Air tankers - Main page
Below is a mail I received from Rick regarding Don Goodman's
time as an Air Tanker pilot, he has allowed me to post it, as it's one of those occations when you can almost taste the Slurry
and smell the fuel on the tarmac at Grand Valley, CO
I would like to first compliment on your site,as it brings
back memories starting in 1964, in Missoula Montana,when as a young man I went to work for Region One USFS as a radio operator.As
part of my duties I dispatched and tracked all regional aircraft flying for the Forest Service from the Regional Radio station
KOD70. During this time I met Don Goodman,a pilot who had a TBM A22,(ACE DOUBLE DUCE) . Don had flown for Johnson flying Service
in Missoula, and had gone out on his own as a contract pilot.
A book could be written about this man,and his abilities,and
his struggle to make a paying career of flying. I first ran into him when I went to his plane to install a FS radio and give
it a radio check. Here was a blond headed guy with a great smile, and covered with grease from working on the plane. Parked
along side the plane was a 50 s Hudson, and in the back seat was a baby that Don was looking after. What should have been
a 10 minute job turned into a couple hours ,as I was totally intrigued by the man.
To make a long story short I ended up working with Don,on
the TBM, he had a house and shop on Reserve St,not far from where I lived,and would tow the plane through town to work on
it during the winter. One year the county said no more towing, so we just flew it out early one morning using Reserve St as
He met a wonderful woman.in 1966,Ing was her name and
she was a deposed German countess,and Dons world had finally come together.
He purchased the first 26,in 69 I believe and we spent
the winter tanking it. It was flown by a pilot he hired, and ended up in the corn field in Idaho in 1973.
About this time Don purchased another 26 ,and tanked
it for a BLM contract.He had finally reached a point where he was making money, all he wanted was one more good year,and
after the headaches of hiring pilots,he was going to do the job himself.We had many discussions,and disagreements about
Dons age (60) and it was not that he was not an exceptional pilot,the bottom line was that the plane was a young mans
We drifted apart as I was involved in a new job and I
had not seen Don for a year or so.
In 1976 he died doing what he loved best,dropping slurry
on a fire in Colorado.
I did not find out till I met Ing some months later in
the store,as the services were held in Idaho.
I feel fortunate that I was part of the era when aerial
fire fighting was growing, and to have been around all the different warbirds, and having ridden in most of them and knowing
the pi;pilots was some of the happiest years of my life.
There is a great book that was written about Johnson Flying
Service, and is a story of its own. It is called Fly The Biggest Piece Back,and it is very well done.
Thanks for the great site.
Thanks Rick, the books already on order
|Serial #: 44-35323
Last info: 2002
Delivered to USAAF as A-26C/44-35323, March 1945.
Delivered to ETO, April, 1945.
- Returned to U.S.A., July 1945.
- Assigned to 4255th Base Unit, Granada Field, MS,
July 1945-Feb. 1946.
- Transferred to 4160th Base Unit, Hobbs Field, NM,
Feb. 1946-Sept. 1947.
to 4185th Base Unit, Hill AFB, UT, Sept. 1947.
- Redesignated B-26C, July 1948.
- Transferred to 67th TRW/12th TRS/Far
East Air Force,
Tague Airbase, Korea, June 1951.
- Equipped with large nose mounted camera and
- Transferred to 183rd Transport Squadron/Air National Guard,
Hawkins, MI, 1956.
Transferred to Davis-Monthan AFB for storage, Dec. 1957.
L.B. Smith Aircraft Corp, Miami, FL, July 1958
- Registered as N8026E.
Aviation, Inc., Salem, OR, 1966.
Aeroflight Inc, Troutdale, OR, 1969
Aero Union Corp, Chino, CA, 1969.
to air tanker configuration.
- Flown as tanker #55.
Conair Aviation Ltd., Abbotsford, BC, May 1970.
Aero Union Corp, Chico, CA. Sep. 1970-1972
- Reregistered as N8026E.
- Flew as tanker #C55.
Dempsey, East Wenatchee, WA, 1977.
- Flew as tanker #55
Don A. Goodman, Missoula, MT, 1977
Lester Riley, Anchorage,
AK, Circa 1978.
- Used as a "River Sander", dropping sand and crushed coral
on frozen rivers to aid in
- Also used as fire bomber.
Dr. Don Rogers, Anchorage, AK, Circa 1979.
The Air Museum, Chino, CA, July
- Flown as "435323/Ginny Sue.
The Air Museum/Planes Of Fame, Valle, AZ, 2002.
- Static Display.
