Incident Name: Roberts Fire, east of Payson AZ
Personnel: Charles "Chuck" Cochrane
Agency/Organization: the Marana Flying Service under contract with the US Forest Service
Summary: On June 15, 1061, Chuck Cochrane a pilot of an aerial tanker owned by the Marana flying service, died when his converted World War II torpedo bomber (Grumman TBM Avenger) developed engine trouble and plowed into a ridge. He had been dropping fire extinguishing solution on the 400 acre Roberts Fire east of Payson, AZ in the Mogollon Rim country.
TBM example for type of plane; photo credit: from Tom Janney's collection.
The Roberts Fire was a different fire, but same general area Mogollon Rim area as the Hatchery Fire midair collision:
Hatchery... was 1/4 mi east of the old Horton Creek Rd, approximately 16 mi northeast of Prescott; the Hatchery fire was lightning caused, in the Dick Williams Creek area southeast of Tonto Fish Hatchery. A week and a half later it was reported to be only 400 acres.
- US Forest Service Memorial page: Chuck Cochrane
- No NTSB record could be found. Record keeping on the online NTSB lookout database began in 1962 and records are incomplete and/or spotty. Agencies generally kept their own records and did any investigation they felt necessary. That all changed with the Pressler Act in the 1970's.
- The Associated Aerial Firefighters Memorial Page
- Memorial at the old Payson Station (now a museum); location on the map below.
“Dedicated to Firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our magnificent Mogollon Rim Country.”
- Chuck Cochane TBM Air Tanker Pilot 6/15/61 Roberts Fire
- Mention of loss of air tanker (pilot: Chuck Cochane) in last paragraph, and possible cause of the crash
- Wildlandfire.com: Memorials and Monuments, bottom left of the photo page
Memorial location in Payson, AZ
Contributors to this article: Mike Johns, Tom Janney, John Miller, Mellie
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