On 2/3/49 the JRB-4 Expeditor BuNo 90550 USN crashed in the southern Sierras on Owens Peak in bad weather. It's two man crew and five passengers were killed in the accident. The aircraft's wreckage wasn't found till 4/21/49. I believe this aircraft started off as USAAF 44-47224 before going to the USN and becoming 90550.
The JRB-4 was the US Navy's version of the Beech C-45F Expeditor.
Driving in off Hwy 14. This is my first time in this area, surprised how nice it looks.
This is as far as I can drive in. The road is blocked here because of the Wilderness Boundary.
Hiking in on the closed road. Only hikers and horses are permitted past the boundary line.
The road turned into a trail that ended after about a mile, now I'm hiking up a tight canyon.
Looking back down the canyon I been hiking up.
After hiking for about two and half hours I spotted something shining up ahead about hundred yards up the slope. Didn't even need to use the binoculars to tell it was a wing.
First piece I came upon. This one was fairly easy to locate.
Okay, I lost sight of the wing as I approached it. Been hiking around this slope for well over an hour and I can't find it after being so close.
Now I'm up on the ridge looking east across the Mojave Desert. Somehow I climbed past it. The area is steep loose rock with a lot of trees. I was getting really frustrated. Decided to take a break, eat my lunch and calm down before doing anything more.
After taking a break, figure the best thing to do was hike along the ridge and see if I could spot something from above. After a few minutes, I spotted the wing about a hundred yards below next to a group of trees.
While hiking around a big plie of rocks to get to the wing, I noticed something in the trees.
Zooming in with the camera, I could see a stab and part of the fuselage through the trees.
Heading down to the tail section. I'm feeling a lot better now. Trying to be careful hiking down. The rocks are loose and I'm worried about hurting myself being in hurry to get down to it.
Me with the JRB-4's tail section.
Shot of the tail with Owens Peak in the background. What little I've read about the accident stated that the JRB-4 crashed on Owens Peak.
Another view looking out towards Mojave Desert.
Found an old photo taken the day after the crash site was found. Looks like just the left wing and tail section remain after the impact and fire.
This shot shows how steep the slope is. When I hiked up the slope, I was on the other side of that pile of rocks. Must have past the tail by less than fifty feet without seeing it.
This looks like the impact area just above the tail section. There was a lot of melted aluminum and rusted steel.
Looking up at the impact area.
One of the main landing gears.
Lot a small pieces.
Large control cable pulley. The tail section can be seen below in the lower right corner of photo.
Pushrod from one of the engines.
I found a similar actuator at the crash site of the C-45 at Mountain Pass.
These control cables still looked new after 59 years.
Back down at the tail. The left fin was still attached, but the rudder was gone.
Very little damage on the left fin.
Center section of the stab and tail end of the fuselage. No sign of the elevator at the site.
Only the bottom section of the right fin remained.
View of the right fin from the other side. The deicing boot was still in pretty good shape.
This shot shows some of the wreckage near the tail.
I opened the inspection hatches for the photo.
Looking under the stab I could see what looked like a section of wing.
Getting closer could see some blue paint.
Climbed up on the stab and looked down, I could barely make out part of the star from the insignia on the wing section.
Walking around could see the remains of a wing under the tail.
Looked like the outer section of the right wing.
View of the steel main wing spar.
This view shows how much of the fuselage remained with the tail.
Looks like a wing tip. Has a deicing boot and navigation light.
Close up of the navigation light
When a first saw these pulleys I thought they were bent. Looking closer saw that they were set at those angles and the cables would run in the channel under them.
This is the fuselage section that would be just over the pilots heads. The top is the front where the windshield would be. The small rear facing scoop is a air vent.