Logo Early 2018 Explorations
Southern Nantahala Wilderness Area
All Text & Images:
Copyright (2018)

Mid January 2018:   A hike up to Sassafras Knob...   And a surprising discovery!

The high ridge of the Southern Nantahala Wilderness Area is trail-less and seldom visited.
While much of the western side of the ridge-line is relatively easy hiking, climbing up to that point is a work-out!


Snow_in_trees
We had bare ground at our house, but the trees and ground at higher elevation were snow-covered.




Aluminum_pieces

High up on the slopes of Skut Knob, I came across scattered pieces of aluminum.

Twenty years ago, a former neighbor had found debris from a plane crash on the mountain side.   In those pre-GPS
days, he was unable to find the site again.   I could find no record of a plane crash here in FAA / NTSB records, but
last February I searched for his site one day, with no luck.   Although this site is almost 1/3 mile away (and at much
higher elevation) from his recollection of that area, I wondered if perhaps this material was from that same aircraft.


Fuselage_Structure
Looking around for additional remnants, something much larger caught my eye as I looked up slope.


Fuselage_Structure
What is this?!?   An old communications tower / antenna / mast???
How did the structure get here?   This area is too steep for even the old logging roads...



Glider_Frame
Update, from 3 days later...   (updates are in orange)

A friend commented   "Probably not, but it looks almost like the fuselage frame of a WWII assault glider."   That got me wondering...

Look at the above photo, showing the frame of a DFS-230 German glider (from Nick Wotherspoon's Flickr site).   Note the windshield framing.
Now re-look at the image above it (the structure I found).   Imagine that it is laying on its side, and flip it over to the right.   That sure looks like
a similar windshield frame, and you can see the curvature where it meets the plane's nose.   It appears this is indeed an old aircraft fuselage!
Now to determine the aircraft model and a record of the incident.


Fuselage
Fuselage from the front (on its side)


Fuselage
Fuselage frame from the underside


Fuselage_attachment_detail
Unusual details attached to the structure.
Now that we've determined this was a plane, this may be landing gear or wing strut supports.



Aft_fuselage
Upper (aft) section of the structure.   It is over 30 feet long.


Aft_end
Top (aft end) of the structure.   Note that some of the unidentified
aluminum can be seen attached to the framing in several images.



Update:   We have added much new information & documentation about this aircraft and the crash site.
Finish viewing this album, and then visit the "Crash" links at the bottom of the page.




Ridge_route
Checking out the aircraft put me behind schedule, but I finally resumed the climb up to the ridge-top,
and headed for Sassafras Knob.   There's no real trail, but this is an example of the ridge-line route.



Eagle_Mtn_profile
Looking back to the WSW at the silhouette of Eagle Mountain


Sassafras_view_South
A nice view to the south from Sassafras Knob.


Hightower_Bald
Hightower Bald, Georgia's fourth highest peak, with a touch of snow, viewed from Sassafras Knob.
The peak to the right is Shooting Creek Bald.



Sassafras_view_North
A view to the NNW, with the Tusquitee Range on the horizon.


Sassafras_view_North
View to the NE, toward Shooting Creek and the Hwy 64 climb up Chunky Gal.


Ridge_route
Heading back along the high ridge
While not quite a knife-edge, much of the trek is along a similar narrow, rounded ridge-top.
I'm sure the crest was a lot sharper when the Appalachians were a young mountain chain...



You are viewing the "Initial Discovery" page.
See additional pages covering the Norseman crash site:
Initial Discovery Norseman Crash - 1 Norseman Crash - 2
Norseman Crash - 3 Norseman Crash - 4



Misc. Explr. Index S. Nantahala Index
Hiawassee Index NE GA - NC Index