A mystery wreck in the York Mountains, Alaska


Michael Prophet, propliner enthusiast and in preparation of yet another trip to Alaska (2007), 'found' this photo on the internet and asked about its identity-
A DC-3 or something else?
The photo has the following information on that particular website:
"Virginia with DC 3 near the Lost River Mine, York Mountains, Alaska"
The photo is published on the website of Dr. Jaime Toro, Associate Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics, Dept of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University and his photos show a remarkable collection of vehicles found during research in the field, often in very remote areas.
See www.geo.wvu.edu/~jtoro/welcome.htm and follow the link to "Field Vehicle Collection"

The type Douglas DC-3 seems questionable...
Aad van der Voet, from OldWings.nl, agreed and offered the following;
"I agree, it is not a DC-3. I think it is more like a Lockheed L-18 Lodestar or something similar.
Perhaps this is Lodestar CF-BAL, which ran off the runway at Lost River Mine on 07 July 1972, and hit a large gravel pile?
This is the NTSB report.
And here is more on the York Mountains, a mountain range in Nome County.

The corresponding construction number of CF-BAL I found on Mike Zoeller's website: c/n 18-2383.
Mike's information is very interesting as he describes how Bill Lear converted Lockheed Lodestars, which already had been civilianised, into luxury executive transports. These conversions were called Learstars and CF-BAL was one of them!
The Learstar was not produced as a new aircraft with an Approved Type Certificate, but rather was a series, often a long series of Supplemental Type Certificates, which when combined produced a significant improvement in the overall aerodynamics of the original Lodestar. At first glance as can be seen from the accompanying photos, the changes were minimal, just the nose and tail cone and some minor changes to the wind shield. But on closer inspection a multitude of alterations can be seen with some conversions having many STCs for modifications under the skin of the plane.


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