Fighter jet lost 50 years ago found

Fighter jet lost 50 years ago found

Wed, 29/09/2010 - 22:40

Wreck hunters say they have found and identified the wreck of a T-33 fighter jet that disappeared into the Pacific Ocean nearly 54 years ago.

Filephoto - T-33 fighter
Filephoto - T-33 fighter

The searchers were looking for another missing plane when they came upon the wreckage of a Lockheed T-33A jet trainer

The Air Force accident report identifies the pilots as Lt. Richard Martin Theiler and Lt. Paul Dale Smith. Theiler had 1,244 hours of flying experience, and Smith had 430.

Computer expert Gary Fabian is the founder of a group of unpaid volunteer enthusiasts who discovered a missing World War I German U-boat off the California coast in 2003.

The group, known as, has continued to search for other wrecks. The group also found a B-36 Peacemaker bomber near San Diego last year. The plane disappeared in 1952.

After moving to Texas he teamed up with Pat Macha, an aircraft archaeologist who has identified about 3,700 crash sites and visited more than 800. Macha told him about his search for the wreckage of a P-51D Mustang fighter flown by World War II Women's Air Force Service pilot Gertrude V. "Tommy" Tompkins Silver. The plane was presumed lost at sea in 1944.

Of the 38 WASP pilots lost their lives in the Second World War. Silver's is the only wreckage that has not been found. Macha has been searching for the wreckage for 11 years.

While scrutinising a high-definition U.S. Geological Survey image of the Santa Monica Bay ocean floor found "what looked like a few little pixels" on a high-definition U.S. Geological Survey image of the Santa Monica Bay ocean floor.

One of the team members went out with a side scan sonar to check the wreckage but the engine appeared to be a jet, so they knew it wasn't the Mustang, which had a propeller motor.

A manufacturer's number on a feed mechanism for a 50-calibre machine indicated that it was a T-33 Shooting Star. Researching government documents, the searchers found that a T-33 had disappeared in the area.

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