Maintained by Thomas Nagorski © 2010-2024


When I was a Civil Air Patrol cadet in 1974, then later when I flew search and rescue, I obtained crash site lists from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC). These were hints into past stories of aviation drama. But these lists provided scant details. Which accidents were "major" and which "minor?" Who perished in the crash? What happened to the airframes? The crash site data provided no answers. And many crashes were not listed.

There are accidents, and then there are "Accidents." The spray plane 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 with multiple fatalities. And then there are the crashes that are hardly "accidents." They were inevitable, either because of pilot impairment or stupidity. Nowadays, the internet has been a great source of additional information about these events. However, these web crash site databases are incomplete and perpetuate errors found in their source documents.

MADCAP started with the simple goal of learning as much as I could about the crashes in the records I already had. The advent of online newspaper archives changed that. Every newfound article from the past is a piece of Montana aviation history. In these news reports are records of hope and loss and grief and shattered lives and heroic efforts and community bonding. They are snapshots of flying in earlier, simpler, riskier times. All these events needed to be catalogued.

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 aviation's early days (i.e., county history books, family trees, obituaries). My notes start at 1909. Also unique is that I have identified errors in existing databases and have noted corrections to these records.

One never truly dies until they are forgotten.

Started in 1953, the Montana American Legion White Cross Highway Fatality Marker Program has existed for over seventy years. These roadside white crosses mark sites of fatal traffic accidents. They are reminders of the loved ones lost, and of the dangers of the road. MADCAP is my "white cross" program. A legion of pilots and passengers have perished flying the Big Sky. They were unwitting teachers. To remember them is to review the lessons learned from mistakes of the past - lessons which led to the safety advancements we enjoy today.

Enter MADCAP All Years Database

This Montana Crash Sites database is a free service. A heartfelt Thank You! to those who have helped with contributions to this project.

Fly safe. Happy (con)trails.

Email Tom Nagorski