Missing P-40 Located in Southern Sierra

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Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 21, 2016 - 04:25pm PT
I decided this needed a separate thread, I was posting it in the 1977 crash thread as a curiosity until Marmot astutely recognized this as the missing P-40. I just got confirmation from the expert, Pat Macha, that I have located the P-40 that has been missing for 72 years.

Jon,

You have located the Curtiss P-40 39-213 flown by 2nd Lt. J.H. Pease. The bailout date is 10/24/41. Your find is historic, and to my knowledge no one who looks for aircraft wrecks has seen this site.
The site should not be disturbed in any way. The site has the protection of the Antiquities Act if it is located on federal land. The prefix number for the P-40 Tomahawk is 87-. An example is 87-23-156, or 87 25 071. 87 is the key prefix.

The missing P-40 flown by Len Lydon is located in Sequoia Kings Canyon Park somewhere close to where he bailed out.

If you have any additional photos Iíd be glad to see them too, and what you have sent are great!

Is there any chance of visiting this site with you sometime this summer?

Thank you for contacting me, I greatly appreciate it.

G. Pat Macha
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Jun 21, 2016 - 04:33pm PT
Very cool find! After all these years too...
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 21, 2016 - 04:36pm PT
Where exactly did you find it?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 21, 2016 - 04:39pm PT
According to posts and letter, that's the Pease site. It's a known.

that I have located the P-40 that has been missing for 72 years.

What am I missing here?

From Marmot1, other thread...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=73572&msg=2832825#msg2832825

The first to experience engine problems was Lt. John Pease and he bailed out 15 miles north of Lake Isabella near Wild Rose Canyon. Lt. Pease survived and his P40 was recovered.
Lt. W.H. Burrell's bird crashed north of Bass Lake at Gray's Mountain to which a memorial monument was placed next to the only remaining artifact the engine.
Two others are located in the Sequoia National Forest area. Lt. Jack C. West crashed just west of the Roaring River Ranger Station and survived. Some debris still remains at that location.
Lt. Richard N. Long crashed and wasn't discovered until 1959 southwest of South Guard Lake at 11,200 feet, to which a memorial stone was placed. Some debris still remains at that location.

The fifth bird has never been located, even though many professional wreck hunters searched the Sequoia National Forest area, but never found a clue of its whereabouts.
The pilot, Lt. Leonard C. Lydon, bailed out and survived, but the location of the wreckage remains a mystery today.

re: Pease plane
to my knowledge no one who looks for aircraft wrecks has seen this site -Macha

so it appears we have a bit of conflicting info
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Jun 21, 2016 - 04:40pm PT
Amazing! Congratulations!
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Jun 21, 2016 - 04:49pm PT
people were running dope in '41?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 21, 2016 - 04:53pm PT
Yes, better to trust an expert (Macha) than a reporter probably.

Marmot1 link...

http://www.sierrastar.com/2010/07/07/52848/searching-sequoias-mount-brewer.html
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 21, 2016 - 05:22pm PT
So I believe what High Fructose Corn Syrup is saying is that
if Pease's P-40 crash site was 15 miles N of Lake Isabella,
and your newly found P-40 crash site is 5 miles N of Kennedy Meadows,
the new one can't be Pease's P-40. (This assumes due N, but might match if NE of Lake Isabella).
But it could be Lydon's.
So why did Pat Macha list serial numbers for Pease's plane?
Did Pat Macha miswrite, and the serial numbers were for Lydon's plane?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2016 - 05:53pm PT
I am also confused, I emailed Pat Macha for clarification. I think what I found was bits and pieces at the Pease site based on this article:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/149355/Mystery-of-the-Nevada-Triangle

Fuller cited another example, that of Lt Leonard C Lydon who parachuted to safety in 1941 after his Army fighter squadron got lost over the mountains.

He saw his P-40 fall within a mile of where he landed in the remote Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

But to this day the wreckage has never been found.

Edit

Pat got back to me and I think he cleared it up. The Pease plane was recovered and what I found is what remains.

Peaseís plane is not missing, but once the rescue was effected the site was forgotten about. Years later some folks wanted to find Peaseís plane, but the information about itís location was vague at best.
During the Project Tomahawk recovery efforts of the late 1980ís interest in the Pease P-40 ramped up. Lydonís P-40 is somewhere near the Sphinx Crest or Mt. Brewer, and has never been found. Just like
Lt. David Steeves T-33A has never been found in the SEKI area.

