AT-6C #41-32833 crashed near Lake Pleasant on August 19, 1944 after a midair collision with a B-25 Mitchell

SUMMARY: In 1944, Warner Brothers began filming their upcoming movie, God Is My Co-Pilot. The movie was an autobiographical account of a USAAF fighter pilot who fought in the South Pacific during the early years of WWII. The film crew chose to shoot the movie in Arizona and used Luke Field as their headquarters. For their aerial combat shots, they had a number of North American AT-6 Texans repainted to resemble Japanese Zeros. On this particular day, the Warner Brothers film crew was 30 miles north of Phoenix near Lake Pleasant in their Beech C-45 filming what was supposed to be an attack of four Japanese Zeros on a formation of B-25 Mitchell bombers. As the AT-6's attacked the formation of B-25's from above, one AT-6, piloted by 2nd Lt. Orland Luhr accidentally crashed into the wing of one Mitchell bomber. Tragically, no one was able to escape from either plane before they crashed on the rugged desert terrain below. Aboard the B-25 was 1st Lt. George Hunter, 2nd Lt. Patrick Holland and Sgt. James Ramey.

Avion cadet Orland Luhr. Cadet Orland Luhr How dedicated (or crazy) are we wreck hunters? I hiked over three miles of this terrain to see an old plane crash. Finally closing in on the crash.


Overview of the crash site. Landing gear and other debris. The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engine. Scattered debris.


Another view of the engine. Part of the wing. The smashed exhaust manifold. Wing section.


Accordioned wing section. Another view of the wing. The yellow paint was applied by the crash crew to indicate this is a known crash. The frame to Lt. Luhr's parachute.


Landing gear. Molten aluminum. Camera vacuum data plate. More debris.

Overview of the crash site. A seat buckle and wing gas tank cap. Another view of the crash. Part of the smashed radio.

The compass. Data plates. The one of the right is for the carburetor. The canopy emergency release. A few other data plates including the ignition switch, and oxygen regulator and RPM indicator. The "88" prefix number on the data plate to the right positively identifies this as being a North American AT-6 Texan crash site.