_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Since the day the Wright brothers took their first flight, motorized aircraft have taken to the air……and not always come back to earth in the intended fashion.The early days of aviation were not known for their safety engineering and many aircraft crashed. Aviation archaeology is a relatively new field with its roots sometime after WWII and practiced mostly by amateurs and hobbyists. Their goal? To research, document, locate and preserve the many plane crash sites around the world. Each one tells a story that is both historically and culturally important either on a local level or globally. As civilization expands, we are encroaching upon, and in some cases, destroying these historic sites.
Aviation archaeology IS NOT NECESSARILY the recovery of these aircraft. Only in rare cases is recovery even a feasible option, The recovery, if undertaken, should be thoroughly and professionally documented before, during and after the process of the plane's journey to a museum for public display. The reality is that most crash sites are nothing more than twisted hulks of metal, rubber, and glass, nothing of tangible value, that are slowly deteriorating in the elements. Perhaps people lost their lives in this crash; maybe this plane was testing some new technology that ultimately saved the lives of pilots or air travelers. Every crash site tells a story. The RARE finds: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Most crash sites (especially in Michigan) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Aviation Archaeology and Heritage Association (AAHA) is a new organization dedicated to the advancement of aviation as a specific discipline of historic archaeology. Their mission statement is:Preserve, protect, promote and honor our vast aviation heritage through stewardship, ethically responsible research, investigation, exploration, and excavation of relevant sites and facilities, while also providing information and education so that others will remember and may be inspired. Between 1941 and 1945 there were 7,100 fatal United States Army Air Force (USAAF) aircraft crashes in the continental United States alone. Some 15,500 Army airmen were killed in these accidents.* Navy, Marine and Coast Guard statistics could not be verified but are equally appalling. While these men never met the enemy, they still gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. *Fatal Army Air Force Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945, Anthony J. Mireless
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