

VC-82

25 Jun 1944

Walthall
Keller

 

Lt. Douglas J. Walthall and Radioman 2nd class (ARM2) Wilson McKinley Keller of Composite Squadron 82, a torpedo bomber unit temporarily attached to the Air Facility for rocket training, lost their lives when their Torpedo Bomber crashed during a rocket firing test on the B-2 range. A five-inch rocket exploded as it was fired, blowing off eight feet of Lt. Walthall's starboard wing. A board of inquiry found the rocket was improperly assembled and that the propellant had ignited the warhead.

42757   F6F-3 VF-5 18 Jul 1944     Lt. Harvey G. Odenbrett engine failed on takeoff after he switched off the emergency fuel pump at an altitude of 100 feet. He turned the emergency pump back on and switched fuel tanks without success and made an emergency flaps up landing 1/2 mile from the end of the runway. The aircraft and engine received class A damage.
42782   F6F-3 CASU-6 22 Jul 1944     1st Lt. Bernard I. Heller was seriously injured (skull fracture) when the engine began to cut out after takeoff from runway 16 and he made an emergency flaps down, gear up, nose high landing in the sand. Power loss was caused by the mixture being in auto rich vs. full rich and the elec. fuel pump being off. The pilot was injured when one of the shoulder straps parted on impact. The aircraft and engine received class B damage.

18248

 

SB2C-1C

NOTS

21 Aug 1944

Armitage

 

Lt. John "Jack" Armitage lost his life when his SB2C Helldiver, crashed at NOTS Inyokern. Immediately after he fired an 11.75" Tiny Tim in a 20-degree dive at a range of 1500 yards his plane nosed over, passed through the rocket's blast cone and crashed. The board of inquiry found the firing had forced an outboard elevator tab up, keeping his plane in the dive and that passing through the blast cone had increased the effect. China Lake's Armitage Field is named for Lt. Armitage.

58818

 

F6F-5

NOTS

29 Aug 1944

Dibb

 

Lt. Robert A. Dibb, after whom Dibb Road on the Station is named, was killed when an inert five-inch AR rocket fired at 30 degree dive at 1,000 yards range and a speed of 280 knots ricocheted 500 feet into the air and took off one wing of his F6F Hellcat. He pulled out at 600 feet and the rocket body struck him from above carrying away the right wing hinge fitting causing the right wing to come off.

48232   XFR-1 Ryan 13 Oct 1944 Kerlinger   Ryan Aeronautical chief test pilot Robert J. Kerlinger was killed when the XFR-1 crashed unobserved in Sycamore canyon during an aerobatic flight to check aileron forces.

24516

 

TBF-1C

AODU San
Diego

10 Nov 1944

 

 

crashed 3 miles west of Highway 6 on Leona Valley Road, 100 yards NE of bridge B452, Palmdale, CA 10/11/44 - Linge, H., Lt. Sr. Grade, USN Inyokern Navy Base - Report

57304   F4U-1D NOTS 05 Jan 1945   A LT(jg) Robert Black made a forced landing 200 yards south of Harvey Field due to engine failure resulting from mismanagement of fuel tanks while engaged in FCLP. The accident resulted in class A damage to the airframe and engine.
85104   JRB-4 NOTS 03 Mar 1945     Lt. Donald Kirkpatrick made an approach with excessive speed and flaps up to the 3,000 foot partially turf strip with high tension lines and houses at each end at Alhambra. The excessive speed after landing upwind and downhill on wet turf couldn't be controlled and a skid resulted. The starboard landing gear collapsed when the plane hit a dip and resulted in damage to the starboard wing, propeller, engine and horizontal stabilizer. No injuries to the pilot or passengers Capt. Lewis N. Moeller, Lt. Abraham L. Pittinger, LCdr. Don Anderson, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jack B. Martin and Dr. W.N. Arnquist.
26253   NE-1 NOTS 23 Jul 1945   4-5-F CAP R.P. Sullivan was ordered to fly to Coso Range and land on a nearby road to deliver a message. He landed suceessfullly, but on takeoff he struck a rock before gaining flying speed and the plane was thrown into the air and he was unable to recover. The aircraft received class A damage.
81041   F4U-4 VMF-223 28 Jul 1945   1-2-C Lt. Donald Kirkpatrick was on the 2nd of four dives firing 5.0" HVAR's and pulled out straight ahead after firing. Just as he was beginning to climb the aircraft was struck by a ricochet which pierced the engine cowling and crushed the #14 jug. The engine began to smoke immediately and he started an approach to the emergency strip near the B Range control tower and lowered the landing gear. However the engine failed completely 400 yards short of the strip and he made a full stall landing in bumpy desert terrain which collapsed the landing gear resulting in strike damage to the aircraft.
    F6F VMF-225 02 Sep 1945     1st Lt. Herbert Lee Libbey lost his life when he crashed 20 mile north of Wildrose Station in the Panamint mountains. The wreckage was discovered 13 June 1957.
45016   GH-3 NAF 24 Feb 1946     Pilot Walter W. Roman landed and stopped on the runway at NAS Los Alamitos due to the tail wheel being stuck in the locked position. The tower then cleared four F4U Corsairs to land. The first took a wave off, the 2nd landed short, the 3rd landed a little longer and overran the GH-3, demolishing the aircraft. Also on board were R.M. Tyocen and J.H. Roche
79132   F6F-5 NOTS 03 Oct 1946   4-5-F Pilot Ens. Frederick C. Sukyres made a normal approach and 3 point landing at Inyokern and had slowed to about 50 knots when a sudden gust of wind lifted the left wing and tire off the ground. Pilot applied throttle and full left controls to no avail and the plane swerved sharply right, left the runway and ran through a pile of dirt in an area being excavated by contractors. Airplane then careened into ledge of old ramp (about 14" high) and nosed over on the prop and cowling and slid for an additional 30 feet. Aircraft was a strike.
58343   F6F-5 NOTS 17 Oct 1946     Prior to flight the aircraft wouldn't start and the lower plugs were removed and oil was drained from the cylinders. Pilot Lt. Charles S. Brookes successfully started the engine, but neglected to run the engine up to over 31-32" manifold pressure to clear it. After takeoff the engine began to miss and although power was reduced the engine began to miss more rapidly and lose power. Pilot made a 45 degree turn to the right to miss obstructions before the plane impacted the ground with the flaps down and gear retracted and sliding 200 feet before striking a high wire fence and stopping. Aircraft was a strike.

78980

 

F6F-5

NAF

24 Jul 1947

 

 

Lt. Joseph A. Pariseau made a wheels up landing in the dirt adjacent to the main runway after hydraulic failure caused by damage to a fitting on the starboard landing gear. Aircraft suffered class D damage.

      civilian 14 Sep 1947     NOTS employees James B. Delmonego, 25, and Harold A. Barnes, 42, and two companions were killed in Tulare county mountains Sunday when the plane in which they were flying overshot the Tunnel Meadow airport and crashed while turning for another attempt at a landing. The other victims were identified as pilot Ray Jones of LaCrescenta and George K. Owens of Chula Vista. Bakersfield Californian, Monday, September 15, 1947.
120456   OY-1 NOTS 21 Oct 1947   4-5-L Pilot LCdr. John H. Jorgenson and backseater Lt. Sidney R. Overall were landing on a graded strip on flat desert waste land (B-1 range) bordered by soft sand graded from the landing strip. Ground contact was a normal two point landing and after approx. 575 yards the tail wheel settled and shortly thereafter encountered a dust devil which couldn't be avoided. The plane swerved to the right despite corrective action by the pilot and rode over the shoulder of the runway where pilot tried to ground loop it to the right. Plane continued ahead and struck a soft sand lump and greasewood bush and nosed over throwing the occupants violently about the cabin. The plane suffered class B damage and Lt. Overall suffered two compression fractures of vertebrae and scalp lacerations. Following the accident it was recommended that shoulder harnesses be installed in this type a/c.
44661   JRB-4 NAF 31 Oct 1947   4-5-J Pilot LCdr. Eugene A. Valencia and co-pilot Lt. Caddie G. McGee made an emergency landing at Olancha, CA following loss of power in the right engine combined with smoke and fumes in the cockpit. After touchdown the left wing dropped, was picked up, dropped again and the left prop and engine struck the ground. The aircraft ground looped to the left and slid sideways for a considerable distance before coming to a stop off the runway at a heading of 105 degrees to the runway heading. The aircraft was a strike and was disassembled and returned to NAF.

