Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

B-24J Oahu, Hi


In early August 2001 my wife and flew to Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands for a short vacation. After paying our respects at many World War Two memorials and monuments we looked into a rainforest hike in the Ko'olau Range north of Honolulu. One trail guide book that I consulted suggested that the wreck of a C-47 from 1943 was visible from the Aiea Loop Trail. So off we went into a beautiful, lush, and surprisingly cool rainforest expecting to hike five miles and find a Douglas C-47. Instead, at the halfway point we spotted the wing not of a C-47 but that of a Consolidated B-24J #44-40332 USAAF that had crashed on 5/5/44 after taking off from Hickam Field. Most of the wreck remains on site today because as the plane hit the top of Aiea Ridge only one wing came to rest on approachable geography. The majority of the B-24J plunged into a steep forested canyon accessible only by mountaineers using ropes. Sadly, this weather related accident resulted in the loss of the entire crew of #44-40332. As for the C-47? Records indicate one did crash nearby, but that will be for another time.


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A view of ridgeline and Hickam AFB in the background.

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Mary Jane Macha standing on Aiea Loop Trail above left wing of B-24J #44-40332.


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Another view of the left wing partly overgrown and corroding in the tropical environment. Both engines and the landing gear from the left wing are located in the steep and slippery gully below the trail. I could not safely reach these significant items.

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Looking up through left wing section where landing gear tire would rest. Mary Jane is standing on the trail.

New photos from 2003 trip!

Granddaughter Jessica looks down at main landing gear strut and tire. A drier rain forest and help from family members allowed me to explore wreckage of #44-40332 in July 2003.

Granddaughter Megan examines wing rib structure 200' feet below trail.

Grandson Brady holds part of the ball turret stanchion.

Long silent P&W R-1830 radial engine was located 250' below the trail.



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