On 5/10/82, the A-4M Skyhawk #160038 crashed on a lava flow near the Twentynine Palms Marine Base after suffering from an engine failure during recovery from strafe run, pilot ejected after unsuccessful attempts to regain power.
This photo taken in October 1980 is of the A-4M Skyhawk #160038. The A-4 flew with the Marine Attack Squadon VMA-311 Tomcats.
Driving on the old Route 66 marked on maps as National Trails Hwy just south of the I-40.
I started hiking from here.
The hike to the crash site wasn't very far, but hiking on the lava flow was difficult at times.
I was following one of the GPS tracks I made two days ago. This is my thrid time doing this hike in three days. First time I broke my camera after taking only a few photos. I remembered that I had a little point and shoot camera back in the truck. Went back and got it and returned to the site. At home, looked at the photos and they looked bad. The little camera did a poor job. So I'm heading back one more time with a nicer camera.
The first wreckage I can upon, was this little pile of pieces someone collected.
This shot of the crash site shows most of the large pieces. The light colored area is the impact crater.
The remains of a drop tank.
Another view of the tank.
Next to the crater were two weapon pylons.
This other photo of #160038 shows the drop tanks and weapon pylons on the ground beside it.
The weapon racks. There were three on each pylon.
Closeup of one of the release mechanisms.
Both pylons had the other end broken off. I think that there was another three racks on this end.
Better view of the impact crater. It's about twenty feet across and ten feet deep. The camera got broken by being thrown into the crater when it's strap got sagged on a landing gear that I was flipping over to get a better shot of it. The camera and landing gear fell into the crater.
The two main gears down in the impact crater. One of them has some of the structure from the wing still attached. The one on top is the one that ate the camera.
There were a lot of small pieces in the crater, found fragments from one of the navigation lights.
Looks like the landing gear mount was ripped out of the wing.
Switch and gear were in the the crater.
Me with a large section of wing.
Another view of the wing and what looks like one of the ailerons.
The US insignia was cleary visble.
This shot shows the linkage to the flap.
Closer view of the linkage.
Think this is part of the fuel system, but not sure what it is.
The other side of the aileron showing the trim tab and part of it's linkage.
Above the wing was a wooden box and the top of the tail section can be seen.
There was a few of these boxes at the site. There was also a lot of old rusty tin cans. Was thinking that the stuff must have been left by the recovery crew.
The tail section ended up in a pit.
Zoomed in a little. It was broken off just ahead of the horizontal stab.
View to the east.
Me down in the pit. I first learned about this site by seeing a photo of this tail section in a book.
This fairing is for one of the three antennas that were mounted on the fuselage.
When I looked under the fairing, I saw that someone wrote the aircrafts serial nubmer on it. This number is now I figured out the plane's number. The only A-4M S/N ending with 038 was 160038. Doing a search on the number lead me to the photos.
This shot with the insert of #160038 shows the Tomcat's legs, part of it's tail, the bottom part of the L and the three and eight.
On the other side of the fin, I could make out an eight and zero. Also a part of the Tomcat.
Closer view of the cat shows it's feet and part of a leg.
The stab was in fairly good shape. This is the right side with it's leading edge torn off.
Tip of the left stab.
Bottom side of the right stab.
One of the other antenna fairings.
The can of orange spray paint that was used to mark the wreckage.
The housing for the braking parachute.
Last look at the site.
On the lava heading back to the truck. This is most I've hiked on lava. Doing the hike three times added up to nine miles. That was enough to destroy the light weight boots that I was wearing.
A couple hundred feet from the crash site I came upon a smoke grenade. The lever was missing from it, but it didn't go off. It's still was filled.