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err

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Posts: 3
 #1 
I'm looking for information on the C-78 (42-58475) that went down in Western North Carolina on 1/31/44. I have read Associated Press articles dated Sept 7 1946, Sept 10, 1946 & Sept 11 1946 stating the wreckage had been found. I have also read an article from Maryville Times dated Jan 23 1947 making reference that the C-78 is still missing. According to aviation reports that I have found, the plane is still listed as missing. I have exhausted google search, have requested accident/other reports, and have just ordered the book - Aircraft Crashes In The Smky Mtns N.P. 1920-2000 - by Jeff Wadley / Dwight McCarter.

Some questions I have:
1. Is the plane still missing?
2. If so, what plane crashed / found in 1946 prompted the press to think the C -78 had been found? And was a retraction ever ran in the papers explaining the error?
3. What other planes went down in the general area?
4. And if the crash site has been found, when? Any details?

Any help, information, or advice would be appreciated.
please feel free to email me also.

--ERR
Brad

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 #2 
Hi,
Welcome to the Board.
Sorry, I don't know anything about this particular crash but the AAIR website had this. You could order the Air Force report on the incident from them for a modest fee. http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Brad

440131  UC-78 42-5847536PMS 74TRGMorris Field, Charlotte, NC 3 KMIS 5 Bumberg, Irving USANC Unknown 
JR

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 #3 
I have an extensive archive on missing planes within the United States.  Several years ago, when Tony Mireles was researching his volumes on WWII USAAF stateside crashes, he asked me to provide him information on some of the hundreds of missing aircraft that were not found by the end of the war. Many of these aircraft were not found until decades after the war ended, but the US Air Force never closed many of the wartime missing plane reports. This UC-78 was one of them.

What my research found basically confirms what you have found.  In September, 1946, two lumberjacks found what was thought to be the wing of the missing UC-78.  This reopened the search that involved the first use of a helicopter in a civil SAR operation.  There was confusion whether the missing UC-78 was actually found and the media actually reported it found. But what was found was the wreckage of another UC-78 that crashed in the same area in 1943. I have not been able to find which aircraft this was though it was a previously recovered crash site and I could not find whether an article making a retraction or correction was ever made in the media.

In January, 1947 the Air Rescue Service reopened the search with military resources that included two helicopters. Again, nothing was found.

So, as far as I can tell the UC-78 has never been found. I have the book on aircraft crashes in the Great Smokey Mountains that you just ordered.  It is an excellent resource. It also states that the plane has never been found.

A side note.  There was another plane involved with the research at Oak Ridge that vanished in the Smoky Mountains, a Model 17 Staggerwing that vanished on a flight on 12 August 1944.  That one was also the subject of an extensive search that lasted well into the post war years. It was finally found by hikers in January, 1947.

What Tony and I found was that there are hundreds of wartime accident reports involving missing planes that have never been closed out even after the missing plane was found.  We found many of the so called "missing planes" were found within a few years after the war and in some cases, as many as 35-50 years later. It appears that when the US Air Force came into existence in 1947, they did not follow up or close out old USAAF missing plane reports.
err

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 #4 
Brad & JR,
 Thanks for the information - very helpful.

 Brad, I have submitted a request for those records, awaiting an email response on what is available and cost.

 JR, very helpful information. I plan on researching the other crashes that were confused with / found near the suspected area of 42-58475 in hopes of gaining more information about the missing C-78.
huron1988

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 #5 
I believe that one of those planes may have either gone down or been found (can't remember which) during the search for Gen. Wurtsmith's plane that went down on Cold Mountain in 1946. I'll check my records and get back to you.

See this post: http://pacaeropress.websitetoolbox.com/post/cold-mountain-nc-wurtsmith-b25-crash-5234970

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Jeff Benya
http://www.mi-aviationarchaeology.com
AAIR

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 #6 

The accident report on 42-58475 indicates they searched for the plane again during the investigation of:

Date

ACType

AAFSN

Sqdn

Grp

STA

AF

Action

D

Pilot

Cnty

State

Location

450408

TB-17F

42-6133

 

3704BU

Kessler Field, MS

 

KCR

4

Henkel, Richard C

USA

TN

27M NE Tellico Plains, TN

I did a brief scan of this report and did not see any mention of the additional search.

 

The plane the wing section was found from in Sept 1946 was:

Date

ACType

AAFSN

Sqdn

Grp

STA

AF

Action

D

Pilot

Cnty

State

Location

430813

AT-17

42-004

  

Greensboro, NC

 

KLoC

5

Brennan, James F

USA

NC

2 Mi W Maggie, NC


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

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Posts: 3
 #7 
Thanks AAIR. I got the report and will be going through it over the next few days.
Looks like I also may need to study the find of the AT -17 (42-004) as the search for it seems to have connections to the missing UC -78.
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