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I wrote the following story which was published in Lost Treasure magazine (losttreasure.com) in December 2012. I'd like to know if anyone has heard of this story / wreck. I have abandoned my research work on this case, but if new information is found I will continue to chase down the lead.

1. The Lost Frost Eye Diamond Hoax

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY - The story briefly of the lost Frost Eye Diamond began during the early morning hours on December 12, 1941. Millionaire industrialist Harold G. Stone (Some accounts claim he was British) was in Los Angeles when Pearl Harbor was attacked. In the days to follow reports of Japanese subs were spotted off the California coast.

Fearing an attack on Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego, Stone chartered a Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) DC-3 cargo plane to fly his extensive diamond collection including the famous Frost Eye diamond, an African gem cut in the shape of a huge teardrop once owned by King Ludwig of Bavaria and worth $750,000 at the time to banks in the east for protection.

Stone's diamond collection valued then at $2,500,000 was packed in a felt lined iron case and loaded onboard the charted DC-3 under heavy guard. At precisely 6:30 am the plane took off from the El Toro airfield with three crewmen, two of Stone's aides and two heavily armed guards; their destination was Wichita, Kansas.

At 7:15 am the pilot reported to the tower that the right engine had malfunctioned and was causing stability problems. The tower told the pilot to return to Los Angeles or divert to the airport at Flagstaff, Arizona. The tower advised the crew to report in every 15 minutes with a status update. The pilot acknowledged the tower; it was the last time the plane was heard from. The aircraft, its seven passengers and over $2,500,000 in diamonds vanished.

Three days after the plane vanished a resident of Needles, California reported seeing an aircraft going down of the horizon in the early morning hours of December 12, 1941. It is believed the DC-3 crashed somewhere in California's Mojave desert between Barstow to the north, San Bernardino to the south, and Amboy to the east. According to the story Stone mounted three expeditions during his lifetime to search for the downed DC-3, but no trace of the aircraft was ever found.


I have spent six years researching this story in preparation of an expedition to the site. Six years into research I believe it to be a hoax. But with all the twists in this story I admit I could be wrong. My research failed to located any millionaire industrialist named Harold G. Stone in Los Angeles or elsewhere.

There is no record for any diamond named the "Frost Eye." It is said King Ludwig of Bavaria was the original owner of the famed diamond which in at least one account is called the "Tear Drop" diamond. King Ludwig was a collector and he owned many prized diamonds, but none called the Tear Drop or Frost Eye.

There is no mention in local newspapers of the time of a Harold G. Stone, his diamond, a missing DC-3, or the search for the downed aircraft in the Mojave desert. In 2006 I was in contact with an unknown party only known by his screen name "CascaAmI" who claimed he found the original newspaper accounts of the incident while doing genealogy research at the Santa Monica Family History Library of the LDS church.

CascaAmI said he took notes from the newspaper accounts he read to research the story more. He states the DC-3 "left from the El Toro Airstrip bound for Arizona." But that's impossible since the USMC El Toro Air Station (Orange County) wasn't built until 1942. In another 1983 account by Michael Paul Henson he declared "Stone's jewelry collection was recognized as one of the finest in the United States." But there is no account of any such collection.

According to records one airplane did crash in California on December 12, 1941, killing Major General Herbert A. Dargue and seven others. The B-18 left Phoenix bound for Hamilton Field in San Rafael, California. But this is not the plane the eye-witness reported seeing from Needles. Dargue's B-18 crashed 279 miles north of Needles and at night. According to G. Pat Macha the only lost aircraft in California from 1941 was a USAAF Curtis P-40. The pilot was rescued but the aircraft was never found.

The facts are, Harold G. Stone didn't exist, the "famed" diamond doesn't exist, the DC-3 flight never occurred, and the airport the plane took off from didn't exist. There are no newspaper accounts of the missing flight, or the subsequent large scale search that followed. Case Closed. So it would seem.

While recently digging through Lost Treasure's extensive archives I stumbled onto a letter to the editor which appeared on page 8 in the November 1974 issue of True Treasure magazine concerning this story. David D. Hatch of Cypress, California ruined my day. Hatch wrote... "While stationed at a weather-information facility just south of Los Angeles in 1941, I served as an assistant weather consultant."

