Day #2: The Search for Lt. Steeves Missing Jet (June 15th, 2014)

Today the Adventure Science team ground-truthed a known wreck site near Owen River Gorge, California. The plane, the Vultee BT-13 – serial number #41-21786, belonged to Cadet W.J. Kania of the United States Air Force. He was, unfortunately, found dead 200 feet from his plane, approximately a week after he went missing in 1943.

ImageThe Valley where the Vultee BT-13 was found


Adventure Science team members Jane Davis, Jordan Eady, and Josh Eady, with remnants of the plane.


Adventure Science athlete, Helene Dumais, at the Vultee BT-13 crash site.


Adventure Science athlete, Winter Vinecki, with remnants of the Vultee BT-13. 

The Adventure Science team also attempted to scout the known wreck sites from the air today with help from Corsair Aviation, but were unfortunately grounded due to extreme winds.


Instead, the team hiked out to Bishop Pass to scout weather conditions and assess snow pack for entry into the high Sierras. The team is currently scheduled to enter the Sierras on Wednesday June 18th, 2014, and are confident that they will be able to push through the lingering snow.


Follow along with the team via live tracking provided by inReach Canada, here:

Photo Credit: Liz Barney / Adventure Science


Introducing Adventure Science team member, Dr. Richard Rothaus


Occupation: Historian and Archaeologist.

Focus: Mission Planning, Logisitics, Data Collection and Processing

Richard Rothaus is President, Trefoil Cultural and Environmental, a private consulting firm that conducts historical and archaeological surveys for clients in a variety of industries. He is also a Research Associate, with the Center for Heritage Renewal, North Dakota State University. He has a PhD from The Ohio State University, and he was a university professor and administrator for over a decade before entering the private sector. Rothaus’ research has focused on the interaction of humans and the environment, and he is equally comfortable working at an archaeological survey or in the archives. His fieldwork has focused on large scale regional surveys, and he has conducted projects in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His fieldwork career began with the Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia and the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey in Greece. Since those early years, Rothaus has had central roles in wide variety of projects including the environmental history of lakes in Minnesota, post-earthquake field surveys in Turkey and India, and recording vernacular architecture of the Northern Plains. He has expertise in GIS and Remote Sensing applications, and recently completed a LiDAR based predictive model for Voyageurs National Park. Rothaus met Donato while working on a tsunami project in Oman, and he has since had the pleasure of helping with several Adventure Science initiatives, including Caves of Montana, and the Musandam Oman Expedition. Much of his fieldwork is currently focused in North Dakota, where he is studying battlefields and peoples of the US-Dakota War (1862-1865) and assisting the University of North Dakota in a study of “Mancamps” in the Bakken oil patch. Rothaus has published a book and over twenty articles, and is the author of over 150 technical reports. When not driving all over the Northern Plains, he makes his home in Sauk Rapids, MN with his wife and young son (with two grown children living nearby).

Introducing Adventure Science founder, Dr. Simon Donato


Occupation: Director, Stoked Oats, Co-Creator/Host of Boundless TV, Founder ofAdventure Science

Athletics: Ultra-endurance athlete

Other Info: Undergrad at UWO – archaeology BAhon, w/ ecology minor; MSc UWO – invertebrate paleontology; PhD McMaster University – sedimentology, invertebrate ecology
Competed in races around the globe for over 12 years – including Eco Challenge 2001 – NZ, 2002 – Fiji

Founded the Canadian Adventure Racing Association in 2004
Founded the Boler Mountain Bike Centre 1994
Black Belt Kempo Karate
Ski Coach and Instructor

Fellow International 2009 of the Explorers ClubDr. Simon Donato is an adventurer and ultra-endurance athlete, and the founder of Adventure Science. Formerly a geologist with Imperial Oil, he resigned in 2012 to pursue his passion for healthy living and adventure. He now spends his days running Calgary based Stoked Oats, writing articles and blogs for magazines including Canadian Running, Impact, and Breathe, and executing expeditions with Adventure Science. Along with Josh and Jordan of Eady Bros productions, he is the co-creator of BoundlessTV, which saw both he and Paul ‘Turbo’ Trebilcock compete in some of the planet’s toughest endurance events this past year. In just 18 weeks, they raced nearly 1000 km on land and water across four continents. In addition to founding Stoked Oats, Simon continues to run Adventure Science, a company that combines his love of scientific exploration and adventure, and has taken him to exotic locations around the globe in search of missing people, airplanes, and archaeological ruins. Adventure Science is, and always will be an impartial organization dedicated to scientific observation and discovery using scholars and athletes.