Ice Cap Recovery of Aircraft 57-490 – Page 3




fence.  On the next try, we became airborne and flew back to Sondrestrom, one hour of flight time away.


It was decided that we would stay at Sondrestrom but would fly back and forth to the work site each day, weather permitting.  Once again, much of our support equipment, including a Trackmaster, was supplied to us by the local base, so with that on board, along with most of the needed parts, we departed the following day to begin the repairs to 57-490.


The first order of the repairs was to level the aircraft with air bags so that the left main landing gear and ski could be removed and replaced.  With the good men that made up the team, this was accomplished in a relatively short period of time.  Meanwhile, the sheet metal work was progressing and, as soon as the landing gear and ski had been replaced and serviced, they began the reattachment of the left ski fairing.  At the same time, work was started to replacing the number two engine and installing a number two propeller using an over-the-wing hoist.  The leading edge of the wing between the number one and two engines was replaced, with no further damage to the wing found beyond the leading edge.  The left pylon fuel tank was also replaced.


After approximately three days of work, most of the damage had been repaired or corrected, with the exception of the number one engine, number one propeller and number one engine truss mount, along with some sheet metal work.  Because of the difficulties that might be experienced in replacing the truss mount and since the Dye III Site had a complete work shop and tools, I decided to taxi the aircraft with two engines to Dye III to complete the repairs.  This was agreed upon, so we loaded the personnel and necessary tools and prepared to taxi the 35 miles to Dye III, leaving behind most of the damaged parts and much of our support equipment.  Meanwhile the support ski aircraft had attempted several take-offs but was having trouble because of the melting snow, so the pilot elected to taxi with us.  In approximately two hours, we were at Dye III.


On the following morning, a relatively strong was blowing from the rear of the aircraft, making it difficult for the men to work around the skin repairs and the number one engine.  Once again, I had to call upon the bulldozer operator to pile up snow to the top rear of the left wing in order for the work to continue.  After that, it was time to return to the crash site to remove all of the parts and equipment that we had left behind.







Photographs courtesy of Earl Huddleston




Back to Top