78980

 

F6F-5

NAF

03 Feb 1948

 

 

LCdr. William H. Game was on a gunnery flight to test Mk 3 Mod 0 toss bomb director when the range engineer reported he was leaving a heavy smoke trail and he requested an emergency landing at Armitage Field. At two miles NW of the field he asked that his plane be checked for smoke and entered the pattern on the downwind leg and the tower reported that no smoke was visible and gave instructions for runway 31. As plane started turnoff from downwind base leg tower personnel observed a smoke trail. As the gear came down the pilot cancelled the emergency request and asked crash truck to standby. On base leg at an altitude of 200-300 feet the engine was observed to be coughing and emitting puffs of black smoke and on final at 20 degrees to runway ran erratically for 6-7 seconds before the prop stopped turning. The pilot noted he was losing altitude rapidly and at a speed of 86 knots and an altitude of 70 feet raised the landing gear as there was a banked dirt road crossing the runway approach and a 4 foot deep drainage ditch 200 feet from the end of the runway. At this time the plane stalled, dropped on it's left wing, struck the ground, rebounded and cartwheeled to a stop 1,500 feet short of the runway. Pilot received lacerations, contusions and abrasions. Aircraft received strike damage.

90534   JRB-4 NAF 31 May 1948   4-5-L
CAT I
Pilot LCdr. James D. Mooney, Lt(jg) Warren F. Paris, ADC William H Kirk and AD1 Richard W. Haslet crashed on takeoff after encountering a reversal of wind direction. Aircraft swerved 20 degrees to the left, pilot applied corrective action and avoided debris on left side of runway. Swerve to right continued until plane was headed toward a tetrahedron on the right of the runway and the pilot turned further right to avoid it added full power and left the runway 40 degrees to right of runway at 40 mph. Pilot elected to continue takeoff and allowed angle of attack to become too great at below stalling speed after initial bounce. Co-pilot erred in applying full flaps and the combination of these errors prevented the plane from accelerating out of a stall condition.

45-21847

 

B-29A

USAF

21 Jul 1948

0

 

The aircraft had taken off from NOTS/NAF Inyokern on a scientific mission to study variations in solar radiation with altitude as part of the Upper Air Research Project and was on one of its final runs of the day. After completing a run to 30,000 feet east of Lake Mead, the crew began their descent and leveled out just 300 feet above the lake's surface. The B-29 struck the water at nearly 250 miles per hour which ripped 3 of the 4 engines from their mounts, set fire to the fourth and severely damaged the left wing and horizontal stabilizer. The pilots were able to pull up and get the plane airborne again, skipping it like a stone across a calm pond.

90550

 

JRB-4

NAF

03 Feb 1949

7

4-7-Z
CAT I

Cdr. A. Minvielle, 34, (NAF XO and pilot), Lt(jg). Charles Matus, 27, (co-pilot), Civil Service Dr. J.K.L. McDonald, Civil Service Dr. John McKinley, 42, Civil Service employee Mr. Myron G. Kellogg, 35, Civil Service employee Mr. Rodney Morrin, 36, and Civil Service employee Mr. Joseph Vargus 36, lost their lives when their JRB-4 Expeditor crashed in the Sierras enroute to NAS Alameda. The wreckage was found 21 April 1949 near Owens Peak at the 7,000 foot level, 17 miles north of Inyokern, CA.

97267   F4U-4 NAF 09 Mar 1950   C ADC Bert Charles Spray made an inadvertant wheels up landing resulting in Class C damage to the airframe during a test flight.
79004   F6F-5K NAMTC 24 Apr 1950     AOC Robert H. Nesbitt reduced power slightly at 200 feet after takeoff from runway 21 and the engine began to backfire and airspeed dropped from 130 to 80 knots. A left turn was started in an attempt to land on runway 31, but unable to make the airfield he made a flaps down, wheels up, tail down landing on an easterly heading. The aircraft received class A damage.

97061

 

F4U-4

NAF

17 Jan 1952

0

 

Pilot Lt(jg). Joel Premselaar, 31, made a forced landing on the B-1 range emergency strip 7 mi. NW Armitage Field after a 2.75" FFAR misfired from an experimental launcher. The rocket tore a 15" x 4" piece from one prop blade and damaged two others causing severe engine vibrations that required the engine to be shut down. The B-1 strip was 4,000' long by 70' wide, 1500' blacktop and 2,500' hard pack leveled dirt at 2256' elev.

49-2534   F-94A USAF 17 Jan 1952     fuel exhaustion 14.5 miles SE NOTS China Lake

121698

 

F8F-2D

NAMTC

18 Apr 1952

 

 1NA1

wheels-up landing.

 

 

 

Civilian

26 May 1952

Pratt
Disney

 

Passenger George W. Pratt, 29, an engineering draftsman in the rocket department, and pilot Verne W. Disney, 54, a machinist in the rocket department, were killed in an air crash near the Ridgecrest airport. Eye witnesses stated that the plane overshot the runway, banked over sharply and went into a dive. Both men were thrown clear of the plane.

125503

 

F2H-2

NAF

10 July 1952

Darden

1GA2

LCdr. John E. Darden lost his life when his F2H-2 Banshee lost a wing in flight while diving and firing rockets and crashed in front of a bleacher full of aviation writers. This was the first flight test death at NAF since 1944. According to Joel Premselaar ... he was firing HVAR rockets at a ground target from a relatively shallow dive and in the recovery the wing peeled off followed very quickly by the entire empennage. I do recall something to the effect that previous to the accident a stress plate on the underside of the port wing was removed during a routine maintenance inspection. When replaced, short screws were placed in the locations where the longer screws were to go. In addition, there was the aeroelastic wing problem. The center of pressure (c.p.) moved forward starting at about 0.68 Mach increasing the twist on the wings. The c.p. moved back while transitioning the transonic range at about 0.8 Mach. The -2 was Mach limited at 0.85. Several -2s and F-89s were lost as a consequence of this problem.

9089

 

XBT2D-1

NAF

16 Nov 1952

 

21N1

SOC 06 Feb 1953 due to depreciation & salvaged for parts.

123904 904 AD-4 NAF 20 Jan 1953     AD-4 Skyraider BuNo 123904 piloted by ADC Joseph F. Pessillo was being used for catapult tests after a change order increasing the catapult psi from 3500 to 4000. On the fifth launch the shuttle failed to accelerate normally and the AD overtook the shuttle and the bridle dropped free. The pilot aborted the takeoff immediately upon recognizing he had a cold cat shot and, free of the bridle, the aircraft swerved left and the tail wheel was struck by the opposite returning shuttle. The entire tail wheel and actuating assembly was replaced and extensive related metal work was need to repair the damage.
123767   F3D-1 NAF 14 Apr 1953   "E" GMTU-61 pilot Lt. J. Grentzer inadvertently exceeded the G limits while on a Fam. flight which resulted in sheared rivets and screws in the center tank area, left wing root and skin wrinkling on the wing.
51058   SNB-1 NAF 16 May 1953   1KA1 NAF pilot Lt. F.J. Wickenheiser and NOTS employee Mr. (illegible) I. Stanton acting as lookout in the co-pilots seat took off from runway 21. Immediately after takeoff the pilot observed smoke and flames issuing from the rudder pedal aperture in the deck below his feet. The passenger notified the tower of the emergency and obtained the CO2 bottle from the passenger compartment and discharged it on the flames at the pilots feet. The pilot made an immediate 280 degree turn, lowered the flaps, and landed on runway 31 and the pilot and passenger exited the aircraft. About 90 seconds later the crash crew arrived and extinguished the flames. The aircraft suffered class B damage and transfered to NAS San Diego for diposition.

126316

XE-

F2H-3

VX-5

13 Aug 1953

 

1AA1

Moffet Field based VX-5 pilot Frank M. Posch crashed at NAS St. Louis, MO during a forced landing after an in flight explosion.