Hatch stated his job required him to travel to various military and commercial airfields in southern California. He wrote, "I remember being at a field a few days after the war started. On one end of the field was an aluminum-colored DC-3 with all kinds of guards around it. It wasn't a, military plane, but it had military guards. Most of us thought it (the DC-3) was (carrying) secret orders, or some dignitary."

"The next day there was a report that the plane was missing. Later on we heard something about a bunch of diamonds. After reading Ferguson's article I'm certain it was the same plane. This article cleared up an old mystery in my mind."

Much of this story is based on the account of CascaAmI. He states he researched this story extensively and spent a small fortune flying over the desert to locate the DC-3. In closing CascaAmI wrote, "I cannot say for sure whether this aircraft ever existed, or the true identity of this rich man." Like me the author found no evidence of a Mr. Stone, a lost aircraft or the diamond. 




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Founder of Wreckchasing.com
Posts: 278
Welcome to the board.

According to the resources list in the back of Wreckchasing 101 (Appendix IV, DC-3 Crashes in the United States -- compiled by Ed Davies), there were only seven DC-3 crashes in 1941, and they occurred in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 

Is there a chance the aircraft type in question was something else – a Lockheed Model 18 perhaps?


Nicholas A. Veronico http://www.Wreckchasing.com Support this website by purchasing copies of Wreckchasing 101 for yourself or a friend at: http://www.amazon.com Check out my other books at: http://www.amazon.com/author/nicholasveronico

Posts: 457
My resources indicate that there were 18 crashes involving DC-3 type aircraft in 1941.  However, one was in San Salvador, and one was in Ontario, BC.  Both of those were scheduled American airliners.  I didn't read all of the details from each crash report looking for anything that might be related to the Mojave crash, but will do so in the near future.  There were some Lockheed and Sikorsky type aircraft involved in accidents during that same time period as well.   The crash reports are quit detailed and might make for some good reading.

Don J.

Don Jordan

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Posts: 321
This tale has been around for a long time in one form or another and ranks up there with the "Flying Dutchman's Mine", "Peg Leg's Gold", "Peralta's Treasure" and other treasure stories that may or may not be true.

I researched this 25 years ago, and again about five years ago when I started researching missing aircraft.  The holes in this story include:

1)  I could not find any evidence that a Mr. Harold G. Stone ever existed and if he did, what business he was in.

2) There is no record of a missing chartered DC-3 or any other similar aircraft missing in California during late 1941. Yes, all CAB and CAA accident records are gone, probably for good, but the accident reports for airliners and other chartered aircraft are still available. There was no report for a missing DC-3, anywhere, in 1941 that is still missing to this day.

3)  Finally, in the same hysteria that drove "Mr. Stone" to try and move his loot east, the US Government declared martial law all up and down the West Coast right after Pearl Harbor and ordered all non-military and non-essential flights grounded. Most general aviation aircraft in WA, OR and CA were ordered moved to airports in the eastern half of those states were they remained grounded until the owners were compelled to turn their aircraft over the military in mid-1942.

There are several variations of the same story that has been published in numerous books and magazines that cater to treasure hunters.  The story seems to have started circulating in the early 1960s around the time a couple of general aviation planes went missing in Southern California that were rumored to have had large amounts of valuables aboard. One variation of the story has the plane going down in the San Francisco Lava Flow north of Flagstaff.  I-40 now crosses along the southern border of this 1800 square mile patch of rocky and inaccessible lava flow.

A story like this would certainly have been big news in 1941, war or no war, and there would have been plenty of historical evidence to be found. But I have found none except hearsay, second and third hand tales passed on by word of mouth and the few odd stories in books and mags about lost treasure that have been published since the mid-1960s.  Letters to the editors of those same magazines seem to feed this story. 

In 1986 I bought a guide to lost treasure from a mining and prospecting store in Pasadena. This "guide" listed every story, incident, episode of lost mines, buried treasures and valuables lost and found in Southern California. It listed the story of this lost DC-3 and advanced the opinion that the incident never happened.

In my personal opinion, I am 100% certain that this story is false and never happened.

Posts: 6
Nick, its possible it was not a chartered DC-3 as the original story indicates. However I agree with JR that this story is fiction. As he points out, there would've been newspaper accounts and other documentation that could not be avoided even if the the millionaire had paid to keep it quiet.

