Looking for aircraft wreckage | High Sierra Topix  

Looking for aircraft wreckage

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Looking for aircraft wreckage

Postby gdurkee » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:57 pm

A friend of mine wants to do a story on a T-33 (early military jet) that crashed in the Sierra/LeConte Canyon area in the mid-50s. The cowling was found in the Devils Crags area in the early 60s. The aircraft has never been found. The pilot bailed out and survived -- found about 2 months later having crawled, hopped down to Simpson with a broken (2??) ankle.

A couple of years ago some hikers told me they found wreckage in a chute on the east side of the crest somewhere above South Lake/Sabrina. They said they told the USFS, but that those folks didn't seem interested. I suggested they get ahold of the Park Service, who would have been very interested, but that didn't seem to have happened.

Anyone heard anything about this or yourselves found wreckage> Probably coming out of ice or snow??

Thanks,

George



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Postby dave54 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:40 pm

There used to be website somewhere that listed all the known airplane wreckages.

About 25? years ago the FS got some funding to remove a lot of the wreckages with the priority on debris in designated wilderness and areas of heavy visitor use. I don't know if the website ever reflected the changes.
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Postby SierraVisions » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:55 pm

A friend told me of a plane wreck on Wheeler Ridge that is still there. He said that it was in one of steep canyons above Squaw Meadows about two thirds of the way to the top. I believe he said that it happened in the the 60's.
I don't think that would be it though. It's a little to far north.
Steven
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Postby Shawn » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:02 pm

It was such a sad story about Lt. David Steeves. I first learned of his T-33 crash while watching a documentary on the tube.

Here's a very brief version for those unfamliar with the story:
http://www.aviation-history.com/lockheed/steeves.htm

A couple of years ago I shared a few emails with Don Jordan (he and a co-author have written a couple of books about "Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains...". http://www.donrjordan.com/

I asked him recently if he knew anymore about the missing T-33, he responded with "Parts of the canopy were found many years later. In fact my co-author, Pat Macha, has a pieces of that very canopy. The plane itself has never been found and is supposed to be in the area you described. Who knows, maybe someday it will be found.

Aside from the T-33 I've always wondered about the fate of a P-40 that was never found near Mt. Brewer / Upper Sphinx Creek area.
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T-33

Postby gdurkee » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:15 pm

Shawn:

Hugely interesting. I passed your information on to the author. I don't remember a wreck in the Brewer area. There's an old one that was mostly cleaned up towards Forester (60s??). Also, a number of civilian crashes in Center/Upper Bubbs in 70s & 80s.

Talking to my former supervisor, he thinks the wreckage I remember reported belonged to a civilian aircraft that went down in winter maybe 15+ years ago near Sabrina, below Echo Col.

There were a couple of employees in the 70s & 80s who took a huge interest in the location of the T-33. One was able to fly the suspect areas a number of times, but never found anything. Also, the frog surveys done in the 90s covered every lake throughout that area. Nothing was found. In addition, of course, the Morgenson search covered much of that area. Again, no clues. Gotta be out there somewhere though.

George
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Postby Shawn » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:41 pm

George,

Unfortunately Don Jordan's website no longer contains the text about the story of the "five P40's". As I recall the story, five P-40's were lost in the high Sierra, one of them was never found. This was a military flight of course, I believe in the forties. Thru much research, the conclusion was made that the missing P-40 is along the crest near Mt. Brewer or upper Sphinx area. Having been thru the area a few times it certainly gives me pause to wonder where that sole and the aircraft came to a final resting place.

Shawn
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:55 pm

Mtflyer sent me that link a few weeks ago when I asked him about it and I forgot to post it! The memory is the first thing to go! :retard:
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby AfterSeven » Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:47 am

Neat Stuff.

A year after the war, A B-17 or B-29, I can't remember which, crashed near my hometown when it glanced off the top of a 1000' "hill". The military swooped in, cordoned off the area, buried the plane with dozers. Newspaper clippings stopped a few days later. The engines flew off the wings rolled downhill and are still easily visible in a redwood forest today! Point being that remains should be visible, especially in an area with no topsoil, and with receding glaciers/snowfields.

Have you tried asking Tom Burge - Park Archiologist (tom.burge@nps.gov) or Ward Elderidge Park archivist? It's worth a shot, Remember we are talking about the US Govt here...record keepers extrordinaire. Incident reports are filed for bloody noses. I have seen the park archives and I have seen documents going back to the late 1800's. There are thousands of records from the 20's and 30's and I imagine the volume of records grows exponentially over time. They keep mundane things like personal correspondence to park rangers about bear sightings, or a big tree sighting going back 80 years....I bet a crash records of some sort exist.

Lastly, if the wreck is near leconte canyon, it could easily be on the Enchanted Gorge side of the Black Divide, an area that sees few, if any people each calendar year. I personally believe the high tarns (lakes) of the enchanted gorge is the most remote wilderness in the Sierra....and it would not surprise me if there are small areas that remain free of human exploration to this day....Food for thought. Now that Terraserver has .6 meter aerial images of the Sierra and that google has 1 meter images of most of the sierra, I would think you might be able to find an anomoly worth exploring.
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