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Incident Name:  Lindsay Fire, Stafford Ranger District, Mt Graham
Date: June 27, 1974
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization:  SS&T Aerial Contractors under contract with the US Forest Service
Position: aerial firefighters

Summary: (father and son)
George Stell, 50, pilot
Greg Stell

George and Greg Stell were dropping on a fire SW of Stafford AZ. During the retardant drop, the pilot -- Greg Stell was in left seat -- evidently misjudged the plane's clearance of the trees on the steep mountain slope, hit them and then impacted terrain. Father and son died.

Airtanker N7237C; photo from the Goleta Air and Space Museum; photographer is Brian Lockett.

Airtanker N7237C Airtanker N7237C


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Accident site somewhere near Mt Graham, Stafford, AZ

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP, USFS and research by the WLF Staff:
    • June 27, 1974, reportedly called "Charlie 50"
    • 2 killed: George Stell & Greg Stell (father and son)
    • Operator: SS&T Aerial Contractors
    • Type: CONVAIR PB4Y-2, Privateer; Navy version of B-24 bomber
    • Location: near Stafford AZ, departed from Tucson AZ
    • FAA Registration # N7237C
    • NTSB # LAX74FUJ73
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html)

    The pilot in command (Greg Stell) misjudged clearance;
    Remarks: during fire control slurry run, aircraft hit trees on mountain slope.

  • Screensave of NTSB probable cause:

    NTSB screensave NTSB screensave

  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility use date and FAA Registration # N7237C
  • from NWCG: Historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910 - 1996 (page 5) (616 K pdf)
    • Year: 1974
    • Incident: Lindsay Fire on the Coronado N.F., 1968CA
    • Fatalities: 1 (should be 2)
    • Agency: USFS
    • Fire Behavior: Unknown
    • Remarks: Air crash. Air tanker making a drop. Class G fire.

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Media Articles and Reports



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Photos, Videos, & Tributes


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Contributors to this article: NMAirBear, Tim Stubbs, Mellie


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