Swamp Ghost & Black Cat Pass B-17 Recovery

Discussion about the history of B-17E 'Swamp Ghost' and its recovery.

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sbd
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Re: B-17

Post by sbd » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:33 am

Dan King wrote:"Airplanes grow in the jungle"?

Sarcasm doesn't help. If someone has a different opinion then they are to be held in contempt?

There is the wreckage of a cashed BETTY at the Chino Air Museum that is held in a state of conservation. It has been placed in a mock swamp with fake palm trees etc..

It should have stayed in the jungle, but....at least they didn't rebuild it and make it look like a brand new plane.

I can see where greed played a part in the delay of the wreck's salvage. Too bad there wasn't more greed, maybe the deal would have fallen through and the wreck would have stayed where it was to help the locals with tourism and their livelyhood for years to come.

most of the tourists in png are wreck hunters or divers.
its not a real friendly place to go for a holiday... where you get knifed for $5 australian or eaten by other humans should you go off the track.

without wrecks, oil and the australian government holding up the png economy they would be finished.

why dont you join greenpeace.

Justin Taylan
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tourism

Post by Justin Taylan » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:42 am

Foose,

Hi there. Tourism 'in situ' is hypothetical now, but yes tourism was possible and happened prior to salvage. Like you said, most made private charters to the wreck, but walking in was very much possible.

In September 2005, I went with a group of nine tourists, by foot to the site. This trip had two purposes: first, to pay tribute to the trek of the crew Second, to test the feasability of tourism by land. Amazingly, the treck was easy (1.79km) on dry land (its a seasonal swamp). It was done for the full benifit of local people, they invited us and were paid fully.
http://www.pacificghosts.com/swampghost ... aunch.html

Here is a list of known tourists that went to the wreck
http://www.pacificwrecks.com/swampghost/visits.html

I just wanted to clarifiy about past tourism. Presently, anyone in Lae can look at the pieces I guess.

Yes, I would be happy to donate any photos, video I have to any future home of 'swamp ghost'. I would argue that its in situ resting place and circumstances is what made it so special, for me at least. The salvage team also did their own documentation, that I am sure they are planning on releasing in the future.
- Justin Taylan
Founder & Director
http://www.PacificWrecks.com

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Post by David McNeill » Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:19 am

DaveM2 wrote:Can you let me know where the B-17s are in Australia and Canada? Might pay to do a little research first me thinks!
As far a the 'rush' goes, once more a little reasearch will show this attempt began in 2001 and there have been others since the seventies. There are also another intact and better condition B-17 in PNG, so you can continue to plan your tourist trip, while the many thousands of people who will never get to a PNG swamp can enjoy the Swamp Ghost ; hopefully in a conserved state rather than rebuilt.

Dave
According to Warbirds registry there are quite a few:

http://www.warbirdregistry.org/b17regis ... istry.html

foose
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Post by foose » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:18 pm

justin-

i appologise i wasnt trying to state that tourism was extinict just that it seemed like it wasnt the easiest thing for people to accomplish without some fairly substancial finances... and the fact that the plane will be in the states will make it much more accessible for less fortunate people to visit and admire a piece of history. i think if its done correctly it could be a boon to any museum. i personally would love to see it in a museum but as i stated i wouldnt repair it just maintain it in a crash scene..
Evil will continue to triumph as long as great men stand by and do nothing! -edmund burke-

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Post by Colin C Tigwell » Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:46 pm

My understanding there are no B17's in Australia, there could be small pieces left from crashes, but to my knowledge there are no complete airframes.

This airplane is an E model, which to my understanding again, unless the one at Black Cat pass is an E model, makes it the only one left in the world.

It should be preserved, either as it is, but it should be saved as a memoral of those who lost the lifes, flying against the enemy.

Interestly if this was a USN airplane, the PNG government would have no basis of a claim.

