Aviation Archaeology

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Aviation Archaeology

See also:

Aviation Archaeology

Aviation archaeology, also known as aerospace archaeology, aircraft archaeology, crash hunting, wreck chasing, or wreckology, is an activity practiced throughout the world by both outdoor recreationists and academics in pursuit of finding, documenting, recovering, and preserving sites important in aviation history. For the most part, these sites are aircraft wrecks and crash sites, but also include structures and facilities related to aviation.

Arguably the most sought after aircraft in Aviation Archaeology, Amelia Earhart's Lockheed L-10E Electra.

Above: Arguably the most sought after aircraft in Aviation Archaeology - Amelia Earhart's Lockheed L-10E Electra. (Photo courtesy of the US Air Force).

The activity dates to post-World War II Europe when, after the conflict, numerous aircraft wrecks studded the countryside. Many times, memorials to those involved in the crashes were put together by individuals, families, landholders, or communities.

As the activity grew in size and popularity, laws and regulations were created in some areas to counter problems created, such as trespassing and the disturbance of 'war graves'. In the United Kingdom, regardless of nationality or the date of crash, all military aircraft crash sites are protected in the Protection of Military Remains Act. Under the act, passed into law in 1986 it is a criminal offence for anyone without a license to tamper with, damage, move, remove or unearth any part of a crashed military aircraft [1][2].

In the United States, the activity remains relatively unknown, and has little regulation. However, under the recently-passed 'Sunken Military Craft Act', it is illegal to disturb the wreck sites of U.S. Naval or any submerged military aircraft[3] and, under NTSB part 830, any aircraft whose accident cause is under investigation [4]. The U.S. Air Force has no policies against the hobby, unless human remains are currently un-recovered at the site.


Please read The Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 page.


  • UK Aviation Archaeology and the Law
  • Text of the 'Protection of Military Remains Act 1986' (UK)
  • Text of the 'Sunken Military Craft Act' (US)]
  • NTSB 830 - U.S. Accident Preservation Regulations (US)]
  • Additional reading

    External links

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_archaeology

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