AirWest 706 take 2

Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

March 5th, 2018, 4:54 am #1

The last time I went looking for AirWest 706 we found a few small chunks, but nothing significant. I have an unfortunate tendency to do the research AFTER a trip, rather than before. So when I got home after the last trip, I read in more detail what little information the internet had to offer. And I found a post where somebody reports the coords of the tail: https://pacaeropress.websitetoolbox.com ... ?&trail=30

Aargh. That would have been helpful to know. I also looked through various sources of aerial imagery, and found a suspicious-looking glint in one of the images in the same canyon a bit upstream. So today I went back, and checked out 3 leads:

- The glint
- The reported tail coords
- Upstream of the parts we found previously

I biked up Mt Bliss in the late morning. Van Tassel Rd is really steep, and was somewhat muddy on this day, so "biked up" was more of a "mostly walked the bike up". In any case, I made it up there eventually, stashed the bike, and headed down the firebreak. Baldy has a nice cover of snow now, and you can see the cut of the old Silver-Fish road from the ridge



I dropped into tail gully to walk by the glint (nothing there), and eventually got to the tail area. The fire made travel in this area manageable. The drop-in was uneventful, and the canyon bottom is actually pretty nice. There's flow in the creek, and plenty of vegetation. The post with the coords says that the tail is hard to see until you're practically on top of it, but I was hoping that the fire changed this. I go to the approximate tail coords, and the brush was actually fairly thick.







I looped around for a while looking for this thing, checking out both sides of the gully. No tail. It seems ludicrous that something as large as the tail of a DC9 could be completely obscured by brush, but here I was. The post DID say the coordinates were approximate, but not HOW approximate. So I was thinking that I was simply in the wrong place, but the right place could be anywhere. I was excited to see some gnarled metal at one point, but it just turned out to be a gnarled tree. And an unmistakable shiny thing on the other side of the gully turned out to be a very large hello-kitty birthday balloon. After a few hours I gave up. I was 0 for 2, and this was the best lead I thought. Oh well. It's somewhere down there:



I walked to the debris gully, dropped in, and found the biggest piece from the last time



Then I walked upstream, and periodically would find more pieces.



This gully is narrow and consists mostly of dirt. The dirt moves around, and stuff gets buried and exposed constantly. So as I would walk up, I'd see little chunks of metal sticking out of the dirt in places. Then I'd dig, and see what is below the tip of the iceberg. This fine specimen was unearthed after a little while





Some sort of "hydraulic filter". There was more and more stuff further up





























And then the best part





It's a "lubricants" bottle. It's made of metal, but is wrapped in some sort of resin-soaked fibrous woody thing for some reason. I generally don't take anything from these sites, but for a moment I thought about grabbing this one. Anyone know what this is about?

Most of these parts were all in the same area, spread over several gullies. So this is the main debris field I'm guessing. I spent so much time goofing off in tail gully that I ran out of time here. My hard cutoff hour came, so I walked out without finding the rest. Which is annoying. There're lots of pieces in this area, but I haven't found anything so large that I couldn't easily pick it up. According to the post above, remaining are at least nacelles, seats, gear and wheel assemblies. It was probably all in that area, I just had to leave early.

As I was writing this trip report just now, I went looking for some link headsizeburrito sent me before our trip 2 weeks ago. That email was being difficult to find in my mailbox for some reason. But instead I found another email, sent last year, that contained a link with an even better indication of where the tail is: https://pacaeropress.websitetoolbox.com ... ?&trail=45 . The tail is about 250m downstream where I was, on the right bank.

And the BEST part? I was the one who sent this email. Someday I will figure out how to do this adventuring thing properly. In the meantime, I guess a 3rd trip is needed. Anybody interested?
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Joined: December 15th, 2016, 9:31 pm

March 5th, 2018, 5:09 am #2

dima wrote:Anybody interested?
‍♂️ (PS: seems like a few of your image links aren’t working)


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Jeremiah
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Joined: November 15th, 2017, 9:18 pm

March 5th, 2018, 5:22 am #3

Nice report! Bummer you didn't find the big stuff, but you got a lot closer and found more debris than our last trip for sure!

Third time's the charm perhaps...
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

March 5th, 2018, 5:26 am #4

stonehillnews wrote:
dima wrote:Anybody interested?
‍♂️ (PS: seems like a few of your image links aren’t working)
I don't speak emoji. Is that an ACK? (images look fine here. which isn't working, specifically?)
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Joined: December 15th, 2016, 9:31 pm

March 5th, 2018, 7:17 am #5

dima wrote:I don't speak emoji. Is that an ACK? (images look fine here. which isn't working, specifically?)
The emoji was meant to be me raising my hand. I’m up for tagging along. I’ll email you screen caps of the images that don’t display in the Tapatalk app.


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Jeremiah
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tekewin
Resident Trailcam Guy
tekewin
Resident Trailcam Guy
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 11:07 pm

March 5th, 2018, 7:07 pm #6

Great finds, Dima. I read about someone who located the tail and most of the wreckage about 10 years ago, but he rappelled into the canyon from a location he would not disclose. You must be close, but some of the wreckage might still be up on a steep slope above the canyon. If I can find that article again, I'll send it to you, but you may have already seen it in your research.
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

March 5th, 2018, 11:15 pm #7

headsizeburrito wrote: Nice report! Bummer you didn't find the big stuff, but you got a lot closer and found more debris than our last trip for sure!

Third time's the charm perhaps...
Yeah, getting closer. Interested in another exciting trip up Van Tassel Rd? That approach is too freaking long.

tekewin wrote: I read about someone who located the tail and most of the wreckage about 10 years ago, but he rappelled into the canyon from a location he would not disclose. You must be close, but some of the wreckage might still be up on a steep slope above the canyon. If I can find that article again, I'll send it to you, but you may have already seen it in your research.
I'll take any information you have. Otherwise there would be a 4th trip, and I don't need a 4th trip :)
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HikeUp
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HikeUp
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Joined: September 28th, 2007, 3:21 am

March 6th, 2018, 4:16 am #8

Have you considered biking in from Monrovia Cyn Park? Maybe a bit longer than Van Tassel Road, but entirely bikable especially once up and over sawpit dam.

I recall White Saddle is about 5.5 miles and Mt. Bliss is a bit over 7.25 miles from the park entrance.
Hike up! The world's about to end. Flickr.
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

March 6th, 2018, 4:53 am #9

Hmm. I did that ride about a month ago; seemed much more manageable. Another option is to walk up the old trail around the quarry to Van Tassel Ridge. Does that still exist? The aerial imagery makes me think that this disappeared in the short few years it has been closed.
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HikeUp
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HikeUp
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Joined: September 28th, 2007, 3:21 am

March 6th, 2018, 3:24 pm #10

dima wrote: Hmm. I did that ride about a month ago; seemed much more manageable. Another option is to walk up the old trail around the quarry to Van Tassel Ridge. Does that still exist? The aerial imagery makes me think that this disappeared in the short few years it has been closed.
I don't know, but didn't the recent fire burn Van Tassel Ridge? If so it might be clear (except for poodle - lol ).
Hike up! The world's about to end. Flickr.
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

March 6th, 2018, 10:14 pm #11

The recent fire burned everything, which is why any of this is passable at all.

In other news, I'm so bad at adventuring that I apparently can't even find the right airplane. This site is the F4. Which explains the olive-green paint on everything, the relative locations of things, the lack of big pieces, the TACAN-referencing parts, the hydraulic filter they put on F4s, and the fact that one of the pictured items above is the faceplate for one of these.
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