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Daniel Hunt and Kevin Hunt
Wings Museum / Kurlie Island Recoveries
LinkDaniel Hunt & Kevin Hunt
Redhill Aerodrome
Surrey, United Kingdom

We have taken a huge gamble but one that we have always dreamed of. We strongly believe that these airframes are best recovered so that they can be preserved for future generations to enjoy. We also appreciate that these sites need to be recorded and we always do our upmost in ensuring this. It is our intentions to keep at least some of the projects that we bring back but many will be offered for sale to recoup some of our costs, any profit will be ploughed back into our searching and recovery work.

I would like to point out it is not always possible for us to visit every crash site as we have rather a lot going on and we can’t be everywhere at once. We also have to earn a living as well as pursuing our interests. We sometimes have to make use of windows of opportunity in weather conditions availability of a Helicopter etc so often there just simply isn’t the time to arrange for us to get out there in time for a recovery, but we always advise the teams the best we can. Time is not on our side as soon as an aircraft wreck is discovered it is at risk from souvenir hunters and also locallized scrapping, therefore we try not to create unnecessary interest in a particular site. Being obviously Western in appearence and behaviour a visit to these Islands ourselves would actually work against us. I have heard recent stories of aircraft still being scrapped even now which is a real shame.

Japanese Kurile Recoveries
Salvaged two Japanese Navy wrecks from Shumshu Island in the Kurile Islands.

Nakajima B5N Kate Manufacture Number 5353
Abandoned on Shumshu, recovered 2003

A6M2b Model 21 Zero Tail 03-08
Recovered 2003 from Kataoka Airfield on Shumshu, Center section / partial wings only.

We salvaged a total of three Ki-43 Oscars which are much more complete than our previous example, one is a late war version and the other being an early variant this information comes from Joe Picarella who really knows his stuff. I have a crash site photo of the Oscar which I can forward, despite asking at the time of recovery, the lack of photos was a real let down to be honest. Our other 2 Oscars where traded with a Russian museum and where recovered much earlier in the 90’s so are in better condition. As far as I know there has been about 3 or 4 recoveries made by various people over the years.

B-25 Mitchell Wreckage
Regarding our B-25 it was recovered from Shumshu Island where it is thought to have force landed, the aircraft being very much complete but later being cut up by the Russians and we think also having the center section blown up by a satchel charge. We believe this to have had an American crew and have been in communication with the Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office regarding this aircraft. The only real evidence we have is the engine numbers, any serial numbers / data plates have long gone. We can confirm that no evidence of human remains were found at the site, this is always a major concern of ours. We would appreciate your thoughts on a possible ID on this aircraft. We plan to make a display of this in our museum.

B-25 Mitchell Serial Number 4?-?????
Crashed on Shumshu Isalnd, possibly B-25J 43-36140

Russian P-63 Kingcobra
Four P-63C Kingcobras recovered from Kurile Islands. Three have USAAF serial numbers [ P-63C 44-4315, P-63C 44-4368 ] and one airframe is yet to be identified but am getting there slowly with a lot of help from CAF Museum. The wings which have been marked prior to removal as to which airframe they came from are proving to be a good way of getting an ID on the centre sections via construction numbers etc.

References
Hunt AIrcraft Recovery (active 2004–2008)

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