Extra Life

Extra Life
Please consider donating to help sick kids

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

B-52 Crash site

For their 45th Wedding anniversary (in November) my parents asked us to join them at a home they had rented for the week in Greenville ME near Moosehead Lake. By us I mean my brother, his wife, and son, my sister, her husband and daughter and myself and my fiancee. Its a lovely area if you into the outdoors or just relaxing.  We played many games of cribbage and Rummy and both my niece and nephew loved playing with the pirate ship I gave my nephew for his birthday. Ariana and I also took a few drives and one of them took us to the sight of a plane crash form 1963 on Elephant Mountain.
  The remains of this B-52 have been left (or returned to ) at this location as a memorial to the seven men who died (and in a larger sense to all who died in Strategic Air command during the Cold War.
 The Drive in is a little harry in a small compact car, a Jeep, SUV or truck would have no problem at all.  Even with my Camry it was no real challenge just one stretch that was a bit rough. Once at the parking lot you find the the debris field right away
 Plaque reminding all that this sacred ground maintained by the local RV association. The Following is taken form Wikipedia :
The crew's training mission was called a Terrain Avoidance Flight to practice techniques to penetrate Advanced CapabilityRadar (ACR) undetected by Soviet air defense during the Cold War. ACR training flights had already been made over theWest Coast of the United States on Poker Deck routes. This was to be the first low level navigation flight, utilizing terrain following radar, in the Eastern United States.[2][3]The crew, consisting of two 99th Bombardment Wing Standardization Division crews based at Westover Air Force Base,Massachusetts, and two instructors from the 39th Bombardment Squadron6th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Walker Air Force BaseNew Mexico, was briefed for six hours the day before the accident. They had the choice of flying over either theCarolinas or Maine.[2]The B-52C departed Westover AFB at 12:11 p.m. on Thursday, 24 January 1963, and was scheduled to return to Westover at 5:30 p.m.[4]The crew spent the first 95 minutes of the flight calibrating their equipment. Upon receiving updated weather information for both available routes they chose the northern one. They were supposed to begin their low level simulated penetration of enemy airspace just south of Princeton, Maine, near West Grand Lake. From there, they would head north to Millinocket and fly over the mountains in the Jo-Mary/Greenville area. They planned to turn northeast near Seboomook Lake and southeast near Caucomgomoc Lake to proceed through the mountains of northern Baxter State Park. After crossing Traveler Mountain, the aircraft was supposed to climb back to altitude over the Houlton VOR Station.[2]One hour later, around 2:30 p.m. the Stratofortress crossed the Princeton VOR, descended to 500 feet (150 m) and started its simulation of penetrating enemy airspace at low altitude with an airspeed of 280 knots (520 km/h; 320 mph). The outside temperature was −14 °F (−26 °C) with winds gusting to 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) and 5 feet (1.5 m) of snow on the ground.[4][5]Approximately 22 minutes later, just after passing Brownville Junction in the center of Maine, the aircraft encountered turbulence. The pilot and crew commander, Westover's Most Senior Standardization Instructor Pilot, started to climb above it when the vertical stabilizer came off the plane with a "loud noise sounding like an explosion".[3][5] Having suffered severe damage, the B-52C went into a 40-degree right turn, with nose pointed downward. The pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft when he could not level it.[2][4]Only the upper flight deck crew members of the B-52C have ejection seats that eject them upwards. The seats of the pilotcopilot, and electronic warfare officer (a navigator also trained in electronic warfare) function at any altitude, as long as the airspeed is at least 90 knots (170 km/h; 100 mph), which is the minimum required to inflate their blast propelled parachutes. The lower-deck crew members eject on a downward track. Hence, the navigator and radar navigator cannot safely eject at altitudes less than 200 feet (61 m). Spare crew members do not have an ejection seat at all. They must use parachutes and jump out of the navigators' hatch after the navigators have ejected or drop out of the aircraft's door.[5] The tail gunnerhas his own unique escape option: he can sever the tail gun and jump aft out the resulting hole in the rear.[6][7]The navigator, who was operating as electronic warfare officer, ejected first. He was followed by the pilot and the copilot; there was neither enough altitude nor time for the six lower-deck crew members to escape before the aircraft crashed into the west side of Elephant Mountain at 2:52 p.m.[4][5]The copilot suffered fatal injuries, striking a tree 1 mile (1.6 km) away from the main crash site. The pilot landed in a tree 30 feet (9.1 m) above the ground. He survived the night, with temperatures reaching almost −30 °F (−34 °C), in his survival kit sleeping bag atop his life raft. The navigator's parachute did not deploy upon ejection. He impacted the snow-covered ground before separating from his ejection seat about 2,000 feet (610 m) from the wreckage with an impact estimated at 16 times the force of gravity. He suffered a fractured skull and three broken ribs. The force bent his ejection seat and he could not get his survival kit out. He survived the night by wrapping himself in his parachute.[2][4]grader operator on a remote woods road witnessed the final turn of the Stratofortress and a black smoke cloud after impact.[2] Eighty rescuers from the Maine State Police, the Maine Inland Fish and Game Department, the Civil Air Patrol as well as Air Force units from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, along with others from New Hampshire andMassachusetts and other volunteers went to work. Search aircraft were on the scene, but they searched too far south and east to locate the wreckage before nightfall.[3]After the crash site was located the next day, Scott Paper Company dispatched plows from Greenville to clear 10 miles (16 km) of road of snow drifts up to 15 feet (4.6 m) deep. The rescuers had to use snowshoes, dog sleds and snowmobiles to cover the remaining mile to the crash site. At 11 a.m. the two survivors were airlifted to a hospital by a helicopter.[3][4]
 Wreckage goes up the hill about 300 yards or so.
 Some parts are very easy to recognize like this landing gear
 I believe this was part of the fuselage probably the section just behind the cockpit.
 Official memorial to the fallen
More reminders of the sacredness of the ground and warnings not to salvage pieces.
The story of the flight. More images can be seen at Fencing Frog Gaming Adventures