This past weekend I was in Vancouver for work. We had the day free so my co-workers and I decided to do the Grouse Grind. The Grouse Grind is a Vancouver hike that basically goes straight up grouse mountain. Although it’s technically a hiking trail, it feels like a 2 mile staircase!
We were talking about walking down as well (the usual route being the Tram). I’d read there was a plane crash on the mountain back in the 1950’s so I suggested we we try and find that on the way down.
The first part of the hike down is down the clearing under a ski lift so that was pretty easy. From there the trail splits and becomes mostly a creek bed. The Lat/Long that I had loaded in my phone took us pretty much straight there.
There really isn’t much wreckage left. Some news stories say that the wreckage was taken back to the US for investigation, while some says that it was buried on site. The only remaining part that we found was the engine. The titanium parts were in remarkably good shape with very little corrosion.
In 2006 a legion in Vancouver set up a plaque and memorial to the pilot. They even invited the Widow and Daughter of the pilot to the unveiling ceremony.
The plane itself was an F-86 Sabre being flow on a training mission from McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington. The pilot reported a compass failure and eventually declared a Mayday when he became lost and low on fuel. He was attempting to land at Vancouver being vectored by controllers back in the US when he crashed.
It seems strange that a US jet could enter Canadian airspace (armed with 24 rockets) without much notice from the Canadian government.
There isn’t much left of the wreckage. The engine is largely intact but that is all that is left. I suspect that the rest of the wreckage was carried out in the 50’s but the engine would have been to heavy to move. The titanium compressor blades, although bent, are in great shape considering their age. It’s well worth the hike!
This is the first crash site I’ve found but there are number of other sites in Canada that I plan to visit when time permits.