La Cañada history: Local pilot died in plane crash

Ten Years Ago

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council awarded a $792,000 contract to Pima Construction to build a park on a former Caltrans lot on the south side of Foothill Boulevard near the Glendale (2) Freeway entrance. The transportation-themed park was designed by Ronnie Siegel of Swire Siegel Landscape Architects. Today it is known as Mayors' Discovery Park.

Twenty Years Ago

Jinny Dalbeck, then-president of the La Cañada PTA Council, was chosen on a unanimous vote by La Cañada school board members to complete the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board term of Carole Siegler, who was moving out of the area.

Thirty Years Ago

Both championship squads in the 1984 Crescenta-Cañada YMCA Youth Basketball program sailed through their schedules undefeated. Outclassing their competition in the league comprising fifth- and sixth-grade students were the Raiders, who finished 7-0. Titlists in the fourth-grade division were the Y's Hornets, who notched a 6-0 record.

Forty Years Ago

Flintridge Guild of Childrens Hospital in March 1974 celebrated its 25th anniversary with a champagne brunch. Charter members Mrs. Lorenz Westenberger of Berkshire Avenue was presented with a gold charm in recognition of her 25 years of active membership.

Fifty Years Ago

A ferocious windstorm hit the Southland and was believed responsible for three local fires, one of which threatened Flintridge homes facing Chevy Chase Canyon. Other blazes were in the Verdugo Hills-Whiting Woods area and in Glenoaks Canyon.

Sixty Years Ago

La Cañadan Joe Lynch, engineering test pilot for North American Aviation Corp., gave Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands his first flight through the sonic wall on March 13, 1954. Lynch and the prince, who was at the controls, successfully completed their flight in a Sabre jet over the Mojave Desert shortly before they went aloft in a propeller-driven Navy training plane that "conked out" 6,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Bernhard was also at the controls of the second plane, a T23B Navy trainer, when its engine died. Lt. Col. A.T House, U.S. Air Force representative at North American, took over and engineered a successful gliding dead-stick landing. The day before this news story appeared in the pages of the Valley Sun, Lynch, 33, died in a plane crash in Las Vegas. He had been piloting the same TF86 Sabre jet that the royal visitor had been aboard earlier. The La Cañadan attempted to bring it out of a low roll over the Nellis Air Force Base runways when a wing tip touched the ground, the plane crashed and exploded. The Indianola Way resident left behind a wife and five children.

-- Compiled from the Valley Sun archives by Carol Cormaci.

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