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Old 10-14-2008, 11:01 AM   #1
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Joined: May 2005
Location: Newfoundland
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B-36 Bomber Crash Site Photos

The 1953 crash site of the big "peacemaker" bomber, on Newfoundland's rugged East Coast, has always been a place I have wanted to investigate for myself, so while Renee and I were spending the long weekend in the Trinity Bight area, we decided we'd take a run down to Burgoyne's Cove, and walk the hike up the ridge to the crash site of bomber number 51-13721.

The huge "peacemaker" aircraft (as the Cold War era B-36s were known) crashed into a high ridge just northeast of Burgoyne's Cove on March 18th 1953, after being driven off course by a low-pressure weather event above the North Atlantic Ocean. The flight was part of a top-secret test of the North American Air Defense System, during the early Cold War era of the 1950s. The plane took off from the Canary Islands, with a mission to try to enter North American airspace without being detected.

All 23 airmen aboard the illfated flight would perish in the crash. Ellsworth Air Force Base was named in honour of the mission's commander 'Brig General R.E. Ellsworth'.

The B-36 model which crashed at Burgoynes Cove was an updated version. The original was designed to drop bombs over Germany, during WWII. For it's Cold War conversion, the plane was fitted with an additional four jet engines, to complement it's six piston driven propeller engines, for a total of TEN powerplants.

I had done a bit of research before heading out to see the crash site for myself. Much of the literature I found stated that very little of the plane was now left at the crash site. I guess this is a relative thing, because I was surprised by just how much is still there.

There is a 5 km long dirt access road leading to the famous slate quarry near Burgoyne's Cove. It is from this road that the trail route up to the crash site ridge can be found. An air cadet squadren built the trail up the steep grade several years ago. Thanks to their efforts, the site can now be reached after a half hour hike up the steep and rugged trail. A sign indicating where the trail begins can be easily found on the left, about 3 or 4 kms along the quarry road.

Aside from the intriguing nature of this crash site, and it's historical interest as part of Cold War era aviation, I figure this would be a great afternoon adventure for anyone visiting Eastern Newfoundland on adventure bikes...

The coastal road (Route 232) from Georges Brook to Burgoyne's Cove is one of the most twisty and scenic paved routes in the province, and the 5 km dirt road through the high country and along the cliff tops is equally as spectacular. Although the trail would not be ride-able on anything less than a trials bike, it's only a half hour hike up the mountain. The panoramic views of Random Island and the Bonavista Peninsula are pretty impressive from the top of the ridge, too.

Well worth the effort on so many levels.

Click here for a rough map of the crash site location

Here are some photos of the trail and the crash site.

The trail head sign on the quarry road...

The trail...

A woodpecker knocks out a beat to guide us up the trail...

The mounted propeller blade monument on the very top of the ridge...

The tail section...

One of the jet engines...

A wing section...

A propeller head...

Renee reads the information plate that's been mounted on the bulkhead...

The monument atop the ridge...

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DRZ400SK4 screwed with this post 10-15-2008 at 05:24 AM
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