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huron1988

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 363
 #1 
After looking at the pics in the Iceland B-17 thread, I started wondering how many crash sites there are for B-17's?

 http://www.aerovintage.com/b17loc.htm

In the Unrecovered Airframes section there are 26 crash sites listed for B-17's (Iceland one not listed). Would it be fair to say that there are 26 (27 now) known B-17 crash sites in the world? Obviously more B-17's than that crashed, does this refer to wreckage still in place sites. If no wreckage exists anymore does it count as a crash site and if no wreckage exists, how does one know it is a crash site? What counts as a crash site?

Just me thinking out loud, killing time at work!

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Jeff Benya
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DaveTrojan

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Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 1,695
 #2 

There are most likely hundreds of B-17 Crash sites in the U.S. and around the world. I know of half a dozen around Hollman AFB. A crash site can be anything from a single rivet and aluminun chips (micro site) to whole aircraft under the Ice (Iceland, Greenland). I've been to Yeagers F-104 crash site and about all that remains are a few rivets, On the other hand I've been to whole aircraft sites where the only thing missing was the pilot.  I'd say if you can find a part of the aircraft then it counts as a crash site. Of course finding a part with part numbers and inspection stamps confirms the fact.  A crash site must also be aircraft that crashed, not scrapped, salvaged or abandoned. This is an interesting topic. I believe that we should have some kind of standard rating system for crash sites 1-10 for amount of material and maybe letters that correspond for parts. for example:
"PN" for parts found with part numbers
"IS" for parts found with inspection stamps
"PI" personal Items (clothing, watches, buttons etc)
"P" parts found with color paint on them
"N" aircraft that have serial number or Buno number visible
"AV" Avionics found at the site
"G" for guns or other armament
"B" mostly buried

You can have sites that have lots of material, but nothing interesting or you can have micro sites with lots of interesting parts. I've been to both kinds. I would like to here from others on this idea.

DaveT

SkyPilot

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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 72
 #3 
a crash site is always a crash site, even after homes or a strip mall has been built on the site.

however, any wreckage may be long gone or perhaps might just be under the surface. 

pete


huron1988

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 363
 #4 

I like the rating system idea, it would give others an idea of what they are looking for when they get there.


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Jeff Benya
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AAIR

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Registered: 12/02/06
Posts: 553
 #5 

A number of us have used a 1 thru 10 system for a while. I found it not quite differentiating enough so I added + (plus) and – (minus) to it as well as 0.

 

0 is a site like sky pilot mention that has been built on or completely cleaned up.

1 is a site that you can easily pick up the largest piece with one hand.

2 is a site that the largest piece, while you might be able to pick it up with one had, you would really need two hands to hold it comfortably.

3 is a site that the largest piece can’t easily be picked up.

4 you are staring to have major pieces of the airframe intact, i.e. an elevator or wing tip.

5 is when bigger pieces of an airframe are left: a tail section, a wing, etc. Saratoga CA F2H on Nick’s website.

6 is when a major section of the fuselage is intact that one could fit inside of it.

7 better than 6 less than 8

8 A fair/moderate amount of the fuselage remains whole.

9 Most of the fuselage remains whole. Loon Lake ID B-23 (before it was salvaged) or the Twin Beech next to HWY 95 near Beaty NV.

10 The B-29 Kee Bird

 

The upper numbers are a bit ambiguous, but most sites are in the 1 to 3 range (hence the need for +/- to differentiate). A “4” site in above average. I try not to let “coolness” factor play in the decision i.e. rate an SR-71 higher than an F-84 that is really an equivalent site in terms of what is left.

 

A few problems with the system is what do you do at a “micro” site that has nothing but tiny bits of aluminum and one landing gear. If not for the gear the site would be a 1, but it is a big gear that can’t easily be picked up which would make it a 3. Or and equivalent site between and L-4 and a B-36—they are both “micro” sites other than the gear, but you can pick up the L-4s main gear in one hand but not the B-36’s. For this reason I ignore the gear and engines other than factoring in determining the + or -.


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Craig AAIR, Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research http://www.aviationarchaeology.com
MHensarling

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 679
 #6 

I think a site grading system or categorization method makes complete sense.

To take it a step further though, what good is a) having a national standard and/or b) collecting this information the same across all States - if it's not fed back to a central collection system?

As for micro sites or sites that have been redevleoped, I call those the "site of the crash", not a "crash site" which implies parts are there.

An item to discuss at the June meeting at Moffett would be ways to collect and manage this information across all of our efforts to create a more complete picture of AvAr in the United States.

Here in Colorado as part of the Colorado Aviation Archaeology group we've already created a forms system for mileage, etc, etc, .  One of the forms is the "Field Activity Report" and it's used to document one's activity for everything we do on a project (research,details, mileage, ground search, air search, etc) and those are brought back and collected and stored centrally.

We also use a grid system when documenting a site and we then grid the site out and what parts are found where. This allows us to feed this information back into a computer to create a digital crash site - as well as an inventory of what is there.  We keep track of what is there to see each year how much of a site has "vanished" this helps us with Federal and State land crashes and aids in their decision process on how to protect sites.

I, or Brian Richardson (our fearless leader), would be more than willing to discuss some of these practices when we all catch up in June if people think the discussion would be useful...


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Matt Hensarling
Denver, Colo.
DaveTrojan

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Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 1,695
 #7 
Matt,
The way you document a crash site is outstanding. I believe that using a standard Field Activity Report is the way to go. The question is who is going to volunteer to maintain a National Data Base?
DaveT 
MHensarling

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 679
 #8 
Dave -

Colorado AvAr is actually in the process of moving the paper form(s) to something that is web-based so that our Field Agents as we call them, can submit their activity report, including photographs, documents attachments, etc via the Web. Our reports and other project "data" is then grouped together by Project Number. Crash Sites numbers are "CS[twodigityear][Sequential Project #]", Air Fields are AF, etc, etc.

When the system is completed it will of course allow for search and retrieval of information based on a number of attributes (crash date, S/N, aircraft type, BuNo, etc) and provide the user with information about the crash, its current status, last review, etc. The reason for the on-line system is simple. The easier you make it for people to provide data, the more data will be provided. Doing things via the Web cut out a lot of manual paper manipulation and overhead as well.

To that end, I don't think it would be very hard for us to scale that out to simply include collection from a larger audience. We may have to figure out some sort of costing model to make sure the system is financially sustainable though.

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Matt Hensarling
Denver, Colo.
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