Serial #: 44-34146
Construction #: 27425
Last info: 1976
Rock Island Oil & Refining Co, Wichita,
- Registered as N5426E.
- Planned conversion to Monarch 26 configuration not completed.
Services Corp, Cheyenne, WY, 1964.
- Forced landing off airport,
Idaho Falls, ID, July 10, 1973.
Don A. Goodman, Missoula, MT, 1969-1976.
- Crashed and destroyed after
striking a mountain during a fire bombing run, Grand Valley, CO, July 16, 1976.
- Goodman killed.
NTSB Identification: DEN76AD058
14 CFR Part 91 General
Event occurred Friday, July 16, 1976 in GRAND VALLEY, CO
Aircraft: DOUGLAS A-26B, registration: N5426E
FILE DATE LOCATION AIRCRAFT DATA INJURIES FLIGHT PILOT DATA
F S M/N PURPOSE
3-2444 76/7/16 NR.GRAND VALLEY,CO DOUGLAS A-26B CR- 1 0 0 COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL, AGE 58, 7000
TIME - 0850 N5426E PX- 0 0 0 FIRE CONTROL TOTAL HOURS, 200 IN TYPE,
DAMAGE-DESTROYED OT- 0 0 0 INSTRUMENT RATED.
DEPARTURE POINT INTENDED DESTINATION
GRAND JUNCTION,CO RETURN
TYPE OF ACCIDENT PHASE OF OPERATION
COLLISION WITH GROUND/WATER: CONTROLLED IN FLIGHT: OTHER
PILOT IN COMMAND - FAILED TO FOLLOW APPROVED PROCEDURES,DIRECTIVES,ETC.
PILOT IN COMMAND - MISJUDGED ALTITUDE AND CLEARANCE
MISCELLANEOUS ACTS,CONDITIONS - JETTISONED LOAD
FIRE AFTER IMPACT
REMARKS- AIRCRAFT FLEW INTO MOUNTAIN SLOPE WHILE TURNING TO FINAL APPROACH FOR SLURRY DROP
"The Battlement Creek Fire of 1976 was located on Bureau
of Land Management lands just outside of Grand Valley, (now Parachute), Colorado on Morrisania Mesa. Battlement Creek is approximately
8 miles long and flows in a northwesterly direction to the Colorado River. The fire burned the east side of Battlement Creek.
Elevations on the fire range from 6,200 feet to 8,400. Slope percentage varies from 10 percent above County Road 302 (Battlement
Road) to 75 percent in the chute just below the ridgeline.
A severe frost occurred a month earlier in this same location
which killed a high percentage of the leaves on the Gambel's oak. The fire started on July 11th from a lighting storm that
went through the area. On July 15th it escaped containment and a Class II Overhead Team (now known as Type 2 Incident Management
Teams) was ordered. On July 15th, there were 198 fires reported on the daily Situation Report from the Boise Interagency Fire
Center (now known as NIFC, the National Interagency Fire Center). The majority of the fires were in California, Nevada and
Utah. During this fire the Forest Service was working with the Bureau of Land Management to establish a national plan to exchange
and utilize manpower and equipment.
The Grand Junction District of the Bureau of Land Management was responsible for
suppression of the fire. Approximately 13 crews totaling 270 people and approximately 20 overhead were assigned to the fire.
Friday July 16th a B-26 air tanker crashed on a retardant dropping mission on the Battlement Creek Fire. The accident occurred
at 0856 hrs, approximately 1 mile south of the fire. The pilot was killed.
On Saturday July 17th, three firefighters
were killed and a fourth severely burned during a burn-over while working on the Battlement Creek Fire. All victims were members
of the Mormon Lake Hotshot Crew, a trained 20 person Forest Service fire crew stationed on the Coconino National Forest in
The Battlement Creek Fire resulted in some substantial changes in federal wildland fire management. This incident
was the catalyst for the mandatory use of fire shelters and fire resistant clothing. It also demonstrated the need for closer
interagency coordination between federal, state, and local wildland fire agencies."
There is a flag on private land at the location of the plane crash. The flag is visible from
County Road 302 and may be photographed. The road is not a 4-wheel drive road. The coordinates for a photo of the flag at
the plane crash site are N39° 24.851, W107° 57.283.
Date of Crash: 7/16/1976
Aircraft Model: Douglas A-26B
Military or Civilian: Civilian
Tail Number: N5426E
PILOT FAILED TO FOLLOW APPROVED PROCEDURES,DIRECTIVES,ETC.
AND CLEARANCE FACTOR(S).
From NTSB Identification: DEN76AD058