On November 2, 1941 a AAF B-17C, tail number 40-2047 similar to the one pictured
broke up over the High Sierra's on a flight that had originated in Salt
Lake City, Utah with 1st Lt. Leo Walker as the pilot. The destination of
the flight was Sacramento, California where the number 3 engine with
over 420 hours on it was to be replaced.
In short, after waiting in Reno for the weather over the Sierra's
to clear, flying over the High Sierra's, the aircraft
experienced multiple failures beginning with the navigation radio, then
flight instruments, then engines, followed by the controls. While trying
to regain control the aircraft, 1st Lt. Walker ordered the crew to put on
their parachutes. At 18,000 feet west of Lake Tahoe control of the
aircraft was lost and it began to break up.
As the aircraft began to break apart, six of the crew were able to
escape by jumping out, two were thrown from the plane. All eight of
these airmen parachuted to safety,
leaving the pilot; 1st. Lt. Leo Walker trapped in the cockpit as the
B-17C plummeted down to earth. Lt. Walker did not make it out.
Sadly, this memorial site has been recently been vandalized,
someone has removed sections of the wing, the cut's can be seen in my
photos. The damage was either done by someone needing restoration parts
or scrappers looking to make an quick buck.
now for my Soap Box Rant;
Many historical sites and aircraft crash sites are becoming
"geocache" sites. I personally believe this is in extremely
bad taste, making a game of sites where men died serving their country.
AND not to mention the additional traffic this activity brings to sites,
many of these people that "geocache" have no clue or respect
for these historical sites.
Unfortunately there's a "geocache" located at this
historical memorial site.
In 1940, the Army Air Corps ordered 38 improved B-17B's as
B-17C. The B-17C was upgraded from 1,000-hp to 1,200-hp Wright R-1820-65
radial engines. Flat sliding gun panels were installed instead of waist
gun blisters which provided better crew safety and a cleaner design. The
ventral gun blister was replaced by a "bathtub" turret.
Twenty B-17C's were transferred to the RAF where they were
used during the early stages of World War II. Eighteen of the
remaining "C" models were modified to the "D"
in their service lives.
One .30-cal. and six .50-cal. machine guns and 4,800 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Four Wright R-1820-65 turbo-supercharged radials of 1,200 hp
Maximum Speed: 323 mph at 25,000 ft.
Cruising Speed: 227 mph
Service Ceiling: 37,000 ft.
Range: 3,400 miles (maximum ferry range)
Wingspan: 103 ft. 9 in.
Length: 67 ft. 11 in.
Height: 15 ft. 5 in.
Weight: 48,500 lbs. gross weight (actual - normal load)
B-17C Serial Numbers: 40-2042 to 40-2079