Howard DGA Crashes on Mountain near Palmdale

Intensive Search for Lost Plane Stopped Tuesday

PALMDALE - 4/19/51 - A fruitless search for a lost plane was abandoned here Tuesday after six days of concentrated effort by the Air Force Civil Air Patrol, Navy and Sheriff's Department personnel. Last seen when it took off from Pacomia airport on April 6, the four-place Howard monoplane carried Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Coe of Pacomia and Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Taylor of Van Nuys.

No flight plan was filed, but persons at the airport were informed that the group was headed to Las Vegas, Nevada. When they failed to return by Tuesday, April 10, a check revealed that they had never reached their destination.

An aerial search operating out of Palmdale Airport was begun, under the direction of Air Rescue Service, Flight B, at March AFB, with Capt. John Aidem in charge. During the operation military and Sheriff's planes flew a total of 400 hours Aidem said. "This search was really like finding the needle in the haystack." Aidem commented. "With no flight plan we had practically nothing to go on and with such a huge area of probability we had to spread our searchers out pretty thin over a vast territory."

Finding of Plane Wreck, 4 Dead, Near Palmdale Solves 3-Month Mystery

PALMDALE - 6/28/51 - A watch which stopped at 2:30; the rusted clasp of a woman's purse; a rusty clip from a .22 rifle; and a rusted, burned-out, partly melted camera ---lying in a cardboard box in the Lancaster Sheriff's substation, these were the mute evidence of a grim story concerning four people. After being missed for almost three months a plane was found on June 24, wrecked on the south slope of Mt. Sierra Pelona, seven miles southwest of Palmdale. The bodies of four persons who lost their lives in the crash were found in and near the badly burned wreckage.

The discovery was made about 7:30 Sunday evening by V.W. Proctor, North Hollywood, who was patrolling the fence lines on the Ritter Ranch. Sheriff's deputies were soon on the scene. One of the bodies thrown clear of the plane was identified by wrist band as Edwin Coe, Pacomia. The others were presumed to be his wife and Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Taylor of Van Nuys. These three were aboard the plane when it left Whiteman Air Park, Pacomia, in mid-afternoon April 6, according to persons at the airport.

The four place Howard mono-plane, painted green and yellow, was reported missing that day. No definite flight plan had been filed at the airport, but the four told persons that they were headed for Prescott, Arizona. They were to have stopped at Las Vegas April 7.

Two of the bodies were found huddled together in the plane burned beyond recognition, but identified as women. The two men were flung clear, the one identified as Coe about 80 feet away. A watch found on the other man's body had stopped at 2:30. It began to run again when shaken.

Victim of Crash Had Premonition

STUDIO CITY - 6/28/51 - Mrs. Dorthy Talor, 30, who was killed in the crash of a light plane near Palmdale had a premonition of the disaster, it was learned today.

The bodies of Mrs. Taylor and her husband Jerry, 26, of Van Nuys, and Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Coe of Pacomia, were discovered last Sunday in the charred wreckage on Pelona Mountain seven miles west of Palmdale.

Mrs. Gladys Hallinan, Studio City, a close friend of Mrs. Taylor, disclosed Monday that the Van Nuys housewife who had lost her previous husband in a 1948 plane crash, had left a letter with her asking that she provide for the custody of the Taylors' 8 year old daughter, Donna Anastacia. "If anything happens to me on this plane trip," quoted part of the letter as reading. The daughter has been residing with the Hallinans. Mrs. Taylor also believed that the plane was painted in unlucky colors, Mrs. Hallinan said. The craft was green and yellow.


DATE: April 16, 1951

FILE NO: Z-101867


#1 - COE, Edwin S.

#2 - COE, Mrs. Edwin S.

#3 - TAYLOR, Jerry F.

#4 - TAYLOR, Dorthy

On Wednesday, April 11, 1951 at 10:30 a.m. the writer was notified by informant that friends of above victims had been inquiring as to their whereabouts as they were presumably on a flight to Las Vegas and were due to return April 8 and that above victims had not been heard from.

The writer contacted Mrs. Adella Hallinan who stated that on April 6 between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m. victim #4 phoned stating that they were enroute to Whiteman Air Park preparatory to leaving for Las Vegas. Above victims were scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas the afternoon of April 6 and were to stay overnight and on April 7 were to phone Mrs. Lee Taylor of Prescott, Arizona and make arrangements as to whether or not they would continue to Prescott and pick-up Mrs. Taylor and return her to Los Angeles. Mrs. Hallinan stated that she and other friends and relatives had checked Prescott and that no word had been received by Mrs. Taylor. A check had also been made of Las Vegas and they were unable to find any word of either aircraft or occupants.

The aircraft involved is a Howard DGA-15-F, license NC-67765 with green wings, empennage and fuselage, the engine cowl and NC numbers were yellow with silver spinner. Aircraft was equipped with two-way radio on 3105 Khz and had a full instrument panel. It is unknown as to how much fuel was aboard at time of takeoff.

Investigation revealed that no flight plan was filed and a check with the CAA weather service revealed that at 2:30 p.m. April 6 Burbank had a ceiling of 2600 feet with 7 miles visibility; Sanburg (near Gorman) 3000 feet scattered with 15 miles visibility; and Palmdale 6000 feet scattered with 25 miles visibility; Daggett 6000 feet scattered with 30 miles visibility; Las Vegas 15,000 scattered and 8000 scattered with 35 miles visibility. The 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. weather reports were approximately the same although slightly improved


In April of 1996 while searching for a crashed P38 in the Sierra Pelona Mountains south of Palmdale, we located the Howard DGA crash site.

The site is on a moderate slope about 1000 feet south of Mount McDill.

We located the remains of the fuselage, a two-way radio, the wings and cowling pieces.

The engine was spotted further down the slope about 250 feet below the main impact point.

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