125736

 

AD-4N

VC-35

09 Sep 1953

Stickney
Peckenpaugh
Pock

 

San Diego based pilot Ens. A. R. Stickney of North Hollywood, CA, AO3 John C. Peckenpaugh, Harinsburg, KY, and SA Paul D. Pock, Altamont, CA, died when their AD-4 crashed at Owens Lake, CA. The plane crashed and exploded while in formation with another plane from NAS San Diego on a training flight.

132277 XE-15 AD-4B VX-5 17 Dec 1953   1AA1 USAF 1LT Wm. L. Green was on a local fam flight at NAF China Lake and was on final approach in a standard field pattern for runway 31 progressing to a wings level position at 350 feet and 95 knots, wheels and flaps down. The flareout was slightly high and the left wing probably contacted the ground and the pilot added full power to recover. The aircraft became airborne to about 40 feet and rolled to the left. After about 350 feet of forward travel, final impact occurred to the left of the runway in a vertical bank and slightly nose down, cartwheeled and burst into flames. The pilot suffered minor burns and freed himself from the wreckage.
    BT-13   1 Apr 1954 Schmidt
Atkinson
  Don Schmidt and Edward Atkinson from NOTS China Lake were killed when their BT-13 crashed and burned in Los Varas canyon 15 miles NW of Santa Barbara. The plane was part of a widespread search for a NAMTC Point Mugu F2H Banshee piloted by Lt. Albert D. McHenry that had gone missing the previous Monday
78526   F6F-5 ATU-300 18 Apr 1954     Lt. Jack Stephenson, had just left Armitage Field, on a return trip to NAAS Cabaniss Field at Corpus Christie, Tex., when engine trouble developed and he made a crash landing in the Rademacher Mountains 10 miles SE of NAF Inyokern.

 131973

AM-17

FJ-2

VMF-451

19 May 1954

 

 

USMC Capt. Gordon Kesson Jackson overshot his landing at NAF Inyokern and escaped unhurt, although the aircraft was SOC.

 134490

H-506

AD-6

VA-155

03 Jun 1954

Ellis

 

LCdr. Kermit Q. Ellis, VA-155 XO, NAS Moffett, lost his life when his AD-6 Skyraider failed to pull out of a dive and crashed in an uninhabited area 5 miles bearing 330 degrees from Armitage Field.

132438   AD-5 NASWF 28 Jun 1954 Davis   A two-place Navy dive bomber on a routine flight from Inyokern to Albuquerque crashed yesterday killing ADR2 Ward D. Davis. The pilot, Lt. W. R. Chester, suffered minor burns, cuts and bruises when he parachuted between 3,000 and 4,000 feet into rugged country 35 miles NW of Albuquerque. Bakersfield Californian, Tuesday, June 29, 1954.
72974   F6F-5K NOTS 30 Jul 1954   1KF1  
80098   F6F-5K NOTS 30 Jul 1954   1KF1  
50-471   F-86D NAA 26 Mar 1955     North American Aviation F-86D s/n 50-471 was written off in a forced landing due to engine failure, 1 mile North of NAF China Lake.
53-7787   XF-104 USAF 22 Apr 1955     Pilot ejected safely after an armament explosion caused the plane to crash on a NOTS China Lake gunnery range.

126424

 

F2H-3

NAF

13 Jul 1955

 

1KA2

LCdr. J. J. S. Davis suffered back injuries when his F2H-2 Banshee crashed and burned when making a forced landing after a routine flight.

124586

 

XF4D-1

Douglas

05 Jan 1956

 

31R5

SOC 11 Jan 1956, Survivability lab

123350

 

F2H-2

NAF

15 Feb 1956

Duffy

1BA2

Lt(jg). Charles Arthur Duffy lost his life when his F2H-2 Banshee crashed during routine training while simulating an emergency landing.

79249   F6F-5K NOTS 08 Mar 1956   1LA1 Flight test accident
        01 Sep 1956     Deputy Sherriff James Hurt and Robert Johnson, Chief of the sherrifs aero squadron, were injured when their plane crashed at Inyokern Naval Air Station.

139926

XE-8

A4D-1

VX-5

10 Oct 1956

Hooks

1KA1

Pilot Lt. Bennett W. Hooks, VX-5 Project Officer, lost his life following an in-flight fire when his A4D-1 Skyhawk exploded and burned on a dry lake yesterday after he tried to make an emergency landing rather than bail out. According to Henry White (VX-5 Feb.1956 - Oct. 1957) it was determined that he was trying to land on the deserted runway at Inyokern during an in-flight fire. The autopsy indicated he had inhaled the hot flames and probably died before impact.

94513   F6F-5K NAF 31 May 1957 NOLO 1LA1 Radio control was lost and the drone crashed in a wheat field 50 miles south of Spokane, WA three hours later. The plane was flying at 250 miles per hour at an altitude of 20-25,000 feet when control was lost according to Capt. F. Ashworth.
    Regulus II Edwards 4 June 1957     A Navy Regulus II missile launched from Edwards crashed 2 miles east of Searles Dry Lake on the Mojave B Range because of sudden control failure.

142212

 WK-20

A4D-1

VMA-224

16 Jun 1957

 

1AA1

USMC 2nd Lt. Don M. Gomez, age 22, lost his life when his El Toro based A4D-1 Skyhawk impacted the ground at high speed in level flight in the Panamint valley 35 miles NE of Inyokern. He was on his second LABS Fam. flight prior to the squadrons use of the C-3 Range at NAF China Lake.

 

 

AD-6

VA-155

31 Jul 1957

Litzenberg

 

Lt. Charles W. Litzenberg, from NAS Miramar, lost his life while engaged in loft-bombing maneuvers when his VA-155 AD-6 Skyraider crashed and burned on Charlie Range.

141464

ND

FJ-4B

VA-214

28 Oct 1957

Gonzales

1AA1

Ens. David Gonzales from Moffett lost his life when his VA-214 FJ-4B Fury crashed short of the runway.

143706

 

F8U-1

NAF

09 May 1958

 

1KA2

Pilot Cdr. Seldon May ejected after it flamed out and couldn’t be restarted.

 

 

FJ-4

Mojave

14 May 1958

 

 

USMC 1st Lt. Matthew Peck operating from MAAS Mojave ejected after a fired rocket didn't separate from the wing launch rail.

134762

762

F4D-1

NAF

14 May 1958

 

 1QA2

Lt. S. Joel Premselaar ejected after a flight control crankpin failed.

138501

 

HO4S-3

NAF

14 May 1958

 

 

LCdr. P.W. Nichols and crew survived the crash of the SAR helicopter as it attempted to rescue Premselaar.

142727

 XE-

A4D-2

VX-5

31 May 1958

 

1AA1

Cdr. Larry Cauble ejected after a flameout during an air firepower demonstration while executing an over-the-shoulder loft bombing maneuver for the Aviation Writers Association at Corpus Christi, TX. The plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico and he was immediately picked up by the hovering NAS rescue helicopter.

