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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 109983
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic J3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper NE-1
Owner/operator:VT-19, US Navy
Registration: 26311
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:East boundary of Hemet Airdrome, California -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
In the afternoon of 10 November 1943 the Ryan PT-22 41-20896 of 5th Army Air Force Flying Training Detachment (5th AAFFTD) was preparing to land at his base, the Army Air Field at Hemet, California. Ground witnesses observed it progressing normally on the base leg of the pattern, prior to his final approach to the field, but also saw a Navy airplane, the Piper NE-1 BuNo 26311 of VT-19, on the downwind leg of a left-hand pattern at the main airdrome.

The trafiic pattern at the airdrome was a right-hand pattern, as indicated by a one armed, right-hand traffic tee, but the Navy pilot probably did not observe the tee and continued to approach the filed in a left-hand pattern. Because the tower operatorís attention was diverted to student activities on the windward end of the field, and because the Navy airplane failed to circle before landing, the tower was unaware of his approach.

Both aircraft collided at 1515 hrs at an altitude of approximately 150 feet as both airplanes were turning into the field on their final approach. The propeller of the PT-22 struck the NE-1 near the root of its right wing, severing it. Both airplanes hit the ground near the east boundary of the airfield, about 20 feet apart in a slightly nose-first attitude, and were totally destroyed.

The passenger of the NE-1, Lt Donald Latour MacLea, was killed in the crash while the pilot, Lt Delroy Leo Virnig, was seriously injured, suffering from concussion of brain, and fractures of right elbow and left led. He died of his injuries at 2320 hrs on 1 December 1943 at the US Naval Hospital of Corona, California.

Both passengers of the PT-22, Civilian instructor Edwin T Schockley and Air Cadet Charles J Petsinger, also received serious injuries but survived. Schockley has a compound fracture of left leg, laceration of lip and fracture of two teeth, while Petsinger has a fractured jaw.


VT-19 War Diary, August 1943 to January 1944 (available online at
"Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945. Volume 2, July 1943-July 1944", by Anthony J. Mireles. ISBN 0-7864-2789-2

Revision history:

19-Nov-2018 16:21 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative]

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