Many years ago, at the Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad banquet, I was tossed a baited line.”Hey Will, I was deer hunting up on Mount Tabor and I found this”…My long time friend Pete Cobb handed me a photograph of the rusted remains of an aircraft in the middle of the woods. I rushed toward a nearby table lamp to confirm my disbelief. The wrecked aircraft appeared to be a WWII Taylorcraft L2-M, the same type of airplane I have spent years rebuilding…
That started me on a four year-long quest for answers. I needed to see the aircraft remains, and try to figure out how it ended up on top of a mountain in southern Vermont. I began hounding Pete to take me into the Green Mountain National Forest to the Mount Tabor site. I searched data bases for a record of any Taylorcraft L2 accidents in the state. I talked to folks who had stumbled across the wreck, and others who had looked for it. I talked to Brian Linder, a renowned Vermont wreck finder. Try as I might, I could find no answers.
This spring, at last, my friend came through! Pete and his wife Judy met me on a Forest Service road in the town of Peru. John Hammer, (a friend and history buff from Cabot), joined us for the hike. It was a good time to be in the woods. The leaves were not yet out, no bugs to annoy us, and the snow was gone. The wreck site sits on a small plateau, among widely spaced northern hardwoods. Large boulders, left by the receding glaciers, were scattered widely about. The terrain was fairly steep. We skirted a rather large swamp, and had to navigate a few streams. It had been years since Pete had been to the site, but with a little help from a map and compass, and a couple hours of walking, we made it to the wreck site.
Pete has been asking questions around town about this wreck for years, and had received no concrete information. Scuttlebutt from a few old timers say that the plane went down in the late 40s-early 50s, and the man who was flying it walked out of the woods to Manchester. Looking at the remains of the plane, I’d say that could be possible. The cabin is intact and upright. It appears like one wing was folded underneath the fuselage, and the tail was ripped off. The terrain was most likely very different. According to Pete,the area has seen logging activity over the years, and may have been much more open 60+ years ago.
The plane…It was an L2-M, the exact same model that I have. I studied the wreck closely. I found the rusted remains of the rear swivel seat. It had parts attached that are missing from the newly reconstructed swivel seat on my project. There was also a mechanism mounted on tubing just above the pilots head that I did not recognize, and a small funny shaped box made of wire, at the wing root area, were the fuel gauges were … more puzzles!
My friends endured my numerous and exuberant outbursts, and my long winded descriptions of aircraft manufacture and production methods. We took many pictures, enjoyed granola bars, and had a great visit. A good ending to a four year quest. My next post will be solving these new puzzles!