139551

XE-2

FJ-4B

VX-5

24 Jun 1958

Hopfinger

1KA1

LCdr. Richard M. Hopfinger,34, lost his life when his FJ-4B Fury crashed on the aft end flight deck of the USS Bon Homme Richard. The accident occurred after a refueling exercise off the coast of Monterey, CA. DC2 Charles E. Ziehler, DCN Derald M. Lawrence, FN Lorenzo Palacios Rubio and FA Marion Edward Fuller were seriously injured and taken to the Oakland Naval Hospital. SOC 30 Jun 1958

56-0900   F-104C 479th TFW
476th TFG
19 Mar 1959     George AFB pilot Capt. John R. Niemela was part of a four ship formation practicing dry hook-ups with a KB-50J tanker. Upon stabilizing behind the tanker after a hook-up the F-104 flamed and after unsuccessful attempts to restart he ejected at 15,000 MSL and the aircraft impacted a 6,600 foot mountain on a 60 degree slope and disintegrated. Capt. Niemela was picked up by China Lake SAR 20 miles north of Lake Isabella.
122984 984 P2V-3 NAF 13 Apr 1959   1KA1 Shortly after take-off the #1 engine caught fire and then separated from the wing. LCdr. Bailey made a forced landing on Charlie Range which collapsed the stbd main gear. Other crew members were: Lt. R. K. Watson, co-pilot; John Klinger, AD3; plane captain: W. A. Hunter, AD3; R. M. Barnes, AN; E. A. Baron. AO1; R. H. Williams, AQ1; and LeRoy Corlett of Heavy Attack Branch "A," Aviation Ordnance Department.
130957   F9F-6D NAF 17 Apr 1959   39R2 SOC - with Pool BuAer M&S China Lake
    BT-13   21 Apr 1959 Martinez
Cherry
  Bennie Martinez, 52, a Station employee, and his passenger, James C. Cherry, Jr., 42, a retired chief corpsman from VX-5 were killed Thursday,
April 21, when their light plane crashed after take-off from the Monache Meadows airstrip.
142792 XE-8 A-4B VX-5 20 May 1959     Wheels-up landing by LCdr. N. Jackson Gambrill after the nose wheel & fork sheared off on launch from the USS Hancock.
139308   FJ-4B NAF 12 June 1959   1S SOC 1S 29 Jun 1960

55-2956

2956

YF-104A

NAF

15 June 1959

 

No USN history card as USAF.

Cdr. Herk Camp had engine trouble on takeoff and ran off the end of the runway resulting in strike damage.

139555

XE-4

FJ-4B

VX-5

23 Sep 1959

 

11K1

SOC from damage other than accident or incident

56-0740

6740

F-104A

NAF

22 Sep 1960

Casada

No USN history card as USAF.

USMC Capt. Howard O. Casada Jr. lost his life when his Starfighter crashed near the junction of Mt. Wilson and Palmdale Roads in the Angeles Natl. Forest during a routine Sidewinder test flight. The cause of the crash was thought to be oxygen depletion at altitude.

130745

745

F4D-1

NAF

21 Oct 1960

Graves

 1KA2

Lt. Jan M. Graves lost his life when his F4D-1 Skyray crashed on runway 21. From an altitude of about 100 feet the Ford seemed to go over in slow motion and then careened down the runway coming to rest just to the right of runway 21, about 6,000 ft. from the numbers. The cause was determined to have been a broken wire on the rudder system positioning feed back servo. The servo wire had excess solder "wicked" up into it which made it stiff and brittle resulting in it breaking due to vibration which caused the rudder to fully deflect just after lift-off. According to Louis Spencer ... as I recall there were two F4D Skyray's that were launched. The first F4D to take-off was flown by a highly experienced Navy Cdr. who was overseeing the first flight in a F4D by Lt. Jan Graves. I can't remember the Cdr's name.

59-0120   F-106A USAF 14 Feb 1961 Biehunko   1st Lt. Ernest F. Biehunko from the 329th FIS, George AFB, was killed when his F-106 crashed at the base of Pilot Knob15 miles SE of the Randsburg Wash Fire Station.

56-0757

757

F-104A

NAF

07 Apr 1961

Hess

No USN history card as USAF.

USMC Capt. David L. Hess lost his life from injuries sustained on April 7th when his Starfighter crashed on takeoff from George AFB on a return flight to China Lake. According to Louis Spencer ... the cause was determined to be a failure of the George AFB flight line personnel to activate all of the circuit breakers which prevented the after burners from firing during the take-off. The afterburner not firing affected the F-104's take-off performance into a quartering headwind.

145075

XE-3

A4D-2N

VX-5

18 Apr 1961

 

1NA2

Lt. Georges E. "Frenchy" LeBlanc, a VX-5 pilot, ejected safely when his engine flamed out at an altitude of 11,000 feet over the Dallas, TX, area while LeBlanc, Lt. Paul Weitz, and Lt. Charles H . Brown were in flight from NOTS to Cherry Point, NC. He attempted two air starts and ejected at 4,000 feet.

145672

 

HSS-1N

NAF

28 Apr 1961

 

17R1

SOC due to damage

139937   A4D-1 NAF 14 Mar 1962     struck by ZUNIS during a test
135233   AD-6 VX-5 07 Jun 1962   1S SOC 02 Jul 1962 1S, result of damage

143390

 

YF4H-1

NAF

13 Aug 1962

0

1KA2

Cdr. Hal Wellman ejected following a hydraulics failure after take-off at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Seat failed to separate before he hit the ground.

127273

 

F9F-6K2

NAF

17 Sep 1962

Wilson

1MA2

Lt. Fred J. Wilson, 29, lost his life when he stalled his F9F-6K Cougar at the break – ended up a fireball that narrowly missed the fuel farm. An eyewitness was T. Herold who recalls that when he and the other Cougar Plane Capt.'s heard the returning flight on the radio they went out to watch them land. Wilson was #2 in a three plane formation that was coming out of the north to the south, and broke center field midway between the line shack and the drone hangar. The first one went well, but Lt. Wilson did a sharp bank to the left (almost a 90 degree turn) at about 800' alt. and almost immediately (it was that fast) plowed into the ground at about 200 knots and at a 90° plus angle impacted between the fuel farm and and the gate.

145066

XE-2

A4D-2N

VX-5

25 Sep 1962

0

1AA2

Cdr. Shelley B. Pittman, 40, VX-5 Weapons Officer ejected safely from A4D-2N BuNo 145066, Mystify 2, after the fuselage fuel cell ruptured and the engine flamed out. The aircraft crashed about 1.5 miles S. of the south shore of the Salton Sea and 1 one mile east of U.S. 99. USCG UF-1G Albatross c/n G-307, USAF s/n 51-7226, USCG s/n 7226 supported the rescue as did VX-5 A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 145112, Mystify 8. AAR 25 September 1962. The Pasadena Independent, Wednesday, 26 September 1962.

138296

 

DT-28B

NAF

27 Mar 1963

0

1MA1

NAF project pilot Lt. David F. Callahan Jr., crash landed his two-place T-28B on Mirror Lake following an engine failure. Lt. Callahan was in the normal traffic pattern, a 1,500 ft. corridor between "B" Mountain and the housing area, when his engine failed completely. He made a 180 degree turn and headed his plane for Mirror Lake to avoid crashing in the housing area. Both Lt. Callahan and aviation mechanic Jim Dossey walked away without a scratch.

56-0896   F-104C USAF 12 Apr 1963     479th TFW crashed near Bicycle Lake and pilot rescued by NAF China Lake SAR.
    Helo USA 12 Apr 1963     Crashed near Bicycle Lake while attempting to recue USAF F-104 pilot, crew rescued by NAF China Lake SAR.

131045

 

QF-9G

Drone

16 Apr 1963

 

1MF1

SOC 26 Apr 1963 Target drone expenditure

29581

XE-20

TC-45J

VX-5

05 Apr 1964

Brock
Hale
Taylor
Yates

 

VX-5 USAF Maj. Thomas R. Brock (pilot), AN Hobart C. Hale (crew), AMSAN Edward L. Taylor and AMSAN Clarence E. Yates (passengers) lost their lives when at an altitude of 12,350' failed to clear a ridge line on Mt. Langley (long. 118-13.47W, lat. 36-27.55N). The flight went missing while returning to NAF China Lake from NAS Lemoore and wasn't found for nine days.

151053   A-4E VA-164 10 Jun 1964 Bir 1AA2 Ens. Frederick X. Bir, 25, of NAS Lemoore was killed when his Navy Skyhawk jet crashed 31 mile NW of China Lake.

127259

 

QF-9G

Drone

27 Oct 1964

0

1KA2

SOC due to accident (might be the one Lt. Callahan bailed out of when the throttle linkage disconnected in flight.)

128151

 

QF-9G

Drone

12 Feb 1965

 

1KF2

SOC 01 Mar 1965 Target drone expenditure

130959

 

QF-9G

Drone

17 Feb 1965

 

1KF2

Target drone expenditure

130959

 

QF-9G

Drone

17 Feb 1965

 

1KF2

SOC 01 Mar 1965 Target drone expenditure

128149

 

QF-9G

Drone

24 Feb 1965

 

1KF2

SOC 17 Mar 1965 Target drone expenditure

148524

 

A-4C

NAF

11 Jun 1965

Mayfield

1KA2

Lt. Douglas S. Mayfield lost his life on when his A-4C Skyhawk was struck by target debris while on a photo mission over "B" Range. Within seconds of the Walleye striking the intended radar trailer target, Lt. Mayfield's Skyhawk was struck in the starboard wing by debris (a wheel) from the target. The Skyhawk pitched slightly nose up and yawed left and almost immediately the starboard wing broke off.

