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Mtflyer

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 #1 

Last weekend I headed up to northern California to check out the crash site of the C-47D #43-49030 that crashed near Independence Lake on 10/26/50. I wasn’t sure of what wreckage remained at the site, but was hoping that the pieces that I’ve seen in photos hanging on the cliff face at the impact site remained. The crash site turned out to have more wreckage than I was expecting which made the long drive to reach the site worth doing. PHOTOS HERE


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Joe Idoni

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DaveTrojan

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 #2 
Thanks for visiting the crash site and sharing the photos.
That C-47 wreck is the site of a story I heard long ago, unfortuntunely I can't find a copy of it right now, but It goes like this.
Its called Rafferty's Bell.
The wreckage hanging from the side of the mountain would bang against the rocks in the wind causing a clanging noise that could be heard for miles around. Appearently the noise was heard for many years. It was nicknamed Rafferty's Bell because of the sound.  I wonder if it still makes noise in the wind?
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SixbyFire

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 #3 

Great photos! This one is on my list once my son gets a bit older.

Then again, the older he gets, the older I get, guess we'll have to find a middle ground...

Jeff

Mtflyer

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Dave, that's interesting info on the hanging wreckage. The wind out there that day was only strong enough to get it swinging a little and not enough to hit the rock wall. If you do find that story Rafferty's Bell I would be interested in reading it.

Jeff, I'm 56 and feel that I still have some years of climbing around the mountains in me yet, but I have been moving a little slower in the past few years.

Joe

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Joe Idoni

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AAIR

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 #5 

The article is Raffety’s Last Flight by Robert Koch and appeared in an old (1970s or 1980’S???) issue of Air Classics. (Joe I will send you a copy). Also Don Jordan wrote about this crash in his & Pat’s CA Aircraft Wrecks book.

As to the discrepancy in rank for Richard Luse—it was not uncommon, assuming the accident was not their fault, for the crew to receive a posthumous promotion. Among other thing, it allowed the next of kin to receive better benefits.


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

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 #6 
Craig is right.  The story of this accident is in the book.  But there is another story that may also  be of interest to some folks.  Especially is you are not that familiar with the hand held GPS units.  It's the story of how I used the GPS to find another C-47 crash that is very close to the Independence Lake site.

Mtflyer, you could chock up another crash site visit on this trip.  You drove right through the middle of the Hobart Mills crash site.  That C-47 crashed on March 19, 1946, coming down just west of the milling town of Hobart Mills.  Some time in the late 40s or early 50s they built the new highway going north out of Truckee toward Independence Lake.  The wreckage from C-47 #45-1085 was right in the way of the construction 7 miles north of Truckee and just before Prosser Creek.  So most of it was removed and disposed of.  Jim Rowan and I finally found what was left at the site by using the GPS.  We were able to identify the exact spot where the cockpit came down.  On that spot we found some small pieces of aircraft aluminum and a broken pair of pilot's earphones.  The aircraft broke up in flight, so it was pretty well scattered.  I also found a fuel valve assembly, and a very large control hinge.  We left the hinge sticking up out of an old tree stump to mark the spot.  There isn't much left up there today, but the point is that it is right on the road going north.  The story is very sad indeed, and has links that go back to World War II, the U.S.S. San Francisco, and my home town.

  One more thing about the Rafferty crash.  I was able to track down the people who placed that memorial to Luce in the cave.  I got the whole story of how the entire family hiked up that hill from the lake side carrying that stone.  I have that story and photos on my web site as well.

http://www.donrjordan.com/hobartmills.html
http://www.donrjordan.com/gps.html
http://www.donrjordan.com/stone.html

Don J.


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Mtflyer

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Craig, thanks for the copy of Koch's story and the info on Luse's promotion. That explains the his rank on the marker.

 

Don, that was an interesting story on the family placing the marker. I've read your story Hobart Mills C-47 years ago, but didn't know that I was going to drive right past it or I've would have taken the time to check it out.
 
Joe

 


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Joe Idoni

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DaveTrojan

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 #8 
can the article "Raffety’s Last Flight" by Robert Koch be posted on the board or can someone send me a copy please.

DaveT 
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 #9 

Hi Dave, done!


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XHunter

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 #10 
Nice one, Joe! Craig, can you please put me down for a copy too?

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AAIR

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I could, but no  (It is on its way).


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skyraider0609

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 #12 
Nice posting as always Joe. That piece you identify as a heat exchanger would have to be one of the engine oil coolers I think. I think you found one intact and the other one may be the thing that had alot of tubing spread out all over the ground.

I was curious about how the PIC of that C-47 could have been an enlisted man and thanks to Don Jordan's article, now I know. Interesting that the USAF's last flying sargeant was at the controls that day. Sad and ironic too that the one passenger was on his way home after finishing his enlistment. Thanks for the information Don.

Pete
djordan

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 #13 
I just found another photo of the C-47 tail section as it looked at the time of the crash.  I'm not sure, but I think Craig Fuller sent this to me some years ago.

Don J.

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Click image for larger version - Name: C-47_tail.jpg, Views: 124, Size: 86.88 KB 

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Don Jordan

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 #14 
I finally got to visit this site after many years of wanting to.

We paid our respects 64 years to the day of them being found.

Don J, the nickel you placed on the memorial was not there so I put my own down.

I had someone tell me that rock climbers had cut down the hanging wreckage and I was happy to find that not true at all. IMG_1682.JPG 


DaveTrojan

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 #15 
Thanks for the update and photo
DaveT
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