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In Search of SB2C-4 Helldiver - Buno. 82858
Story and photography by Timothy Cox
I have read about porcupines gnawing on aircraft wreckage while searching the Internet for other wrecks to hike to. It was very clear that that is common because a lot of the wreckage had what looked like teeth marks on it. Not only was the paint in area scrapped off, there was surprising amounts of aluminum removed from various parts of the wings, dive brakes and the tail section. So you may not want eat the critters in that area because they might have high levels of lead and aluminum in their systems.
It appeared that the first parts we found were outer-wing areas. Some of the structure was identifiable as such but most of it just looked like the skin of the aircraft. As we followed the trail of parts it was eerie to think of the aircraft with a crew disintegrating as it followed the same path we were now walking. Slowly parts started to become more recognizable as a dive-bomber. We found dive brakes, that were just past where the wind folded. We approached a small swampy area we found larger sections of the dive brakes and one prop blade. We continued to follow the trail of parts and came to
the area where most of the wreckage had come to rest. One piece that quickly caught my eye was a large chunk of what was clearly part of fuselage around where the rear gunner sat. The turtle back was clearly visible and for the most part all there. A quick look around from that location revealed the tail section below me, the engine above me and what looked like the wing area straight ahead. I decided to check out the tail section first. I hoped to find some type of markings or ID plate on it just to confirm the Buno of the aircraft, not that I had any doubt that the information I was given was correct but it would
have been nice to get a picture of it as proof. Picture proof never came. Around this area where several pieces of flight control surfaces and a wing tip. Also there was a section of fuselage that showed some heat damage, or what appeared to me as heat damage.