Regulus I crash site

Regulus I crash site

Joined: March 10th, 2005, 1:04 am

December 12th, 2011, 9:50 am #1

During a discussion here regarding what color red to use on a Snark, I mentioned I had visited a USN Regulus I crash site on Oahu in 2000. This drone happened to be painted mostly overall Insignia Red, though I think the bottom of the wings were left in Gloss Sea Blue.

I thought maybe some of you might like to see what was left of the drone--not much. The Navy removed the sensitive components and probably the engine.

In 2005 (edited) while assigned to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (edited)doing POW/MIA investigation and recovery, one of our civilian employees mentioned her cousin came across aircraft wreckage in Halawa Valley while hunting pigs. My ears immediately perked up, as legend has it there is a missing B-17 in this valley (no one has ever come across any records of this). I arranged a weekend to head up to the top of the valley high in the Ko'olau mountains.

Chris and I left early one morning on bicycles (mostly for the free trip downhill on the way back), meandering back and forth on the old access road underneath H-3, going almost all the way up to the top ridge of the Ko'olau's. We had to ditch the bikes and hike up some very slippery, wet, mossy and smooth boulders until we reached the wreckage.

I had visions of the lost B-17 in my mind, so I was immediately stumped by the complex nature of the wreckage and all the red paint. I had no idea what I was looking at. It was old, but the skins consisted of a strange form of sandwich construction, and some of the wing skins were made from heavily milled solid construction. I was at a complete loss as to what aircraft this was. Chris and I tried going up the very steep hills to see if we could find more wreckage, but it appears the main impact site was still much higher and would have to be approached from a completely different direction (from the top of the ridgeline). We abandoned that approach.

Chris, who is Hawaiian, must have developed a certain trust in me and asked if I wanted to see the burial cave behind a waterfall not far away. SURE! So off we went going up another steep ravine. We had to pass through a vertical slit about six feet wide (I could touch both sides of the canyon walls) to enter the final waterfall just 60 feet below the top of the mountain ridge. We were completely soaking wet, it was raining and 100% humidity, plus we had just slogged our way up the ravine mostly in the water. Chris said the cave was directly behind the waterfall, but I declined exploring it out of due respect to the Hawaiian culture (it is a fact that ancient Hawaiian burials were sometimes accomplished in caves such as this). We took a few pictures, and then, shades of King Tut, my camera died, never to take another picture again. AHHHHH. Actually, the long time we spent in 100% humidity killed it. At least that is what the repair shop said!

We then set off down hill, one mile in the ravines, then six miles on the bikes, easy huh? I thought I was going to kill myself. The heavy rain crossing the meandering road washed thick Hawaiian red dirt across it, but now it was mud. Our brakes became coated in the mud and didn't work, we kept going faster and faster. I put my feet on the ground, ala' Fred Flintstone, to try to slow me down but it had no braking effect, though it did keep me erect and from going into the woods. After a mile or so we left the heavy rain and our brakes resumed working. It was a nice ride after that. And a great little adventure.

After some serious research I found out this was Regulus I FTM 1476g launched from the USS Tunny in 1958. It was escorted/flown by two accompanying FJ-2 or -3s, but the Regulus lost communication with the jets and flew uncommanded south over Oahu, heading directly towards Pearl Harbor, shades of Tora Tora Tora. Fortunately, about ten miles north of Pearl Harbor, it pitched up, reached 20,000 feet, then spun down to crash in the mountains.

Did I mention one of my modeling desires is to turn the 1/72 Gato sub into the Tunny with this Regulus I on the launch rails. It will happen!
Sorry for the rambling. Here's the pictures:

Me about half-way up:

Getting closer to the rain:


The wreck is way back there:


Wing fold:


Fuselage near the exhaust:


Stencils around a servicing panel:


Strange fasteners, it turns out these were for the balsawood-cored skins, an early form of what became honeycomb panels:


The letter g, from the launch number FTM 1476g:


Flying surface tip, note the milled construction:


Wing attachment, Insignia Red and Gloss Sea Blue:


From above the wrecksite looking across at the next ravine, note the steep slopes!


