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Author Topic: Maid of Harlech makes UK Press  (Read 12386 times)

Chris Johnson

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Maid of Harlech makes UK Press
« on: May 08, 2010, 12:10:11 PM »

Flicking through todays papers I came accross an article in the Sun tabloid newspaper about the Maid and TIGHAR.

Attached link for your information


Jeff Lange

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Re: Maid of Harlech makes UK Press
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2010, 08:20:40 AM »

Nice short article. I had to chuckle out loud at the comment about , " may contain high octane fuel." Yeah- right. Like any fuel would still be combustible after 60 + years and the fact that the plane is buried in sand and under water. I think not! Maybe the Brits are afraid someone was going to steal the "fuel"???

Jeff Lange

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Maid of Harlech makes UK Press
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2010, 09:39:33 AM »

Well.... its actually an issue as we know it does contain fuel.

The cause of the ditching was fuel mis-management where the pilot took off using the aux tanks, and forgot to switch his fuel supply to the main tanks.  So, when fuel exhaustion from the empty aux tanks forced the aircraft down, it had full mains.  The landing damage was relatively minor so that fuel in the main tanks has been in there conveniently sealed up in a nice aluminum chamber at a steady 55-65 degrees F for the last 70 years.  There is likely a similar potential source of engine oils and other fluids, not to mention explosive charges or even munitions that we hope were removed at the time.

When we were there in 2007, the fuel filler caps had degraded to the point where every few minutes a drop of avgas would leak out and we could distinctly smell it, so the fuel is definitely there.  Based upon how it smelled, I wouldn't be surprised if it was still combustible, but my nose is not an octane meter by any means.  Exactly how much fuel remains is anyone's guess, but the plan for recovery has to assume that the mains contain fuel that has to be dealt with. 

Keep in mind that the Maid sits on the line between two ecological preserves, one marine, and the other shoreward, and the folks who administer those preserves are very concerned about any potential pollutants that may be released.  This is actually a good thing, as it gives us some leverage to make the case that recovering the aircraft would actually remove an existing known source of pollutants (even though fuel would likely evaporate before causing any damage). 


Matt Rimmer

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Re: Maid of Harlech makes UK Press
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 03:38:35 AM »

As Andrew says the presence of fuel is beyond doubt,in fact when The Maid was not covered by sand the smell of aviation fuel was one of the first things you noticed at the site.

How much fuel remains in the main tanks is impossible to estimate,but if we take the approach that the tanks are full we can plan on having that amount of fuel to deal with. We must also assume there is coolant and oil(both hydraulic and engine) present.  

« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 05:45:16 AM by Matt Rimmer »
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