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Thread: What REALLY happened to Dean Martins son, Deano?

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  1. #16
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    There was a problem with the "attitude" instrument on the F-4. A guy that was raised here at Blackfoot, and often flew a Phantom at low level around here, eventually crashed one and was killed. The investigation said he flew into the ground upside down. Apparently, that was not an unusual occurrence with the Phantom, at that time. The guy's name was Markham, and his dad was the local high school principal. I don't remember the pilot's first name. His widow got a really large payoff from the manufacturer of the instrument.
    As for the crash site....it would be really unusual for the military to allow a news helicopter anywhere near a military crash site, and there isn't much left of a high-speed crash in a jet fighter, and the debris would be spread over several hundred yards of terrain.
    Jim
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  3. #18

    Feb 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in Idaho View Post
    There was a problem with the "attitude" instrument on the F-4. A guy that was raised here at Blackfoot, and often flew a Phantom at low level around here, eventually crashed one and was killed. The investigation said he flew into the ground upside down. Apparently, that was not an unusual occurrence with the Phantom, at that time. The guy's name was Markham, and his dad was the local high school principal. I don't remember the pilot's first name. His widow got a really large payoff from the manufacturer of the instrument.
    As for the crash site....it would be really unusual for the military to allow a news helicopter anywhere near a military crash site, and there isn't much left of a high-speed crash in a jet fighter, and the debris would be spread over several hundred yards of terrain.
    Jim
    It will be 30 years on 21 March this year since Capt. Ramon Ortiz and Capt. Dean Paul Martin, California Air National Guard, lost their lives in the snow covered mountainside of the San Giorgonio range
    of San Bernardino County.

    Even after all these years, this tragic crash STILL HAS VERY LIMITED official detailed information released. There has been virtually no information or details released regarding the two other
    F-4C phantom jets that were also in formation flight along with Capts. Ortiz and Martin- that is four other pilots in both jets who's testimonies or official statements have never been made public, nor have they ever been given nor seeked interviews by media or the military- in nearly 30 years!?

    Sadly, there has been a virtual gag order placed on details involving this incident- and thus encouraging speculation and rumor due to the lack of visual and written reports regarding the crash site; exact coordinates of impact site; follow up visits to crash site or remnants of wreckage; news coverage; and commemoration of incident.
    Some theories of Capt. Martin's assignment to a Guard fighter jet squadron normally reserved for experienced combat aviators transferring from the regular Air Force fighter/bomber squadrons, have given way to speculations of favoritism and even Executive branch appointment into the squadron from Washington D.C.??
    Even speculation of the Capt. obtaining a Top Secret Clearance to attend flight training with his given past felony weapons violation record, is suspect.

    Whatever controversy or mystery surrounding this story, we must remember at the very least, that two Air National Guard Officers lost their lives doing a job for America, so that we may be safer and continue our freedoms and way of life. 30 years is long enough to maybe pull aside the blanket of secrecy surrounding their flight, and honor their memory, and finally set free their blessed souls.

    DCH
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  4. #19

    May 2017
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    Dean Paul Martin crash

    Quote Originally Posted by Shortstack View Post
    Back in the 1970s, Dean Martin's son, Deano, was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force Reserve (or Air Guard, I don't remember which) out in California. He supposed died in the crash of a jet he was flying. This is the "thing" that put his Dad's health in a tail spin that he didn't recover from.

    Anyway, I remember the newsflash on TV claimed that Deano was flying a low-level training mission, when he hit the ground. The aircraft he normally flew was the F-4C/D Phantom II, which requires a 2-man crew; the pilot and the Radar Intercept Officer. This is an important piece of info because when I saw the evening news that day, there was a video shot made from a helicopter flying low, over the supposed crashsite. I say "supposed" because all that could be seen was a black, oval shaped smear on the ground where his craft supposedly hit. Point 1: There was NO wreckage to be seen, even though the F-4 Phantom is a vary large, twin-jet fighter and the spot was on the side slop of a rolling hillside in California. If you've ever been to the Central Coast area of California, you'll know the type of terrain I'm talking about. Spotty tree growth and open gulleys. If a jet fighter had really crashed there, there would have been plenty of wreckage to be seen. Point 2: The news chopper was the first over the scene and there had been no time for the wreckage to be recovered. Yet, there was none. Point 3: There was NO crater; just a plowed furrow surrounded by blacken soil. Point 4: The military immediately closed off the area on the ground and the airspace over the site. That news film of the crash site was broadcast only once or twice; then stopped. I was in the Air Force at the time and I remember thinking, "no way is that the crashsite of an F-4 or anyother aircraft." The bareness of the site was damned strange.

