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ChrisBaird

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 #1 

Not a plane crash, but an Airway Beacon crash.

Thanks to Craig Fuller for tipping me off to this as it is close to my house.  Last 150' to the top is very, very steep, glad I didn't bring the dog.

It is in the White Tank Mtns along the old CAM 33 L.A.-Phx airway.

I tried to get photos with my cheap drone but the wind was gusting and it kept drifting into the abyss so I couldn't go too high.

I found the generator shack foundation a couple hundred feet below the tower (just followed the old power poles, two of which were also fallen over).

The light lens was removed before it fell over.  I found no glass from it. Just broken ceramic insulators.

The black G.E. piece is a large insulator.

I paced off the tower at 42 feet as it lays so I think it was the standard 51' tower.  No cement arrow that I could find.

Chris Baird
http://www.arizonawrecks.com

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firemechjeff

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 #2 
Cool find Chris! How old is it? What caused it's demise?
Jeff
ChrisBaird

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 #3 
Was put there in 1940.

I couldn't figure out why it was laid over.

Whether it got old and blew down or was deliberately pulled down.
Dennis

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 #4 
I suspect they pulled it down with a tractor or something for safety reasons.  There were 2 "observation" towers on Egmont Key, an island in the mouth of Tampa Bay that had been fortified after the Spanish - American War.  The military part of the island was abandoned somewhere around WWI and at some point, maybe as late as the 60s, the northern tower was pulled down by a powerful boat.  As I understand it, people were climbing up the 100 feet of stairs to the observation room, which was no longer safe.
Given the proximity of your tower to what appear to be houses in the background, I suspect a similar course of action happened there as well.  
Good pictures Chris.  Dennis
DaveTrojan

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 #5 
This is the same type of sign
vintage-porcelain-govt-property.jpg 

ChrisBaird

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 #6 
Where'd you get that sign, Dave?

Yes it's the same size.
DaveTrojan

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 #7 
The photo of the sign came from the web. One was sold on eBay. I wish I owned one.
AZTrailer47

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 #8 
Great photos Chris - the tower might have been tornado-ed, or simply removed as an obstacle if abandoned.  I've been to the power shed site but the ridgeline appeared to be off-limits.  Pictures of the tower base legs, probably set in concrete, would indicate if the tower main legs were (a) unbolted, (b) torched off, or (c) broken off if the tower fell. 

Generally abandoned beacon towers were donated by the FAA to new city airports as nav-aids, which is the case for some in our area - New Mexico.  Removing a tower without a crane requires careful rigging and stability - otherwise, atastrophe -  "over she goes." 

In the 1930s and later CAA/FAA days, towers were often moved to & from remote hilltop sites, removed the same way they were erected - hand tools, pulley blocks, one level at a time.  Our own museum tower here at KGNT was 62 feet tall when donated, but but the bottom 11 feet were all bent from the demob.  Voila - a standard 51-foot tower.

Hope you got some pics of the condition of the 4 base legs??  That would tell the story - but I'm betting it was storm damage or else obstacle to flight.....

Steve O. IMG_3996.jpg  Williams tower 8-18-06.jpg

 
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ChrisBaird

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 #9 

Steve,

Thank you for the great information.   It makes me want to go back up there and re-survey it more carefully.

This tower's legs have not been sawn off.  So you may be right and it blew over.

I took photos of one guy-wire anchor (if that's what it is).  The anchor end had no cable or wire on it, and there was none on site.  So like Dennis said, it may have been knocked down.

It is accessible.  I came in directly from the west (BLM or park land?).  No fences, no barriers, no signs. But mountain goat steep. The better route would be the southern spine - also open access.
I did not even try from the east.  The AZ Army National Guard base is there and I just assumed it would be blocked, but I don't know for certain.

There's a quarry directly south which you have to skirt around.

Cheers,

Chris Baird
http://www.arizonawrecks.com

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AZTrailer47

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 #10 
Thanks Chris - great photos! With the tower base leg bolts still intact, it seems clear that the tower was brought down by a powerful force - wind or machine?

I visited this site from the east road access, which was posted off limits by the National Guard training complex. It was on a weekend so no one was on hand. I did not try the west side as I assumed it was all private, or under surveillance.

As for storm winds, I suppose the tower also *could have been pulled down with a tractor, maybe when the microwave site was constructed? Possibly it was considered a hazard for helicopter work on that site, especially if the beacon had been long decommissioned / of no value.

I can't tell about your tower's beacon deck but would guess that the light (and electrical cabinet?) was removed long before?? upon abandonment of the airway beacons line.

FYI, there are/were 4 beacon tower stub legs (silver color) at the very east end of So Mtn Park, north side of entry road on a hilltop above the golf course. Photos from 2010, however

Best - Steve

 
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ChrisBaird

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 #11 
I didn't know about the one on South Mountain, I'll have to go check that out.

Do you know if the beacons on Newman Peak and Picacho Peak are completely gone?
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