E-mail is a great thing.  As people get connected, they tend to find old friends on the  Internet that they haven’t seen for years. That’s the case with Ron Leyburn.  He somehow stumbled onto my website and emailed me when he found it.  We hadn’t seen each other in a lot of years.

One thing that we had in common, was our fascination with a WWII Corsair airplane that we had heard went down in the deep woods south of South Lake back in the late 40's.  Many expeditions were made, chasing after hunter’s stories of having stumbled onto the wreckage of the Corsair.

We searched the newspaper archives and finally found this article.

Ron made many trips up into the woods and finally found it.  I was among the last people to get up to the site before the State Police and museum hunters finally carried away the last bits and pieces.

Ron had taken a series of pictures in his Corsair-quest, and I asked him if he’d email the scans to me.  Following, are the scans with the remarks he made with each email:

f4u23.jpg This was the start of an early bush wacking trip before the plane was located, as I recall it ended up on the eastern end of Twin Lakes. On one of these early trips we found an old campsite where one of the wing ammo access doors was found. I understood that there was a canopy from a jet which ejected in this same area. In addition the lost hunter Bob Potter who was never found, in the same area. I was in south of the South Branch 17 times, it was wild and beautiful country to navigate in with just a top map and two compasses.
f4u1.jpg  Sending this to establish contact. Will take some time to scan and commit to hard drive all pictures,  Many more coming; will send when time permits.  This is the fuel pump, rudder pedal, two hard points (rockets) and launching hook which the NY state ranger brought out in early 70s on large manhunt for lost hunter Bob Potter.

f4u2.jpg This is the second transmit, let me know if you receive ok.
f4u3.jpg Good pic of joy stick which I extracted from a hole full of water which was initial impact, later view of intact wheel at same location. The number 2 is apparently an ammo box cover. White "hard point" is part of white star on wing. I blow these up for real good detail.
f4u4.jpg The launching hook was probably attached to the main spar and was lying loose when Ranger Tom Oatman from Camden found it. He had it in a pack close to where he was reading the compass and they ended up in the "swamp" heading for the South Lake road after dark When Eric Mynter laid his compass on a stump and found they were going in the wrong direction. There were three NY State Rangers dropped from a chopper west of the crash site to investigate for lost hunter who was hunting from a camp on the South Lake rd.
f4u5.jpg Point of impact at bottom of picture, deep hole full of water. Note the one main gear which we pulled up with a half ton comealong and found it to be in original condition and functioning.  Found joy stick in this hole out of sight and still fastened on one side which took some doing to take apart with small crescent wrench.
f4u6.jpg R 2800 Pratt Whitney engine.
All the pictures that I send re: Corsiar 52927 were taken between 1985 and 1990. Don't have exact dates.  Yours truly in this shot.
f4u7.jpg Three barreled carb and remainder of one landing gear, the other was completely intact.
f4u8.jpg Larry (woodworm) Kirk  conducting a forensic study.
f4u9.jpg Armor plate from behind the seat. Note the wood toward the top which was part of the head rest.  Yours truly holding plate.
f4u10.jpg Larry Kirk with the largest piece (rear fusalage) from cockpit back

f4u11.jpg Larry Kirk with PW R 2800, note chumk of prop that I stood up against a sapling.
f4u12.jpg On the way out after a day at the wreck site, 2 hour trip each way,  Hip boots over the shoulder which I hid after crossing the South Branch of the Black River.

f4u13.jpg Tail section: note access doors and tail cone is missing (it was removed not from crash) Eddie Binks from North Lake took a Trainor relative of Lesters in years ago and they took the tail hook out, it is my understanding that Eddie charged 35 bucks for the guide trip. Long before you guys went in to the plane I stopped and asked Eddie directions to the site from a top map and I ended up way south of the site, wild goose chase but fun.
f4u14.jpg 50 cal taken by Marine contingent person from Mattydale reserve base while removing all machine guns from site.

f4u15.jpg Crossing South Branch of Black River on the way back from crash site, note flat open forest ahead leading to big hill and logging road. River low at this time. Holding parachute cord to send hip boots back over to other hiker in plastic bag.
f4u16.jpg Looking south toward the side where the plane is, this is Lee Mappes in the shallow part clowning, return trip. Notice here that the land slants up where the other side is across the flat.
f4u17.jpg Just starting 2 hr trip into F4U, just off South Lake on old road (logging trail).
f4u18.jpg Lunch time at the site.

f4u19.jpg Lunch time, sitting on the belly armor plate, about 75 lbs, we tried to protect our pilots. Carrying 357 magnum, lots of bears in this country. Early spring and they could be hungry or with cubs.
f4u20.jpg Engine in fore ground and fuselage to right.

f4u22.jpg no remarks

f4u24.jpg Gun arming switches. This film was developed
Oct. 1986, early trip.

f4u25.jpg South Branch of Black. Very pretty.

f4u26.jpg Les Trainor's back entrance with the F4U rudder hung up. I guess this piece was 8' long and Les carried it out (2 hrs). This was not long before he eventually had both knees and both hips replaced.
f4u27.jpg Close up of F4U rudder. This piece could be repaired and recovered! There was some wiring and the trim tab worked.
This is the last one unless sometime I find some other pertinent pictures.

Thanks, Ron, for the memories.

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