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SimonBrown

The Hunt for a C-130 Hercules

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Hi All - not armoured or military vehicle related, but a Cold War era story that you could not make up.

In 1969 a USAF Crew Chief stole a Hercules C-130 with the intention of flying home to Virginia from Mildenhall. He didn't make it, crashing in the English Channel.

We are now planning to search for the crash site, as we think it may answer a few questions. To offset some of the costs we have launched a Kickstarter campaign:

Finding Meyer's Herc

If nothing else, do play the video. You really couldn't make this one up but it really happened.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

If he went down off Alderney , it could have well ended up in Hurd's  Deep. If so then everything from WW2 munitions to radioactive waste has been dumped there. 

Edited by Tony B

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27 minutes ago, Tony B said:

If he went down off Alderney , it could have well ended up in Hurd's  Deep. If so then everything from WW2 munitions to radioactive waste has been dumped there. 

We are quietly confident he didn't end up in Hurd's Deep. But yes, a former dumping ground for all sorts of nasties.

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I know the whole area. It was where I was brought up and learnt to sail. Don't want to rain on your parade, but it won't be an easy task. The Race, the tides, the French Nuclear power station at Flamanville, the French get very ansty with any dive or survey vesels going anywhere near it. I wish you luck, be I'm sure you understand my scekeptisism. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Tony B said:

I know the whole area. It was where I was brought up and learnt to sail. Don't want to rain on your parade, but it won't be an easy task. The Race, the tides, the French Nuclear power station at Flamanville, the French get very ansty with any dive or survey vesels going anywhere near it. I wish you luck, be I'm sure you understand my scekeptisism. 

We are long way off the French coast and nowhere near their nuclear power station thankfully. The report of crashing near Alderney is not strictly accurate and a better description might be 'mid Channel'. 

Easy? No, otherwise it would have been done. We have spent 10 years on and off reducing the odds to a point they are very much in our favour.

Edited by SimonBrown

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Tony B said:

I know the whole area. It was where I was brought up and learnt to sail. Don't want to rain on your parade, but it won't be an easy task. The Race, the tides, the French Nuclear power station at Flamanville, the French get very ansty with any dive or survey vesels going anywhere near it. I wish you luck, be I'm sure you understand my scekeptisism. 

Finger trouble - duplicate.

Edited by SimonBrown

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Ah well, that answers the obvious questions that locals would ask. Best of luck.

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Have you ever seen an aircraft wreck that's spent 50 years in salt water around the British isles ? I've spent 25 years diving these waters and there ain't much left of them here wrecks. Good luck though.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Ian L said:

Have you ever seen an aircraft wreck that's spent 50 years in salt water around the British isles ? I've spent 25 years diving these waters and there ain't much left of them here wrecks. Good luck though.

Yes, dived a few aircraft wrecks:

  • Goodwin Sands Dornier before it was raised - that was in very good condition.
  • Pair of Heinkel HE-115 in Trondheim - scuttled so in reasonably good nick.
  • Grumman Wildcat in Scapa Flow. It fell off a carrier and would have been in good condition if a trawl had not gone through the tail section - 3D model of Scapa Wildcat
  • P47-D Republic Thunderbolt in Weymouth Bay. Crashed on the 7th May 1944 but the cause of its loss is unknown. Pilot bailed out so we think this one went in very hard. 3D model shows fishing gear snags too - Weymouth Bay P47-D. The engine remains have been reduced to just the ferrous parts - Pratt & Whitney R2800 radial engine.
  • P51-D Mustang in Portland Harbour. Still researching and diving this one, but we know it went in at a speed in excess of 450kts and the recovery operation picked up tin foil.
  • The best underwater aircraft I have ever photographed was a Junkers 52 in Narvik. That one had landed on the frozen lake in 1940 during the German invasion and before it could fly out the ice melted. It was sitting on the lake bed on its undercarriage. Fresh water had helped preservation no end - it looked brand new.

So the common thread amongst all of these, and how much is left of them, is two fold:

  • How did it crash? Controlled ditching like the Dornier increase chances of an intact find whereas a high speed crash is like going into a shredder.
  • What's happened since? Fresh water preserves airframes much better, but trawling and fishing gear snags will do no end of harm.

If the Hercules is in pieces then that alone may well tell us something about its demise. We can almost guarantee it will have been snagged by a trawl at some point which won't help matters...but only when we find it can we start to look for answers.

One thing in our favour: The Herc is designed for carrying cargo and landing on poorly prepared strips. Its a tough old bird in its own right. 

It will be very interesting to see what remains of a C-130 after 50 years.

Edited by SimonBrown

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Seen a few in Weymouth bay myself as I used to skipper a boat out of there, not much left of the one's I've seen you must of been lucky.

 

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12 minutes ago, Pzkpfw-e said:

Thanks for sharing that.

Good to be reminded just what a great dive it was...mind you, I dived it in winter and it was -12 topside with a good 6" of snow on the banks. The lake had not frozen over but had to break ice to wade in. Getting out, my kit froze as stiff as a board in seconds. Character building stuff. Or mad. Whichever suits.

 

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Posted (edited)

There are just over 48 hours to run on our Kickstarter project and with just over £200 to go I think we will hit the target.

The project is not just about finding the crash site. We have more leads to follow up since the publicity and will be heading to places and speaking to folks we never dreamed of when this started.

If you have already backed us, then please accept my thanks and get ready to be part of a journey towards the truth.

If you want to back the project in any way then please use the link:

 

Edited by SimonBrown

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