Accident Piper PA-24-200 Comanche N5895P,
ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 11958
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:Friday 1 January 1965
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-24-200 Comanche
Owner/operator:Custom Aviation
Registration: N5895P
MSN: 24-982
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Folsom Lake, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Collided with Beechcraft 35-33 N996T, N5895P was not recovered from the lake bottom, pilot-failure of one or both pilots to see and avoid.

The fatal mid-air collision between the two airplanes occurred on January 1, 1965, at approximately 12:30 p.m. over Folsom Lake at an altitude of 2,500 to 3,000 feet. The visibility was excellent, and both pilots were experienced, with many hours of flying in both single and multiple engine aircraft. At the time of the collision, the two planes, each on pleasure and sight-seeing flights, had been in the air only a few minutes. As a result of the collision, the Comanche lost two or three yards of its right wing and plunged into the lake and was never recovered. The right half of the horizontal part of the tail of the Debonair was parted by the impact, but the plane managed to return to the Sacramento Airport.

At a 1970 trial (Gotcher vs Metcalf, Civ. 1110, Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California) the pilot of the Debonair, said he did not see the Comanche before the accident; that it was his practice to look all around and that he always scanned the horizon, left, right and forward, under visual flight rules conditions. There was testimony that the defendant was pointing out the scenery and other points of interest to his two passengers shortly before the collision. Edward Johnson, a correctional officer at nearby Folsom Prison, testified that he was on tower duty when the two airplanes passed over the prison at approximately the same altitude and the same rate of speed. The airplanes were flying in the same general direction, with the Comanche in the lead by about 400 feet and to the Debonair's left by about 300 feet, and they seemed to be going on a trip together. Johnson said that after passing Folsom Prison the Comanche commenced a gradual turn to the right and had completed a half circle when the planes collided. Robert Stafford, who was 14 years old at the time of the accident, testified that he was less than a mile from the dam when he heard airplane engines, looked up and saw the Comanche coming down. He said it was in a fast spin, slowed into a very slow spin, and fell into the lake.

The Beechcraft 35-33 Debonair involved in the mid-air collision, N996T, was lost in a separate fatal accident on June 8th 1990 -

Aircraft possibly located on June 11th, 2021. Investigations revealed the Comanche to still be missing. The aircraft located was from another incident.

Ford Marshall
William Marshall (body recovered)
Helen Gotcher
Glenn Emmick

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: OAK65A0047
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


El Litoral 2 January 1965, p1

Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
04-Jun-2015 19:59 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Narrative]
04-Jun-2015 20:00 TB Updated [Source]
11-Jun-2021 21:48 Captain Adam Updated [Operator, Phase, Source, Narrative]
13-Jun-2021 13:45 Anon Updated [Cn, Operator, Source, Narrative]
14-Dec-2021 04:51 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type, Narrative]
01-May-2023 05:36 Anon. Updated [[Aircraft type, Narrative]]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314