Clear weather and a natural harbor made San Diego an early aviation hub, but success in flight came with devastating tragedies. The remains of more than four hundred aircrafts lie scattered across the county’s deserts and mountains. Experts estimate that dozens more are on the ocean floor off the coast. In 1922, army pilot Charles F. Webber’s DeHavilland biplane went missing over Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. In 1978, Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 178 collided midair over San Diego and crashed in the residential North Park neighborhood, claiming the lives of 144 people in what was the worst airline disaster of the era. Author and aircraft accident research specialist G. Pat Macha recounts these and other stories of astonishing survival, heroism and heartbreaking fatality.
About our Speaker:
G. PAT MACHA, AUTHOR
G. Pat Macha is a retired high school history and geography teacher who has explored the mountains and deserts of the western states for 54 years in search of aircraft wrecks. He has authored six books in the field of aircraft archeology, produced a video on wreck finding and hosted the History Channel program, “Broken Wings”. He is a noted public speaker lecturing on aviation safety and archeology to a wide range of audiences. Pat has been the coordinator since 1997 in the search for missing Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) Gertrude “Tommy” Tompkins Silver. Pat is a member of the American Aviation Historical Society, San Diego Air & Space Museum, and the Western Museum of Flight. For more information concerning Pat’s work in the field of aviation accident history and archeology and Project Remembrance, see www.aircraftwrecks.com.