Rick Schwartz

Pilots Schwartz and Stollak were operating Air Tanker 123, an aircraft carrying 2,000 gallons of agent and 550 gallons of fuel. They were in the process of performing a fire retardant drop on the Big Elk fire near Lyons, Colorado. The plane had flown 7 previous air attack missions during the day.During the approach for an eighth drop, the left wing of the aircraft separated from the fuselage. Fire began as the wing separated, and the aircraft pitched nose down until it crashed into the terrain. Both pilots were killed in the crash.The aircraft involved in this crash was a World War II era PB4Y-2 Privateer which had originally been used as a military aircraft. After the crash, the Forest Service permanently grounded this type of aircraft.NTSB accident number DEN02GA074 can be located through the NTSB aviation accident database at www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp

Department Information

Hawkins & Powers Aviation
Unk, Wyoming

Chief: N/A

Rick Schwartz was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 57 
Rank: Pilot 
Classification: Career 
Incident date: Jul 18, 2002 18:45
Date of death: Jul 18, 2002 
Cause of death: Vehicle Collision - Includes Aircraft 
Nature of death: Trauma 
Activity type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus 
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire 
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property