Wreck Hunters: Uncovering the History of Unlucky Aviators

Follow these amateur sleuths in their search of discovery.

Also known as wreck finders, aviation archeologists or aviation accident historians, wreck hunters not only document and perserve crash sites but they search to uncover the tales of those pilots, their crews and passengers. Although the wreckage of lost aircraft often tell their own stories. Read the full feature by Geri Silveira here.
Lead wreck hunter Ryan Gilmore takes a photograph of a piece of the TA-4F Skyhawk found near the bottom of the rocky wash. No artifacts are ever taken from the site.
After locating the cockpit impact area, pilot and wreck hunter Chris LeFave digs down a few inches into the dirt and finds a part of the copilot’s watch. He compares it with his own.
Chris finds a large section of the Skyhawk’s 20-millimeter cannon. Since no one has visited the site since 1969, there are numerous pieces of the jet in the area.
Wreck hunter G. Pat Macha (front) and a friend survey the wreckage of a F4U Corsair that met its fate in a midair collision near Irvine, California, in 1946. The pilot bailed out successfully.
In this 2008 photo, wreck hunter Mark Lindemann sits among the remains of an Air Force Douglas C-47B that crashed on San Gorgonio Mountain in 1952, killing 13 airmen.
On a subsequent search, the author finds the wing of a sailplane that crashed near the summit of Mount Baden-Powell in Southern California in 1971. The pilot did not survive. Check out the full feature here.