While in Gulf Shores, Alabama, I spent a lot of time flying over the filming of the USS Indianapolis in the Carbon Cubs and Grumman Widgeon. Nicholas Cage stars in the film that features the story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during WWII.

It’s being filmed a few hundred yards offshore of Orange Beach (a few miles East of Gulf Shores) on a rig. Flying over the filming location was pretty cool and we got waves from all of the producers and actors on set – Hopefully we didn’t ruin too many shots! In the pictures below, you’ll notice WWII style grey life rafts in the water that they were using for filming.

A PBY Catalina was flown into the Jack Edwards Airport (KJKA) for the movie. I spent some time walking around it on the ramp when I landed in the evening. Sadly, the next day, the recently restored plane began taking on water after a water landing in the ocean. Word on the ramp was that the water plugs hadn’t been installed correctly after the restoration.

For days, it was beached in the surf to avoid it from sinking. With its cockpit underwater, the plane was probably a total loss… What a shame for such a historically significant aircraft. The directors then used the half-sunken, beached aircraft for crash scenes.

During salvage efforts, the PBY was floated out to sea and a crane tried to lift it from the water. Sadly, the operation failed and the aircraft broke into three pieces. I don’t think there’s any hope of restoration…


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3 Responses

  1. Anne

    Interesting post. Sorry to see such an important part of history destroyed.


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