142787

 

A-4B

NAF

12 Aug 1965

0

 

LCdr. Bill Odman ejected at Dugway when he couldn’t recover the landing. Aircraft ran over the Welcome to Dugway sign and rolled to a stop at the end of the runway. Aircraft was disassembled, trucked to O&R Alameda & repaired.

 

 

F-4

??

Circa 1965

 

 

Hit by own missile which crossed from port to stbd severing numerous hydraulic lines, wiring harnesses etc. Pilot declared an emergency and asked for the gear. Tower cleared him to runway 21 and he landed on 26 which doesn’t have arresting gear. Went off the end of the runway FOD both engines. Sat in the corner of hangar three for the better part of a year.

 

 

QF-9

Drone

Circa 1965

 

 

Touched down early and got behind the DT-28 drone controller. Porpoised several times as power was added before climbing vertically at full power to about 100’, stalled & crashed on runway 21 (might be the 15 Apr 1965 strike)

 

 

QF-9

Drone

Circa 1965

 

 

Failed to respond to commands from the DT-28 drone controller. When control was regained the drone controller put it in a nose down full power dive and it impacted NE of the airfield.

 

 

QF-9

Drone

Circa 1965

 

 

Started to roll to port while in formation with the DT-28B drone controller. The DT-28B pilot made a hasty exit and flew it into the ground.

 

 

T-33

USAF

Circa 1965

 

 

Crashed after landing with 1 full & 1 empty tip tank. Aircraft tipped up on the wing with the full tank and that main gear collapsed and it slid off the runway into the infield. Pilots exited while it was still sliding and hauled A in the opposite direction.

150669

 

F-8E

NAF

Circa 1965

 

 

Sidewinder rail came off and impacted the stbd wing (completely through the droop) resulting in complete loss of hydraulics.

152580

1

YA-7A

LTV

23 Mar 1966

 

No history card.

Vought test pilot John Omvig was doing touch and goes and on the last one the #1 A-7 began to roll inverted and he ejected just before it rolled 90 deg. Those that saw it from closer up said he was about the height of a telephone pole when the chute deployed. The A-7 impacted on the golf course which was about 3 miles (straight line) SE of the approach end of the primary runway From Dick Atkins, Archives Director of the Vought Aircraft Heritage Museum, the cause was pilot error when the hydraulic system was switched off (flight test configuration) and loss of control resulted. John ejected and barely made it out alive. He was later killed when XC-142A 62-5921 crashed 10 May 1967.

  N3316D Cessna 180   30 May 1966     Wind with gusts to 50 knots blew aircraft to left at end of landing roll - substantial damage.

132598

 

AD-5N

NAF

July 1966

 

 

VX-5 USMC pilot was training a USAF pilot for short field heavy weight takeoffs. Failed to fully increase the prop pitch on a very hot windless day and the aircraft stalled.

138952

 

A-3B

NAF

15 Mar 1967

Reardon
Kornegay
Whipkey

 

Cdr. William L. "Mike" Reardon, LCdr. Robert R. Kornegay, 32, and ADJ-1 Vernon K. Whipkey, 30, lost their lives when their A-3B Skywarrior crashed near Robtown in Pickaway county during an unscheduled GCA approach to Lockbourne AFB, Columbus, OH. They were on their way to Quonset Point, RI to pick up a weapon that had been brought there a month earlier.

152900

XE-

A-6A

VX-5

28 Mar 1967

 

1S

VX-5 Det. Oceana A-6A Intruder piloted by Cmdr. Robert Bristol and bombardier-navigator Lt Norman Czuchra crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just offshore from Oregon Inlet NC, 50 miles south of Norfolk. Both pilots ejected safely with minor injuries.

 

N9771X

Cessna 210B

Civilian

01 Aug 1967

3

 

collided with VX-5 A-7A BuNo 152674 over Owens Peak.

152674

XE-16

A-7A

VX-5

01 Aug 1967

Ewell

 

LCdr. Tom Ewell and three civilians lost their lives when his A-7A Corsair II (doing passive Shrike runs) collided with the civilian Cessna 210B (N9771X) over Owens Peak.

153203

XE-

A-7A

VX-5

08 Jan 1969

0

1S

mid-air collision with A-7A BuNo 154347 while the squadron was training at MCAS Yuma, AZ. Pilots Lt. D. W. Parsons and Lt. E. D. Gilberson parachuted to safety following the collision. One of the planes crashed on Highway 95 near Ave. G, west of Somerton, carving out a ten foot crater in the road and narrowly missing a car. The other hit in an open field about three miles away, south of Somerton.

154347

XE-

A-7A

VX-5

08 Jan 1969

0

1S

mid-air collision with A-7A 153203 while the squadron was training at MCAS Yuma, AZ. Pilots Lt. D. W. Parsons and Lt. E. D. Gilberson parachuted to safety following the collision. One of the planes crashed on Highway 95 near Ave. G, west of Somerton, carving out a ten foot crater in the road and narrowly missing a car. The other hit in an open field about three miles away, south of Somerton.

50852

7R

C-54P

Moffett

05 Jun 1969

0

1S

ex USAAF 42-72324 - Nose wheel collapsed and broke it’s back on landing at NAF China Lake after a flight from NAS Los Alamitos, CA. Aircraft SOC at China Lake and used as a target.

  N8714S Cessna 150F   10 Jan 1970 Contival
Gilbertson
  China Lake Flying Club Cessna 150 was destroyed with 2 fatalities (John S. Contivil, 20, of Hollister and Dennis Gilbertson, 20, of Minneapolis) when it stalled and crashed near the Inyokern airport after the pilot in command failed to obtain/maintain flying speed.

152015

XE-6

A-4E

VX-5

09 Feb 1970

0

1S

USAF Maj. Jerry Hoblit ejected safely after a malfunction of the AGM-14 ZAP six inch rocket during a flight test. ZAP originally went by HART (Hypervelocity Aircraft Rocket, Tactical.)

153494

 

TA-4F

NAF

02 Apr 1970

Hall

S3

Lt. Gerald Hall, 30, was killed when his TA-4F Skyhawk rolled inverted and crashed west of the runway during a landing at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in Belton, MO. ADJ-2 Leroy Neville, the backseater, survived after ejecting sideways and hitting the ground after a single swing of his chute. Lt. Hall had a drop tank on the center line and a 'special' camera on 2 or 4 and a blivet on the opposite hard point (2 or 4.) Lt. Hall was in the 'break' for a 360 overhead when the blivet peeled jamming one of the slats.

153503

 

TA-4F

NAF

09 Jul 1970

0

1S

Lt. Wayne T. Oxford ejected safely and the back seater Lt. Bill Weiler was severely injured when they impacted the runway while simulating flame-out approaches.

144290

 

QF-9J

Drone

27 May 1970

 

1S

SOC due to damage

138355

 

DT-28B

NAF

22 Jun 1970

 

1S

Lt(jg). David L. "Troll" Tomlinson (pilot) and LCdr. William A. Coltrin (32, rear seat) walked away from the crash of a DT-28B when the engine failed on a routine flight from China Lake to NAS Lemoore and landed short of the runway at Porterville Municipal Airport.

141666

 

QF-9J

Drone

23 Jul 1970

 

1S

SOC due to damage

156744

 

A-7C

NAF

29 Jan 1971

 

 

wheels up landing 29 Jan 1971 - Status - F30 or H30; 02 Feb 1971 - Status – 030; 15 Mar 1971 - Status - EA0; 15 Mar 1971 - NARF - Alameda

155935

 

QT-33A

Drone

09 Jul 1971

 

1S

SOC due to damage

155940

 

QT-33A

Drone

19 Aug 1971

 

1S

SOC due to damage

144312

 

QF-9J

Drone

23 Sep 1971

 

1S

SOC due to damage

151972

 

F-111B

 

dd Dec 1971

 

 

scrapped at China Lake Aircraft Survivability Laboratory

154528 NM-5.. A-7B VA-155 14 Apr 1972     Cdr. Steven R. Briggs, 31, (NAS Lemoore) was unhurt when he ejected over the Mojave Desert 15 miles north of NWC China Lake when his A-7B Corsair experienced mechanical trouble and crashed nearby.

