Aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson [ Missing ]

HAZ Sleuth Underground

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guide  • Horton Creek Trail #285, AZ
Linked Areas none
no avatar
Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 14 2007 11:38 pm
City, State: Peoria, AZ

Aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson [ Missing ]

Post by arizonawrecks » Jul 15 2007 12:09 am


I am looking for information regarding a wildland firefighting aircraft wreck site from June 21, 1961 near Payson.

Was wondering if anyone had run across wreckage or knew of particulars about this crash. Both pilots were killed spotting for borate bombers in the "Hatchery Fire" of 1961.

The aircraft was a Cessna 180 tail-dragger. It crashed near or within the hotspot of the fire and I imagine most if not all of the wreck was left on site as it was totally destroyed and burned. I just dont know where it is.

Newspaper article says: "1/4 mile east of the old Horton Creek Road, some 16 miles northeast of Payson."

Does anyone know what old Horton Creek Rd. is called now (Rim Road?)? Or run across aircraft aluminum in this area?

We are building a dedication page on our website to aircraft fire tanker crew fatalities in Arizona and had wanted to locate this crash site in particular because it is one of the oldest in the state.

I'll attach my write-up about the crash which is derived from about 20 newspaper articles I have retrieved on the crash. Civilian aircraft crashes prior to 1965 are very difficult to get records or reports on, otherwise we may have progressed further on this one.

Cessna 180 “birddog” Forest Service fire spotter plane
June 21, 1961

A Cessna 180 flying “birddog” spotter duty for borate bombers near Payson, Arizona collided with a Forest Service T-34 observation plane and crashed on this date. Killed onboard the C-180 was pilot Art Goodnow, age 40, a Forest Service contract pilot and passenger Constantine Kodz, 33, a Forest Service helicopter fire attack crew member.
The crash occurred at 7AM while both aircraft were guiding borate bombers into the fire. Their wings brushed with the T-34 (ex-USAF training aircraft). They were acting as “lead-in planes” for the borate bombers.
The Cessna plummeted to the forest ground near Horton Creek, a half-mile east of one of the hottest spots of the forest fire. It burst into flames causing another fire, which was put out by fire crews.
The T-34, piloted by Lou Parker, a Forest Service contract pilot, limped back to Payson Airport and landed safely with no injuries to himself or his passenger Howard Shupe, a Tonto air operations and fire control officer.
It took helicopter crews two and a half hours to reach the scene of the Cessna crash. Ground parties reached the site around noon and found the two Cessna crewmembers deceased. The bodies were removed and returned to Payson Airport.
Fires rages in the Tonto National Forest that summer. 5 days earlier, pilot Charles Cochran was killed in a converted WWII TBM Avenger borate bomber following engine trouble in the same area east of Payson fighting a separate fire called the “Robert’s Burn” which consumed 3,000 acres.
This Cessna 180 was helping to fight a second 400-acre fire in the area called the “Hatchery Fire”. More than 500 firefighters were fighting the blaze which was touched off by lightning in the D i c k Williams Creekarea southeast of Tonto Fish Hatchery. They were struggling to keep the fire from reaching the top of the Mogollon Rim.
The fire eventually burned 540 acres and knifed along a ridge close to the Mogollon Rim crest but the blaze fell back under the weight of firefighters and downhill winds. Fire crews actually built a fire line on top of the rim to stop the fire had it reached the top.

Constantine Kodz’ wife filed a wrongful death suit against the estate of pilot Goodnow and others for this mishap in the amount of $200,000 approximately 1962 (other defendants were Shupe and the owner of the Cessna 180, A.H. Davidson). She was awarded $70,000. Howard Shupe onboard the T-34 was also a defendant for directing the air operations that day. A couple other lawsuits commenced as well. Goodnow’s widow and daughter sued another unknown party (Forest Service?) for $100,000 and settled for $35,000. Another suit for $21,594.65 was filed by Payson Weight Flyte Service and their insurance company (probably for the cost of the aircraft) and settled for $15,000.