Chris leading the way to the waterfall and burial cave:


Me, soaking wet. Behind the waterfall is the entrance to the cave:


This is the narrow canyon wall you must pass through to get to the waterfall, it is only six-feet wide at one point. This is also the last picture my camera ever took:


Here's a different Regulus I being launched off the USS Tunny:


Cheers,
Don
Last edited by Starfire94C on December 12th, 2011, 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: March 6th, 2005, 3:23 am

December 12th, 2011, 11:35 am #2

I get freaked out in Kalihi Valley Hey did you get to the caves in Kipapa Gulch? I was trying to locate where the Kipapa Airfield use to be the last time I was back home. Thanks for posting, Darren
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Joined: May 29th, 2006, 5:17 am

December 12th, 2011, 11:55 am #3

During a discussion here regarding what color red to use on a Snark, I mentioned I had visited a USN Regulus I crash site on Oahu in 2000. This drone happened to be painted mostly overall Insignia Red, though I think the bottom of the wings were left in Gloss Sea Blue.

I thought maybe some of you might like to see what was left of the drone--not much. The Navy removed the sensitive components and probably the engine.

In 2005 (edited) while assigned to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (edited)doing POW/MIA investigation and recovery, one of our civilian employees mentioned her cousin came across aircraft wreckage in Halawa Valley while hunting pigs. My ears immediately perked up, as legend has it there is a missing B-17 in this valley (no one has ever come across any records of this). I arranged a weekend to head up to the top of the valley high in the Ko'olau mountains.

Chris and I left early one morning on bicycles (mostly for the free trip downhill on the way back), meandering back and forth on the old access road underneath H-3, going almost all the way up to the top ridge of the Ko'olau's. We had to ditch the bikes and hike up some very slippery, wet, mossy and smooth boulders until we reached the wreckage.

I had visions of the lost B-17 in my mind, so I was immediately stumped by the complex nature of the wreckage and all the red paint. I had no idea what I was looking at. It was old, but the skins consisted of a strange form of sandwich construction, and some of the wing skins were made from heavily milled solid construction. I was at a complete loss as to what aircraft this was. Chris and I tried going up the very steep hills to see if we could find more wreckage, but it appears the main impact site was still much higher and would have to be approached from a completely different direction (from the top of the ridgeline). We abandoned that approach.

Chris, who is Hawaiian, must have developed a certain trust in me and asked if I wanted to see the burial cave behind a waterfall not far away. SURE! So off we went going up another steep ravine. We had to pass through a vertical slit about six feet wide (I could touch both sides of the canyon walls) to enter the final waterfall just 60 feet below the top of the mountain ridge. We were completely soaking wet, it was raining and 100% humidity, plus we had just slogged our way up the ravine mostly in the water. Chris said the cave was directly behind the waterfall, but I declined exploring it out of due respect to the Hawaiian culture (it is a fact that ancient Hawaiian burials were sometimes accomplished in caves such as this). We took a few pictures, and then, shades of King Tut, my camera died, never to take another picture again. AHHHHH. Actually, the long time we spent in 100% humidity killed it. At least that is what the repair shop said!

We then set off down hill, one mile in the ravines, then six miles on the bikes, easy huh? I thought I was going to kill myself. The heavy rain crossing the meandering road washed thick Hawaiian red dirt across it, but now it was mud. Our brakes became coated in the mud and didn't work, we kept going faster and faster. I put my feet on the ground, ala' Fred Flintstone, to try to slow me down but it had no braking effect, though it did keep me erect and from going into the woods. After a mile or so we left the heavy rain and our brakes resumed working. It was a nice ride after that. And a great little adventure.

