Grumman Avenger Crash Site - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:12 PM   #1
canadianf1pilot
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Grumman Avenger Crash Site


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My wife is a "Geocasher" (treasure hunting with GPS's) and just a few miles north of our house there is a crash site of a Grumman Avenger. The plane was a WW2 veteran that, like many old warbirds, been converted to work in the civilian world. The Avenger here was converted to be a Chemical Bomber, droping fire retardent chemicals to fight forest fires. There are not alot of parts left, other than the crumpled air frame, the engine insturments and such have been long ago removed.

In 1971 Clare Syme was about to drop his 5500 lbs. of fire retardant on a forest fire near Norse Lake, about 20 miles northwest of Dryden, Ontario. As he lowered altitude in order to release the retardant, he encountered turbulence which caused the crash of his World War 2 era Grumman Avenger that had been converted for fire fighting duty. Having survived the crash with non life threatening injuries, Clare found himself trapped as the forest fire crept closer to him. The fire retarding chemicals which spilled out on impact actually saved his life from the advancing flames. He was trapped there for hours until the fire passed and crews were able to come in and rescue him.

Here is a link to a news artical about the crash...very interesting read.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...g=1156,1333027


Here are a few pic's from the crash site she took last summer.

Bill
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:29 PM   #2
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

Doubtful anyone restoring one could find useful bits from that. If you could haul that out of there methinks there would be quite a value in scrap aluminum.

Glad he survived.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

That sure takes me back! We were living in Thunder Bay around this time and Clare's wingman thought he had engine trouble on the way west to Dryden. So they called my uncle (Lakehead Aviation) to check it out and after a bit of troubleshooting the four of us went to a local hotel.

A few days later I heard about this adventure and what shook me the most was the part about the gas bubbling in the wings as the fire went past.

I can't imagine.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:33 AM   #4
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

Wow. Thanks for sharing that very interesting article.

Any chance of getting the GPS coordinates to that site? I'm sure my kids would enjoy the hike and visit a site like that.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

When I was an apprentice Airplane mechanic at the Norman Rogers airport here in Kingston in 54, They used to fly cross countrys from Shearwater NS and I was fortunate enough to gas them up. They were one big plane!! I made friends with one of the pilots over the yrs and hadn't heard from him for a while. I found out later that they were taxiing out to take off when a Vampire jet coming in for a landing, landed on top of the Avenger. No survivors. Big loss.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:53 AM   #6
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

There is a "Geocach" at the crash site, and a bit of a 4-wheeler trail to it.

The Geocach website is at http://www.geocaching.com

the link to the crash site geocach is http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache...f-8bf75be19d92

The GPS coordinates are: N 50 02.383 W 093 06.530

it's a bit of a hike from Aurora though....unless you are driving through the area. The crash site is only 20-25km north of the Trans Canada Hwy.

Bill
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

There was an Avenger that crashed in the Bedford Basin part of Halifax Harbour. The plane was recovered, and now sits in the Shearwater Aviation Museum. SAM recently obtained a second Avenger (a retired fire bomber).
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

The other aviation museum in the Halifax area has a "composite" TBM assembled from three separate airframes. As I recall, the majority of their example came from one that had crashed just after takeoff from Upper Blackville, NB back in the 70's. It sat in a swamp for several decades before being recovered for the restoration.

My short-lived career in aviation included a season with the company that operated the TBMs in NB for budworm spraying. I was only flying a 172, but being around all those Avengers sure made it worthwhile!
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:51 PM   #9
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

>methinks there would be quite a value in scrap aluminum.

Unlikely. Aluminum is one of the cheapest metals and the price per pound low; in this instance anything retrieved would be classified in scrap metal recovery as 'irony aluminum' due to contamination with attachments, etc. at a correspondingly lower value.

Back in the 50's I worked for a company with a metal salvage programme and at one time they were breaking ex-RAF Harvards ( T-34?) and the financial return on same barely justified the labour costs. There was one interesting moment when a fuselage was being sectioned with an oxyacetylene torch and it was found that some sort of flare had, at some time, been trapped between the skin and a bulkhead - gave the cutter a very sudden surprise.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #10
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Re: Grumman Avenger Crash Site

Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianf1pilot View Post
There is a "Geocach" at the crash site, and a bit of a 4-wheeler trail to it.

The Geocach website is at http://www.geocaching.com

the link to the crash site geocach is http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache...f-8bf75be19d92

The GPS coordinates are: N 50 02.383 W 093 06.530

it's a bit of a hike from Aurora though....unless you are driving through the area. The crash site is only 20-25km north of the Trans Canada Hwy.

Bill
That's 1700 km NW of Aurora, 20 hours on the road (and them some!)... way the heck beyond Thunder Bay!
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