View Full Version : Aircraft wreckage found in California...

2nd Oct 2008, 14:09
May be from Steve Fosset's aircraft.

It was on the news here an hour ago. Found this (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/3121394/Steve-Fossett-search-teams-spot-wreckage.html) on the net.

Alloa Akbar
2nd Oct 2008, 15:57
Apparently they have found his plane.. confirmed. No body though.

2nd Oct 2008, 16:52
Take a look at the terrain on Google Earth.

From what I know as a Co-Pilot and Navigator with the Civil Air Search & Rescue Assoc here in Canada, the lack of a body after this amount of time is not all that surprising. Even when bodies do not disintergrate upon initial impact, there are many large predators in that type of terrain (mountain lion, bear and coyote) which could quickly consume all edible remains. The usual items our people find after this amount of time are non-edible things that were carried off from the initial scene while still attached to body parts - clothing / wallets / watches etc are typical examples.

All very sad and will no doubt be great fuel for the conspiracy theorists. If the forensic / insurance people are after conclusive DNA, my advice would be to check animal scat (bone) remains over an area around 5 miles of the site.

2nd Oct 2008, 17:27
A billionaire ends up as mere coyote poop? That makes rather a nonsense of all this stuff we humans strive for, doesn't it?

Boy, am I glad I didn't bother to work harder in school if this is the sort of treatment fate can hand out!

2nd Oct 2008, 19:56
Adventurer Fossett's plane found - 03 Oct 2008 - NZ Herald: International and World News (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10535500)

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Adventurer Fossett's plane found
7:19AM Friday Oct 03, 2008

Searchers found the wreckage of Fossett's plane in California's rugged Sierra Nevada. Photo / AP
Fossett's plane found
Wreckage of Fossett's plane found
MAMMOTH LAKES, California - Searchers have found the wreckage of aviator Steve Fossett's plane in California's rugged Sierra Nevada mountains.

The millionaire adventurer vanished just over a year ago on a solo flight, and the craft appears to have hit the mountainside head-on, authorities said.

Most of the plane's fuselage disintegrated on impact, and the engine was found several hundred feet away at an elevation of 2,956 meters, authorities said.

"It was a hard-impact crash, and he would've died instantly," said Jeff Page, emergency management coordinator for Lyon County, Nevada, who assisted the search.

Crews conducting an aerial search late Wednesday spotted what turned out to be the wreckage in the Inyo National Forest near the town of Mammoth Lakes, Sheriff John Anderson said. They confirmed that the tail number found matched Fossett's single-engine Bellanca plane, he said.

Fossett, 63, disappeared on September 3, 2007, after taking off in a plane he borrowed from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton. A judge declared Fossett legally dead in February following a search for the famed aviator that covered 51,800 square kilometres.

Anderson said no human remains were found in the wreckage.

"It's quite often if you don't find remains within a few days, because of animals, you'll find nothing at all," Anderson said.

Teams led by the sheriff's department would continue the search for remains Thursday, while the National Transportation Safety Board was en route to probe the cause of the crash, he said.

Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the NTSB, said the agency has reviewed photographs of the site and after a preliminary look, "it appears to be consistent with a nonsurvivable accident." He also said it was "indicative of a high-impact crash."

The NTSB would bring in a private contractor to help with recovery of the airplane, Rosenker said. "It will take weeks, perhaps months, to get a better understanding of what happened," he said.

Searchers began combing the rugged terrain on Wednesday, two days after a hiker found Fossett's identification. The wreckage was found about a quarter-mile (400 meters) from where hiker Preston Morrow made his discovery Monday.

The IDs provided the first possible clue about Fossett's whereabouts since he vanished.

"I remember the day he crashed, there were large thunderheads over the peaks around us," Mono County Undersheriff Ralph Obenberger said, gesturing to the mountains flanking Mammoth Lakes.

Aviators had previously flown over Mammoth Lakes, about 144 kilometres south of the ranch, in the search for Fossett, but it had not been considered a likely place to find the plane.

The most intense searching was concentrated north of the town, given what searchers knew about sightings of Fossett's plane, his plans for when he had intended to return and the amount of fuel he had in the plane.

Fossett made a fortune trading futures and options on Chicago markets. He gained worldwide fame for more than 100 attempts and successes in setting records in high-tech balloons, gliders, jets and boats. In 2002, he became the first person to circle the world solo in a balloon. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in July 2007.

He also swam the English Channel, completed an Ironman Triathlon, competed in the Iditarod dog sled race and climbed some of the world's best-known peaks, including the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

- AP

2nd Oct 2008, 23:45

(another one here)

3rd Oct 2008, 00:18
Just picked this up The Associated Press: NTSB: Remains found at Steve Fossett wreckage site (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gfmXbQn-RFLHSjd8_s23ytiM6OVAD93ILIOO0)
that should stop the b*llsh*t from the media
Cheers Q

3rd Oct 2008, 03:59
Very sad news. His family now have the closure that they need.

