ACTON -1944 – Four men were killed last Thursday in the crash of a Navy patrol bomber in the Sierra Pelona Mountains . William Ritter of Palmdale acted as guide to the group of officials who hiked up to the wreckage of the plane.

Those killed in the crash were George G. Dory, 20, pilot of North Hollywood; Paul T. Sunday, 36, copilot of Beverly Hills; Donald L. Jackson of Roscoe, 30, crew chief; and James P. Sergeant, 30, radioman of Glendale.

Lockheed Aircraft Company had sent these four men on a pre-delivery test flight using a Lockheed Model PV1. The flight started from Burbank and was to land in Palmdale.

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During the test flight, a line of heavy rain clouds obstructed the view of Hauser Mountain and surrounding ridge. The pilot, George Dory, was just 65 feet too low when his plane hit the mountainside

The plane burned after impact and the bodies were found badly burned and dismembered.


Aircraft visit

We headed to Ritter Ranch in the Sierra Pelonas to see what we could find. What was left of the plane was buried, but over the course of the years rain water had eroded the hillside and the parts had resurfaced.

Pat J. MachaPat J. Macha at the PV1 site circa 1999. Photo taken by his father, G.P. Macha. 

WreckSome of the wreck parts as they look today. Not much effort was concetrated on examining the pieces

Wreck

At one time someone excavated the wreck so only a few loose parts remain scattered.


A place to pay respects

The scattered wreck would be forgotten if it weren’t for a beautiful plaque commemorating the pilot. At the time, erecting plaques weren’t common in fatality sites for aircraft wrecks.


Memorial Plaque
About 50 feet about from the site of impact. Plaque is bolted on a rock

George Gould Dory plaqueGeorge’s young wife, Martha built this plaque on top of a nearby hill, as tribute to her husband.

FEBRUARY 24, 1944
PV1 VENTURA BOMBER
TEST PILOT
GEORGE GOULD DORY
DoryTHE WINGS OF GOD TOOK UP HIS FIGHT
SO LONG, “MY GUY”
MARTHA
MAY 27, 1944

 


One of the first written articles on this site Here

Here is G.Pat Macha’s article on the Lockheed PV1 crash