On June 22, 1945 the Curtiss C-46A Commando #42-107399 with the 565th AAFB Unit took off at 9:47pm on a high altitude night training flight from Reno Army Air Base, Nevada to Long Beach, California. Because of the weather conditions in the vicinity of Reno and the possibility that a large number of aircraft dispatched from this base would have to return on instrument flight plans, the Control Officer told Sacramento Radio to have Army 42-107399 return to Reno Army Base upon reporting over Sacramento. The crew reported over Sacramento at 11:13pm at 18,000 feet, received and acknowledged the order to return to Reno. No further word was heard from the flight and it failed to return to base. Several witnesses on the ground heard the aircraft’s engines go from the sound of a plane in cruse, to sounding as if it was in a steep dive. The sound caused them to look up to see a flash in the sky that night from what was believed to be the exploding fuel tanks. The C-46A was found the next day approximately 35 miles west of Lake Tahoe. It had crashed into the heavily wooded canyon near the American River. The wreckage was contained in a fairly small area scattered down a steep slope only about a hundred and fifty feet from the point where it first struck the ground. Neither of the wings, outboard from approximately the center of the fuel tanks were found at the crash site. The right wing was found almost a mile south of the wreckage. Two of the wing fuel tanks, presumably from the right wing were found one quarter mile to the southeast of the right wing. The ends of the tanks were blown out and the skin and leading edge from the right wing was bowed out, indicating an explosion within that wing. Examination of the wreckage disclosed there had been very little fire after the crash. The left nacelle, landing gear and tire were badly burned, although surrounding parts of the wreckage on the ground showed little or no effects of fire. The conclusion was that there was a fire in the left nacelle prior to the accident. The crew of three were found in the main body of the wreckage, seeming to indicate that no effort was made to bail out. This could have been due to the lack of time between the discovery of the fire and the resulting explosion.
Killed in the accident were, pilot/flight instructor; 1st Lt. James B. Solomon and student pilots; F/O Robert A. Brown and F/O Hubert W. Anderson.