A century of aviation research and military flights over Los Angeles County has left the San Gabriel Mountains, Mojave Desert and the nearshore Pacific Ocean strewn with more than 1,500 aircraft crash sites. Barnstormers and test pilots too often made unexpected final landings. Accidents occurred on a nearly daily basis during World War II training maneuvers. Private planes, a sign of 1950s prosperity, also met tragic ends.
These epic incidents include the 1971 tragedy of Flight 706 in which an airliner collided with a marine fighter jet above Mount Bliss, killing fifty people. Renowned aircraft crash search specialist G. Pat Macha recounts dozens of sorrowful, triumphant and surprisingly true stories of those who lived through these ordeals while offering touching tributes to those who did not. For the past thirty years, Mr. Macha has investigated records of aircraft losses, searched for – and found – wreckage and other evidence of the mishaps, and solved many mysteries that had prevented officials, friends, and loved ones from gaining closure to the loss of aircrews and passengers. Join us to hear intriguing stories of his expeditions, successes, and results that are sometimes surprising, and always rewarding.