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Incident Name:  enroute to a fire near Orick in Humboldt County, CA
Date:  October 21, 1974
Personnel:  Michael Fagan
Age:  40
Agency/Organization:  Sis Q Flying Service (owned by Bud Davis), Santa Rosa, CA, under contract with CDF (now CAL FIRE)
Position: pilot

Summary: On October 21, 1974, Michael Fagan was piloting a Grumman F7F (Tanker 22) taking off from the Rhonerville Airport on his way to drop on a small fire near Orick, CA. He lost power in both engines and tried to return to the airport for an emergency landing. His plane hit a tree, farm equipment and a barn. Michael Fagan did not survive impact.

 

Photo of another F7F for type of aircraft, compliments of Leroy Zwicky.

Grummon F7F, E-31 Grummon F7F, E-31

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Maps

Rohnerville Airport, just south of Fortuna, CA; the crash site was in one of the fields below the bluff and runway; the plane hit a barn there.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/22/74 Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/22/74
  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, USFS, AAP, and research by the WLF Staff:
    • October 21, 1974 - Tanker number reported by his son Michael Fagan, Jr was Tanker E-22.
    • 1 killed: Michael Fagan
    • Operator: Sis Q Flying Service under contract with CDF (now CAL FIRE)
    • Type: Grumman F7F-3
    • collided with trees and barn during forced landing near the Rohnerville CA airport
    • FAA Registration Number: N7238C
    • NTSB # OAK75FVD18
  • NTSB: Probable Cause (html)
    • Probable Cause(s)
      • Pilot in Command - Inadquate Preflight Preparation and/or Planning
      • Pilot in Commamd - Mismanagement of fuel
      • Miscellaneous Acts, Conditions - Fuel Starvation
      • Terrain - High Obstructions
    • Factor(s)
      • Miscellaneous Acts, Conditions - Failure of two or more engines
      • Complete power loss - Complete engine failure/ flameout-2engines
      • Emergency Circumstances - Forced landing off airport on land
      • Remarks - Also hit barn and damaged farm equipment
  • For more information, in case it becomes available, consult the NTSB Lookup Utiliy. Use NTSB Identification: OAK75FVD18
  • Warbird Registry with photo

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

  • Hotlist thread on the research: 8/26/11

 

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Media Articles and Reports.

 

 

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

 

 

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Contributors to this article: Chris Anderson, Michael Fagan, Jr., Leroy Zwicky

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