On 3/2/49 two USMC Grumman F6F-5 Hellcats serial numbers 94202 and 94182, crashed into the side of the 10,064 foot high Mount Baldy in snowstorm. Both pilots were killed in this formation accident.
The hike to the Hellcats starts here at Manker Flats at 6,200'. I've done the hike to Mt Baldy on this trail a few times before. This time I'll leave the trail and drop down into the canyon where the Hellcats came to rest 57 years ago.
Gray squirrel. Saw a lot of different animals while doing this hike.
This big horn sheep was just off the trail and let me get within 20 feet before moving. Also saw lots of lizards, a momma quail with five babys and a baby snake.
Approaching the ski hut at 8,200'. Plan to take a break there to cool off. The temp down in the city was 105+. Don't know what it was on the mountain, but I was moving really slow due to the heat.
Looking back at the hut after taking a break and starting on the steepest part of the trail.
The Baldy Bowl
Finally after 3 1/2 hours I reached the spot I planned to drop down into the canyon. From here I can see some of the Hellcat wreckage in the canyon.
The first piece of wreckage I came upon was a wing's center section. I'm pretty sure that this is the impact point of one of the Hellcats.
Me with the wing section.
Looking at the bottom of the wing at the left landing gear leg.
Another view of the gear.
Close up of the gears that rotate the leg 90 degrees while retracting.
What's left of the other main landing gear.
Looks like someone removed the right landing gear.
The main wing spar was broken in the center.
Numbers on the wing.
A piece of the inboard flap was still attached to the wing.
Looking back at the wing section as I start down to check out the rest of the wreckage.
Looking down I could see the tail on the left and lot of other pieces.
Another piece of the wing.
The other side of the same piece.
Close up of the structure.
Piece of one of the control surfaces.
Close up of the same piece. Some of the light blue fabic survived the years.
More stuff further down the canyon.
Part of the retractable tail wheel and a smashed aluminum tank on the log.
A large piece of one of the flaps.
Another view of the flap with a piece of the wing attached.
One more view of the flap.
Piece of the engine.
Hiking further down the canyon, found a wing tip.
Remains of the aileron.
Front section of the fuselage with a piece of the motor mount. The green thing is a heat exchanger . Maybe an oil cooler?
Same section of fuselage.
Prop hub. Surprised to find no damage on it.
Approaching the tail section.
The tail is upside down, with the fin and rudder missing.
Past visitors left their mark.
Other side of the tail.
Looks like this hole was cut into the side. Can tell where stuff has been removed.
Tip of the stabilizer and elevator.
Another section of wing being covered over by the manzanita.
Close up of the same wing section in the brush.
Another fuselage section with a piece of motor mount.
Same piece. So far, all the parts seem to be from one plane.
Another prop hub, this has to be from the second Hellcat.