F-86D 52-3623 crash 15 miles NE of Tucson AZ on July 8 1957

F-86D 52-3623 crash 15 miles northeast of Tucson in Catalina Mountains on July 8 1957

Two F-86s from Davis-Monthan’s 15th Fighter Interceptor Squadron collided over the Catalina Mountains.  Both pilots successfully bailed out. F-86D, 52-3623, crashed into the Catalina Mountains, Tucson, AZ.  Much of this debris is located off the Butterfly Trail.


The other F-86 righted itself after the pilot bailed out and flew east until it ran out of fuel and crashed in New Mexico.


F-86D-41NA, s/n 52-3623, 1st Lt. Gerrit H. Van Vliet  (Gary Van Vliet)


F-86D-41NA, s/n 52-3605, 1st Lt. Joseph James Onate

Fuselage with part of the insignia still visible. Unfortunately, somebody removed this part.

Engine in the bottom of a drainage.

Above and below are two photos of a wing taken approximately 20 years apart. In the top photo, you can still make out a portion of the letters USAF.  In the photo below, you can still make out "US," but it's faded over time.

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Landing gear still attached to the wing.

Holding on to fabric.

Well, you made it this far down the page, you might as well check out this quick video I did about the crash.