This isn't the first story I've debunked as a field editor for Lost Treasure magazine. Yes I guess we're supposed to support these fictional accounts since the publication does support the treasure hunting / metal detecting & detector sales community, but that doesn't work for me. I was an honest cop who was disabled in the line before I began writing. I've been with the magazine for 10 years now and not once have I ever been hampered about debunking fictional accounts by the publication. Its just one of those personal things, if I investigate it and my name goes on the report I got to be able to back it up.

Honestly I wanted this story to be true so I'd have an excuse to go back to the Mojave (which I love) and do some camping and looking around. But it didn't work out that way. By the way I didn't realize you guys are the ones who published your Wreckchasing book when I joined this forum. But I'm glad I did since I had hoped to hike into the Tell's Peak crash site this year, which isn't too far from home however those plans have been delayed until next year. I know some of you guys have visited this site and I have a copy of Don Johnson's online article on this crash. 

I'm not really a treasure hunter, don't own a detector, but I love investigation work and photography. I also enjoy the outdoors hiking in & out as well as camping. I did a wreckchasing article for Lost Treasure some years ago and will look for it as time permits. Thank you all for posting its good to know my work is supported by the work of others. 


Posts: 1
I have to say I am stumped by this one to, I read this story about ten years ago
and recently tried to relocate the story with no luck. But what I do recall is that
the plane was a chartered C-47 Cargo that left from Burbank California, which
would make that Burbank Airport which I don't think was built yet, it would have
been Lockheed Airfield. I do remember something I read that stuck in my head it
was early in the morning when this plane took off, an the pilot contacted the tower
reporting a problem as it made it's easterly bank headed for it's destination , I
put myself in the pilots seat and said what would I do? I am just clearing the
San Gabriel mountains probably flying parallel to them Approaching San Bernideno
mountains I am looking for a place to put down, it's December Winter that means
most likely the lakes are frozen over, from above that would look like a pretty 
flat surface to land on? no fire no smoke no plane, then I scratched my head an
realized I had open another can of worms.

Posts: 3
this post maybe old and forgotten about but i have found a plane that is in san gabriel mountains. i am a resident of morongo valley. i have not been to the site but planned a hike to explore it. it was found with google earth. it is very small from my phone but definantly a plane in an area that is hard to reach. sad thing is the app force closed and i cannot relocate the plane. i have other finds as well to be reached. but i hope this helps. id like to see the site with anyone willing to help and split values. you may either recruite me or partner with me. solo hunters have fun. i know you will search for a longtime with out me. but hey could be just a crap plane so enjoy the hunt, treasure is the memory of your journeys. fail or flawn with smiles we search on.

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Posts: 321
Do you know if this crash site is on the Crash Locater List? If not, there are half a dozen aircraft still missing in that part of California.

Posts: 6
Danny Larsen,

10 years ago I'd of partnered up with you just for the fun of the search, but these days my health prevents me from doing so. As to JR's question I do not know if the crash is on the Crash Locator List. While the story is very intriguing I remained convinced the event is fictional. The lack of supporting evidence speaks of a hoax, either way the story is now part of the many legends and folklore that exists in this region of the US.  

Posts: 3
I have not found the plane on the crashlocators list but for the san gabriel mountains sanbernardino mountains and little sanbernardino mountains where i live have a total of 16 known crashes within them 4 of which are logged and the remainder are through lost communication or last heard from before vanishing. The closest ive researched found was a 7 passenger plane with a pilot named stone. No mention of passengers just lost and never seen again. I believe its just south of big bear is where i spotted the plane on google earth. Its in a small valley wash within the mountains. Very small plane looked as if it hit softly for a crash. The plane is bent at a 45 degree angle in the center but still completely intact. Wings tail and nose all together, it just looks bent at the center point. So if it is the diamond plane....they values should be in perfect condition aboard the aircraft. It looks grey and white but not a tiny plane that i could tell. Still searching though. As well as the aztec city ive found buried in mojave sands, i know the sun calender is easily seen but i cant find any mention of aztec cities in so cal history. Though i see two vehicles parked next to it, i dont get why its not mention anywhere not even a hint except utah water trap legend and amber snail. My only current in hand find is my meteor impact which has a weird scattered glass pile around a bowl type indent. I know its not glass :) but its passes the fog test for those who know what that means, just cant find the meteor that made it yet.

