Sunday, July 27, 2008

F4 Crash Site

This past March, I visited the crash site of an F-4 in the Mojave Desert. I read about it in Bill Mann's "Guide to 50 Interesting and Mysterious Sites in the Mojave Vol 2". That book has many interesting places to visit out in the desert. I recommend it (and Vol 1) to anybody who spends any time in the Mojave desert. There are only 3 Amazon reviews, but they're all very positive. I've even seen Mann's guide books at the Interagency Visitor centers at Lone Pine and Kelso.

Bill reports that the plane crashed on New Years day 1964. The crash is located near Sleeping Beauty mountain, in the Cady Mountains, right off I-40 across from Pisgah crater. There's a surprisingly large amount of debris at the site, making for a lot of curious wondering about what various parts might be.

I was with Mark and his dad on this adventure. The road there was easy enough for almost any car. Up the wash there was a steep sandy hill that I decided to not attempt in my MDX. I plan on returning this summer to try that hill with my new Land Rover. Dave's Ridgeline went up it, so it's not terribly hard.

The debris was scattered over a very large area. I walked over 50 yards away from the large engine parts and was still finding pieces. I won't attepmt to identify the parts in these photos. It was, however, interesting to note the differences in weight for various pieces, and the varying states of decay/corrosion. I suspect that some are steel and some are aluminum, or maybe it's much more complicated than that.

9 comments:

gravehunter said...

Nice pics. I visited the site today (Aug. 9, 2009) and realized that some of the directions that Bill Mann gave in his book are wrong.
I also noticed that at least one of the pieces of debris...the one with the red X was not there...at least not where I could see it.

Duane said...

nice pictures. but did you know there was a second A-4 jet crash in that area? the jet crashed in the lava fields close to pisgah crater, oppisite from the cady mountains. look up joeidoni.smugmug.com

michael said...

Duane: Thanks for the complement. Yup! I've been to the A-4 crash site also. I saw it on Joe's page and deduced where it was, then used a specular reflection in Google Earth to get a lat/lon to find it - critical because the terrain is so horribly rugged. Here's my blog about it.

I returned to the F4 crash site here.

Gino said...

This plane couldn't be from 64. I just visited this site with my son (3/2012) and found a hydraulic hose remnant with a metal serial band dated Feb 65.

michael said...

Gino, That's an excellent bit of investigation. I've been there many times and I have to admit that I didn't take that close a look at the parts there. Thanks! I hope there's still some stuff there. It seems each time I go there, more stuff has been removed by people.

Anonymous said...

The airplane was an F-4D, USAF serial no. 64-0940. It crashed on 13 July 1968. Using call sign Envy 88, Maj. Samuel Bakke was flying as wingman for Envy 86, a second F-4D. Envy 88 had experienced an electrical failure and was following Envy 86 to George AFB. Near Ludlow, Envy 88 suddenly yawed right and suffered a dual engine flameout. After multiple restart attempts failed, Bakke successfully ejected, but sustained injuries upon landing. Envy 86 initiated rescue efforts and Major Bakke was soon picked up by a passing Marine helicopter and taken to the George AFB hospital.

Anonymous said...

Nearly all the Actf is gone. Only small pieces are left. Wonder who takes this stuff?

Michael said...

Thanks for the update. That's sad. Interesting things like that are what many of us enjoy finding and seeing. If they're all removed, then we'll have to find new ways to amuse ourselves.

William Baker said...

I found an F-4 section of the left wing in a cow pasture near my house in NE Tennessee. As it was the only piece nearby and developers started building, I recovered it after several years. Showed my uncle, a former Lead Sled driver and he gave me a contact in California who worked in a USAF accident records office. I provided coordinates where found and photos including the in tact placard showing part and serial # and requested any info. They responded (1990-1991) that if I could give them the date of the accident then the could provide info. I thought, "great!"