Maine aviation historical past knowledgeable Peter Noddin spent just a few days final summer season exploring an space Down East for proof of the wreckage of one of the vital well-known aircraft disappearances in historical past whereas filming an episode of a Discovery Channel program.
“Expedition: Unknown,” an journey program hosted by Josh Gates, centered an episode on L’Oiseau Blanc, the White Hen, a aircraft piloted by two French aviators who hoped to grow to be the primary to fly throughout the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, weeks forward of Charles Lindbergh.
The aircraft disappeared — supposedly someplace between Newfoundland and Maine — and it has since grow to be one of many nice aviation mysteries of all time, proper alongside Amelia Earhart’s crash and the destiny of Malaysian Airways Flight 370. Numerous theories have arisen through the years as to the place the aircraft might have crashed in 1927.
Noddin has searched the Maine woods for greater than three a long time looking for any proof of the White Hen. Together with different members of Maine’s aviation historical past neighborhood, he’s searched various areas in Down East, the place it’s believed the aircraft might have crashed.
“I’ve acquired actually a whole bunch of leads from all around the state, most of that are a bit nutty,” Noddin stated. “However we’re specializing in the true proof that now we have, that was collected from individuals who really heard or noticed what very properly might have been the aircraft.”
An preliminary section on the episode detailed the historical past of White Hen aviators Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli, the French pilots who within the Nineteen Twenties hoped to seize the Orteig Prize, which might be awarded to the primary individuals to fly from Paris to New York. The pair took off from Paris on Might 8, 1927, laden with a lot gas that they needed to jettison nearly all the pieces on the aircraft — together with the radio.
In some unspecified time in the future, the aircraft disappeared. For many years, it was believed that it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, however investigators reminiscent of Noddin consider it could have crashed within the woods in both Newfoundland or Maine.
Within the episode, Noddin lays out his case as to why he believes the White Hen crashed in Maine. His largest proof is the truth that a number of individuals in Washington and Hancock counties noticed a aircraft fly overhead in a southeasterly course. Within the Nineteen Twenties, planes flying over rural Maine had been an extremely uncommon incidence, that means that it’s solely doable the aircraft they noticed was the White Hen.
There’s additionally the truth that within the Fifties, 30 years after the aircraft disappeared, a gaggle of hunters that had been out close to Tunk Lake in Sullivan reportedly discovered what gave the impression to be particles from a aircraft wreckage, in addition to what could possibly be a human tibia, although in response to Noddin they didn’t take any proof from the location. It’s not identified, nevertheless, precisely the place these hunters had been — solely that they had been on a hill, and that there was a geodetic survey marker close by.
On “Expedition: Unknown,” Noddin and fellow wreck hunter James Chichetto of Hermon had been joined by host Gates to go looking close to Tunk Lake, discovering the survey marker after which scanning the world with steel detectors. They really come throughout a closely rusted piece of steel with white paint on it, after which uncover a chunk of an airframe from an previous aircraft — although they rapidly decide that that wreckage was really from a Canadian mail aircraft that went down round 1930.
Regardless of their turning up no proof of the White Hen, Noddin stated that discovering any proof of any form of aircraft crash remains to be a thrill for him.
“It may not be an unimaginable discover just like the White Hen, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a chunk of historical past,” Noddin stated, who has discovered airplane wreckage in websites all through Maine and is presently engaged on looking for a Cessna float aircraft piloted by a Maine Information named Fred Corrow, which disappeared close to Moosehead Lake in 1969.
From there, the episode strikes on to a different search in Newfoundland, the place Gates connects with one other aviation historical past knowledgeable to attempt to discover the White Hen wreckage once more in an remoted pond close to the island’s western shore — although they once more come up brief.
The episode first aired on June 15 and can air once more at 3 p.m. Saturday and at 6 p.m. on June 29, or it may be watched anytime on the Discovery+ streaming platform.
Noddin stated he hopes reveals like “Expedition: Unknown” assist get the following technology of treasure hunters, aircraft and ship wreck searchers and different adventurers into the world of fixing historic mysteries.
“There are nonetheless so many mysteries to be solved, and I believe reveals like this assist get individuals enthusiastic about what may be on the market,” Noddin stated. “It actually reveals how cool and fascinating all of it is and the way a lot remains to be unknown on the market.”