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Incident Name:  Duncom Mountain, Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
Date: 9/3/69
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: Avery Aviation under contract with the US Forest Service
Position: aerial firefighters


Dave L. Staudt, 37
Wayne A. Garkie, 27

The PB4Y2 airtanker piloted by Staudt and Garkie was dropping on a fire on Duncom Mountain on 9/3/69. Following a drop run and coming out of the smoke column, the airtanker impacted trees with its right wing. Neither of the crewmembers survived the crash.


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Duncom Mountain, Bighorn NF, WY

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP, USFS and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 9/3/69, 1450 hours
    • 2 killed: Dave L. Staudt and Wayne A. Garkie
    • Operator: Avery Aviation under contract with the US Forest Service
    • Type: PB4Y2
    • Location: a fire near near Greybull WY.
    • FAA Registration # N1911H
    • NTSB # DEN70F0121
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html)
    • Departure point Greybull WY and planned to return there
    • Type of accident - Colided with: Trees
    • Phase of operation - In flight: Swath run
    • The pilot in command - Improper in-flight decisions or planning.
    • Weather - Obstructions to vision.
    • Terrain - Hidden obstructions.
    • Terrain - High obstructions
    • Weather briefing - no record of briefing received

      Weather forecast - unknown, not reported

      Sky condition - clear

      Ceiling at accident site - unlimited

      Visibility at location site - 5 or over (unlimited)

    • Precip at accident site - none

      Obstructions to vision at accident site - Smoke

      Wind direction - 120 degrees

      Wind velocity 30 knots

      Type of weather conditions - VFR

      Type of flight plan - None

    • Remarks - Fire slurry drop. Aircraft observed to emerge from smoke cloud on the fire. Right wing down, hit highest trees in flight path.
  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use NTSB Identification: DEN70F0121
  • US Social Security Death Index: Wayne Garkie

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Contributors to this article: AAP, Mellie

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