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Posts: 321
Give me a couple of days to research my Missing Plane Data Base. I know off hand of at least 7 general aviation and 3 military aircraft that are still missing in Southern CA that include the area you described. Let me see what I can find. The name "Stone" sounds familiar.

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Posts: 321
Three weeks I promised to look into my Missing Plane Data Base and list aircraft still missing in Southern CA. The following are the currently missing aircraft. This is not a list of ALL missing aircraft in CA. There are probably twice that many missing in Central and Northern CA. This does not include aircraft that possibly went missing over the ocean. The first three listed are military aircraft, the rest are general aviation. I invite you to add any information or point any errors in these narratives.

28 Mar 1938





Enroute from Palm Springs, CA en route to NAS North Island, San Diego, CA. The aircraft had flown earlier in the day from San Diego to March Field & then on to Palm Springs where they rested. The aircraft departed Palm Springs at 1415 for its return flight & failed to arrive. The aircraft was not equipped with a radio, but was seen entering in the San Gorgonio Pass.

 A search by 25 USN & USMC aircraft was grounded by bad wx on the first day. By 31 Mar, over USN, USMC & USAAC aircraft from NAS North Island & the March Field were searching the San Gorgonio & San Jacinto Mountain areas. Storms & low ceilings continued to hamper the search. By early April, the search had extended to the coastal areas of Southern CA. Though the USN expressed optimism that the aircraft would be found, no trace of the aircraft was ever found. On 18 April, the USN posted a $500 reward.

 Pilot LCDR Larue C. Lawbaugh & AMM1c Erin Key.



26 Oct 1944





Enroute from Mines AAF, CA to Palm Springs, CA. The, WASP pilot with extensive flying experience departed Mines Field (now LAX) on a ferry flight to Newark, NJ.  The pilot was part of a 50 ship ferry in which aircraft departed individually on the first leg of the flight.  Departing in the late afternoon after being delayed due to mechanical difficulties, the pilot modified her flight plan to include a stop over at Palm Springs.  Her departure was not recorded & she never contacted the tower after departure & never arrived at her first stop.  Fog was rolling in when she departed as well as gusting winds. 

 She was not missed until 5 days later when a search was initiated by local USAAF units.  The only clue found was possible wreckage in the San Jacinto Mountains just SW of Palm Springs.  However, a ground team investigated & reported that it was just a broken up boulder.  The search was suspended the next day.  Currently, there is an ongoing private search to locate the wreckage with the theory that she crashed into Santa Monica Bay right after take off. 

The pilot is the only WASP who is still missing from WWII. WASP pilot, Gertrude V. Tompkins Silver, 32. 601st Ferry Squadron/5th Ferry Group at Love AAF, Dallas, TX.



21 Apr 1945





Enroute from Kingman AAF, AZ to Mines AAF, CA. The aircraft departed at 0740 for a cross country flight to Mines Field (now LAX).  The plane was last heard from at 0924 over Palmdale, CA when it requested clearance to continue W over the San Gabriel Mountains to its final destination.  There was nothing to indicate that there were any problems.  The plane never arrived at its destination. 

A subsequent search by the 4th US Army Air Force & CAP failed to find any trace of the aircraft.  Some sources state that the plane was eventually found months later that year on Mount McDill 8 SW Palmdale.  This cannot be confirmed & the USAAF accident report still lists it as missing.

Pilot CPT Fred A. Pugh & 1LT Thomas F. Turner as passenger. 3018 BU.



12 Nov 1947

Vultee BT13A




Enroute from Las Vegas, NV to Bakersfield, CA. The pilot had made a quick flight to Las Vegas earlier that day & departed at approximately 1730 for the return flight home and failed to arrive.  He did not file a flight plan, but was missed when he failed to arrive. 

 In one of the largest aerial searches in post war CA history, an extensive search was initially organized by the pilot’s older brother, US Army MAJ Ivan E. Campbell, who was executive officer of the maintenance staff at Williams Field, AZ. 13 US Army aircraft from Chandler Field, AZ were sent to conduct the initial search.  Responsibility for the search later fell on the Kern County Sheriff who formed a, “committee” that planned search operations & assigned tasks. This included 8 aircraft from USAF ARS Det 9 at March Field, CA with 23 CAP, Kern County Aero Posse & volunteer private aircraft as well as numerous ground teams. The search area included the Tehachapi Mountains as well as the desert areas of Kern & Los Angeles Counties & western San Bernardino County. The area from Las Vegas to the CA state line was searched by private pilots out of Las Vegas. The wreck of a BT13 was spotted & identified as 2 years old near Palmdale. On 23 Nov, a search by 22 aircraft concentrated on Breckenridge Mountain south of Lake Isabella, where the Tehachapi & Southern Sierra ranges join together. Areas between Bakersfield, Death Valley & the NV border were also searched. This was where a miner reported seeing a flashing light. The search failed to find any trace of the aircraft & was suspended 30 Nov after a search of 9000 square miles.

