Monday, July 17, 2017

Old pilot 75-year-old Donald Wayne Frantz of Anchorage killed after he crashed his 1949 Aeronca 15AC plane near the confluence of the Yentna and Susitna Rivers in Alaska

UPDATE: NTSB says friends launched an initial search for the now fatal plane crash 

By Juan Montes |

Updated: Sun 3:34 PM, Jul 16, 2017


The National Transportation safety board says the crash happened around 10 A.M. Saturday.

Officials say friends of the pilot launched a private search for the plane initially.

"They did find the airplane." said Alaska NTSB Chief, Clint Johnson.

"The flight was intended to shuttle a group up to a cabin up in that area. They had completed that first shuttle and the pilot was on the way back to Sand Lake to do the last shuttle of two people and that's when the plane became missing," Johnson said.

Johnson said two NTSB investigators along with troopers are going back to the scene Sunday to further investigate the crash.


Troopers say the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center responded to a plane crash near the Yentna River.

R.C.C. received the report at around 2 P.M. Saturday of the downed fixed wing aircraft.

Troopers said R.C.C. found the aircraft along with the deceased pilot, 75-year old, Donald (Don) Wayne Frantz.

The Alaska State Troopers and Talkeetna Fire and Rescue transported Frantz to Lake Hood in Anchorage were he will be turned over to the State Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Here is his obituary announcement:

Don Frantz, passed away on July 15, 2017, Yentna River. Celebration of life will be held at Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, on July 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Arrangements by Legacy Funeral Home .================================

Pilot dead in small plane crash near Yentna River 

By KTVA Web Staff 6:35 PM July 15, 2017

A plane crashed near Yentna River after the pilot got done shuttling people to a remote cabin north of Anchorage

According to Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska chief, sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. the pilot was ferrying people in his Aeronca Sedan plane, to his remote cabin, north of Anchorage. After that, he was due back at his home base in Sand Lake but didn’t show up at the time he was supposed to. The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center was called to help search for the missing aircraft.

The plane and the pilot was found about 30 miles north of Anchorage sometime after noon Saturday, Johnson said. Saturday evening he said reports of the crash near the mouth of the Yentna River first came in at about 4:15 p.m.

Alaska State Troopers say they identified the pilot as 75-year-old Donald Wayne Frantz of Anchorage. Troopers and Talkeetna Fire and Rescue transported his remains to Lake Hood in Anchorage where it was turned over to the state medical examiner’s office.

The NTSB says the wreckage will be recovered once they finish up the on-scene investigation, which they said could take most of Sunday to complete.


A 75-year-old Anchorage man died Saturday after his plane crashed near the mouth of the Yentna River in the Mat-Su Valley, the Alaska State Troopers and federal aviation officials said.

Pilot Donald Wayne Frantz had flown  passengers in his Aeronca 15AC Sedan to a remote cabin on the river, in Alaska's Mat-Su Valley, around 9:30 or 10 a.m., said Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board.

He had just taken off alone on a flight back to Anchorage to pick up a second load of passengers when the plane crashed in wooded terrain "very close to the mouth of the Yentna River," and not far from the cabin.

When Frantz didn't return from his flight on time, people at the cabin began searching for him and discovered the wreckage, Johnson said.

Around 1 p.m., members of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center were called to the site of the crash and found Frantz dead, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch Sunday. Troopers and Talkeetna Fire and Rescue also went to the scene, and helped transport Frantz's body to Anchorage, troopers said.

The Aeronca is a single engine plane, said Johnson. FAA records show the Aeronca owned by Frantz was manufactured in 1949. It was on floats, Johnson said.

Two federal investigators were at the site of the crash Sunday working to determine why the plane crashed, Johnson said.

Type:Aeronca 15AC
Registration: N1370H
C/n / msn: 15AC-419
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Yentna and Susitna Rivers, Alaska -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Yentna River, AK
Destination airport:Anchorage, AK
The airplane impacted wooded terrain under unknown circumstances near the confluence of the Yentna and Susitna Rivers. The pilot died in the crash.