After some serious research I found out this was Regulus I FTM 1476g launched from the USS Tunny in 1958. It was escorted/flown by two accompanying FJ-2 or -3s, but the Regulus lost communication with the jets and flew uncommanded south over Oahu, heading directly towards Pearl Harbor, shades of Tora Tora Tora. Fortunately, about ten miles north of Pearl Harbor, it pitched up, reached 20,000 feet, then spun down to crash in the mountains.

Did I mention one of my modeling desires is to turn the 1/72 Gato sub into the Tunny with this Regulus I on the launch rails. It will happen!
Sorry for the rambling. Here's the pictures:

Me about half-way up:

Getting closer to the rain:


The wreck is way back there:


Wing fold:


Fuselage near the exhaust:


Stencils around a servicing panel:


Strange fasteners, it turns out these were for the balsawood-cored skins, an early form of what became honeycomb panels:


The letter g, from the launch number FTM 1476g:


Flying surface tip, note the milled construction:


Wing attachment, Insignia Red and Gloss Sea Blue:


From above the wrecksite looking across at the next ravine, note the steep slopes!


Chris leading the way to the waterfall and burial cave:


Me, soaking wet. Behind the waterfall is the entrance to the cave:


This is the narrow canyon wall you must pass through to get to the waterfall, it is only six-feet wide at one point. This is also the last picture my camera ever took:


Here's a different Regulus I being launched off the USS Tunny:


Cheers,
Don
...fascinating to see, close up, genuine historical artifacts from "The Missile Age".
--Bill
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Joined: April 27th, 2005, 7:47 pm

December 12th, 2011, 3:53 pm #4

During a discussion here regarding what color red to use on a Snark, I mentioned I had visited a USN Regulus I crash site on Oahu in 2000. This drone happened to be painted mostly overall Insignia Red, though I think the bottom of the wings were left in Gloss Sea Blue.

I thought maybe some of you might like to see what was left of the drone--not much. The Navy removed the sensitive components and probably the engine.

In 2005 (edited) while assigned to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (edited)doing POW/MIA investigation and recovery, one of our civilian employees mentioned her cousin came across aircraft wreckage in Halawa Valley while hunting pigs. My ears immediately perked up, as legend has it there is a missing B-17 in this valley (no one has ever come across any records of this). I arranged a weekend to head up to the top of the valley high in the Ko'olau mountains.

Chris and I left early one morning on bicycles (mostly for the free trip downhill on the way back), meandering back and forth on the old access road underneath H-3, going almost all the way up to the top ridge of the Ko'olau's. We had to ditch the bikes and hike up some very slippery, wet, mossy and smooth boulders until we reached the wreckage.

I had visions of the lost B-17 in my mind, so I was immediately stumped by the complex nature of the wreckage and all the red paint. I had no idea what I was looking at. It was old, but the skins consisted of a strange form of sandwich construction, and some of the wing skins were made from heavily milled solid construction. I was at a complete loss as to what aircraft this was. Chris and I tried going up the very steep hills to see if we could find more wreckage, but it appears the main impact site was still much higher and would have to be approached from a completely different direction (from the top of the ridgeline). We abandoned that approach.

Chris, who is Hawaiian, must have developed a certain trust in me and asked if I wanted to see the burial cave behind a waterfall not far away. SURE! So off we went going up another steep ravine. We had to pass through a vertical slit about six feet wide (I could touch both sides of the canyon walls) to enter the final waterfall just 60 feet below the top of the mountain ridge. We were completely soaking wet, it was raining and 100% humidity, plus we had just slogged our way up the ravine mostly in the water. Chris said the cave was directly behind the waterfall, but I declined exploring it out of due respect to the Hawaiian culture (it is a fact that ancient Hawaiian burials were sometimes accomplished in caves such as this). We took a few pictures, and then, shades of King Tut, my camera died, never to take another picture again. AHHHHH. Actually, the long time we spent in 100% humidity killed it. At least that is what the repair shop said!