In the course of my research I interviewed Jack West and Walt Radovich, both of whom bailed out of P-40ís assigned to the ill-fated flight of 10/24/41. Other P-40 pilotís also stated that once you bail out of the P-40 aircraft
it drops like a rock.

The Pease P-40 may have been seen by hunters and hikers who thought it was just ďanother old plane wreckĒ. The BT-13 that you wrote was removed by the Sierra Club in the late 1970ís. I have photos of it in my archive. There are many other
crash sites in the general area that you were hiking in, mostly light private aircraft.

Hope this clears things up.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 21, 2016 - 06:53pm PT
Cool - thanks for the update / clarification!
Threads like this are great because you find out what people know besides climbing (and not politics...)!
Moof

Big Wall climber
Orygun
Jun 21, 2016 - 07:01pm PT
Any pics?
zBrown

Ice climber
Jun 21, 2016 - 07:02pm PT


Nice work and yes indeed, a new thread is warranted.

The guy I used to work for owned this Mustang P-51. I wasn't offered a ride.



EDIT:

RENO

Qualification Rounds (September 9-11, 1996)

John Penney, flying Lyle Shelton's Grumman Barecat "Rare Bear," set the pace in the qualifying rounds by establishing a new course record of 491.266 mph. DGP also let it be known that his modified P-51 "Dago Red" was back in top racing form by qualifying at 490.826 mph.

DGP crashed one year and gave up flying in the races and the plane.

Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Jun 21, 2016 - 07:13pm PT
The site has the protection of the Antiquities Act if it is located on federal land

Really? The President has declared it a historic or scientifically valuable site?

sounds fishy. Get a real park archeologist if you show anybody.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 21, 2016 - 07:22pm PT
Hope this clears things up.

I'm not sure.

Aren't 15 mi n of Isabella and 5 mi north of Kennedy Meadows quite a distance apart.

Jon, your pics are from the 5 mi north of Kennedy Meadows site?

I recently found a crash site in a remote off trail area 5 miles north of Kennedy Meadows. -Jon

The Pease remains are NOT 5 mi N of KM, or are they?


So apparently (a) 5 mi N of Kennedy Meadows and (b) 15 mi N of Isabella are the same locale: the Pease locale. Rough values it seems.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jun 21, 2016 - 07:26pm PT
people were running dope in '41?

Sure.

Marijuana, opium and cocaine were illegal back then. There has always been a drug-abusing element in American society.

For example, right after the Civil War, opium and morphine addiction spiked. The same thing probably happened after World War I.

The anti-marijuana propaganda film, Reefer Madness came out in 1936. The "reefer" back then would have been coming in from Mexico, like it does today.


The sheer volume of today's smuggling operations tremendously dwarf those of 1941, for sure.

But, people have been smuggling drugs and other contraband into the United States since before it was a nation. Florida has been a haven for pirates and smugglers since at least the 17th century.





EDIT:

The guy I used to work for owned this Mustang P-51. I wasn't offered a ride.


How did you expect the pilot to operate the controls, with your sitting on his lap?

That thing only has one seat (unless it's a rare trainer version, or has been modified).
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 21, 2016 - 07:55pm PT
" Lydonís P-40 is somewhere near the Sphinx Crest or Mt. Brewer, and has never been found. Just like Lt. David Steeves T-33A has never been found in the SEKI area."

That's interesting. I was teaching an Outward Bound course along the Silliman Crest back in the 90's, and found a bunch of large caliber ammunition rounds way off trail. After taking some pictures, we turned them over to the SEKI NPS.

Related?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2016 - 08:02pm PT
The Steeves story is fascinating

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Steeves

http://www.getouttheremag.com/articles/2943/the-mystery-of-lt-david-steeves
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Jun 21, 2016 - 08:23pm PT
Tom posted:
That thing only has one seat (unless it's a rare trainer version, or has been modified).
Many (most of the surviving examples?) have been modified to include a second seat. Many such conversions were done by the Cavalier Aircraft Co.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 21, 2016 - 09:33pm PT
All you do is take the fuel tank out behind the pilot's seat and put in
a small one. Then you can charge $1500/hr for rides.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 21, 2016 - 11:01pm PT
Fruitnuts had a good question?

this whole story sounds contribed
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