If you found this site… it’s a bloody miracle.
More Irish Bullshit!
I’ve written about the sad story of N68084, the doomed DeHavilland Beaver, before, but I was amazed, well, not really; that the lie of the death of this airplane and its pilot is still out there on the Internet and on Wikipedia.
Let me tell you what really happened to N68084 and its bogus replacement.
I worked at Kenmore Air Harbor as a seaplane mechanic from November of 1978 to November of 1988. I worked on the swing shift from 4:30 PM to 1 AM and Mac, John, and I maintained the 20 seaplanes in the KAH fleet.
N68084 was one of many Army surplus Dehavilland Beavers that Kenmore Air Harbor had bought and refurbished in the world famous Beaver Shop at KAH at the northern end of Lake Washington near Seattle.
N68084 had just come out of the Beaver shop in May of 1979 and was a beautiful airplane. Mac had just done its first 100 hour inspection the night before the accident.
On June 11th, N68084 did not return to KAH from its flight up north to British Columbia. The pilot of the plane was young, cocky, and perhaps the pilot was “thunder running” over the water at low altitude as the very noisy radial Pratt & Whitney engine’s noise reverbated off of the water.
The three of us working that evening knew that the plane and pilot were missing, but that was all.
At about 10 PM the pilot’s young pretty girlfriend showed up at the hangar asking us if we knew anything. Mac, our foreman, had to tell her that her fiance was missing.
Now, that shouldn’t have been Mac’s job. Bob Munro, the owner and founder of KAH should have called her. His second in command, Bill Peters (one of the tightest men with a buck I ever met), should have called her.
But they didn’t.
The pilot’s Jeep stayed parked at KAH for weeks after the crash. It was a sad reminder of the deadly accident.
The next day only a single float from the plane was found floating on the sea. The plane was lost. The pilot’s body was never found. The plane was NOT recovered. It is still at the bottom of the sea.
Awhile later on… not sure how many months had passed, but Kenmore Air Harbor had bought another Army Surplus Beaver that they refurbished and rebuilt in the Beaver Shop only to discover that the FAA would not certify the plane because this Beaver had a serial number that was declared unfit to fly ever again by the FAA. No idea why this was the case. The FAA never explained why this Beaver could never fly again, but hey, it’s the FAA and they can do whatever they want.
So, Bob Munro and Bill Peters had a problem. They just spent tens of thousands of dollars rebuilding this aircraft and the FAA won’t certify it for flight, even though it is airworthy.
Bill Peters remembers that they still have all of the log books and paperwork from N68084 which rests at the bottom of the sea. Why not just pretend that this rebuilt Beaver with the “bad” serial # is N68084?
So that’s what they did. I was in the shop room when Bill Peters stamped out the bogus data plate for the fake N68084.
Not a problem to me. I hated the FAA then and still do. The “new” N68084 was just as airworthy as its namesake. I mean screw some bureaucrat who thinks he can dictate physical reality with ink on paper.
But the gods were not happy with the deception.
Sailors think it is very bad luck to use anchors and anchor chains from a sunken ship. In the 1800s anchor chains from sunken sailing ships were used to bind together a huge football shaped floating bundle of lumber. The lumber would be towed down to San Francisco from Puget Sound. The old mariners warned against this.
Sure enough a huge storm came up and the gigantic raft of logs; hundreds if not thousands of virgin timber trees, was lost. Some of the logs are still there on the beaches of Oregon, Washington, and northern California.
The new N68084 was sold to a private owner who put amphibian floats on the plane. This means that the plane can land on water or land. The wheels retract up into the floats for water landings and extend out of the floats for landings on runways.
The problem always is that the pilot forgets to let down the gear for landings on runways which results in a horrendous screeching noise as the keels on the floats meet the concrete/asphalt runway, but at least in that case no one is hurt (except the pilot’s ego).
But if the pilot forgets to retract the wheels into the floats before landing on water, the plane immediately flips upside down and people drown.
This is what happened to N68084. I’m not sure if anyone drowned in this accident. But I do know that N68084 was returned to KAH for rebuild afterwards.
This is when the N68084 registration number was changed to N72TT. We called it “Double Taco” or “ Taco Taco”. We, as mechanics, were a bit … well, we knew the history. This plane was not the original N68084, and they’d changed the number, but we wondered if the gods were still angry.
N72TT is now a turbine Beaver and thriving. No worries there. Thanks to Neil Aird at DHC-2.com for his wonderful website on the deHavilland Beaver.
But the original N68084 remains at the bottom of the sea along with the remains of its pilot.
Now the photo above is not N68084. That is N9313Z which is also destroyed and long gone in the bush of the Pacific NW. I’m just trying to figure out this blogging thing.
I once had a blog years ago, but gave up on it. Caitlin Johnstone says we should “shine on” for truth. I reckon she’s right. Caitlin Johnstone at RPI in DC
I think I’m figuring this out. We’ll see.
My point is that bad pilots are always around. John McCain, for all of his other faults and heroism in standing up against the use of torture; was a lousy and dangerous pilot. John McCain and the USS Forrestal fire
I suppose that is what upsets me most about John McCain. If there is one thing an aircraft mechanic, and I was one for 25 years, can’t stand is a pilot who wrecks the airplanes.