We then set off down hill, one mile in the ravines, then six miles on the bikes, easy huh? I thought I was going to kill myself. The heavy rain crossing the meandering road washed thick Hawaiian red dirt across it, but now it was mud. Our brakes became coated in the mud and didn't work, we kept going faster and faster. I put my feet on the ground, ala' Fred Flintstone, to try to slow me down but it had no braking effect, though it did keep me erect and from going into the woods. After a mile or so we left the heavy rain and our brakes resumed working. It was a nice ride after that. And a great little adventure.

After some serious research I found out this was Regulus I FTM 1476g launched from the USS Tunny in 1958. It was escorted/flown by two accompanying FJ-2 or -3s, but the Regulus lost communication with the jets and flew uncommanded south over Oahu, heading directly towards Pearl Harbor, shades of Tora Tora Tora. Fortunately, about ten miles north of Pearl Harbor, it pitched up, reached 20,000 feet, then spun down to crash in the mountains.

Did I mention one of my modeling desires is to turn the 1/72 Gato sub into the Tunny with this Regulus I on the launch rails. It will happen!
Sorry for the rambling. Here's the pictures:

Me about half-way up:

Getting closer to the rain:


The wreck is way back there:


Wing fold:


Fuselage near the exhaust:


Stencils around a servicing panel:


Strange fasteners, it turns out these were for the balsawood-cored skins, an early form of what became honeycomb panels:


The letter g, from the launch number FTM 1476g:


Flying surface tip, note the milled construction:


Wing attachment, Insignia Red and Gloss Sea Blue:


From above the wrecksite looking across at the next ravine, note the steep slopes!


Chris leading the way to the waterfall and burial cave:


Me, soaking wet. Behind the waterfall is the entrance to the cave:


This is the narrow canyon wall you must pass through to get to the waterfall, it is only six-feet wide at one point. This is also the last picture my camera ever took:


Here's a different Regulus I being launched off the USS Tunny:


Cheers,
Don
... Why does that sound so ominous in conjunction with the pictures of the rough terain?


<font size="5" face="Brush Script MT" color="#0000C0">
DWA

Happiness is NOT ... Getting what you want.
Happiness is     ...     Wanting what you've got.
</font>
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Joined: March 10th, 2005, 1:04 am

December 13th, 2011, 12:04 am #5

...fascinating to see, close up, genuine historical artifacts from "The Missile Age".
--Bill
Hi Bill,

Though I expected, or hoped, this site was the mysterious Halawa B-17, I was really happy to figure out it was a Regulus I launched off a submarine.

Cheers,
Don
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Joined: March 10th, 2005, 1:04 am

December 13th, 2011, 12:14 am #6

I get freaked out in Kalihi Valley Hey did you get to the caves in Kipapa Gulch? I was trying to locate where the Kipapa Airfield use to be the last time I was back home. Thanks for posting, Darren
Hi Darren,

The picture of me with the waterfall in the background is as close as I got to the Heiau. Chris, my hiking buddy for the day, wouldn't go any closer than he was when he took that picture. I walked on top of the boulders to that spot and then turned around and we left quickly.

I didn't know enough about Kalihi Valley at the time. I did hike it, just wasn't aware of the Heiau's at the time. I should have checked!

I did some basic reseach on Kipapa Airfield, just enough to figure out that Mililani Town is now built over the site. Though many aircraft operated out of there, the P-70s and P-61s fascinated me. I always meant to go check out Kipapa Gulch right next to the former airfield, but never got around to it. There are WWII ammo bunkers down there, I don't know the status of them today. It supposedly used to be of extreme security, whatever they were storing and guarding there. I wasn't aware of the Kipapa Caves... Too much to see, only six years to explore the island, not nearly enough time.

I've been asked many times if I got Island Fever there, and I always reply Hell No, as there is just so much history there to explore.

