Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Don A. Goodman

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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 a runway.
He met a wonderful 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 airplane.
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.
Best Regards
Rick Leavell
Seattle Washington
Thanks Rick, the books already on order







Serial #: 44-35323
Construction #:
Civil Registration:
Name: Ginny Sue
Status: Airworthy
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.
- Transferred 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
   redesignated RB-26C.
- 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.
Kreitzberg Aviation, Inc., Salem, OR, 1966.
Aeroflight Inc, Troutdale, OR, 1969
Aero Union Corp, Chino, CA, 1969.
- Converted to air tanker configuration.
- Flown as tanker #55.
Conair Aviation Ltd., Abbotsford, BC, May 1970.
- Registered as CF-CDD.
Aero Union Corp, Chico, CA. Sep. 1970-1972
- Reregistered as N8026E.
- Flew as tanker #C55.
William 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 ice breakup.
- Also used as fire bomber.
Dr. Don Rogers, Anchorage, AK, Circa 1979.
The Air Museum, Chino, CA, July 1980-1992
- Flown as "435323/Ginny Sue.
The Air Museum/Planes Of Fame, Valle, AZ, 2002.
- Static Display.



N5426E Douglas B-26 Invader (27425) ex 0-434146 "BB-146". w/o 08 August 1976 - Photo donated by Neil Aird

Serial #: 44-34146
Construction #: 27425
Civil Registration:
Name: None
Status: Destroyed
Last info: 1976


Rock Island Oil & Refining Co, Wichita, KS, 1966-1969.
- Registered as N5426E.
- Planned conversion to Monarch 26 configuration not completed.
Aeronautical 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 Aviation
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.
          GRAND JUNCTION,CO           RETURN
        TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                         PHASE OF OPERATION

"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.

On 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 Arizona.

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

Cause of Crash:

From NTSB Identification: DEN76AD058