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Incident Name: the Crafton Hills brush fire on the San Bernardino National Forest near Yucaipa, CA
Date: July 5, 1959
Personnel: Donald McFarland Doughty
Age: 40
Agency/Organization: Hemet Valley Flying Service under contract with the US Forest Service;  Don had been the FS R5 aviation officer for years.
Position: aerial firefighter

Summary: On 7/5/59, pilot Don Doughty in a Grumman TBM-3E tanker -- Tanker 69 -- departed Hemet-Ryan Airport, CA to drop borate retardent on a fire in the Yucaipa area. The wind was west to east and the plane crashed into a smoke-obscured ridge while making a downhill drop. Donald Doughty did not survive.

Photo of TBM. Credit: From Tom Janney's collection.


Photo Note from Tom: N9394H. This TBM 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 is like the one Don flew.

Here's a photo or T-69 from Project Remembrance. Very nice YouTube of their research.

TBM - Tanker 69 TBM - Tanker 69

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Yucaipa area east of Redlands, CA -- general vicinity


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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Not in the NTSB database. NTSB Search Utility No records prior to 1962.
  • Project Remembrance. YouTube video of their research on T-69.
  • California Death Index: Donald McFarland Doughty
  • US Social Security Death Index: Donald Doughty
  • The following come from a group of 1952 documents and photos from "CAB Accidents in Aerial Applications" from Robert Will, historian, Yucaipa Historical Society:
    • Fleet of TBMs: CAB Accidents in Aerial Applications CAB Accidents in Aerial Applications
      Fleet of TBM Tankers Fleet of TBM Tankers
      TBM tanker wreckage TBM tanker wreckage
      Don Doughty named as fallen Don Doughty named as fallen
      Don Doughty Don Doughty

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Media Articles and Reports



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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Don left behind a wife and three children.
  • Airtanker Pilots' Memorial Wall: Donald Doughty
  • Message from Robert Will, Yucaipa Historical Society to John Miller. History of the TBM, aviation firefighting and the crash.
  • Project Remembrance Team, captured from the YouTube video:
Remembrance Team Remembrance Team

TBM silhouette:

TBM shape TBM shape

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Contributors to this article: Gerald Meehan, Rick Messier, John Miller, Robert Will, RJM, Tom Janney, Pat Macha of Project Remembrance  and the Project Remembrance, Airtanker Pilots Memorial


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