 Investigators believe that the plane disappeared somewhere in the deserts of northern Los Angeles County. An article published 19 September, 1957 in a Southern California newspaper about missing planes stated that the plane had still not been found & was then considered the oldest missing plane case in L.A. County.

Pilot Roy Darrell Campbell, 27, was a former WWII USAAF pilot owned Campbell's Bicycle Shop in Bakersfield, CA.



11 Nov 1953

Cessna 140




Enroute from Gardena, CA to unknown. The pilot rented the aircraft & departed Gardena Valley Airport around 1230 for a one hour local flight and failed to return.  The pilot did not file a flight plan and had 3 hours of fuel on board.  The aircraft was immediately reported missing by the airport manager when they did not return.

The same poor visibility (smog) that prevailed on the day they departed also hindered the week long search by CAP & the L.A. County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron. Their efforts initially centered on the mountainous terrain E of Los Angeles & the Palos Verde area. However, for some unknown reason the search was extended to the Big Bear area and the west slope of the San Bernardino Mountains. A rumor that the plane was found dismantled on top of a mountain in the San Bernardino Mountains with no trace of the occupants was unfounded. The search failed to find any trace of the missing plane. 

The pilot was a disciple of UFO contactee, George Adamski.  In January of that year they had a falling out due to the pilot’s claim that he had made contact with aliens who entrusted him with a weapon that can destroy aircraft in flight. Mr. Adamski avoided contact with the pilot when he was contacted by the FBI over the incident. The pilot formed his own group of followers. 

The pilot’s claims were reported to the FBI who trailed the pilot for several weeks prior to his disappearance. The day before they disappeared, the pilot contacted his followers to let them know that the world was coming to an end and that UFOs from Mars were going to invade Southern California.  He knew where they were going to land and that he was going to find their landing site in an attempt to contact them.  Based on this information, family members thought that the two men flew to an unknown location in the Mojave Desert to meet the UFOs.

Ten days after the two disappeared, the Los Angeles Mirror highlighted the mystifying affair—as well as the theory that their vanishing act was the work of aliens. This fueled a media frenzy and speculation among UFO researchers that the pair was abducted by aliens. In later years, there were reports that Mr. Hunrath was seen in England and in Los Angeles. Other rumors had the men flying to Mexico. An article published 19 Sep 1957 in a Southern California newspaper about missing planes stated that the plane had still not been found and was then considered the second oldest missing plane case in L.A. County.

By 2015, there are dozens of internet websites that explore conspiracy theories into what happened to the men. Numerous books have been published by UFO researchers, conspiracy theorists & mystery writers about them.  But the disappearance of the men and their aircraft has never been adequately explained. 

Pilot, Karl E. Hunrath, 35 & Wilbur J. Wilkinson, 38. Registered to Gardena Valley Airport Inc of Gardena, CA. Cancelled 4 Dec 1970.



