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Borrego Springs/Superstition Jet Engine


Small Member
Hey all, I'm hoping someone here has the coordinates of the jet engine that's sitting in the desert north of Superstition between Borrego and the Salton Sea. I drove out to the thing back in 2005/2006 but can't find the pics or location saved anywhere. I really want to take the kids out to see it. HELP!!
I was going through my photo collection and see we went back to visit it again that November, during our Thanksgiving trip, with a much bigger group:




I remember we were looking at one of the parts attached to the side of it, probably an engine mount or something, and thinking it looked like magnesium. So we grabbed a hammer and proceeded to "uninstall" the piece. We took it back to camp and threw it in the fire. Sure enough, it was mag.


Looks like I even had a video of the work being done LOL...

Oh, never mind, re-read your post. Yeah, I think I found it in 2006 too

Yeah I have no clue what happened to it. We were out in that area last Thanksgiving and my nephew told me it had been removed a while back. Not sure why or by whom. I tried looking at historical aerial photos in Google Earth to narrow down the time it was removed but I can't quite make it out in the '05/'06 images when I know it was there.

Update: I went back to Google Earth and looked a little closer and I found the actual speck that is the jet engine in the old aerial images. That's it in the center of all the tire tracks in the image below from February 2008.


It was still there in June, 2009, and gone by September, 2010. Then I went back in time to see how long it had been there. The images get much more blurry as you go back, but you can make it out as far back as 1992. The next oldest (and last oldest) image is from 1985 and it's just too blurry to tell in that image.

So I was wondering about the who, what and why of that jet engine and figured there might be some info about a plane crash out there. I wondered if the yellow paint on the engine might be a clue that it was a Blue Angels plane, as we know they do their winter practicing out there. We've been buzzed by them several times when we've been out there. So anyhow I did a Google search for Blue Angels crashes near the Salton Sea, and it turns up a fatal crash out there in February, 1982. Lt Cmdr Stu Powrie crashed his A-4 Skyhawk during a Blue Angels training maneuver. Here's an article about the crash:

So I looked up the A4 and it had a Pratt & Whitney J52 engine, such as this one:


I'm no jet engine mechanic but that looks pretty close to me. While it's not definitive that that was the actual engine from Lt. Cmdr Powrie's plane, I think the circumstances are pretty good that it is. Perhaps the Navy, or Powrie's family, or some Good Samaritan patriots removed the jet engine just to keep it from being further desecrated by us desert rats for whom it was just a curiosity, without appreciation for why it was there and who lost their life putting it there. I suppose I can understand that. Here's a photo I found of Lt. Cmdr Powrie.


RIP, Commander Powrie.
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