Incident Name: Anthony Lakes or Blue Mountain Fire on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Date: Tuesday, 7/22/1960
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: unknown operator but under contract with the USFS
Larr Englert, Pilot, of Portland, OR
Elliott F. Corbett, Co-pilot, of Portland, OR
Larr Englert and Elliott Corbett lost their lives on July 22, 1960 -- when the converted B-25 airtanker they were flying crashed about 50 miles northwest of Baker, Oregon in the mountains. The fire was burning in timber.
Representative image of B-25 tanker | photo credit Don Felton
B-25 tanker drop on evaluation in 1959 at Padua Hills, LA County, CA.
50 miles northwest of Baker, Oregon in the Blue Mountains, in the Anthony Lakes area.
- BLAZES SWEEPING WESTERN FORESTS; 4 Airmen Die in Crashes as Nine States Battle Worst Fires Since 1930.
SAN FRANCISCO, July 22 (AP) -- Four airmen died in plane crashes today while helping ground fighters battle the worst forest fire in thirty years in nine parched western states... (snip) ...The other crashed in burning timber of the Blue Mountains fifty mile northwest of Baker, OR. Two Portland men, Larr Englert and Elliott F. Corbett died in the Oregon crash. Online article (Pay to view the rest)
- There is no NTSB Report. They only go back to 1961.
- Two other B-25 tankers crashed around the same time: one on 7/19 in WA on the Beaver Lake Fire, Twisp Ranger District, Okanogan NF (Eastern WA) and the other on 7/22 in CA in Mill Canyon north of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains.
- Probable Cause suggested later by aviators who discussed the B-25 and B-17 airtanker crashes:
It took a while to figure out that apparently B-25s (and B-17s) were having a problem with low pressure effects on the tail caused by the "slug" of retardant being dumped out of the bomb bay all at once; retardant was 800 pounds, approx 1/3 the weight of plane, fuel and retardant
Pilots had to push the aircraft's nose down prior to the drop, compensating for the low pressure area or pocket created by the mass of water/retardant as it fell away.
- Forest Service Investigation provides suggestions of Probable Cause for the three B-25 crashes
- In Spite of All Advances, Forest Fire Cost still Appalling in Terms of Money and Lives
Sept. 11, 1960 Online Article (the rest of the article above)
- 17 minute "old time" fire management video with images and "parts" from 1958, '59 and '60.
- other representative photos of the B-25 tanker
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