20 Sep 1962

Aeronca 7FC-208




Enroute from Compton, CA to unknown. The pilot became extremely upset that the UCLA Medical Center declined to accept his 14 year old son into their mental health program stating the program “wouldn’t fit the boy’s needs”.  The pilot abruptly departed the house that day to pick up his son stating he was going for a proficiency flight & wanted to take his son. They departed at 1430 for the Compton Airport.  The pilot was last heard from at 1500 when he called his step-mother from the airport to tell her they were flying to Antelope Valley or Lancaster & would be retuning very late. He rented the plane telling the operator he was going for a 1 hr flight & took off at 1530 without filing a flight plan. Though radio equipped, nothing was heard from the pilot after departure. When he failed to return the next day, the pilot’s wife alerted authorities. Ramp checks were conducted throughout Southern California but failed to turn up any sign of the aircraft.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Office initiated a search on 21 Sep within a 300 mile radius of the airport. They initially did not have any idea were to search. The search was extended to the southern CA coastline on 21 Sep. Investigators were told that the missing pilot, an advanced logistics engineer with North American Aviation in Downey, mentioned to a fellow employee that he was considering enrolling his son at a mental health center in Palmdale, California. The L.A. County Aero Squadron conducted a search with 2 helicopters & a fixed wing aircraft of the area between San Fernando & Mount Wilson. Other aircraft conducted a search along a possible route over mountainous terrain from Compton to Palmdale. By 23 Sep, 2 USAF helicopters & 20 CAP aircraft were involved in the search of the San Gabriel Mountains between San Fernando & Mount Wilson as well as the desert areas around Palmdale & Lancaster. The lead deputy of the L.A. County Aero Squadron flew a last helicopter search of the canyons & mountains of northern L.A. County on 24 Sep. The search was suspended 24 Sep without any trace of the missing plane found. 

 The pilot was terminated by his employer on 30 Sep. By 25 Oct, L.A. County Sheriff’s detectives were unable to locate the pilot, his son or the missing plane. The aircraft was never seen at any of the airports checked within a 350 mile radius of Compton & no wreckage had been located.

This incident is not listed in the NTSB data base. CFI Donald E. Roark, 40 & son Dale Roark, 14. Registered to Harry L. Aberle of Pico Rivera, CA. Cancelled 21 May 1965.



3 Mar 1964

Cessna 150C




Enroute from Van Nuys, CA to local. The rented aircraft departed Van Nuys Airport at 0700 & did not return from a 2 hour local flight. He did not file a flight plan nor tell anyone his intentions. The pilot’s employer stated the pilot had missed work the day before, never reported for work the day he went missing & did not contact his employer about his absence. The pilot had rented aircraft from the operator several times in the past.

A search was initiated that included CAP & the L.A. County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron. Initial efforts centered in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains & ramp checks were conducted throughout Southern California.  For reasons not revealed, both Kern and Tulare County Sheriff’s Departments & CAP units there were also requested to participate in the search of their counties.  The county Aero Squadrons commenced a search on 5 Mar. Mexican authorities were also alerted when it was learned that missing pilot had traveled to Baja California 3 weeks before.

The aircraft was 1 of 4 general aviation aircraft & an airliner that went missing in CA, OR & NV during the first week of Mar 1964.

This incident is not listed in the NTSB data base.  Pilot Ernest Thibodeau, 46, was a mechanic for AiResearch Aviation Service Co.  Registered to John Calley; leased to Gunnell Aviation Co of Van Nuys, CA. Cancelled 22 May 1965.



13 May 1964

Globe Swift GC-1B



CA to PA

Enroute from Santa Monica, CA to Wilkes-Barre, PA w/enroute stop at Winslow, AZ.  The pilot took off on a cross country flight.  It was the pilot’s intention to follow US Route 66 east to a point where he would fly direct to Pittsburgh, PA. However, the pilot never arrived at his first fuel stop.  

AZ CAP Wing was alerted to start a search beginning 23 May after a week long search by CA Wing found no trace of the aircraft. AZ CAP searched a 20 mile wide area along US Route 66 from the CA border to the NM border. Nothing was found & the search was suspended 25 May. The only other reference to this case is at the Globe Swift website where they list this aircraft as presumed crashed on a cross country flight to PA.

The CAB included this missing plane on a list of 12 accidents published on 19 June 1965 that were listed as undetermined in FY 1964.  The CAB investigation was unable to determine the probable cause of the accident.

Pilot James L. Remaley, 52 with 700 flight hours. Registered to James L. Remaley of Los Angeles, CA. The FAA Registry lists the aircraft status as revoked in 1977.



1 April 1966

Cessna 150C




Enroute from San Fernando, CA to Delano, CA to Mojave-Lancaster, CA to San Fernando, CA. The student pilot departed San Fernando Airport at 1100 for his solo cross country flight.  His flight plan had him flying to Delano where he would turn around & fly over the Tehachapi Mountains to Mojave Airport, than cross the San Gabriel Mountains back to San Fernando Airport.  The aircraft arrived at 1220 & departed from Delano at 1245, but never arrived at Mojave Airport. 

