MONTANA AIRCRAFT CRASH SITES
Maintained by Thomas Nagorski © 2010-2019
There are accidents, and then there are "Accidents." The crop duster that goes down in a field, with no injury to the pilot, and is later recovered and rebuilt, gets the same title as a major calamity. And then there are the crashes that, because of intent or stupidity, are no accident at all but instead, for all practical purposes, suicides.
Generally, what interests people are those occurrences that involve much attention, loss of life, or an airframe left on a hillside. Crash sites which have been cleaned, or accidents which later saw the aircraft rebuilt to fly another day, leave little physical record of the event except in the files of accident reports.
When I flew search and rescue I obtained crash site lists from the Air Force Rescue and Recovery Center. This was a glimpse into lost stories of aviation drama. But which accidents were "major" and which "minor?" And what was left of the event? The crash site list provided no answers. Over the years I noticed that not all reported crashes were listed. The internet has been a great source of additional information. Even so, each database seems incomplete. With this site I capture a more extensive listing of aviation accidents in Montana.
This site is the most complete reference for Montana aviation crash history. Besides compiling records from military, airline, NTSB and USAF civilian search archives, information has been captured from miscellaneous web sources that mention little known events from aviaton's early days. These notes go back to the 1920s. Also unique is that I have identified errors in existing databases and have noted corrections to these records. In 2018 we've converted to a different database server to make this site even easier to use and permit attachments. Because of size limitations of the free database host, records are split into Pre-1960 and Post-1959 bases.
Thar's gold in them thar hills -- aviation history rich in mystery and emotion. For a small period of time, these accidents were the most important things happening in many people's lives. To forget that is to dishonor the past that contributed to the aviation advancements we enjoy today.
And a heartfelt Thank You! to those. who have helped with contributions to this database. Whether family member or first responder or young witness to unfolding events, these tidbits are valuable. Together we can keep memories alive.
This Montana Crash Sites database is a free service. If you find it interesting or educational, you can encourage further improvements by clicking the link below and making a credit card contribution via PayPal.
Thanks for your support in maintaining this database.