Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Wreckage of New Lockheed Transport Plane
Mint Canyon | Agua Dulce

Click image to enlarge



7x9-inch ACME Telephoto from an unidentified newspaper's archive (note: distributed by ACME's New York bureau), with a news photo editor's enhancements.

Plane crashed May 16, 1938; photograph was shot May 18, 1938.

Cutline reads:

TELEFOTO ... TFLA 448690
SAUGUS, CALIF. — A telephoto showing the wreckage of the Lockheed transport plane which crashed in Mint Canyon, twenty miles north of here, while making a delivery flight from the Lockheed plant in Burbank to Northwest Airlines in St. Paul, Minn. Nine persons, including two children, died in the disaster. The white patches seen in the picture are the shrouded bodies of the victims.

From Aircraft Wrecks: 5/18/1938 [Error: s/b 5/16/1938]. Lockheed Super Electra Model 14H c/n 1439, NC-17394 of Northwest Airlines hit Stroh Peak 1.5 miles north of Mint Canyon Road, killing all nine on board. Bad weather was a factor in this crash. Wreck is mostly removed from its 2,200' impact site.

From Aircraft Crashes Record Office:

Date & Time: 16 MAY 1938 at 0207LT

Type of Aircraft: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Registration: NC17394

Location: Palmdale

Schedule: Hollywood - Las Vegas - Minneapolis - Chicago

Construction number: 1439

Year of manufacture: 1938

Crew on board: 3

Pax on board: 6

Crew fatalities: 3

Pax fatalities: 6

Other fatalities: 0

Total fatalities: 9

Circumstances: 24 minutes after its departure from Hollywood-Burbank airport, while cruising at night, aircraft hit Mt Stroh located in the Mint Canyon, southwest from Palmdale. Crew was performing a special flight to Las Vegas to show this new aircraft to the president of the company. All nine occupants were killed.

Causes: Crew did not follow published procedures and was cruising at an unsafe altitude to overfly the mountainous region.

From Aviation Safety Network:

Date: Monday 16 May 1938

Time: 14:07

Type: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Operator: Northwest Airlines

Registration: NC17394

C/n / msn: 1439

First flight: 1938

Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2

Passengers: Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7

Total: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9

Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair

Location: near Saugus, CA ( United States of America)

Phase: En route (ENR)

Nature: Ferry/positioning

Departure airport: Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America

Destination airport: Las Vegas McCarran Field, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America

Narrative: Struck Stroh Peak at 3,300 feet in Mint Canyon 27 minutes after taking off from Burbank Airport for Las Vegas and on the way to Saint Paul. The brand new Lockheed was on its delivery flight from Burbank to its new owners, Northwest Airlines. It was being flown by a Lockheed test pilot Sidney Wiley (36) and the vice-president of Northwest Frederick Whittlemore (42), who was a pilot. Flying in foggy conditions it struck the first of a series of ridges and bounced off two others, disintegrating on the way, before coming to rest and burning out on a hill called Stroh Peak.

LW2680a: 19200 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2014 by Leon Worden.

Wreckage 5-18-1938

Wreckage & Casualty 5-19-1938

Wreckage 5-19-1938

Wrecked Wing 5-19-1938

News Reports

The Signal 5-19-1938
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