Aloha,
Don
Last edited by Starfire94C on December 13th, 2011, 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 5:31 am

December 13th, 2011, 2:30 am #7

During a discussion here regarding what color red to use on a Snark, I mentioned I had visited a USN Regulus I crash site on Oahu in 2000. This drone happened to be painted mostly overall Insignia Red, though I think the bottom of the wings were left in Gloss Sea Blue.

I thought maybe some of you might like to see what was left of the drone--not much. The Navy removed the sensitive components and probably the engine.

In 2005 (edited) while assigned to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (edited)doing POW/MIA investigation and recovery, one of our civilian employees mentioned her cousin came across aircraft wreckage in Halawa Valley while hunting pigs. My ears immediately perked up, as legend has it there is a missing B-17 in this valley (no one has ever come across any records of this). I arranged a weekend to head up to the top of the valley high in the Ko'olau mountains.

Chris and I left early one morning on bicycles (mostly for the free trip downhill on the way back), meandering back and forth on the old access road underneath H-3, going almost all the way up to the top ridge of the Ko'olau's. We had to ditch the bikes and hike up some very slippery, wet, mossy and smooth boulders until we reached the wreckage.

I had visions of the lost B-17 in my mind, so I was immediately stumped by the complex nature of the wreckage and all the red paint. I had no idea what I was looking at. It was old, but the skins consisted of a strange form of sandwich construction, and some of the wing skins were made from heavily milled solid construction. I was at a complete loss as to what aircraft this was. Chris and I tried going up the very steep hills to see if we could find more wreckage, but it appears the main impact site was still much higher and would have to be approached from a completely different direction (from the top of the ridgeline). We abandoned that approach.

Chris, who is Hawaiian, must have developed a certain trust in me and asked if I wanted to see the burial cave behind a waterfall not far away. SURE! So off we went going up another steep ravine. We had to pass through a vertical slit about six feet wide (I could touch both sides of the canyon walls) to enter the final waterfall just 60 feet below the top of the mountain ridge. We were completely soaking wet, it was raining and 100% humidity, plus we had just slogged our way up the ravine mostly in the water. Chris said the cave was directly behind the waterfall, but I declined exploring it out of due respect to the Hawaiian culture (it is a fact that ancient Hawaiian burials were sometimes accomplished in caves such as this). We took a few pictures, and then, shades of King Tut, my camera died, never to take another picture again. AHHHHH. Actually, the long time we spent in 100% humidity killed it. At least that is what the repair shop said!

We then set off down hill, one mile in the ravines, then six miles on the bikes, easy huh? I thought I was going to kill myself. The heavy rain crossing the meandering road washed thick Hawaiian red dirt across it, but now it was mud. Our brakes became coated in the mud and didn't work, we kept going faster and faster. I put my feet on the ground, ala' Fred Flintstone, to try to slow me down but it had no braking effect, though it did keep me erect and from going into the woods. After a mile or so we left the heavy rain and our brakes resumed working. It was a nice ride after that. And a great little adventure.

After some serious research I found out this was Regulus I FTM 1476g launched from the USS Tunny in 1958. It was escorted/flown by two accompanying FJ-2 or -3s, but the Regulus lost communication with the jets and flew uncommanded south over Oahu, heading directly towards Pearl Harbor, shades of Tora Tora Tora. Fortunately, about ten miles north of Pearl Harbor, it pitched up, reached 20,000 feet, then spun down to crash in the mountains.

Did I mention one of my modeling desires is to turn the 1/72 Gato sub into the Tunny with this Regulus I on the launch rails. It will happen!
Sorry for the rambling. Here's the pictures:

Me about half-way up:

Getting closer to the rain:


The wreck is way back there:


Wing fold:


Fuselage near the exhaust:


Stencils around a servicing panel:


Strange fasteners, it turns out these were for the balsawood-cored skins, an early form of what became honeycomb panels:


The letter g, from the launch number FTM 1476g:


Flying surface tip, note the milled construction:


Wing attachment, Insignia Red and Gloss Sea Blue:


From above the wrecksite looking across at the next ravine, note the steep slopes!