    Being in the service, you get wind of what we called "rumors and propaganda" about a lot of things and one that I heard about Deano's crash was that he was flying a familiarization mission in a captured Russian Mig. Well, that still doesn't explain the absence of any crash debris. We did have at least one Mig, but there was no way that an Air Reserve or Air Guard pilot would have been flying it. Those birds were being evaluated by active duty Air Force pilots who were qualified Test Pilots.

    So that brings me back to the thread question: What REALLY happened to Dean Martin's son? Does anyone on this forum remember that time and have you any additional information? All newspapers and TV reports said he died in the crash of an aircraft, but why no debris and why was a complete blackout put on any specifics and why was the area, later, scrapped clean?

    That story has really bugged the crap out of me for these 28 or so years. Could this have been some sort of paranormal situation? a UFO incident? I thought of posting this on the Paranormal forum, but......
    I just don't recall any of the scenario you describe happening. Never saw any bogus footage of a crash site on the news. From day one it was always Mt San Gorgonio, highest peak in So Cal, which I can see from my front deck. Inclement weather, which is understandable for a peak over 11,000 feet. Crashed into a granite wall travelling at a level altitude on a Saturday afternoon. Very high and remote area, took them until Wednesday to get in and protect the site. Remains were removed the following morning. This was what UPI reported.
    So I hope this poster finally got the right information. I know I am posting after a considerable amount of time has passed.
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  5. #20
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    I am wondering why with Deano long arrest record, why he was allowed to fly planes.
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  6. #21

    Jun 2007
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    HA! How did he even get in the "Military Service"...?
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  7. #22

    Apr 2018
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    I was a close friend of Capt. Matt Hill, Capt. Martin's "back-seater" (navigator/weapons specialist) in those days. Matt normally flew with Capt. Martin and would have been in the aircraft that day, but Capt. Hill took the day off. Capt. Hill was also debriefed and was emotionally upset about the incident. He told me that three separate air traffic control instructions directed Capt. Martin's F4C directly into the side of the San Bernardino mountains. Later Capt. Hill moved to Sacramento. I stayed in touch with him and was at his wedding, but not long afterwards he and his family mysteriously disappeared, and I haven't seen or heard from him since.

  8. #23

    Jul 2018
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    Martin's WSO

    Quote Originally Posted by VOFSAR View Post
    I was on the SAR team searching for Dino Martins F-4. I was not on the team who found the crash but had a friend on another team who was on the team that was on site. I visited the site about a year after the crash. There was a small impact crater with molten metal, an accordioned piece of fuselage, a jet fan and thousands of pieces of confetti. It did impact a perpendicular piece of the hill side but it was low and near a drainage.
    Ray Ortiz was in the back seat of that Phantom. I was Ramon's flight commander 493 TFS at RAF Lakenheath 1974-76. I believe Ray's front seater was not competent and my friend died due to this clown's incompetence.
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  9. #24
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    I remember when this happened, and have always had questions as well.
    Very Interesting Thread.
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  10. #25

    Sep 2018
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    This particular crash has been an interest of mine for quite a while. I put aside looking for the crash site for a few years due to life being in session, but was cross checking some information and came across this thread. Thought I would share some information. For a bit of background, I have been in and around aviation most of my life (now 43) and have experience in crash investigations, SAR and aviation archeology (Also known as wreck chasing.)

    First, to the OP; Martin was not flying a "low level" mission. He was #2 in a flight of three F-4s that were flying a simulated bombing mission in support of the exercise that is mentioned in this thread. I'm not sure what footage you saw, but there were a few factors that complicated the search for the aircraft. There was a snowstorm when the incident took place, and the crash location was blanketed in snow. The aircraft itself (S/N 64-0923) was painted in camo, which even if it wasn't covered in snow would blend in very well with the terrain around the crash site.