The PNG government should have greater priorities than grand standing on this issue, without the foriegn aid given to the country, they would be on the bones of their ass. If they were fair dinkem, many of the aircraft already taken out of the country, would now be preserved there. The real facts is that they have neither the ability, interest, facilities and most important the money to carry out this task.

I would suggest that if the US government wanted to test the "ownership" that in all likelyhood the PNG has no claim.

Bit like you parking your Mustang in my yard, and because I like it, I make a law and say its mine. This airplane was bought and paid for by the US taxpayer, if any one has a claim then it should be the "original owners". This airplane deserves better than to lie rotting in the swamp.

Regards

Col Tigwell

Ps Can any post a photo of the one at Black Cat Pass Thanks
Vietnam Vet and proud of it.

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Post by DaveM2 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:19 pm

[/quote]

According to Warbirds registry there are quite a few:

http://www.warbirdregistry.org/b17regis ... istry.html[/quote]

Really, and where are the ones in AUSTRALIA and CANADA ??

Dave

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Post by Mr.Chris » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:56 pm

most of the tourists in png are wreck hunters or divers.
its not a real friendly place to go for a holiday... where you get knifed for $5 australian or eaten by other humans should you go off the track.

without wrecks, oil and the australian government holding up the png economy they would be finished.

why dont you join greenpeace.


It's political. People say this stuff, because they want something. However, they fail to realize the reality-money talks and if the right persons gets this plane, it will fly. Static or display "as is" is a moot point. It depends on who gets it. I hope the Heritage Museum in Washington, Planes of Fame, or CAF get it, and rebuild it to airworthy and fly it at every airshow.

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Post by David McNeill » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:06 am

DaveM2 wrote:
According to Warbirds registry there are quite a few:

http://www.warbirdregistry.org/b17regis ... istry.html[/quote]

Really, and where are the ones in AUSTRALIA and CANADA ??

Dave[/quote]

I'm sorry, I didn't have the time to go through the whole list.

Surprised that there aren't any in either Australia or Canada.

DaveM2
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Post by DaveM2 » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:21 am

David

No problem, I already knew there was none in either of those countries when I first asked, was just making a point ;-)

Dave

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Greenpeace?!

Post by Dan King » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:34 am

DaveM suggested people who want wrecks left alone should join greenpeace? Wouldn't someone from Greenpeace want the naughty, dirty, wrecked planes OUT of the jungle where their rotting hulks will pollute the environment?

Does DavM even know what Greenpeace is or does? Maybe he meant to say "Green peas".

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Post by Daniel Leahy » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:08 pm

Good to see that people are posting their views about this recovery, just make sure things don't get out of control....

As far as I'm concerned, it should have stayed where it was. I was miffed that I missed out on visiting it last year as I had to return to Australia and that this year it won't be there (and I have no real intention on visiting the US anytime soon).

However, now that it's removed and heading to the US, I just hope whoever has it does a good job either displaying as is, or restoring or whatever.

I also hope that in the 10 years or whatever it will take before it's fully functioning again (if restored to airworthiness) it is made publicly available and not hidden in some shed/hangar. Also that any funds made from displaying the aircraft goes to a worthy cause (its actual restoration, the museum etc) and not someone's back pocket.

Just my two cents....
Daniel Leahy
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Dan King
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B-17

Post by Dan King » Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:34 pm

Amen, Daniel !

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Re: Greenpeace?!

Post by DaveM2 » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:14 pm

Dan King wrote:DaveM suggested people who want wrecks left alone should join greenpeace? Wouldn't someone from Greenpeace want the naughty, dirty, wrecked planes OUT of the jungle where their rotting hulks will pollute the environment?