Chris leading the way to the waterfall and burial cave:


Me, soaking wet. Behind the waterfall is the entrance to the cave:


This is the narrow canyon wall you must pass through to get to the waterfall, it is only six-feet wide at one point. This is also the last picture my camera ever took:


Here's a different Regulus I being launched off the USS Tunny:


Cheers,
Don
But it was in the mid 60's. He also served on the Carbonero (SS-337) and the Bonefish (SS-582), all of them out of Pearl.
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Joined: March 10th, 2005, 1:04 am

December 13th, 2011, 7:48 am #8

Hi Ron,

That is really very cool that your Dad served on the Tunny! I have the highest respect for submariners, particularly on older diesel boats. The conditions they worked in, plus the incredible hours, are just so difficult to imagine nowadays.

Does your Dad have any pictures of the Tunny with the huge aircraft hanger behind the fairwater? I really will one day convert the 1/72 Gato to the Tunny with the aircraft hanger and a Regulus I on the launch rail. I could do his in 1/144, but I think it would be more fun in 1/72.

Cheers,
Don
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Joined: March 6th, 2005, 3:23 am

December 13th, 2011, 10:01 pm #9

Hi Darren,

The picture of me with the waterfall in the background is as close as I got to the Heiau. Chris, my hiking buddy for the day, wouldn't go any closer than he was when he took that picture. I walked on top of the boulders to that spot and then turned around and we left quickly.

I didn't know enough about Kalihi Valley at the time. I did hike it, just wasn't aware of the Heiau's at the time. I should have checked!

I did some basic reseach on Kipapa Airfield, just enough to figure out that Mililani Town is now built over the site. Though many aircraft operated out of there, the P-70s and P-61s fascinated me. I always meant to go check out Kipapa Gulch right next to the former airfield, but never got around to it. There are WWII ammo bunkers down there, I don't know the status of them today. It supposedly used to be of extreme security, whatever they were storing and guarding there. I wasn't aware of the Kipapa Caves... Too much to see, only six years to explore the island, not nearly enough time.

I've been asked many times if I got Island Fever there, and I always reply Hell No, as there is just so much history there to explore.

Aloha,
Don
It took leaving to really want to go exploring. In fact my brother that lives there thinks im nuts wanting to go looking around. Now the Ghost stories about Kipapa Gulch does hold me back But I hear stories from a guy at work that have gone hiking in Kipapa and says the Caves he knew as a kid, are filled in now, and the bunkers are fenced in. Im planing to go back soon, but Delta keeps throwing new things my way. Might be headed to Darby next year, so I will be half way around the world from HNL. Darren
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 5:31 am

December 14th, 2011, 2:49 am #10

Hi Ron,

That is really very cool that your Dad served on the Tunny! I have the highest respect for submariners, particularly on older diesel boats. The conditions they worked in, plus the incredible hours, are just so difficult to imagine nowadays.

Does your Dad have any pictures of the Tunny with the huge aircraft hanger behind the fairwater? I really will one day convert the 1/72 Gato to the Tunny with the aircraft hanger and a Regulus I on the launch rail. I could do his in 1/144, but I think it would be more fun in 1/72.

Cheers,
Don
Most of the pics he took in the service were while on shore leave, very few on ship or of the ships. I imagine that even back then shooting photos of or around subs wasn't encouraged... I know he took some while he was on destroyers, mostly from the Operation Deep Freeze cruise he took to Antarctica on the USS Durant (DER-389) in '62-'63. Those pics just have bits of the ship as there mainly of icebergs and the horrible sea conditions (including some of the damage those conditions did to the ship!).

Here's a page from the Durant's cruise book from Deep Freeze; my Dad's at the far left end of the second row:

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