    I am in possession of all the crash reports, photos and after incident investigation reports, and it was ascertained that Martin's jet was forty degrees nose down, turned slightly right, and in full afterburner on impact. The instrumentation and impact information was correlated, and the estimated impact was 475 to 525 knots indicated airspeed - so, up to 600 miles an hour. The impact location was a granite face just below a sub peak of the San Gorgonio Mountain complex. When a fighter jet - even one as large as a Phantom - impacts a granite cloud at 600mph, there will be damned little left of it. One of the SAR members on scene stated that they didn't see any debris "larger than a watermelon."

    For those that brought up Martin's past, I agree with the opinion that it's damned strange he was allowed to fly considering his record. It IS known that Martin Jr. flew to D.C. and personally implored the head of the Guard to allow him to fly. My personal opinion is that his name and the related press was considered to have enough worth to put him in his billet.

    I have reviewed a lot of reports about Martin's flying abilities, and while the men around him all said he was a good pilot, I have found several references to his flight training and behavior that lead me to believe that he wasn't that great of a stick in the Phantom. In addition to that, he only had 400 hours in the jet, which really isn't a large amount considering the complexity of the aircraft. While I don't have as much civilian time as Martin did, I can say from personal experience that on the rare few occasions that I have been fortunate to fly jets, you can get behind the power curve on them in the blink of an eye.

    As far as the crash goes....when the three ship formation took off, there was a lot of military and civilian traffic in the area. The call signs were GRIZZLY 71, 72 (Martin) and 73. According to the ATC transcripts, there were other GRIZZLY aircraft in the air at the time, and when you read the transcripts you get the sense (Just my opinion) that the ATC was having trouble juggling similar calls (Such as GRIZZLY 43, 91, 92) while also directing civilian traffic. GRIZZLY 41 also comes on air at one point, responding to a call from 73 to 71.

    When the flight took off, they almost immediately went to Instrument flight into a light snowstorm. All three fighters lost sight of each other. For some reason, (The opinions privately stated were that Martin got behind the power curve during cross-checks) Martin got separated from the flight.
    In the ATC transcripts, you can see GRIZZLY 71 being routed around the mountain, and 72 calling him asking for his flight level. 73, which had also gone "lost wingman" had been routed to a higher altitude block and different routing as well. The lead, 71, kept asking ATC for a higher altitude block, but due to traffic above them, the ATC could not grant it. Their altitude block was not high enough to clear the mountain, which is why they were being rerouted. The following are excerpts from the ATC transcript, edited out is a LOT of civilian and military calls that would take too long to type out. Suffice it to say, the airspace was crowded.

    2147:59 - Ontario ATC - "Grizzly seven one can I get your ah wing men to squawk 1200 with altitude please cuz ah it appears the uh flight is uh quite spread out"

    71 reads back the direction, but there is no confirmation from 72 or 73.

    2149:16 - GR72 (Martin) "Seven one say what altitude"
    2149:17 - GR71 "Level at twelve"

    At this point 71 requests higher altitude again, but ATC is unable to clear them due to civilian airline traffic. GR73 comes back on the air, and are told to turn to a heading and ident their transponder (This is a function on the transponder that causes the aircraft to "flash" on a radar scope for identification). 73 responds that they have broken above the clouds to VMC (Visual Flight) and are climbing to 17,500.

    2149:57 - GR72 - "Seven two would like ah is IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) like a heading"
    2150:01 - ONT - "Grizzly seven two squawk zero two two three"

    2150:21 - GR72 - "And Grizzly seven two is eleven level eleven five squawking"
    2150:26 - ONT - "Alright the aircraft that's level at eleven five if you're not VFR turn left two seventy immediately you're three miles south of a thirteen thousand foot peak"

    2150:39 - GR72 - "Can you get seven two higher immediately" (This is the final call from Martin)
    2150:42 - ONT - "OK the aircraft that's eleven five turn left two seven zero immediately"

    At this point, Martin selects full afterburner. He was in IFR, crew resource management was likely high due to the weather, traffic and approaching terrain, and he did not follow the directions of the ATC to change heading. Due to the attitude of the aircraft on impact, it is my personal opinion that he experienced spatial disorientation and flew the jet into the ground. It was determined that Martin had his hands on the controls, including stick, throttles and rudder pedals at impact; neither the pilot or WSO initiated the ejection sequence. Considering his high rate of speed and the very rapidly approaching terrain, along with the nose down attitude, it is likely that neither of them had time to eject.

