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Incident Name: a fire in Pleito Canyon on the Los Padres National Forest
Date: July 8, 1981, 0927 hours
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Age: 
Agency/Organization:  Hemet Valley Flying Service under contract with the USFS
Position: aerial firefighters

Summary: 

Louis Remschner, 52, of Phoenix AZ
Ted Sveum, 25, of Crescent City CA

On July 7, 1981, the C-119 airtanker was fighting a fire on the Los Padres National Forest near Frazier Park, California when it lost its left wing and disintegrated in mid-air. Failure of a control cable led to control surface flutter that overstressed the airframe. Pilots Lou Remschner and Teddy Sveum did not survive.

C-119 Flying Boxcar airtanker for type; photo by Alan K Radecki

C-119 Flying Boxcar airtanker for type C-119 Flying Boxcar airtanker for type

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Maps

Pleito Canyon, Los Padres National Forest near Frazier Park, CA; estimate

Communication on possible location:

It occurred in the San Emigdio Mountains, there is a CG Called Pleito Creek, on a creek of the same name in that area. It is in a canyon where the creek runs out of the Mtns. Thus one could say Pleito Canyon is the place the creek runs. Looks like a canyon on the topo. This is just north of the West end of Cuddy Valley. The CG is 8 miles NW of the Frazier Park Fire Stations. (USFS and KRN) A 6600 foot peak to the west and a 6705 ft. peak to the east of the CG several others in the area. So all this fits. Just which ridge (east or west) did it hit? CG at 34.86885, -119.08920 at 5200 ft. drop the pin east or west.

If anyone knows a better location, please let us know.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP and research by the WLF Staff:
    • July 21, 1979, Tanker 88
    • 2 killed: Lou Remschner, Teddy Sveum
    • Operator: Hemet Valley Flying Service under contract with the US Forest Service
    • Type: FAIRCHILD C-119-17-FA Flying Boxcar
    • Location: Near Frazier Park, Los Padres National Forest
    • FAA Registration # N13742
    • NTSB # none
    • The NTSB did not investigate this accident, at least there are no public records on it.
  • To check for yourself, consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use the FAA registration number N13742.
  • USFS investigated: Fatal Aviation Accident History 2 page Excerpt, pages 13 and 14 (339 K pdf)| 112 page Full Report (all accidents: 4,017 K pdf)
  • Flight Safety Foundation (flightsafety.org): Flight Safety Digest, Vol 18, No. 4, April 1999, US Aerial Firefighting Accidents Involving Fixed Wing Aircraft 1976-1998 (218 K pdf)
  • Aviation Safety Network, Flight Safety Foundation: N13742
  • Note: Prior to 1996 NTSB did not investigate Gov owned and operated, Gov owned and contractor operated or some aircraft that were privately owned and operated as "public aircraft". Government agency investigations and reports were/are often hard to find and access. The "Pressler Act", passed in 1995 and enacted in 1996, changed that, making all aircraft accident reports easier to access and lessons easier to learn. (Click the link and search on "Pressler".)
  • Names of the fallen posted:

    Loss of Lou Remsehner and Teddy Sveum Loss of Lou Remsehner and Teddy Sveum

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Contributors to this article:  Mellie

 

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