We aren’t sure of the basis of the lawsuits. It appears that the C-180 was supposed to relieve the T-34 and they should not have both been in the same area at the time of the mid-air. Fault may have been placed on Goodnow or Shupe and USFS for misdirecting operations that day, but we are not sure.

Lou Parker, pilot of the T-34, was killed in another air tanker crash in 1964 but we have been unable to find information on this crash.

There are two streets in Payson named Goodnow and Kodz. Both lived in Payson at the time of their deaths.

Thanks for any help ... it is much appreciated.

Best Regards,
Chris Baird

User avatar
Posts: 2341
Joined: Apr 03 2006 12:21 pm
City, State: Grand Junction, CO

Re: Looking for aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 15 2007 9:28 pm

I find all of this stuff on airplane wrecks in Az. to be totally fascinating. Its an aspect of the outdoors I never really thought about, and the amount of wrecks out there is probably the most amazing thing. Thanks for letting all of us know about this stuff, and hopefully we can return the favor by finding some more of these things for y'all!
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

no avatar
Posts: 11
Joined: Nov 22 2002 8:45 am
City, State: nipomo, ca

Re: Aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson [ Missing ]

Post by juswalkin » Jan 10 2008 12:08 pm

Hi, I also looked for a historical plane crash site in the Four Peaks area and two places for information that were helpful was The state of Arizona Search and Rescue Director and I don't have his name or phone # right now, but I can go back thru my notes and find it if you need me to. The last is the one that gave me the final info was the local( Payson) Boy Scout leader that lead camp out groups in the area. In my case the leader had a Scout that had drawn by hand a map of the area with land marks showing hill tops, springs, plane crash sites, mines and other points of interest. One of the crash sites was the one that I was looking for. Hope this helps and you can contact me if I can be of further help.

User avatar
Posts: 521
Joined: Apr 04 2010 1:15 pm
City, State: Mesa, AZ.

Re: Aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson [ Missing

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Apr 18 2010 11:15 am

I'm planning a backpacking trip on the Horton trail. I know that these posts are a little old, but maybe someone has the Lat and Lon of that crash site.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

User avatar
Posts: 1568
Joined: Dec 25 2005 8:24 pm
City, State: Apache Junction, Arizona

Re: Aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson [ Missing

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Apr 18 2010 4:31 pm

In the late 1970's I recall reading an article in the Phoenix newspaper about a group of off trail backpackers in the south east part of Arizona finding a WWII wreck of a twin engine bomber trainer on the north side of a mountain in very heavy forest. The fuselage was still pretty much intact and upon checking out the wreck they suddenly realized that they were the first on the scene. Parachutes and other crew personal gear was still onboard along with the remains of boots, leather helmets, etc. I wish now that I had kept that article.

My wife has a distant cousin (twice or thrice removed) that was lost somewhere over Arizona or California while flying an early jet fighter plane and has never been found. She also lost a direct cousin in Korea who was later found to have been taken prisoner by the North Koreans and taken by the Russians to a labor camp in eastern Russia. We learned about this after the fall and disintegration of the USSR. He was a F-86 Sabrejet pilot and died while imprisoned in that labor camp.

It would be nice to have a link to known crash sites and also a list of missing aircraft and where they originated from and what part of the state they may have crashed in. I found a few years ago on the mesa east and slightly north of the old Tortilla Ranch what appears to pieces of a WWII aircraft radio. I suspect it was thrown out of an aircraft as I can't imagine any one lugging a radio set up there and then smashing it to pieces.
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
- Garth McCann from the movie Second Hand Lions

Another victim of Pixel Trivia.

Current avatar courtesy of Snakemarks

no avatar
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 10 2010 9:35 pm
City, State: Chandler, AZ

Re: Aircraft wreck site, Horton Creek area, Payson [ Missing

Post by jlarsonaz » Apr 19 2010 5:58 pm

I know this guy and he does a lot of research and hikes to a lot of sites. He might be able to help.

Post Reply

Return to “Plane Wrecks”