Personnel: Richard L Ranck
Agency/Organization: Hemet Valley Flying Service, Hemet, CA under contract with CDF (now CAL FIRE)
Position: aerial firefighter
Summary: On 9/4/1971, pilot Richard Ranck was dropping Firetrol retardant on fire near Placervlle, when the TBM air tanker -- Tanker 37 -- collided with trees and crashed. Richard Ranck did not survive.
TBM photo for type (not the Ranck AT)... Photo credit: From Tom Janney's collection. (formerly Tom Stein)
Photo note from Tom: This representative TBM (Registration #N9394H) was the first TBM ever tanked, owned by Hollywood flying legend Paul Mantz. Used as a test bed during the mid 50's Firescope program, this aircraft was lost in the 1960 incident that killed Bill Druehl.
Placerville Air Base, CA
- Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP and research by the WLF Staff:
- 9/4/1971, 1638 hrs, Tanker 37
- 1 killed, Richard Ranck
- Operator: Hemet Valley Flying Service, Hemet, CA
- Type: GRUMMAN TBM 3E
- Location: near Placerville, CA
- FAA Registration # N6825C
- NTSB # OAK72FVG22
- NTSB: Probable Cause (html)
Type of accident: Collided with trees
Phase of operation: In flight: swath run
Probable Cause: Pilot-in-command: misjudged altitude
Remarks: Spraying Firetrol
- National Transportation Safety Board: Feel free to consult the NTSB online lookup Utility. Use NTSB # OAK72FVG22
- California Death Index: Richard L Ranck Death location says ElDorado County, consistent with Placerville area.
- US Social Security Death Index: Richard Ranck
- YouTube: Placerville Air Base 1971 from Greg Liddicoat
Placerville, CA Air Tanker Base, 9-4-1971 This movie was converted from Super 8 film. It shows aircraft reloading activity at the Placerville Airtanker base on 9/4/71 and includes the tragic crash of Tanker 37.
- Richard Ranck is honored on the California Fallen Firefighters Wall in Sacramento. California LODDs by wall order (pdf)
Contributors to this article: Tom Janney, Greg Liddicoat, Kevin OMeara, Mellie
Please support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation