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Dennis

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 #1 
It all starts about 1-1/2 years ago.  I guy at work is telling me about a friend who has recovered some type of WWII plane that had crashed.  The story somehow had this guy's father witnessing the crash, assisting the pilot (who may, or may not have bailed out of the plane?), and later recovering the plane.  As the story went, the Army came in and removed 2 cylinders from the engine and declared the rest of the plane not worth recovering.  There was something in the story about the plane being from a private run military flying school (contractor?) and somehow it was connected with Avon Park Bombing Range.
  There were occasional discussions about the plane, and while I had an approximate location of the crash site, I did a search of AAIR's database but never was able to come up with a close match.  Really had me wondering.  The co-worker kept planning to drive over to see the remains, but plans kept getting changed and it never happened.  We hadn't discussed it in quite a while until I asked something about it on Tuesday of this week.  My friend mentioned something about "Jack Smith Ranch" (the site of the flying school and crash area), but nothing turned up from that. 
  I went home Tuesday intending to email Stearman wreckage fuselage.jpg  Stearman wreckage prop.jpg  Kathy, the "Cultural Resources Manager" (base archaeologist) at Avon Park Air Force Range, to ask her if she had heard anything about a private flying school teaching AAF personnel during WWII.  On Monday, Kathy had emailed me a link to a recent newspaper article about a former WWII pilot returning to A.P. where he had learned to fly, but it didn't mention anything about a private contractor.
  Imagine my surprise when I had an email from Kathy about a guy walking into her office on Monday with a story about Lodwick Aviation Academy, "Mel Smith" Auxiliary Field #1, and PICTURES of a Boeing PT-17 that had crashed, been abandoned and recovered form the orange grove on "Mel Smith Ranch".  The guy had apparently seen the article and decided to go share his story and pictures with Kathy.  It appears the guy is the son of the man who witnessed the crash and recovered the plane, which has been sitting in a barn all these years.
I don't know what the exact fate of the remains will be, but I'm trying to float the idea of getting the entire remnants of the plane placed in an appropriate museum, as-is, as an example of a WWII aircraft training accident.  Dennis
Sorry, I don't know how the pictures ended up in the middle of the text, but I can't get it to straighten out.  I also have an overlay picture showing an aerial of the airfield and the sign, but I can't get them to re-size to post them.  Dennis

DaveTrojan

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 #2 
I have seen much better PT  training plane wrecks in the deserts of the southwest. 
That thing is not worth much and certainly will never fly again

However, It maybe a good candidate for a wreck diorama, but you will need to discover its serial number,  history and context.  

Did you get to have a close look at the wreckage for data plate or part numbers? 

DaveT
Dennis

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 #3 
I have yet to be anywhere close to this wreckage.  Kathy is supposed to have a look at it and let me know about serial numbers.  Dennis
DaveTrojan

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 #4 
Dennis, It would make for some good YARD ART. About all it is good for. 

Several other wreck chasers that I know have aircraft pieces incorporated into their yards. 
DaveT
Dennis

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 #5 
Yeah, and my wife would apply some "good kitchen art" to my head.  On this afternoon's checking of the AAIR database, I only come up with 3 PT-17s from Avon Park that were level 5 of damage.  There were a few that were level 4 and a couple with no notes.  Closer examination of the photos shows this plane has the Continental R670 engine (others were the Lycoming R680 or the Jacobs R755.  It also appears that the instrument panel is still in the cockpit. Dennis 
tenacious101010

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 #6 
I wish we had a place for such things locally. So much history in this area, so few in the area realize it.

Dennis

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 #7 
Hey! Good to see you on here Denny.  We need to get together one of these days.  Dennis
tenacious101010

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 #8 
Hey Dennis, Hope you have been well. I have been ramping up my MacDill and Drew Field history gathering and research, that and work dont give me time for much. I spoke to the historian at Avon a couple of weeks ago. I have some images for her of B-17s at Avon Park. I believe she is writing an Avon park history and these might be good images for her. When I told her my name, she thought it was you playing a prank on her. I work in St pete now, isnt that where you live? I no longer have your phone number, I agree we should get together sometime. Did you tell me you knew a gentleman that was knowledable of the boat squadron at MacDill?

Dennis

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 #9 
The gentleman passed away about 8 months ago.  92 years old.  Yeah, let's try to get together some time.  Dennis.
tenacious101010

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 #10 
Sorry to hear that, so many of that generation are gone. 
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