Due to shifting sands at a beach in North Wales a P-38 Lightning surfaced this summer, more than 60 years after crash landing there. BBC NEWS - US fighter plane found on beach The aircraft is to be recovered for "preservation at a major national museum in the UK" by the US-based Tigar archaeological group, in the spring of 2008. http://www.hmvf.co.uk/pdf/pressrelease2.pdf The aircraft in particular is a P-38F, it is believed to be the oldest surviving P-38 in the world, it is also believed to be an 8th AF combat veteran, if so it would also be the oldest exsisting 8th AF aircraft. In all probability it will end up at the IWM Duxford, in the American Air Museum, which coincidentally, has a P-38-shaped hole in it's collection. AAM
I read a book about this particular recovery mission from my local library and found it quite fascinating.
What condition was the P-38?
Intact enough that they are worried about the high octane fuel still in its fuel tanks.
Found these snippets on various forums:
Now the press release is out here's a photo. Looks complete apart from guns, covers and probably cockpit contents. Easy to dig around but will be full of heavy wet sand. Picking it up without emptying and disassembling will probably leave nothing but a well meaning collection of scrap
... unfortunately the photo was removed at the behest of the recovery group.
The excellent book " Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces - ETO area - June 1942 - December 1943 " by Stan D.Bishop and John A.Hey MBE (isbn 0-9547685-0-7) gives the following information on p.33 : quote Salvaged P38F-1-LO 41-7677 14 FG 49 FS pilot 2Lt Robert F.Elliott returned to duty T/O Llanbedr on a Tow Target mission and after 55 minutes lost power in the left engine.Returned to Llanbedr for a single engine landing but when about two miles from the runway at 800 feet the right engine also cut out due to pilot not switching over from the reserve tank.Pilot turned towards the beach, undershooting and landing in about two feet of water.RTD unquote
Thank god that the USAAF removed the armament after it ditched or we could've possibly seen it blown up by a bomb disposal team. IIRC a fair few years back the Navy blew up a Beaufighter on a beach in Lincolnshire after it appeared from the sand, it was deemed a risk to shipping, it's possible it was still carrying a torp and/or rockets. In 2005 an archaeological dig to recover an A-26B from a marsh (one of two that crashed there) was broadcast on Time Team, they weren't able to recover an entire airframe, but among what they did manage to recover was a complete Browning .50" cal MG. The on-site EOD team took it off-site, into their custody to x-ray the weapon to make sure it wasn't armed, turned out in wasn't loaded, but they blew it up for good measure, along with the complete, remote-controlled, dorsal gun turret. Time Team Bombers in the Marsh Article
It'd be ironic if someone was hurt while they were blowing these things up for safety's sake...then I'd know there's a god. Of course, it couldn't be somebody on the recovery team but rather someone petitioning for its' demise. Oh, yes I am evil.
Anlushac11;4032515Intact enough that they are worried about the high octane fuel still in its fuel tanks.
I saw that. Hmmm. I'm thinking that was just to keep folks away, mainly because 1) I find it hard to believe after 65 years of being inundated at least twice a day by seawater, and 2) even if true I don't think that would be all that big a danger on the beach.
I have problems storing 87 octane gasoline more than six months without adding Sta-Bil, Id be suprised if 65 year old 100 octane avgas would even burn, more than likely its a gelatinous goo approaching the consistency of rubber cement.
this reminds me of the p-38 that was recovered in greenland.dubed Glacier Girl. the first vid actualy shows the planes crashing on greenland. The second one is a documentary for the recovery of the p-38 YouTube - Lost Squadron Recovery YouTube - The Hunt for the Lost Squadron oh and i almost forgot that one was restored to perfect condition.just amazing that it was recovered from 263 feet of ice!