Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

(2) Grumman F6F-5N


When Alan Erickson climbed 10,064' Mount San Antonio, "Old Baldy" in June of 2006 he passed by the wreckage of two USMC Reserve Grumman F6F-5N Hellcats that crashed on 3/6/49, and took these photos. My first visit to these crash sites was in the early 70's and the disposition of the wrecks has changed considerably since that time. I will soon post photos that will provide a then and now perspective. For now many thanks to Alan for these fine pictures.

Weather was a factor in this loss of two USMC Reserve Hellcats. The El Toro based pilots saw the mountain looming through the clouds and tried desperately to climb. Sadly they impacted the snow covered south slope at the 9,500' level. There was no fire, the planes remained essentially intact, but excessive G loading produced a fatal result for both pilots. The wrecks were marked with X's by the recovery crews and left on the mountain undisturbed except for the removal of four .50 cal. mg's and two 20mm cannons. Over the years movement on the steep slope caused by the melting snows, passersby, and salvagers have changed the crash scene.


Aft cockpit bulkhead and headrest.

Long silent 2,000hp P&W R-2800 engine.

R-2800 at site two.

Wing with national insignia faded, but still visible after 57 years.

Propeller hub.

Inverted tail section with horizontal stabilizer and elevator still attached.



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