Along with the fuselage, 746’s left wing seems to have borne the brunt of the crash. It was torn apart during the impact and subsequent slide down the ridge, and its parts lie widely scattered across the lower debris field.
1. The section of the wing from the #2 engine nacelle inboard remains connected to the right wing by its tubular steel spars. This section’s upper skin has been mostly removed, either by fire, souvenir hunters or the elements, but the lower skin remains intact. The removal of the upper skin allows access to the wing’s structure, and makes many internal details visible. The #2 engine supercharger remains nestled in the wing, and appears to be in relatively good condition. The remains of the engine nacelle also hold many hidden details, including the left main landing gear bay, and remnants of informational stencils on the engine firewall.
2. Separated from the main wreck site lies a large section of the outer wing’s upper skin. This part spans the area from the leading edge back to the rear spar, and from the base of the #1 engine nacelle to just inboard of the wingtip.This part is particularly interesting because it includes remnants of the “Star and Bar” national insignia, the wing leading edge de-icing equipment, and a fuel tank filler port. The underside of the skin is also worth examining, because it shows many details of the wing’s construction, including at least three different colors of protective primer, and some of the original Alclad stamping on the sheet metal.
3. Also separated from the main wreck is another section of the wing’s skin that has not fared nearly as well. This section appears to be from the top of the wing, between the #1 and #2 engine nacelles, and includes such details as fuel filler ports and the outline of the #1 nacelle fairing. However, this part has seen some abuse since the crash. When the site was visited in august of 2008, this part and what is possibly a section of the fuselage had been bent and propped up to form a sort of makeshift shelter among the remains of a cabin from Tull City, a small turn of the century mining settlement that shares the valley. In 2012, the parts had been moved, but the wing section is still badly bent.
Other small parts of the wing lie scattered around the debris field, including the #2 nacelle fairing, and various other small pieces of the skin. Still more may be hidden in the upper debris field or in the mud that surrounds the main wreck site.
A note about the gallery below: photos are numbered according to the list above. Click on the photos to view larger versions and more information.
1. Overall view of the left wing root section. To the right is the left landing gear and #2 engine nacelle. The “glitches” to the left were caused by the camera’s panorama function.
1. The wing root section, showing what remains of the left wing structure. Photo taken August 2008
1. Remains of the #2 engine nacelle
1. #2 engine nacelle details- remnants of the exhaust system.
1. Nacelle #2- note the demarcation line of the yellow paint and primer colors on the interior structure.
1. Nacelle #2 detail
1. Nacelle 2 detail showing the anti-glare paint. It appears to have been originally painted in olive drab, and later repainted in bronze or medium green.
1. Nacelle #2 anti-glare panel
1. Nacelle anti-glare panel detail
1. Left wing internal structure
1. The remainder of the left wing’s inner section- note the #2 supercharger still present and the primer colors on the structure.
1. The #2 engine supercharger, still mounted in the wing. Photo taken August 2008
1. Nacelle #2 firewall detail- the remnants of stenciling is still present in a few places. This stencil reads “Oil Se——– Vent”
1. #2 engine firewall-the remains of some of the information stencils are still present.
1. The left main landing gear. The tire is in bad shape, but it appears that most of the damage was done by vandals over the years. Aug. 2008
1. Left main landing gear detail, Aug. 2008
1. Left landing gear mount.
1. Left landing gear mount
1. left wing interior structure. The black area is the rear of the left landing gear well.
2. The largest intact section of the left wing’s skin lies separated from the main wreck site.
2. The remains of the U.S. Air Force “Star and Bars” are still visible on the left wing’s upper skin.
2. Left wing skin structure detail. The B-17’s wings had two layers of aluminum skin: the outer smooth layer and an inner corrugated layer, which added strength. Also worth noting are the two colors of primer paint, and manufacturer’s stamping on the Alclad sheet metal.
2. Left Wing Skin detail- note the corrugated inner skin, and at least three different colors of primer coating.
2. Left Wing skin underside. There are at least three different primer colors visible- what appears to be Interior Green on the left (inner) section, a darker green (possibly Bronze or Medium Green) on the right, and Zinc Chromate green on the structural members.
2. Left Wing Insignia
2. Left Wing section detail- note the remains of the “Alcoa” stamping on the metal.
2. Left Wing fuel filler detail- Note the red surround to the fuel filler port, and the “suitable for Aromatic Fuels” stencil.
2. Left Wing detail- Note the “Ground Here” stencil.
A small piece of the left wingtip lies near the largest section of the left wing skin.
2. Another small piece of the left wing’s skin that lies near the larger section.
3. This is the upper skin from the left wing center section. The red and orange paint was applied to all of the large parts sometime after the crash to keep the wreck from being reported as a new crash.
3. In August of 2008, the wing skin was propped up against the remains of one of the log cabins in Tull City, an old mining settlement.
3. left upper wing skin, Aug. 2008
Another section of upper wing skin- this is the #2 engine nacelle fairing.
Another small piece of upper wing skin- notable is the “Alcoa” manufacturer’s stamp.
Coming soon: diagrams of where identifiable parts were located on the airframe
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