C-47 (or variant) wreck underwater in Subic, Philippines - help to ID it plz

Discussion in 'Aircraft Requests' started by devondiver, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    A C-47, or variant, has been located underwater in Subic Bay, Philippines. I can find no record of such an aircraft crashing in that area via online database search.

    I am hoping to identify this aircraft and would value any assistance/advice that can be provided.

    The aircraft is laying upside-down on the sea floor at a depth below standard recreational diving depths - so research/ID dives upon it are infrequent and complex.

    The wreck is largely intact, but the cockpit is heavily damaged and the engines ripped off at the wing front. One prop and some engine parts are laid nearby on the sea floor. Much of the inner cabin (forward of the wings) is full of silt and, for now, inaccessible.

    The main cabin, rear of the wings, seems divided by bulkheads. The only contents found thus far is a crate and empty wine bottles (seem like vintage bottles).

    Towards the very rear of the cabin is a small section that contains two tubes which run through the floor of the aircraft (exit outside).

    It has a small access door behind the wing (I believe, as another/wider door could be there, but is heavily encrusted, so I cannot tell.

    The cockpit area is heavily damaged/ripped open/tangled. One metal seat is laying on the sea floor outside. Both control sticks are visible (3-spoke horseshoe type). No other instruments yet identified (all heavily encrusted).

    I took some photos, if that would help.
    DC3_1.JPG DC3_2.JPG DC3_3.JPG DC3_4.JPG DC3_5.JPG DC3_6.JPG DC3_7.JPG DC3_8.JPG guess-the-wreck.jpg guess-the-wreck-2.jpg

    Any guidance gratefully received - especially where to look for identifying marks/serial plaques etc etc
     
  2. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    Some more pics...

    dive 2.JPG dive2a.JPG dive2b.JPG dive2c.JPG dive2d.JPG dive2e.JPG dive2f.JPG dive2g.JPG dive2h.JPG dive2i.JPG dive2j.JPG
     
  3. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting mate!

    Does it have extra cockpit windows? Could be a Showa L2D (Japanese license-built DC-3 with modifications).

    Check civilian aviation records for the area too if you haven't already. Dakotas were the main form of air transport in the Phillipines for decades, apparently there are heaps of them rusting away in Manila even now.
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I can't see the pics, but from your description of the bulkheads and small door behind the wing, it doesn't sound like a C-47/DC-3. It may well be the (often un-licenced!) Japanese L2 mentioned by Evan.
     
  5. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    #5 A4K, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    Actually Terry, only detail I notice from the pics are the wheel hubs, which appear to not be standard DC-3/ C-47 issue - more like Lisunov Li-2 (Russian license built DC-3 with 1250 mods!) or Showa L2D hubs.

    Have been inside Li-2s here in Hungary, and the cockpit and cabin fit out is entirely different to the DC-3/C-47 - alot more bulkheads (some half, some full) in various forms. If the L2D had a similar interior fit out, I'd put money on it that what she is. Almost certain just from those wheel hubs...
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Not sure how the pics have been uploaded - I can now see one only, in the second post, with all the others just elongated boxes with the 'photo' icon.
    The C-47/DC3 only had the two forward bulkheads and the rear bulkhead as permanent fitting. Any others fitted, for example as a galley in civilian C-47s converted for airline use, were normally plywood or similar, and not the width of the cabin.
    From what you describe Evan, it certainly doesn't sound like a 'Dak', so most probably the Japanese 'copy'.
     
  7. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    Thanks for the guidance! The L2D certainly makes sense given the Japanese occupation of Subic Bay and numerous reports of aircraft downed/lost into the water. There weren't any reports wartime, or later, of Allied/Civilian DC-3/C-47 going down in Subic..

    Not sure why my photos aren't showing up here (sorry, new to the forum). I posted them also on my blog: C-47 Skytrain Wreck - Subic Bay, Philippines

    The wreck does have a single door (looks right for passengers, not for cargo) and a distinctive tail cone. Much more like that shown in the diagram (below) for the L2D...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    I will go through my footage (was taken on video) and try to pull out some more stills to post here. Any particular areas I should concentrate on? Sadly the cockpit area is a tangled mess... little hope of identifying the existence, or not, of additional windows.

    There was no cargo inside, except for a pile of (empty) bottles. I am trying to date/identify those also.
     