Does DavM even know what Greenpeace is or does? Maybe he meant to say "Green peas".
Hmmm been censored for rebutting your accusation........perhaps I should have said "Read what I wrote, I made no reference to Greenpeace"

Daniel Leahy
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Post by Daniel Leahy » Thu Jun 08, 2006 6:44 pm

This from yesterday's NATIONAL:
http://www.thenational.com.pg/060806/nation7.htm
Proper park for war relics needed

By BONNEY BONSELLA
THE controversy surrounding the removal of the American bomber would have been adequately addressed if only a National Executive Council decision in 1997 for the development of a K43 million Constitutional Park and the National Heritage Centre to house such priceless war relics was fully implemented.
Acting director of the National Museum and Art Gallery Simon Poraituk said yesterday that two months earlier, an American company, Portico Group, based in Seattle, Washington, did a feasibility study to develop the plan located at the front of the Parliament House and the museum for close to K30,000.
But the plan is now hanging on the walls of the museum as a furniture collecting dust while proponents have vehemently argued to retain the Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress onshore.
The plan will also cater for a Modern History and War Museum that would provide a decent home to thousands of airplanes like the Swamp Ghost and others that have already been legally taken abroad or smuggled.
Mr Poraituk said on Jan 15, 1997, NEC gave approval under the Chan government to develop the park but successive governments failed to provide funding.
A museum of Natural Science and Art Gallery was included as part of the development.
Mr Poraituk said the museum had no record of the number of airplanes taken abroad.
He said he was aware that currently, three war planes were being restored in Australia.
He said two were being restored separately in Sydney and Wangaratta (Victoria) while one has been fully restored by the Royal Australian Air Force and is ready to be shifted back to PNG but there is no decent home.
?When they are fully restored, they must find a decent home to come back to,? he said.
He said PNG did not have the technical know-how to take care of war relics and the museum also lacked the manpower to conduct surveillance to deter illegal shipment of war planes.
He estimated that more than 3,000 airplanes were still lying in the jungles waiting to be uncovered and restored.
Mr Poraituk said a proposal to spend K13.5 million to restore the old House of Assembly was yet to be implemented.
And this from yesterday's POST COURIER:
http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20060608/news05.htm
Bomber gets OK to leave

THE controversial World War II B-17E bomber aircraft nicknamed the ?Swamp Ghost? will be sent to the United State to be reconstructed and restored to its original form. This shall be bound by an agreement between the State and its client to have it returned when Papua New Guinea finally has the capacity to house and care for all its war materials. Minister for Culture and Tourism David Basua said this yesterday when explaining that the aircraft was not being sold off. ?As minister responsible, I state that we will not sell the war relic nor give our history away. All we will do is salvage the B-17E flying fortress to be reconstructed and restored to its original form and then returned,? Mr Basua said. He said the plan to salvage and reconstruct the aircraft was shared between the governments of PNG and USA. ?The plan to remove the aircraft is now a shared responsibility between Aero Archeology USA, the company that will salvage the aircraft, and the US government to whom the plane belongs, and PNG, to whom the history belongs,? Mr Basua said. Mr Basua said he has directed the national museum management to have the owner of Aero Archaeology to sort out all necessary documents for the good of the Swamp Ghost. He said the State could rebuild the aircraft in PNG but that would be costly and technical expertise in manpower and infrastructure was not available. National Museum and Art Gallery director Simon Poraituk acknowledged the minister?s move saying after restoring and reconstructing the B-17E war craft, it will attract more tourists. ?For the last 64 years, it has been sitting in the Agiambo swamp in the Northern Province and has not attracted many people but after it is restored, it definitely will,? Mr Poraituk said.
Daniel Leahy
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Post by David McNeill » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:05 am

DaveM2 wrote:David

No problem, I already knew there was none in either of those countries when I first asked, was just making a point ;-)

Dave
And a good point it was.

Personally I'm undecided about the merits of restoring the Swamp Ghost. I think I'd rather see the old girl preserved as an artifact like the Halifax at the RAF Museum at Hendon in the UK. Even better if she could be displayed in PNG or perhaps Australia. There are restored B-17s around but very few, if any, as they actually were in wartime.

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