I wrote about a lost plane that had been found in Alaska after 60 years last month. Now I’ve come across another story of a lost plane. In the 1960’s movie Flight of the Phoenix, James Stewart plays a pilot whose plane crashes in the Sahara in a storm. He then must find a way to get his passengers to safety before they die of thirst or from desert bandits. He eventually does get them to safety.
Though the pilot of an American-made Curtiss Kittyhawk P-40 that crashed in desert 70 years ago apparently survived his crash, he may not have been as lucky as Stewart.
A Polish oil company worker, Jakub Perka, recently found the nearly intact plane while exploring a remote area of the Western Desert in Egypt about 200 miles from the nearest town.
“Perhaps low on fuel, perhaps lost, or with mechanical problems, the RAF pilot chose to land in the vast North African Sahara. With his landing gear locked down, he flared low over the sand and settled onto it. The gear snapped off, the desert camouflaged P-40 collapsed onto its belly and slid for a hundred meters or more shedding its radiators and propeller hub,” reported Vintage Wings of Canada.
The plane was in great condition, though sand had scoured most of the paint from it.
The Kittyhawk’s pilot, Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping, 24, is believed to have survived the crash because it appears as if someone used a parachute to make a shelter. His body wasn’t found though. This leads some to believe that Copping eventually headed off, hoping he would reach civilization.
Copping’s remains are still being sought, but officials hold out little hope of finding anything. The plane is expected to be moved to the London’s Royal Air Force Museum.
Here’s a link to Vintage Wings of Canada.