Day 569: Discovering Military Aircraft Crash Site

This morning I got up before dawn and managed to take off at sunrise on flight #38:

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I flew roughly 4 miles west to Ogilby Campground where Greg was camped.  The camping area is on the edge of the dune field:

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Greg took off and joined me:

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Greg and I both use helmet video cameras, and Greg got some shots of me flying:

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The dune field extends for miles in every direction, dwarfing our paragliders:

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At one point we both flew low over the dunes, following the contours of the dunes.  Greg is in front of me here:

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At one point, Greg radioed to me that we had flown over a crash site.  I flew over a few times, and could clearly see the military insignia on the largest piece of debris:

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After a while I said goodbye to Greg and flew home.  At 56 minutes, this was the longest flight I’ve flown so far:

After breakfast, we all drove over to meet Greg.  We decided to take a closer look at the crash site.  Since we don’t have a permit for the dunes, we parked about half a mile from the edge of the dune field on private land:

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M rode with Greg in his RZR:

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Trish and B and I walked to the crash site.  Using the GPS track from the flight, I was able to lead us to the crash location:

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After a half a mile of traversing the dunes, we arrived at the crash site:

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Even at a distance, I began to find fragments:

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This largest piece was quite large:

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We briefly lifted it to see if there were any markings on the underside:

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This fellow was hiding under there:

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I found an edge-on plate that identified the fragment as coming from an F-4 Phantom II.  I realized that it was one of the wingtips, which were hinged:

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Here’s the wingtip:

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It’s the most brightly lit portion of the wing, top-most in this photograph:

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We thought this might be the end of the hook used for carrier landings:

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This looks like landing gear:

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After looking around the crash site for a while, Greg got out his R/C truck.  It was impressive!

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On the way back, we found adjacent areas in the dune field that had smaller debris.  The impact must have spread debris over a large area, as I think some of these fragments were too heavy to have been blown here:

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Greg gave M a turn at driving.  Look at that smile:

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We also watched Greg fly his R/C plane:

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The ladies took a turn in the RZR:

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Greg and I had a great flight this morning, and this was the second time we’ve flown together, the first time being at Salton Sea a few weeks ago.  We said goodbye to Greg and hiked the half mile back to the truck:

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The wind really picked up towards sunset, filling the air with dust and reducing visibility:

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Good Shabbos from Ogilby Road!

Day 568: Another Day in Ogilby
Day 571: Tumco and the Blythe Intaglios

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