Crash Landed (Intact) B-17 Flying Fortress, Papua New Guinea

(Image: Alf Gillman, reproduced with permission)

This well preserved Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was originally bound for the UK under the terms of a lend-lease agreement before Pacific theatre duties sealed its fate.  In 1943, under the command of 1st Lt. Raymond S. Dau. of Arlington, Virginia, the bomber took off from Port Moresby to attack a Japanese convoy off Lae.  But anti-aircraft fire crippled the B-17, forcing the pilot to crash land near Black Cat Pass in Papua New Guinea.  The crew survived, but radio operator Robert Albright later died from his wounds.  The abandoned aircraft remains intact and has become a popular tourist attraction in the area, gaining the nickname the Gray Ghost.

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  • bob newt

    spooky

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001383100155 Kanisth Sky Chatikanon

    Redtail?

  • Brian Fahrlander

    It looks ridiculously clean for spending 70 years with no one to mow around it…and didn’t we see just how easily they burn in a crash last year?

    Hey, if it’s real and it’s just my eyes, I’m *all* *for* *it*! I’m just saying the photo looks weird.

  • Brian Fahrlander

    It looks ridiculously clean for spending 70 years with no one to mow around it…and didn’t we see just how easily they burn in a crash last year?

    Hey, if it’s real and it’s just my eyes, I’m *all* *for* *it*! I’m just saying the photo looks weird.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michel.fluiter Michel Fluiter

    maybe ran out of fuel & made an emergency landing

  • http://www.facebook.com/michel.fluiter Michel Fluiter

    maybe ran out of fuel & made an emergency landing

  • http://www.facebook.com/michel.fluiter Michel Fluiter

    maybe ran out of fuel & made an emergency landing

  • Boeing_Master

    The Gray Ghost’s(S/N 41-9234) engine # 1 and 4 were damaged from anti-aircraft fire, so when the pilot (I don’t remember his name off hand, it’s on Pacific Wreaks) he went in to the valley where it sits now he said: “I couldn’t climb nor turn around so I searched for a spot to set her down” he searched and found a grassy area with no trees, and he set her down there, in the process as you can see, the plane broke in half right behind the radio operator’s compartment (Robert Albright).

  • Boeing_Master

    The Liberty Belle’ didn’t catch on fire when it hit the ground, when she was in the air her #1 engine caught fire, that’s why the pilot landed in the first place.

  • bicyclebill

    The writer of this article has a different interpretation of “intact” than I do.  It may be “complete”, as in all the pieces are there, but this is by no means “intact”.

  • http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com Tom

    Bill, thanks for your comment.With hindsight you have a point over the definition of “intact”, and maybe “complete” would have been a better word to use. However, the word was used in relative terms taking into account how long the B-17 had been there and the amount of it that’s left. For instance, a Lancaster made an emergency landing in Holland in the early ’40s, and other than being on its belly, was in amazingly good condition (I have seen photos). Now that same aircraft is little more than a flattened pile of metal, and not much metal at that (neither intact nor complete, and all due to souvenir hunters taking little bits at a time).  So yes, you have a point, but considering the conditions in which it crashed and the amount of time its spent there, and the amount that’s left, it’s doing quite well!

  • Mick

    Having visited this crash site back in 1979 and sat in the cockpit, it was visible and easily accessible from the road with the help of a guide. The plane crashed up the hill, hence why it was fairly intact after the impact

 
 
 
 
 

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