155922

 

QT-33A

Drone

07 Jun 1972

 

 

 

155963

 

QT-33A

Drone

07 Jun 1972

 

 1S

SOC due to damage

158364

NE

F-4J

VF-154

26 Jun 1972

 

 

Collided with F-4J BuNo 158379 over Coso Range during simulated air strike. 1 fatal, 3 survived.

158379

NE

F-4J

VF-154

26 Jun 1972

 

 

Collided with F-4J BuNo 158364 over Coso Range during simulated air strike. 1 fatal, 3 survived.

141652

 

QF-9J

Drone

13 Dec 1972

 

1S

SOC due to damage

152879

 

NOV-10A

NAF

07 Jun 1973

 

1S

SOC due to damage

141649

 

QF-9J

Drone

20 Jan 1974

 

1SO

SOC due to damage

158023

 

A-7E

NAF

25 Jun 1974

Esposito

 

Lt. John P. Esposito, 27, military advisor to the Weapons Planning Group lost his life when his A-7E Corsair II crashed three miles north of Baker Range while validating a new computerized weapons delivery system.

156759 XE- A-7C VX-5 24 Jul 1974   1S Cdr. William C. Smith, the prospective VX-5 Vampires XO ejected safely from A-7C Corsair II BuNo 156759 at noon last Wednesday while flying a routine proiect mission. Cdr. Smith, who is a 19 year veteran in the U.S. Navy, bailed out over G Range, in an area nine miles NE of the Naval Air Facility. He was flying at 5,600 ft. at the time. Cdr. Smith reported to VX-5 recently from the Light Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, NAS Lemoore.

156881

NJ-263

A-7E

VA-122

12 Feb 1975

Hormel

 

Lt(jg). Rick C. Hormel, 24, was killed when his A-7E Corsair crashed at an altitude of 4,200 ft. in a mountainous area about 10 miles north of Owens Lake while he was on a routine training flight. The NAF SAR helicopter piloted by Cdr. J.W. Ehl with Lt. Al Detwiler, as co-pilot responded to the crash. Also aboard were NAF flight surgeon Dr. G. R. Gibbons; ADJ2 C.R. Cass and Civil Service photographer Sam Wyatt.

159299

 

A-7E

VX-5

30 Aug 1976

 

 

A-7E Corsair II, piloted by LCdr. Dennis V. McGinn of Attleboro, MA struck A-6E Intruder BuNo 152953 from below during a night approach and crashed inside the fence near Inyokern Rd. at an altitude of about 250 feet. Pilot ejected.

152593

XE-20

A-6E

VX-5

30 Aug 1976

 

 

A-6E Intruder piloted by LCdr. Rodney A. Bankson of Bakersfield, CA and bombardier-navigator LCdr. Donald A. Erskine of Teaneck, NJ. was struck from below by A-7E Corsair BuNo 159299 during a night approach and crashed inside the fence near Inyokern Rd. at an altitude of about 250 feet. Crew ejected.

  N20441 Cessna 172M   25 Mar 1977     NWC engineer William W. Baer, 47, was killed when he misjudged his altitude in IFR conditions and crashed about 50 feet south of State Route 178 and half-mile east of State Route 14 while shooting touch and go landings at the Inyokern airport.

73-0709

MO

F-111F

USAF

21 Apr 1977

 

 

USAF Capt. Peter G. Ganotis, 29, and the weapons system operator Capt. Harold L. Petersen, 35, 366th TFW, Mountain Home, ID, ejected when their F-111F crashed while conducting low-level tactical training in the Coso target area

140734

N8244E

Beech T-34B

NWC

29 May 1978

 

 

Flying Club s/n BG-68 crashed at China Lake when it hit the runway lip on landing

    C-141 63 MAW 1979     Received substantial damage after a hydraulic failure caused a brake fire after landing.

69-17000

 

OV-1C

Ft. Rucker

05 Apr 1979

Monk
Mooring

 

USA CWO Donald Monk and USA CWO Michael Mooring lost their lives when their OV-1D Mohawk crashed in the Randsburg Wash area while temporarily operating out of NWC China Lake. They were conducting a test when their Mohawk went into a high speed stall at low altitude and crashed. Both were from Ft. Rucker, Alabama.

158273

 

UH-1N

NWC

10 Aug 1979

 

1SO

Applied Photography Branch photographer Sam Wyatt suffered severe injuries and was taken to Ridgecrest Community Hospital when NWC China Lake UH-1N Huey BuNo 158273 made a forced landing near Airport Lake on G2 Power Road, 11 miles north of the main gate, China Lake, 20 July 1979. Pilot LCdr. Dale E. Haan and PO2 Paul T. Perotta suffered back injuries and were transferred to the Long Beach Naval Hospital and PO2 Michael Szydlowski was treated for back injuries. Co-pilot Lt. Dennis K. Wilcox, Parachute Systems Dept. Lt. Ronald S. Dargo, VX-5 Vampires Ens. Andres Brugal and CPO Ron Allen were treated as needed and released. The four most seriously injured were airlifted by a HS-11 UH-1N Huey crewed by pilot Cdr. Douglas Huff, co-pilot Cdr. Phillip F. Duffy and PO1 M.A. McCoy that was in the area when the accident occurred. The NWC helicopter was heavily damaged in the accident. Rocketeer photo. SOC due to damage

55-5073

 

F-86F

NWC

13 Aug 1979

Faller

w/o

LCdr. Theodore "Ted" Faller lost his life when his QF-86F Sabre suffered an engine failure moments after takeoff. Ted managed to bring the stricken aircraft down in a vacant lot 600 yards south of the Ridgecrest Heights Elementary School, later renamed Faller Elementary.

156748

XE-08

A-7C

VX-5

21 Nov 1979

Leum
Herring

 

LCdr. Peter "Pete" Leum and Ens. Steven D. Herning lost their lives when their VX-5 TA-7C Corsair II crashed while simulating close air support for troops in field training at Ft. Irwin. The chase plane/wingman was VX-5 CO Capt. Paul D. Stephenson flying VX-5 A-7E, XE-06, BuNo 160724. According to Capt. Stephenson and the accident investigation team XE-08 was about 100 ft. off the deck at 360 knots. when the plane suffered a catastrophic engine failure and exploded in mid air, so fast that the wing-tips blew off and the plane inverted scattering wreckage and debris over a mile with the engine continuing another several hundred feet beyond the debris field.

159262

NH-412

A-7E

VA-195

11 Sep 1980

Watkins

 

Lt(jg). James David Watkins was killed when his plane crashed SW of Darwin in the northern Coso range area within NWC boundaries while on a routine practice bombing mission using inert practice ordnance. The NWC SAR helicopter piloted by LCdr. Byron Dieckman and another UH-IN helicopter from VX-5 piloted by Marine Corps Major Richard Peasley responded to the crash.

 

 

Mitchell Wing B-10

NWC

30 Sep 1980

Becker

 

U.S. Navy Commander Dennis E. Becker lost his life in an accident involving a Mitchell Wing B-10 powered Ultralight during a familiarization flight for a technology demonstration and utilization project being conducted for the Navy Science Assistance Program.

