Steve Fossett items found

Not a body or the aircraft, but some cash and documents. Here’s the AP story.

That could mean that thee plane broke up in flight, scattering wreackage around.

The Decathlon is a pretty strong aircraft. I don’t know how many, if any, have ever broken up in flight. Mr. Morrow said he thought the items may have been carried to the spot by a bear. That still might be a possibility. I can imagine a bear or other animal happening to dislodge paper while chewing on a leather wallet (assuming Fossett carried a leather wallet).

I was in the Mammoth/Devil’s Postpile area a couple of weeks ago. Lots of nooks and crannies where a small plane could hide for years. Interesting that they concentrated the original search in the basin/range area towards Nevada as opposed to the Eastern Sierra.

Would you believe me if I say I was going to give that argument myself? I was on my way out to work and didn’t have time to give caveats. :o

Still, while the Decathlon is built to take a good amount of punishment, we know that up there things can get very violent in the right, or rather very wrong, circumstances.

I know of an instance in my area where an aerobatic pilot mucked up a high-g maneuver and snapped the main spar of a Decathlon into two pieces… yet the rest of the wing structure held it together long enough for him to make a safe landing. It’s a VERY tough airplane.

I always had the notion that he might have landed somewhere (they make very good rough-field airplanes, too), exited the aircraft for some reason, THEN got into trouble which would explain why there was no distress beacon/call.

There’s a lot of scavenger-type critters that might have moved these items to their present location. I doubt they’ll find much in the way of remains, also because of those same scavengers.

If the items came from a plane that broke up in midair (and haven’t been moved since then) the wreckage can’t be real far from where they were found, and thus should soon be located.

My understanding is that this was the area where Fossett indicated he was headed. Of course, when you look hard for something and fail to find it, one good possibility is that you’re looking in the wrong place.

MSNBC has recently put up a headline saying that searchers have found an aircraft that they believe may be Fossett’s. Story is not yet posted.

They’re looking in an area with elevations of 10,000 to 12,000 feet and a 3 day storm is expected tonite that may dump up to a foot of snow.

… and here’s a Google Earth of the area being reported, Minaret Lake. Pretty rough country there.

Now they say it’s Fossett’s plane. Well, CNN does.

Right now we have that the wreckage looks so severe they’re doubtful anyone could have walked from it. The engine was found about 300 feet from the wings and fuselage.

The wreckage was around a quarter mile from where the hiker, Preston Morrow, found the ID cards, bills and a Nautica sweatchirt.

The sweatshirt contained both animal and human hair, although Morrow found it the day after the other items as he returned to the site to get GPS coordinates. It’s not known yet if it’s related to the other items and Fossett.

I can vouch for that. I’ve done some hiking and camping at Minaret Lake and the surrounding area. There is no conceivable spot to put an airplane down safely. I wonder if he was planning on scooting over the Sierra crestline for a look at the California central valley and badly misjudged his altitude. Doesn’t seem like a mistake Fossett would make, though.

Hope this isn’t considered a zombie post.

DNA tests on bones found confirms they are Fossett’s
http://www.aero-news.net/news/genav.cfm?ContentBlockID=b79d6635-6d0a-400e-a03a-625783dd1e13&Dynamic=1

Brian

Well, at least the family has something to bury now. :frowning: