Statement released from GMA Dennis Spragg regarding Glenn Miller’s missing plane.

I have released a statement to the media following reports on American television networks today that C-64 #44-70285 that disappeared with Major Glenn Mlller aboard “has been found.”

The following is a statement by Dennis M. Spragg of the Glenn Miller Archive, American Music Research Center, University of Colorado Boulder, author of Glenn Miller Declassified (2017, Potomac Books):

“American and British media are recently ablaze with numerous reports suggesting the discovery of the wreckage of the Eighth Air Force Service Command C-64 Noorduyn Norseman that disappeared on December 15, 1944 with Major Glenn Miller aboard as an unauthorized casual passenger. Naturally, these reports are of great interest to me, as an historian, author and archivist focused on the preservation and communication of the legendary Glenn Miller’s legacy.

To my knowledge, the airplane has not been located but rather a search for the debris is being considered. The headlines appearing in the media are therefore misleading.

Just over one year ago, it was my pleasure to be of service and support to Ric Gillespie and his aviation archeology group TIGHAR, when they embarked on an initiative to potentially locate the wreckage of the airplane. I welcome the search for the remains and greatly appreciate TIGHAR’s expertise in concurring with Glenn Miller Declassified that the airplane disappeared with Miller aboard over the English Channel due to a combination of pilot error, mechanical failure and/or bad weather conditions.

I have for years known of the 1987 claim by an English fisherman of bringing up a mostly intact airplane reportedly resembling C-64 #44-70285, welcome TIGHAR’s inquiry and respect their methodical diligence and progress. The public statements by Ric about TIGHAR’s expectations are in 100% agreement with the aviation and military history professionals who have endorsed Glenn Miller Declassified as well as the many details I present in the book.

I don’t wish to rule anything out but the area where the fisherman pulled up the aircraft is well west of the logical flight course Glenn Miller‘s aircraft would have taken on that afternoon. But it may be possible. The account of the fisherman that the aircraft was mostly intact the it was pulled up is possible but not probable. In my view, the Norseman was more likely to have disintegrated on impact with the water. A violent impact would have shattered the metallic airframe skeleton. As Ric and TIGHAR stress, what is realistically out there now are an engine block and cockpit debris – the fabric and lightweight Sitka Spruce wood wings are long gone. However, if the debris can be located amongst the hundreds of airplane and other wrecks in the area, it is important to note that the Pratt & Whitney engine was unique to the C-64 in the European Theater of War and can be positively identified. Aircraft #44-70285 is also the only C-64 that went down in the English Channel.

The task is a long-shot and we all know it – but there is no harm in verifying all claims, however improbable, and potentially locating the remains of “the” plane.

Ironically, the Pratt & Whitney engine that Noorduyn installed on the C-64 Norseman was of the same family and vintage as the engines on the doomed Lockheed Electra flown by Amelia Earhart in 1937.

I look forward TIGHAR’s findings and fully support their effort.

For further information, please see Glenn Miller Declassified or contact me at either http://music.colorado.edu/amrc or http://dennismspragg.com; or e-mail me at either dennis.spragg@colorado.edu or dmspragg@msn.com.

 

GMBS is VERY excited to announce the 44th annual

Glenn Miller festival entertainment line-up

(June 6-9, 2019) 

The festival will feature:

The World-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
Tom Daughtery Orchestra
Adam Swanson
Michael “Gooch” & his Las Vegas Big Band
UNO Jazz Ensembles
Nebraska Brass Band
GMBS Big Band
Glenn Miller Music Scholarship competition
Stage Show
And much more!
Festival schedule and ticket order forms will be available soon.
See you all in Clarinda in June 2019!

 

Visit the original birthplace of Glenn Miller and learn the fascinating story of his life and music. Compelling exhibits, movies, and tours let you explore his early life, his rise to stardom, his service in World War II, and the impact his music has had through the decades.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgCzwriQrL0

  

 

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