The search was coordinated by the WARRC at Hamilton AFB, CA.  An initial search was conducted by 3 CAP aircraft & 10 from the Kern County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron that was centered on the area bordered by the San Fernando Valley, Bakersfield & Mojave. The initial effort found no trace of the aircraft. On 4 April, the WARRC at Hamilton AFB considered suspending the search, but decided to extend it by committing USAF aircraft from Edwards AFB, CA & Luke AFB, AZ. On that day, 2 USAF, 7 CAP & a Kern County Sheriff’s aircraft were searching the Tehachapi Mountains. The only leads found during the search came from a woman driving on CA Highway 58 thru the Tehachapi’s.  On that day she stated she saw a low flying aircraft following the highway in a southeastern direction.  That same day a rancher reported seeing the aircraft fly up a canyon near Keene with a “rough engine.” The search was suspended 10 April after all clues were exhausted. Officials believed the student pilot attempted to follow a road or railroad tracks at low altitude, took a wrong turn & flew into a canyon or mountainous terrain. 

Family, friends and members of the pilots’ church spent several weekends after the formal search ended searching the Tehachapi’s without finding a single trace of the aircraft or pilot.  This included over 100 people from three different jeep clubs & employees from a local Burbank business. On 26 April, a private pilot spotted wreckage near the White Oaks Lodge landing strip outside of Rosamond, at the 5000 ft level in the Tehachapi foothills. The Kern County Sheriff’s Department investigated with an aircraft & ground team on 27 April, but were unable to locate it.

The CAB was unable to determine the probable cause of the accident.

Student pilot, Tom Osborne, 19 with 26 flight hrs. Registered to Glendale School of Aeronautics of Glendale, CA; operated by Ryan Flying Service of San Fernando, CA. Cancelled 30 June 1970.



3 May 1969

Beech 23 Musketeer




Enroute from Long Beach, CA to local. The pilot rented the plane for a local two hour departed between 1900 & 2000 & never returned.  The pilot did not file a flight plan but told the owner he would stay in the L.A. Basin. 

A week long search by 7 CAP aircraft & 31 personnel out of Long Beach that ranged from Ventura to as far south as the Mexican border found no trace of the missing plane.  The plane's owner and operator stated that the missing pilot had rented the plane several times previously without incident and this latest flight was routine.  The pilot was still missing as of 9 July 1969 when a follow on article was published in the Long Beach Independent.

Between Sep 1970 & Dec 1971, Flying Magazine ran a series of ads for ACR Electronics that listed the registration numbers of this aircraft & 4 others that were not equipped with ELTs & that had vanished in CA since Feb 1968.  The pilot was declared legally dead in March, 1975.

This incident is not listed in the NTSB data base. Pilot Jorge V. Reyes, 35. Registered to Claus Aviation of Long Beach, CA.



29 Feb 1972

Cessna 172F




Enroute from Catalina Island, CA to San Diego, CA. The rental aircraft departed Airport-in-the Sky on Catalina around 1530 & was never heard from again. The couple flew the rented plane from Brown Field to Catalina for the day and was returning home. They never arrived home.

An initial search by 2 USCG helicopters did not start until the following morning & was conducted between Catalina Island, Long Beach and San Diego. The search soon expanded into a combined land & sea search involving about 10 CAP fixed wing aircraft & 4 helicopters from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Aero Squadron. The search area extended south from Point Dume to San Diego & beyond the Mexican Border, 50 miles off shore & 15 miles inland. On 2 Mar, the San Diego County Aero Squadron was permitted to search inside Mexico along the border with Baja California. On 3 Mar, the FAA conducted ramp checks at 64 airports as far away as Las Vegas & Bakersfield. That same day the USCG suspended their over water search when no oil slick or debris was spotted. The overall search was suspended 6 Mar after covering 2700 square miles of ocean & 1900 square miles over coastal lands. The effort failed to find any trace of the missing plane. 

An ELT was detected transmitting from within the Santa Ana Mountains in what is now the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, just N of Camp Pendleton.  The USAF had no resources available to track the signal, so CAP was assigned the mission. In those days ELTs were relatively rare & SAR personnel were inexperienced in tracking these signals.  After two days the signal faded before its location could be fixed.  It was never verified that this plane was equipped with an ELT. 

The NTSB was unable to determine a probable cause for the accident. Relatives and friends of the missing couple continued to run their business and personal affairs for several months afterwards as if fully expecting the couple to return someday.