159271

XE-03

A-7E

VX-5

05 Nov 1980

 

1SO

SOC due to damage

58-1194

 

QT-38A

Drone

19 Nov 1980

 

1S

SOC due to damage

58-1195

 

QT-38A

Drone

21 Nov 1980

 

1S

SOC due to damage

59-1596

 

QT-38A

Drone

20 Dec 1980

 

1S

SOC due to damage

154458

XE-07

A-7B

VX-5

dd mm 1981

 

 

Reported to have crashed in New Mexico in 80' or 81' and was eventually put back into service (no record of this in the history cards).
to AMARC as 6A0322 21 Mar 1990

59-1600

 

QT-38A

Drone

03 Mar 1981

 

1S

SOC due to damage

153026

WS

F-4N

VMFA-323

15 Apr 1981

McAnnally

 

USMC Maj. John C. McAnnally, 38, died of multiple injuries at Ft. Irwin Army Base Hospital after he and 1st Lt. Dennis Viera, 26, both from the 3rd Marine Air Wing at El Toro ejected over Leach Lake Range, east of China Lake. Their aircraft crashed in an uninhabited area of the Army's Ft. Irwin complex, approximately 40 miles east of the NWC main gate.

158010

NG

A-7E

VA-195

03 Jun 1982

Decker

1SO

Lt. Richard R. Decker, VA-195 Lemoore, was killed when his A-7E Corsair II crashed near Grapevine Canyon in the Hunter Mountain area east of Lone Pine. A NWC SAR helicopter crew consisting of LCdr. Chip Lancaster, Lt. Dennis Wilcox, AMS3 Mike Clenney, and AO3 Tim Hill responded to the crash.

155444

XE-10

OV-10A

VX-5

23 Oct 1983

Reeves

 

USMC Maj. Harold Reeves lost his life when he ejected over the Sierras from his OV-10A Bronco. Maj. Reeves and his replacement, USMC Maj. Timothy Hill, were making a return flight from NAS Lemoore when an aircraft malfunction made it necessary for them to eject.

157500

NL-401

A-7E

VA-27

11 Jul 1984

Bussey

 

LCdr. John Kenneth Bussey, Jr., 38, was killed when his plane went down 47 miles NE of the airfield. The NWC SAR helicopter piloted by LCdr. Buz Massengale and Lt. Greg Friedrichsen effected the recovery. Also aboard were Capt. Ken Koskella (NRMC branch clinic,) and aircrew members AD2 M. J. Maironis, AEAN M. S. Keenan, AOAN Jeffery Smith, and HM3 M. J . Buckelew. A fire caused by the crash was extinguished by a BLM fire crew.

157250

XF-2

F-4S

VX-4

08 Aug 1984

Bottrell

 

Lt. Mark Steven Bottrell, 29, was killed when his VX-4 F-4 Phantom crashed in a remote region of the Panamint Butte area of the Death Valley National Monument. The RIO, LCdr. Frank H. Brown, ejected and was picked up by LCdr. Buzz Massengale, NWC SAR helo pilot, shortly after NWC was notified of the crash. The crash reportedly started a blaze that scorched 640 acres in the Death Valley National Monument.

152848   NTA-4J NWC 06 Nov 1985   1SO Cdr. Ron Miller and Maj. Tom White, USMC, safely ejected when the aircraft went out of control after a loud explosion at 14,000 feet 30 miles east of Richmond, VA on departure from NATC Patuxent.
154445 ND-404 A-7B VA-304 27 Mar 1986 Harris   Lt. John E. Harris, 31, from NAS Alameda was killed in a crash during reserve training near NWC China Lake. The A-7B Corsair jet crashed for unknown reasons in the desert near Owens Valley, north of the weapons center.

160858

NL-

A-7E

VA-122

20 May 1986

 

1SO

Lt. Victor E. Wagoner, 32, an instructor pilot from VA-122 at NAS Lemoore ejected from his A-7 Corsair II Tuesday afternoon and landed near Haiwee Reservoir, where he was picked up by the NWC's SAR helicopter crewed by Lt. Tim Cleary, pilot; Lt. Mark Eoff, co-pilot; AMH3 John Hoffman, AD Richard Johnston and HM3 Jim Childers. The plane crashed near Cactus Flat east of Haiwee Reservoir, about two miles from where he was found.

157474

XE-02

A-7E

VX-5

22 Oct 1986

 

1SO

AD3 Maria T. Stults performed a low-power turnup on A-7E 157474 on the ramp outside Hangar One. Following the start the aircraft went unassisted to full military power, broke the tie-down chain, jumped over the chocks, traveled 150 feet across the ramp with the brakes locked and impacted the west hangar doors. After unhinging the doors 157474, and the doors, continued into the hangar where the A-7E and the doors impacted an A-6E Intruder and nudged into another A-7E. SOC 05 Nov 1986.

0020 N2520X P206 civilian 22 May 1987 Marvin (Andy) Andelin & Jim Nenneman   A USAF 6512th TS AFFTC T-38A and a Pacific Aerographics Cessna 206 collided in mid-air during VFR operations in a Military Operations Area (MOA). The overtaking T-38 collided with the Cessna from the right. The Cessna was on a local government contract terrain photo mission and believed to have departed from China Lake. The Collision occurred at about 8,700' MSL and both planes plunged into a mountain in the Cameron Canyon area, 2 miles north of Tehachapi Airport, about 30 miles west of the Air Force base. Both officers aboard the two-seat jet and both men in the light plane were killed.
62-3639 ED T-38A USAF 22 May 1987 Maj. Michael J. Keane & Lt. Gregory Hoglan   (see above)
  XF F/A-18 VX-4 8 May 1989 Ellis   LCdr. John Timothy Ellis (Royal Navy), 35, was killed when his F/A-18 Hornet collided with another F/A-18 Hornet piloted by Lt. Ken Houck who ejected safely. One of the Hornets crashed in the Inyo mountains 10 miles NE of Independence and the other crashed 4.5 miles east of Olancha.

159991

NJ

A-7E

VA-122

22 Feb 1990

 

 

Lt. John McLaran ejected after in-flight malfunction during a routine training mission and was picked up by an NWC helicopter and later transported to the Antelope Valley Hospital. The plane went down in the southern part of Saline Valley.

55-5890

 

QF-86F

NWC

28 Mar 1990

Prusinski

 

Lt. Mark A. Prucinski, 28, lost his life when his QF-86F Sabre crashed near Trona, between Ballarat and Wildrose Canyon.

  N9YT Cessna T210N   26 Feb 1992 Kiepe
Melton
  Lt. Kent M. Kiepe, 29, and Lt(jg). Craig R. Melton, 24,  were killed when the Cessna 210 rented by the Navy and based at Pt. Mugu crashed in the San Gabriel Mountains while on a flight from Pt. Mugu to NAWS China Lake. The crash site was seven miles east of I-5 and south of Lake Hughes Road. While over mountainous terrain the engine sustained a catastrophic crankshaft failure. The pilot elected to proceed towards higher terrain bypassing lower and more suitable emergency landing areas. Internal communications indicated they planned to stall the airplane prior to landing on an upward sloping ridge. The pilot misjudged the altitude when he stalled the airplane.

 

XE-

AH-1W

VX-5

01 May 1992

 

 

Rotor head and transmission broke loose and aircraft crashed from 8 feet while rotor climbed to 100 feet.

 

N742FN

MU2B-36

NWC

18 May 1992

Garnett
Rodriguez

 

Lt. David W. Garnett, 33, and AEAN Lorenzo Rodriguez, 24, lost their lives when their Navy leased MU2B-36 Solitaire crashed at Edwards Air Force Base where they were going in support of a China Lake project. Survivors in critical condition are AO3 Herbert Desrosiers, age 21, of Tyngsboro, MA; AO2 Bill Achenbach, age 24, of Clearmont, WY; and Larry Steimer and Wayne Lee both of Ridgecrest. Those listed in serious or guarded condition are AO3 Roosevelt Rankins, age 21, of Greenville, MS; AOAN Mike Nienaber, age 21, of Cincinnat, OH; and Denis Campbell of the Lake Isabella area. A Navy investigation found that the pilot had 50 seconds to maneuver out of the downwash of a near-collision with an F-16 and failed to do so.

24-675 N5607P PA-24-250 Flying Club 22 Feb 1993     Lt. Dennis Johnson, assigned to the NAWCWD, was piloting the Piper Commanche when they lost power in the engine and crashed near Red Mountain with substantial damage. Johnson, and his passenger, Richard Muse walked out and telephoned the Naval Air Weapons Station for help.

