I was informed about this F-105 crash site by Tony Moore of the "The X-Hunters" http://www.thexhunters.com/. He emailed me a crash report that helped narrow down the search area. The F-105 that we were searching for was similar to this one. Tom Gossett and I were searching for a Republic F-105F Thunderchief #63-8263 that crashed on 9/1/78 while on a routine training mission. Captain Eddie Graham and Captain Frank Hartman were able to eject, but both received major injuries. We were able to spot some of the wreckage, but it was to far away for us to reach. We'll try again using a different route. edit
On the way to meet Tom, I did a little side trip to check out a crash site east of Trona. This is driving on the road that is north of the Searles lakebed.
Got to the boundary of the China Lake Gunnery Range and parked here. The crash site was outside the range. It will be about a half mile hike from here.
The impact site of the F-8. The plane has been removed, but there was a lot of small pieces remaining.
This is the main pile of pieces. There was stuff scattered for a couple hundred feet around.
One of the blades from the engine.
View of Trona across Searles lakebed from the crash site.
The next morning at the old trailer park. This is a great place to camp. I'll be driving to the place to meet Tom for the hike.
Tom and Joe(me), our search for the F-105F Thunderchief will start from here.
Tom at the start of the hike. We plan to follow this ridge down 2,100' to an area we believe the F-105 crashed.
A view up the valley.
Looking down the ridge we are following.
This section of ridge was easy, some spots were steep.
This is where the hike got difficult. Tom went left, I went right. We planned to meet back on the main ridge after doing our searching.
I got lucky and spotted some wreckage. The problem is that after descending over 2,000', the wreckage is more than 1,500' below. No way are we going down there.
One of the pieces of wreckage. This shot was taken with a lot of zoom.
More wreckage. It's definitely aircraft wreckage. Using binoculars, I could see aluminum and olive green paint. Must be pieces of the F-105F Thunderchief, it's only about half mile from the spot marked in the crash report.
Tom waiting for me on the ridge. He was glad to hear that I found it. We'll be coming back using a different route.
Another view of the valley as we climb the ridge.
Almost back to parking lot.
Following Tom to where he found pieces of a Cessna just off the highway.
A short hike from the pass we came upon a couple of old vehicles.
Next to the vehicles were pieces of the Cessna. Looks like these pieces were dumped here.
There was a section of wing and some other stuff.
The old car was interesting.
Tom checking out the cab of an old truck.
Tom and his Jeep. Looking forward to returning with him for another attempt at reaching the F-105.