Pilot Richard Carl Nielson, 36 with 129 hrs was described as an, "experienced pilot"& spouse Christine Nielson, 35 were owners of the A&Z Rental Co.  Registered to South Bay Airport Co of San Diego, CA. Cancelled 24 May 1973.



3 Oct 1972

Cessna 172K




Enroute from Santa Ana, CA to local. The noted allergist rented this aircraft and took off from Orange County Airport (now John Wayne Airport) just after 1900. The pilot stated that his plans were to "just look at the lights" in the Palm Springs or Palmdale areas and return that evening. His voice was verified as the pilot on the tower recordings when he was cleared for takeoff. The aircraft was flying VFR and therefore no flight plan was filed.  Because the pilot was diligent at checking weather conditions before flying, it is believed that he did not fly towards either Palm Springs or Palmdale, as there were reports of storms and lightning at the time in both areas. When queried by the tower at Orange County Airport as to his destination, the pilot replied he would be back in two hours.  The aircraft never returned. 

The search was coordinated by the 42nd ARRS at Hamilton AFB, CA. A ramp check confirmed that the aircraft did not land at any known facility in Southern CA. The CAP search effort was based out of Brackett Field in Pomona.  23 CAP aircraft conducted searches of the deserts & mountains around Palmdale & Palm Springs on 5 Oct. 10 CAP aircraft searched on 6 Oct. Leads in the San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains were investigated without result. CAP also searched the Banning Pass on 7-8 Oct without luck. The search was suspended 12 Oct.

A significant private effort to locate the aircraft wreckage was made after the search was suspended. However, Dr. Peck was never heard from again and is presumed dead. No wreckage was ever located.

The NTSB was unable to determine a probable cause for the accident. Pilot Dr. George A. Peck, 59 with 190 flight hrs was a noted allergist who served during WWII as US Army Medical Corps officer. Registered to Diamond Aviation of Santa Ana, CA. Cancelled 10 Aug 2012.



29 Aug 1987

Cessna 172P




Enroute from Van Nuys, CA to unknown. The retired Army officer recently renewed his pilot credentials in Mar 1987.  He took the day off to fly & departed Van Nuys Airport at 1700 on an evening flight.  He did not file a flight plan but told his spouse he would return by midnight. She woke up the next morning, 30 Aug to find he never came home & reported him missing to the FAA.  The forecast for Van Nuys was VFR conditions with 15000 ceilings, 14 knot winds & 25 mile visibility

Relatives and friends told investigators that the pilot liked to fly N along the coast at night.  However, when investigators checked the automated weather briefing they found that the pilot had asked for weather information for the Bakersfield-Lake Isabella area as well as for Santa Barbara, Oxnard, San Bernardino, Palms Springs and the Salton Sea. 

The search was coordinated by the AFRCC at Scott AFB, IL & was initiated the afternoon of 30 Aug with 7 CAP aircraft & 5 ground teams covering the coastal area N from Van Nuys. On 30 Aug, 6 search personnel were checking recorded transmissions from local air-traffic control towers in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Camarillo & Oxnard in case the pilot may have radioed controllers his plane's tail number to get permission to enter restricted or controlled air space. By 1 Sep, CAP expanded the search from Santa Barbara to Long Beach & inland to the Antelope Valley with 20 aircraft & 6 ground teams. Ranger stations all over the sate were contacted & alerted. The effort was later expanded as far S as the Salton Sea & the Palm Springs area. On 3 Sep, a CAP search plane spotted a private aircraft making a forced landing on a dirt road leading to the Oso power plant near Gorman, 70 N of L.A. & reported it to the County Sheriff’s Office. The pilot was uninjured & rescued. The search was suspended 10 Sep after 125 aircraft flew 618 flight hrs covering 14000 square miles without finding any trace of the plane or pilot.

The NTSB was unable to determine the probable cause for the accident. Commercial pilot Norman Jackson, 40, LTC, US Army retired with 2355 total flight hrs was an experienced fixed wing pilot with 2 tours of combat flying in Vietnam. Was chief operating officer of a construction company working under contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Registered to Harold J. Margolis of Beverly Hills, CA; operated by Green Hornets Flying Service of Van Nuys, CA. Cancelled 8 Sep 1995.




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