But what an inspirational life for the rest of us. And he went doing what he loved the best.

Truly an amazing man.

RIP Steve Fossett.


4th Oct 2008, 07:05
I'm surprised that it took this long to find the aircraft given its location. Photographs show the wreckage out in the open, not hidden in forest, and it's only about six miles by air from Mammoth Lakes, the major resort town in the region.

I was out hiking just over a mile away from the crash location last month, although there were a couple of mountain ranges inbetween. Plenty of hikers, and a few scenic flights in the general area.

4th Oct 2008, 16:34
Seems rather ironic considering his various adventures to meet his end with a rather prosaic 'controlled flight into terrain' type accident. Rather like Scott Crossfield running into a thunderstorm. It just shows that the air like the sea is no respector of reputations. It will punish the novice and the expert alike when you venture to the edge.

At least he has been found and his family have some closure.

As an aside, remember the search that was conducted using Google Earth? Where we were asked to pick a zone an check it out. I wonder if that spot was included and if it was, could you see anything now with hindsight?


4th Oct 2008, 17:03
Maybe the site was covered in snow or perhaps just cloud?
Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world! (http://wikimapia.org/#lat=37.6386357&lon=-119.0391183&z=16&l=0&m=s&v=2)

4th Oct 2008, 22:30
your Wikimapia image (which I am assuming is pointed, as supplied, at the exact spot of the wreckage)
My Wikimapia image coordinates above were 'random' though in the general area but too far south-east, however, someone has identified the location of the 'finds'.
Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world! (http://wikimapia.org/#lat=37.667287&lon=-119.1329956&z=15&l=0&m=h&v=2)
Here the coordinates for Google Earth:- 37.667287N 119.1329956W enter into the 'fly to' box (then pan out) you can see the terrain (and how arduous and formidable it is).
If that doesn't work, then start with 'mammoth mountain' and move north-west from there a distance equivalent to the distance from highway 395 to Mammoth Mountain or enter 'minaret lake' and pan east from there.

4th Oct 2008, 23:05
"As an aside, remember the search that was conducted using Google Earth? Where we were asked to pick a zone an check it out. I wonder if that spot was included and if it was, could you see anything now with hindsight?"

Google Earth, most of the sat pix are 5+years old!

4th Oct 2008, 23:44
This are the closest photos that I can find - looking back from Shadow Lake towards the ridge (beyond which the remains were found):-
and a view of the minarets from Iceberg Lake:- http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/4142915.jpg
and a sunrise view from Minaret Lakes:-
I realise that these don't show the precise location, but merely the terrain in that area.

However, here is an image view created from Google Maps:-

5th Oct 2008, 00:45
Thank you for the location clarification, G-CPTN. I should have verified it before spouting off about localised phenomena such as airflow. The topic is personally of special interest and concern because I battled mightily with such places at a certain point in life, and surviving the learning curve makes one shadow-box with terrain forever after, it seems. Probably this is why Mr. Fossett was there, as well. I do not commend this type of flying to anyone however - it is inherently much less safe than ordinary aviation.

The site now designated as actual location seems even more difficult aerodynamically than the one earlier. It is high in a set of glaciated peaks and valleys running broadside to the prevailing westerlies that are generally quite stong there. To the west the tallest peaks in the area, with a shape into the wind like an inverted ships prow, followed by a hollowed-out arc facing the valley eastward combine to form a turbulence generator par excellence, able to turn out vortices from air streamlining on the slopes into rollers that are on a diagonal, maybe 45 degress, slanting toward the peak, so that when the wind trails from those slopes converge, the result becomes a battle of the vortices - a continual whirl of aerodynamic mincemeat all around the low, lush glacial valley between the upwind structures and the rising terrain leading to the next ridge - where mostly is the oldest rock in the upthrust mass of the range.

A lovely place for sightseeing, and temptingly green to see, but surely the terrain to the west makes that spot a serious trap for aircraft down low in most all weathers. Hard to guess if he came over the ridge from the east and then descended, or ambled up along the profile of the ridgelines from the south, possibly surfing the upslope airflow for climb energy until that point. Once in the spot he likely found the air was totally jumbled, slowing him and overcoming whatever climb power he had. Likely he was working on the knowledge that air does not go all the way into rocks, and so hugging the upward slope surface for clearer air to gain speed or height for a descending turn to the south, the only way out that seems attractive. Many places, that sort of escape manoeuver would work to rescue a situation gone bad. But not always.