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 Post subject: Long distance hike
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:13 pm 
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I am a casual aviation buff but it brings me into contact with guys and gals who specialize in extensive research, detective work and difficult investigations. Last Sunday I tagged along on a very long day hike to investigate a Curtiss P-40 crash site that has been undetected for almost 75 years, a sort of holy grail for WW2 aircraft wreck historians. The hardened peaks of the Sierras are witnesses to numerous civil and military aircraft accidents but few wrecks have remained undiscovered for as long as this site.

Full report and more pictures at my blog: http://suntothenorth.blogspot.com/2016/09/more-hidden-history-of-sierras.html

As I learn more about the P-40 I am updating the technical details related to the pictures.


On October 24, 1940, 19 Curtis P-40 Warhawks of the 57th Pursuit Group left March Field at Riverside, California, to fly to McClelland Field, in Sacramento, California. A short time after takeoff, the aircraft encountered heavy overcast conditions, and many of them became separated. Four planes went down in the area of Kings Canyon, resulting in one pilot being killed, and three pilots parachuting to safety.

The P-40 Warhawk (Ser. # 39-213) flown by 2nd Lt. John Harold Pease suffered engine problems, suddenly filling the cockpit with smoke. Pease forced the cockpit open to vent the smoke and saw that his propeller had stopped turning, forcing the pilot to bail out over the rocky and cold High Sierras.

Remarkably Pease landed unscathed, gathered up his parachute and hiked to a deserted hunter's cabin using his parachute to keep warm.

In June a cross country hiker accidentally discovered the crash site. A SoCal aviation wreck expert, Pat Macha put together a group of seven hardy souls to hike out and validate the wreckage on-site and identify key components of the plane on September 18th. One of the hikers is the son of Lt. Pease who is well and living in California after a long career in the USAF. Macha, co-author of "Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of California," counts more than 650 Sierra crash sites. His fascinating web site is at: http://www.aircraftwrecks.com/monuments/P-40_1.htm

Starting at 8 AM it would turn out to be a long day of cross country navigation for the hikers to reach and inspect the long hidden site. A friend and I had medium sized packs as opposed to smaller ones brought by others.

In my pack I toted:

5 liters of water due to high temps and unknown water source availability
decent first aid kit with emphasis on foot care, also water purification tablets
Wouxun UV8D radio
ESEE-6 blade, Delica folder and a Gerber Multitool
Bic lighter
light fleece, long sleeved shirt, windbreaker, gloves and shemagh
maps, compass, SPOT beacon and GPS
small camera
foil survival blanket
food to last the day with a little extra
large trash bag
headlamp
spare batteries
toilet paper

Image

We saw a lot of fresh signs of bear activity. My boot size is 10.5

Image

After hours of hiking and a few thousand feet of elevation gain we made it to the site and found artifacts that qualified the plane wreck as being a Curtiss P-40 (87 series).

Image

Other fascinating pieces led me to read a lot more about the famous Allison V-12 engines that had a mechanical supercharger.

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Remnants of the massive Allison V-12 engine

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Altogether we were on the trail for 10 hours, most of that being hiking time. This trip thoroughly tested my endurance and my land navigation skills and I felt confident that I could handle an unexpected emergency and overnight stay.

Please respect aircraft wrecks sites so that other adventurers may see them intact. Many sites are protected by a host of federal and local laws.

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 Post subject: Re: Long distance hike
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:34 pm 
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I've read this thread and your blog. It looks and sounds like a great adventure :)

Do you know how far you walked during the day? What sort of temperatures did you experience? How much of your water did you need?

(Sorry for all the questions; your account got me thinking about this sort of stuff.)

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 Post subject: Re: Long distance hike
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:27 pm 
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Great write-up and images! Any sign of the wings or body? Did these lighter parts just breakup into small pieces?

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 Post subject: Re: Long distance hike
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:35 pm 
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FlashDaddy wrote:
Great write-up and images! Any sign of the wings or body? Did these lighter parts just breakup into small pieces?


Thanks! The largest piece appeared to be from the tail and fuselage but it was fairly mangled too. I found some great photos and diagrams to show what the mechanical supercharger would have looked like in a normal state and some Allison factory photos of the engine assembly and layout. It gives an idea of the larger casting that it was broken out of.

The rusty looking part from the wreck is the rotating impeller and the aluminum vanes are fixed and act as a diffuser.

Image

This is an engine that is functioning and undergoing maintenance and the impeller and diffuser are in pristine shape..

Image

Factory diagram of the gear drive to the supercharger

Image

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My Introduction With Pictures: http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 10&t=79019" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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