Very interesting find...I will say that having participated in that search last fall, and having flown very near where the items were found, the turbulence near Mammoth Lakes is always pretty hellacious and it would not surprise me in the least for this to turn out to be a case of a simple mountain flying error, with him getting caught in a downdraft he couldn't outrun.
In any event, I predict they'll find nothing but a charred engine block and perhaps some airframe tubing--and within a couple hundred yards of where the stuff was found. I'm guessing the stuff was ejected from the aircraft on impact.
Little media mistake from NY times article this morning regarding Mr. Fossett (my emphasis added):
"Mr. Fossett held numerous world records and was the first person to circumvent the world in a hot-air balloon as well as the first to fly a plane solo around the globe without refueling....."
I hope they find him as well to give his family closure.
Can anyone think of why he would be flying near the minaret lake region? All the dry lake beds are well to the east (like 20-50 miles east) of that region. I have hiked all over that part of the Sierra Nevada before and there are no high-altitude (>7000ft) dry lake beds anywhere near there.
Yeah, after a year the chances of finding any sort of human remains are very, very slim. But, finding the airplane is HUGE, hopefully the investigators will be able to determine survivability (from what I've heard the chance of surviving what they found was extremely small) and hopefully, maybe answer a few questions about the accident.
It certainly will not take away from the family's loss to find the plane, but I hope finding the wreckage helps them in the healing process.