Friday, December 30, 2011

Alaska wrecks, Part 5: Muddy Ventura

This Lockheed PV-1 Ventura certainly has seen better days, and is shown here being salvaged by an Army team, probably on one of the Aleutian islands. While I have no information on which PV-1 this is or where the incident took place, one thing to note is that when the plane was bellied in, both engines were shut down, both props were feathered and the flaps were down...indicating that the pilot put it down intentionally, and seems to have done a fairly decent job of it.

Built originally as the Lockheed Model 37 for the RAF, the Navy's version was built by Lockheed's Vega division (hence its designation under the Navy system as a PV-1 rather than PO-1, if it had been Lockheed-built). The presence of the nose windows, a left-over from the bombardier's station in the Army's B-34 version, indicates that this was a fairly early production model. Navy squadron VP-135 was the first of several squadrons in the Aleutians to get the PV-1, starting in April 1943  (VP-131, -136, and -139 also were stationed in Alaska with PV-1s; in addition, the training squadron VPB-199, based on Whitby Island also sometimes deployed to Alaska with their aircraft). As a patrol bomber, they aircraft were operated against enemy forces on several of the Kurile islands, and were sometimes used to lead sorties of B-24s, since the PV-1s were equipped with the ASD-1 search radar.

(A detailed history of the Lockheed Ventura can be read here.)

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