Saturday, March 14, 2009

My First Wreck!

Today, I met up with Gene Gould and we both located the wreck of P-38L #44-23914.

Now, I have been reading about Aircraft Archeology for about two years. I have read first hand accounts by various authors who live in California and Arizona and Oklahoma. These guys are professionals, several have been doing this for decades. They have found hundreds of wrecks. They say on their sites that it is not easy to find a wreck, even if you know approximately where it went down. I always thought they might have been blowing just a little smoke...NOW I KNOW! They are completely correct!

This is what we were looking for...and it looks strangely like the other areas of sagebrush!

Gene and I traversed an area of sagebrush the size of Kentucky, which was uphill in every direction, and full of suspicious cows. We did that several times before we decided to walk ourselves through the instructions Gene had received from someone who had once lived in the area.

Gene expects to receive the accident report for this aircraft sometime in the near future, at which time he will share with me and I will likely share it with you. That's just the kind of guys we are.

We were walking back to the cars to start again when we spotted a definite sign of aircraft...a piece of aluminum with rivets. It was most awesome to follow the pieces in an uphill direction and see the crash site. It was, as the instrucions had said, in a small indentation in the hillside. From the impact site (We assume) the wreck spread up hill in a triangular pattern. We found things that appeared to us to be parts of the landing gear, parts from the self-sealing fuel tanks, parts probably from the engine and turbocharger, and what is surely the side of a M2 Browning Machine Gun.

Some parts were surprisingly bulky, yet very light. Conversely, some of the components were remarkably heavy. No, we did not find any V-1710 pistons, that would have been cool! Considering the size of the original aircraft, there is not really very much left. It is mostly scraps of aluminum spread cross a hillside. Still, what was amazing to me was that the crash caused the aircraft to break up into such small pieces! Not one was larger than two feet, while the majority were considerably smaller than a foot. The boys from the base cleaned up the area pretty good.

1 comment:

Grandma Blog said...

Jim, you will have to talk to Uncle Hollis. He and one of his son's came across a plane wreck one time and they were the first to discover it. The authorties knew a plane had crashed and it had been searched for and couldn't be found. I think it was over in the mountains near where they live. They were not lookihg for it.