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Author Topic: Finding a plane  (Read 11837 times)


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Finding a plane
« on: July 11, 2015, 10:57:06 PM »

Hi from Chile!

This is an OT question (sorry) but I need an expert opinion and since you have a lot of experience in this topic I decided to ask here.
If a small plane (Cessna 172) crashes on a dense forest with lot of rain and a cold climate, do you expect to find some pieces after about 50 years? or it could be disintegrated by wet & water? I'm supposing a bad scenario, like the plane debris is scattered in a zone, not in 1 piece.

Hope you can help me to have a general idea.


Jeff Scott

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Re: Finding a plane
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 01:53:08 PM »

Hello John,

The aircraft wreck search groups I've worked with say there's always something left, the question is whether you can find it.

Being an all-metal aircraft made with relatively modern alloys, the Cessna 172 ought to leave many components that won't biodegrade or corrode away. The aluminum airframe, stainless steel landing gear, and engine are all likely candidates for identifiable debris. Based on your description of the location, I would be most concerned about wreckage being buried or overgrown and therefore hard to locate. Any post-crash fire could have also consumed much of the airframe.

Do you have any other details about the plane or circumstances of the crash you can share?  Any particular reason you are searching for it?  In any case, Good luck to you!
It's not too late to be great.


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Re: Finding a plane
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 11:01:12 PM »

Thanks for answering!

What you say is what I expected mostly, especially the fire & forest grow on the debris.
My particular interest is because several years ago I was told the story of a plane with a very known person aboard (1970s) that disappeared and never found. Once I decided to search info in the web and it was a surprise to read that the family organizes/organized a search effort yearly, with hope more than resources.
Then I found that a person who was one of who saw the plane for the last time wrote a book based on it experience. Since it's an island (big, but an island) and according to the witnesses I think it's highly possible that the plane crashed on land, althought nobody noted it. The area of possible impact is mainly a National Park, so no cities or very populated places are on it, but there are high mountains (no snow) that make a search very hard. A couple years ago occurred another crash in other part of the island, and despite it was found not much time after, was a very difficult task to recover them (only the bodies were rescued).

This video shows part of the environment of that place:

I have no planes knowledge or intention to go to search, but I believe the plane is still there, whatever its condition is, in the forest, awaiting.

Best regards
"John" (I have to change it) :)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 12:29:40 AM by Guillermo »

Russ Matthews

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Re: Finding a plane
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 04:52:26 PM »


You may be interested in looking at TIGHAR's survey of the Gillam Electra wreck in Alaska. While more substantial than a Skyhawk, it was comprised of similar materials and went down in a cold rainforest area over 60 years before being visited by our team ...
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