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 on: December 02, 2022, 07:15:46 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Bill Mangus
The C-47 which had a wing repair at Canton Island and subsequently crashed there was 43-30739, as I recall.

 on: December 02, 2022, 06:46:37 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Kurt Kummer
I agree with you about the 335/385 question Christian.  The top part of the first and second numerals being flat vs rounded indicates that the number is 385, and not 335.

 on: December 02, 2022, 01:52:38 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Christian Stock
The first 3 in "385" looks just like the 3 in 3D, but a different size. They both have a flat top, unlike the middle digit in 335/385, leading me to believe it's 385. Are these shop markings? They don't look like Fred's printing. The look like they were done with pencil, and it looks like well-practiced handwriting. Pencil lead would wear off eventually in the surf, but would protect the metal underneath for a time.

Could XRO be that someone wrote RO, then later an X to signify that it was wrong, or not to be used for a purpose? In Army Aviation, we always marked scrap metal and old parts with an X. Maybe this was a field expedient patch using whatever scrap was around. If this was the window patch, is the writing on the inside or outside?

We always referred to aircraft by the last 3 of their tail number, so something like a Huey with the tail number 70-15247 (a 1970 production) would be almost universally referred to as "247".

Possible culprits: Fred, a Miami mechanic, or an Army C-47 Navigator or Mech?

 on: November 30, 2022, 03:21:07 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Kurt Kummer
Interesting and perhaps hopeful news from Penn State!

 on: November 09, 2022, 06:59:37 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Don White
In imagining this, I picture a post-crash fire as the remaining fuel that did not go up in the initial explosions continued to burn (perhaps a burning gasoline slick) and consume the combustible parts of the airplane (which was most of it) that remained above water. This might even explain some damage to found artifacts, such as the oily cylinder apparently blown apart, perhaps by being heated in a fire with oil inside it.

Don W

 on: November 09, 2022, 05:43:46 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Jeff Lange
Very nice podcast! Well present Ric.

 on: November 09, 2022, 01:29:14 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Ric Gillespie
Pure genius.

 on: November 09, 2022, 01:23:44 PM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Christian Stock
Oh, I've slipped the surly bonds of earth
And hovered out of ground effect on semi-rigid blades;
Earthward I've auto'ed and met the rising brush of non-paved terrain
And done a thousand things you would never care to
Skidded and dropped and flared
Low in the heat soaked roar.
Confined there, I've chased the earthbound traffic
And lost the race to insignificant headwinds;
Forward and up a little in ground effect
I've topped the General's hedge with drooping turns
Where never Skyhawk or even Phantom flew.
Shaking and pulling collective,
I've lumbered The low untresspassed halls of victor airways,
Put out my hand and touched a tree.


 on: November 08, 2022, 10:46:59 AM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Ric Gillespie
I was recently asked to help with a podcast episode - part of a series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force - the touches on Amelia Earhart's connection with the RCAF and Toronto.  You can hear it at

It's pretty interesting, although they got one detail wrong.  Toronto resident Gertrude Crabb, who heard distress calls from AE, was not a ham.

At the end of the episode we talked about RCAF pilot John Gillespie Magee.  I welcomed the opportunity to recite High Flight because I've always felt that only pilot can do justice to that poem.  They did a nice job setting it up and including some music.  It's worth a listen.

 on: October 30, 2022, 09:57:28 AM 
Started by Ric Gillespie - Last post by Ric Gillespie
5. How buoyant would the wreckage have been with the engine and fuel tanks remaining? Much of the remainder of the plane was wood. Could it have “flown,” coasted, drifted or been blown (or carried by ice) to or onto the island? If it did, the location of the wreck (and the engine) could easily be some distance from the island. I suggest some attention be paid to the magnetic anomalies in the pond that are located some distance to the the south of the island.

You betcha.

6. The scenario of the engine becoming a projectile, especially given the likely crash scenario of the aircraft catching a wingtip and suddenly rotating nose-in, seems improbable.


7. Is it possible that the pilot was aiming for or near the island and the deeper water around it, confidently expecting to land safely, but with a failing engine that would prohibit taxiing later to shore? Did the White Bird carry a dingy?

No dinghy.

See the October 2022 issue of TIGHAR Tracks.  This looks to me like a stall/spin, with the aircraft crashing almost vertically into the water, the engine driven into the fuel tanks causing the explosions, and buoyant debris (including aluminum still attached to wooden structure) wind driven onto the island or washed through the outlet at the northwest end and done the Branch River.

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