    The one thing that I do wonder about is his WSO, Ray Ortiz. By all records I can find, he was a rock star WSO, WSO Instructor and had a ton of time in Phantoms. None of the cockpit recorder tapes survived, so there is no record of crew interactions. But based on his experience, I wonder if he made any attempt to take control of the jet or help Martin out of the developing situation (Most if not all F-4s after the C model had dual controls). Considering his record and experience, I think that it's likely, but we will never know. It was determined that he did not have his hands or feet on the controls at impact.

    The official cause of the accident was pilot error, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). My opinion is that the IFR environment, coupled with Martin's low flight hours in the incident aircraft were the primary factors to the crash. Additional factors may have been a crew management resource situation that exceeded what the pilot and WSO could handle, along with the Ontario ATC's mismanagement of a developing emergency situation and the ATC's failure to use the proper aircraft designator when ordering Martin to turn away from the mountain.

    After checking in with Grizzly 71 and handling some other calls, Ontario ATC then returns to 72, two minutes later:

    2152:05 - ONT - "OK Grizzly seven two are you there grizzly seven two"

    After several calls between ATC, 71 and 73, trying to raise Martin, this call was made by the ATC:

    2153:17 - ONT - "Ah Grizzly seven one there's a possibility ah that there's been a mishap with Grizzly seven two I can't raise him I don't have radar."

    There has been a lot of speculation about some other factors that may have been going on at the time, but all in all I think this accident was preventable. As with most accidents, there were several contributing factors, any of which, if changed, would have changed the outcome. At the end of the day, two aviators lost their lives in the service of our country, which should be respected.

    At any rate, I hope this sheds some light on the mystery. My condolences to the family and friends of Martin and Ortiz.
    Last edited by TinHunter; Sep 16, 2018 at 12:55 AM.
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  11. #26
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    In an attempt to explain why no wreckage was visible, this contribution from six years ago is posted again:

    "I was there" as they say.{QUOTE: Davclas}

    I was part of a training exercise in Mojave Desert in March 1987 for 21 days of desert warfare training including 'Live Fire' with combined Air/Land forces toward the end of the exercise. This was my second tour to Mojave Desert for training (1st in March 1986). During the combined forces 'Live Fire' portion of the training (Army, Air Force and Marines) an Air Force accident claimed the life of Dean Martin's son Dino, who was scheduled to fly simulated bombing runs for the exercise. Somewhere during the mission the following event; (from California Air National Guard report) "Dean Paul "Dino" Martin, 35, son of entertainer Dean Martin was killed when the Phantom jet he was piloting crashed into the San Bernardino Mountains. Permission was given by March Air Force Base ATC to perform a "maximum climb" takeoff. The aircraft was seen disappearing into a scattered cloud ceiling at 4,700 feet. Radar contact was lost 9 minutes into the flight. The crash site was found on the 3rd day of searching in the San Bernardino Mountains. An investigation revealed the aircraft flew, inverted, into a solid wall of granite between two mountain peaks at an altitude of 3,750 feet and at an estimated speed of 560 mph. The aircraft was literally pulverized into the granite. The "maximum climb" takeoff, g forces associated with this type of flight and the dense cloud cover negatively affected the pilots ability to know his position and aircraft attitude." It took 3 days to find the site because so little wreckage remained after that type of impact. {QUOTE}
    Source:
    http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/everything-else/105724-what-really-happened-dean-martins-son-deano.html
    Don.....
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  12. #27

    Sep 2018
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    How thoughtful and kind of you to welcome a new poster by slamming their post, which goes into far more detail than the one you decided to repost! That's the way to keep em coming back!
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