  9. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    #9 devondiver, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    duplicate
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    #10 vikingBerserker, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    When I looked at the pics, the first thing that popped into my mind was the Douglas B-18B Bolo. The landing gear looks simular and the tail cone/rudder outline matches.
     
  11. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    I can do further dives on it in the coming weeks. Any clues where to look for more positive ID? Engines mostly gone and cockpit a smashed wreck. Fuselage intact from front wings to tail - but very badly corroded and over-grown. Where would serial numbers/plaques/engraved writing be?
     
  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    The only ID plates I am aware of would be near the cockpit. I would guess the next best thing to look at would be any markings on the propellers.

    I think measuring the side door you were referring to might help as well. The window in the door, was it on the bottom of the door (if you were looking at it while resting on it's landing gear)?
     
  13. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    I can do further dives on it in the coming weeks. Any clues where to look for more positive ID? Engines mostly gone and cockpit a smashed wreck. Fuselage intact from front wings to tail - but very badly corroded and over-grown. Where would serial numbers/plaques/engraved writing be?
     
  14. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    #14 A4K, Mar 30, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
    Good heads up Dave!
    Just checked the net - never knew how closely the B-18 resembled the Dak! Looks like same wings and tail with a new fuselage.
    According to Wiki, alot were destroyed at Pearl Harbour and in the Phillipines too, so she's a candidate.

    In pics found on the net, most B-18s seem to have standard Douglas wheel hubs, but one pic shows something similar to DD's. Be interested to know which she is then.

    As for ID plates, they would be found in may different places (props, undercarriage legs, instrument panel, cowls, etc). This wreck is considerably corroded, but try checking these areas, esp. round the undercarriage, which looks to be better preserved than the surrounding airframe.

    As for further pics, see if you can get stills of the cockpit, cabin dividing walls, what remains of the nose, and the entry door you mentioned.

    Cheers, Evan
     
  15. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    Can't be a B-18... no bomb doors, flat under-fuselage.

    Will get some more stills up, from the first two dives.
     
  16. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Get a good look at the rear door of the aircraft. There were a number of different configurations depending on the type (C-47/C-53, etc). The DC-1 through DC-3 variants started running cargo and passengers in the late 1930s, before the war started, so there are a lot of different possibilities.

    The unique tail cone is a telling piece that helps, but multiple variants of that airframe had different tailcones. The C-33, C-39, C-53, C-117, B-18, b-23 and even the early C-47s had the non-blunted tail cones.The DC-1, military C-33 designation had a tail cone that was almost pointed. But the yoke on those models was different. Wing tips of the earlier versions on the airframes was more stubby, and shorter, where the C-47/DC-3 and later wings were 5 feet longer and more tapered. If the wing tips are squared off, with that unique tail cone, it could be a C-117, which also had a different tail, but that would be hard to see when it's upside down.
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    #17 vikingBerserker, Mar 30, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
    Not all had the Shark Nose, there were versions of the B-18 that had a flat under-fuselage and were converted into carrying cargo just before the war started (incidentally the it was divided into 3 sections) . A number were shot down doing that during the invasion serving as cargo aircraft. In regards to the bomb bay doors I do not know if they were removed or left on when they were converted so that's a potential clue. I do know they did not look like the ones from a B-17, they folded like bi-folding doors
     
  18. devondiver

    devondiver New Member

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    Some more pics. Might have a few more to share tomorrow, if my buddy's video also turned out well.

    Cockpit-from-underneath.jpg Cockpit-side-view.jpg engine-L2D.jpg engine-section-L2D.jpg Front-cockpit-section.jpg Front-underneath-cockpit.jpg Front-view-cockpit-and-engi.jpg Internal-Bulkhead.jpg Internal-Bulkhead-rear.jpg L2D-holes-rear-fuselage.jpg passenger-door.jpg Read-wheel.jpg Rear-section.jpg rear-wheel.jpg Side-door-window.jpg Side-door-window-2.jpg side-of-cockpit-view.jpg starboard-landing-gear.jpg starboard-passenger-door.jpg Starboard-tail.jpg starboard-tail-fin.jpg starboard-undercarriage.jpg Tail-Fin-L2D-Tabby.jpg tail-section.jpg
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I can see all the pics now - must have been a temporary glitch.
    That door, and the bulkheads are pointing more towards the Japanese 'copy', rather than a DC-2/DC-3 or C-47. Finding any etched data plates, or any writing or notices still even feintly legible will be the crunch - if they're in Japanese characters in particular!
     
  20. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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