The jungle is home to a vast amount of animals and plants. There are thousands of species throughout the various jungles of the world. In addition to this, there is no telling just what you might find in the jungle. A man by the name of David Tallichet knows this all too well. He is a restaurant tycoon, but before making a fortune in his industry, he had a much different passion. This passion of his would lead him to the jungle, where he would make a huge discovery that blows everything else he has accomplished completely out of the water.
#12 Meet David Tallichet
Tallichet is an American businessman and restaurant tycoon. In fact, he is seen by many as the father of the themed restaurant, so thank him next time you stop in at Chili’s. He started a Polynesian-themed restaurant in California which soon grew into an enormous and lucrative empire.
#11 His History
Before he became a restaurant mogul, he had a much different (and more dangerous) career. Tallichet was deployed during World War II and flew as a co-pilot in a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. This put him in a number of dangerous situations that most of us wouldn’t even be able to comprehend.
#10 He Developed A Passion For Planes
During his time serving in the military, he developed a major passion for planes and all things aviation. Once he was done serving his country and established himself as a very successful restauranteur, he took his passion for planes to the next level. This included purchasing a number of them.
#9 Starting A Collection
David Tallichet was an avid and enthusiastic aviator, and built his own collection of airplanes. Over time, his collection grew to include military replicas and other impressive planes. Due to the immense wealth he had accumulated as a restauranteur, he was able to afford quite an impressive fleet of aircraft.
#8 But Still, He Wanted More
At a certain point, he decided to take his love of flying a step further. What he wanted to do was to find old planes and bring them back to life. He and his team got the idea to go to Papua New Guinea, one of the most underdeveloped and unexplored regions on the planet.
#7 The Journey Begins
He began his journey after picking his team and settling on the destination. The group made the exhausting hike through the jungle of Papua New Guinea and down to a swamp. While the team has years of exploration skills between them, even they weren’t prepared for what they would soon find in the swamp.
#6 Their Find
After an exhaustive search, they eventually found something that would bring a smile to their faces. While they were deep in the marshy swamps, the team found an airplane that looked like it had been out of commission for quite some time. The team was ecstatic with their find, and for a good reason.
#5 A Look Back In History
The history of the plane they found dates back to 1942. In that year, a few American pilots were given a secret mission. Their mission included flying from Austrailia, but they ran into some Japanese fighters along the way. When things went downhill, they were forced to nose dive down into the jungles of Papua New Guinea due to the attacks of their enemies.
#4 Next Steps
After the crash landing, the crew of 9 did not know what to do next. They decided to leave the bullet-riddled plane and try to get to safety. For six weeks, the team battled exhaustion and disease as they did their best to try to get out of the jungle safely.
#3 The Swamp Ghost
For years, people didn’t know what had happened to this plane. In reality, it has laid there in the swamp for decades, in pretty good condition. The Swamp Ghost, as it became known, was thought to be the only intact and unretired World War II Bomber and as luck would have it, it was Tallichet who would find it. However, they would not rescue this plane just yet.
#2 Air Rescue
The plane laid there for 8 more months before Tallichet’s team eventually returned. When they returned they disassembled the plane piece by piece and airlifted it out of the swamp. This, however, didn’t all go smoothly as they lost a wing, but thankfully, were able to retrieve it without harm.
#1 A Proper Retirement
After all the parts of the plane were safely rescued and put back together, the plane was finally given the proper retirement it deserved after decades laying in a swamp. The plane is currently on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Hawaii. Tallichet gave us back a piece of history that we thought was lost forever.
The passion and drive that one man had to find and restore planes helped return a lost treasure. “The Swamp Ghost” was thought to have been completely lost forever and remained one of the biggest aviation mysteries in American history. Tallichet passed away back in 2007, but his contributions to the history of aviation in this country are massive. While he got famous and rich as a businessman and restaurant tycoon, he was arguably more proud of his plane collection and the fact that he was able to return the only intact and un-retired plane in World War II history back to where it belonged.