Well another year has passed and I am still compiling stories and data. The Feds have come forward with their sterile info as a result of my Freedom of Information Act Reqeust (FIOA). Yosemite was by far the best. They gave me just what I needed to get the time line of all the events into place.
More interviews are set up for next month.
I have found the guy that was responsible for determining if the plane was air worthy to fly to Texas for its modification from a WWII fighter/bomer to an executive aircraft. Since there were only 17 of these planes made, he remembers it. His brother was a pilot for one of the companies that owned it right after the war.
I also found the chief mechanic for the plane after it was modified and sold to the Republic Steel Company in Ohio in the 50s. After all these years, he too remembers the plane and its querks. I guess it was a real hot rod.
Since the cat is out of the bag regarding the plane type, if you are interested in seeing the only flying version of this plane, or older photos of it, do a Google on "Howard 500". Enjoy
And for those that knew Jack Dorn, he's figuring into this book as well. He had a colorful past before arriving in Yosemite. His family has a hell of a story to tell regarding the events following his death.
It's just awesome, the research you are putting into this book. Any publishing deadlines yet? I just hope that you never sell the movie rights, we really don't need another 'Cliffhanger' type movie. Can't wait to read the book.
Darin...just when I think I'm ready to put it all together I get a call or an email from someone that flips the story up side down. This has happened a dozen times. I then have to put on my investigator's hat and dive in with both feet. There have been a few that are so contradictory that I've had to rewrite a few chapters due to the "misleading" of some people. Either they have been telling their version of the story for so long they believe it, or they are purposely sending me on wild goose chases. Either way, I can't publish the book until all of the loose ends are tied together.
There is a several page section of 'Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite' on this crash and its aftermath. I highly recommend the book overall. It is a look at every fatality that occurred in the park, and has a chapter on plane crashes and searches.
Just returned from Yosemite where I was asked to put on a presentation to the Yosemite Alumni Association. These were Park Rangers and employees that were up at the Park during this event. Many were involved in the investigation, search and recovery, and even one of the more well known "climbers" that made his way up to the lake to avail himself of some of the booty. I managed to gather up more contacts, great stories, and very good cookies.