162966

DD-87

AV-8B

VX-31

27 Sep 1994

 

 

MAD XO Maj. Brooke Paulger ejected after engine failure during a check flight. Crashed six mile SE of the NAWS back gate.

 

N73240

Bell 47G-3B

civilian

07 Feb 1995

 

 

Crashed on the range while herding horses for the BLM. During a descending turn the main rotor struck a Joshua tree and the aircraft rolled over.

164548 DD-89 AV-8B+ VX-31 24 Jun 1996     USMC Maj. James G. Derdall , 34, an AV-8B project pilot, suffered only minor injuries after ejecting from his disabled Harrier last Monday at about 1:50 p.m. Debris from the Harrier was limited to a small area on Baker Range roughly a half mile inside the Station's western boundary.

158770

018

HH-1N

NWC

18 Feb 1998

Mondon
Williams
Benitez-Rodriguez
Monaghan
Wyatt

 

Lt. Daniel F. Mondon, 29, Lt. Bruce A. Williams, 36, AET-3 Agustin Benitez-Rodriguez, 23, AMS-3 Michael S. Monaghan, 21, and ADAN Dalyn Wyatt lost their lives when their SAR HH-1N Huey struck a wire & crashed in California's Sequoia National Forest.

43+36

 

Tornado

Luftwaffe

19 Oct 1998

Kugler
Macha

 

Luftwaffe Captain Bernd Kugler (pilot) and Luftwaffe Captain Andreas Macha (weapons systems operator) lost their lives when their Tornado IDS 43+36 plunged into a ground installation at Sea Site Three on Echo Range. Although the Tornado was assigned to the German Air Force Tactical Training Center at Holloman AFB, the crew came from the Jagdbombergeschwader at Memmingen, Germany. Six persons on the ground were injured or suffered smoke inhalation. The Tornado was on a routine training mission at the time of the crash.

95-2002   RQ-4A Global Hawk USAF 29 Mar 1999 NOLO   Global Hawk UAV #2 inadvertently received a test signal for flight termination from a test range on Nellis Air Force Base, NV, which was outside the frequency coordination zone in which the UAV's mission was being flown. This caused Global Hawk to go into a termination maneuver involving a pre-programmed, rolling, vertical descent from an altitude of 41,000 feet onto the South Range.

162721

XE-745

AV-8B

VX-5

30 Aug 1999

Leffler

 

USMC Col. Kevin Leffler lost his life when his AV-8A Harrier crashed during a routine test flight in Saline Valley, Death Valley National Park, CA. Col. Leffler ejected into high winds over Death Valley National Park, dropped into a canyon and died when his head struck a boulder.

N32229

LJ-49

Beech 65-90

civilian

05 May 2000

 

 

Aerospace Equipment Research Organization Aircraft experienced a loss of control after becoming entangled with a deploying parachute during cruise flight at 20,000 feet and 180 knots.

N766C   SA-227AC contract 15 June 2000     Runway incursion between Metro-liner & naval aircraft at runway intersection at NAWS.
165305 DD AV-8B VX-31 15 June 2000     Runway incursion between Metro-liner & naval aircraft at runway intersection at NAWS.
        dd Nov 2000     A prototype Northrop Grumman robotic helicopter crashed last month during a test flight at China Lake

78-0100

ED

F-16B

USAF

17 Jul 2001

George
Brohmer

 

U.S. Air Force Maj. Aaron George, and civilian photographer Mr. Judson Brohmer, from Edwards AFB, lost their lives when their F-16B Falcon (78-0100) crashed on Echo Range during photo/chase sortie from Edwards AFB.

158553

DD

HH-1N

NWC

28 Mar 2002

Bayer
Chaco

 

LCdr. Jason “Pooh Bear” Bayer and AD-2 Charles Clint King Chaco lost their lives when their U.S. Navy HH-1N Huey helicopter crashed into a crevice near the peak of Split Mountain, in the Sequoia National Forest, killing two crew members and injuring four.

164007

XE-401

F/A-18C

VX-9

17 Dec 2003

 

 

Left the runway while landing and the pilot ejected. Pilot was uninjured, the Hornet was SOC 08 July 2005.

  XE AH-1W VX-9 26 Feb 2004     Main rotor blades struck tower at low altitude, no injuries.

165662

 NJ-170

F/A-18E

VFA-122

18 Jul 2005

Clark

 

NAS Lemoore based VFA-122 F/A-18F Super Hornet (BuNo 165670) and VFA-122 Super Hornet F/A-18E (BuNo 165662) collided over China Lake weapons testing ground (35 mi NE of Ridgecrest) during a fighter maneuvering training flight. Lt. Bruce L. Clark of Orange Park, FL, died in the accident. Lt. Noel Sawatzky and Lt. John Bonenfant were recovered by search and rescue crews.

165670

 NJ-114

F/A-18F

VFA-122

18 Jul 2005

0

 

Collided with VFA-122 F/A-18E BuNo 165662 during a fighter maneuvering training flight, crew ejected.

 

N6004X

Mooney M20A

civilian

01 Dec 2005

 

 

Made a hard landing on a road after losing engine power.

ZJ943   FGR.4 Typhoon RAF 23 Apr 2008 0   Wheels-up landing
166856   E/A-18G VX-9 17 Nov 2008     In-flight left engine fire. Nellis AFB.
166463   F/A-18F VFA-122 13 Oct 2009     Arrested landing at NAWS China Lake after in-flight engine fire.

Category (1st position)

Employment (2nd position)

Cause (3rd position)

Disposition (4th position)

1 - Strike due to damage
2 - Strike due to depreciation
3 - Strike for administrative reasons
4 - Strike due to service life completion
5 - damage aircraft repairable

FLIGHT
---------
A - Unit Training
J - Ferry
K - Experiment Development, Evaluation
L - Flight Test
M - Utility
P - Search and Rescue
R - Transport
S - Attack
U - Anti-Air Warfare
V - Reconnaissance
W - Air Defense

NOT IN FLIGHT:
----------------
1 - Parked ashore
4 - In tow/nonflight taxi
5 - aboard ship
7 - Loading or unloading
8 - Undergoing rework
9 - In storage

NOT ENEMY ACTION INCIDENT TO FLIGHT:
------------------
A - Aircraft accident or incident except whenever D, E, F below not applicable
D - Gun, rocket, or missile fire from drone expenditure (see F below)
E - missing; cause unknown
F - Target drone expenditure

NOT INCIDENT TO FLIGHT:
-----------------------
H - Storm (including resultant fires, collapse, or damage of facilities etc.)
I - Accidental damage by own forces ordnance (including resultant fires, etc.)
J - Fire or explosion (other than "H" or "I" above.
K - Damage from other than incident (e.g., towing or nonflight taxi accident)
L - Aircraft on loan to Navy returned
O - Standard service life complete
P - Excess to inventory requirements
Q - Obsolete
R - Administrative action, not elsewhere classified

ENEMY  ACTION INCIDENT TO FLIGHT:
------------------
S - Enemy ordnance
V - Missing; cause unknown
Y - Landing or takeoff mishap due to enemy inflicted damage to base facility
Z - Sabotage, causing loss

NOT INCIDENT TO FLIGHT:
-----------------------
1 - Attack by enemy aircraft
2 - Ordnance from enemy surface weapons
5 - Sabotage, causing loss
6 - Seizure of base by enemy
7 - Imminent or probable capture by enemy

APPLICABLE TO STRICKEN AIRCRAFT:
--------------------------------
1 - Routine salvage or SARDIP for parts and scrap
2 - Missing or completely destroyed or economically inaccessible
3 - Jettisoned or abandoned in operational or repairable condition, as militarily advantageous to do so
4 - Intentionally destroyed to nullify capture or internment
5 - Cannibalized, while otherwise in operational or repairable condition, as an operational requirement to obtain parts for other aircraft
6 - Interned by foreign power
7 - Captured by enemy
8 - Transferred to non-Navy recipient
9 - Diverted to ground training or technical uses within the Navy
0 - Disposition instructions unknown

APPLICABLE TO DAMAGED AIRCRAFT:
-------------------------------
A - To be restored by organizational-level maintenance activity
B - To be restored by intermediate-level maintenance
C - To be restored by depot-level maintenance activity