F6F Hellcat WWII-Era Aircraft Discovered off Coast of Florida

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

OceanGate Inc. discovers Grumman F6F Hellcat off the coast of Miami using manned submersible, 2D and 3D sonar technologies.

 OceanGate discovered a World War II-era Grumman F6F Hellcat plane off the coast of Miami Beach. The plane was found during one of an ongoing series of dives in which OceanGate has been using its Teledyne BlueView high-frequency sonar and high-definition photo and video equipment to gather data pertaining to the artificial reefs in Miami-Dade County waters. Recognizing the potential historical and military significance of the find, OceanGate contacted officials at both the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Navy, who identified the wreck as a Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter aircraft.  “The discovery of this artifact is significant because it helps us reflect on and learn more about our country’s heritage, but also because it highlights the key role that direct observation plays in undersea exploration,” said Stockton Rush, co-founder and CEO of OceanGate. “Our sonar technology and ability to observe the undersea environment first-hand ultimately led to the discovery of this plane.”

Using a Manned Submersible
OceanGate’s deep-sea manned submersible solutions are a platform for direct underwater exploration, and are quipped with high frequency 2D and 3D sonar equipment, as well as a multitude of data collection capabilities. OceanGate’s Antipodes submersible, which enabled the discovery, allows a team of up to five people to collaborate at depth and gather underwater imagery.
“We were thrilled to be a part of this expedition,” said explorer Chris Welsh, co-founder of Virgin Oceanic, who was part of the crew on the first dive. “Nothing translates to others the excitement of a find like the direct viewing of a wreck first-hand, which shows the value manned submersibles can bring to many research communities.” 
Findings from initial surface-sonar side scans, provided by NOAA, displayed a 33-m (100-ft.) long target, which led the OceanGate team to assume it was a sunken vessel. However, during the initial dive to the site on June 29, 2012, the sonar technology on OceanGate’s Antipodes submersible produced what is reportedly the first-ever, close-range, underwater scans of the 28-ft. long, Grumman F6F Hellcat, at a depth of more than 240 ft.
Since the first dive, the OceanGate team has returned for additional observation and data collection on eight missions including a recent long-duration dive of eight hours.
OceanGate will donate its collection of photographs, videos, and technical scans of the Hellcat to the Naval History & Heritage Command in Washington, D.C. The files will be used in the preservation of this federally protected site and in possible future research on the plane. 
“Sunken U.S. Navy ships and aircraft are protected from unauthorized disturbance under the Sunken Military Craft Act,” said Dr. Robert Neyland, head of the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch. “It is important to preserve and document Navy and Marine Corps wreck sites as an outstanding part of our nation’s heritage.”

The Hellcat
During World War II, the Grumman Hellcat was flown by both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and was a mainstay of the air war in the Pacific. The state of Florida was an active training center for military fighter pilots during World War II, and records from the Naval History & Heritage Command indicate that 79 Hellcats were lost off of Florida’s Atlantic coast between 1943 and 1952, with only eight of these losses occurring after 1945. Not all of these losses involved fatalities, as the Command has documentation of many successful water landings and bailouts.
“In the course of its production run, 12,275 Hellcats were delivered to the Navy,” said Bob Rasmussen, director of the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. “During peak production one each hour, 24 hours per day, rolled off the Grumman line.  Of these only a handful exist today and the discovery of one more, even under 240 feet of Atlantic Ocean, is important to Naval Aviation History.”
 

(As published in the January/February 2013 edition of Marine Technologies - www.seadiscovery.com)

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

Fugro Launches Seastar XP2

Fugro Satellite Positioning released its Seastar XP2 PPP GNSS augmentation service on July 1, 2014, which provides increased redundancy for mission-critical offshore

Harnessing the Wind for Auxiliary Propulsion

Finnish marine engineering company Norsepower Oy Ltd. announced that it will bring to the commercial maritime market an auxiliary wind propulsion solution aimed

Engine Performs in Roll Over Test

Engines customized for new Dutch search-and-rescue lifeboat vessels keep running after full rotation on axis. In thrashing, unforgiving seas, a capsized rescue vessel used to be a symbol of defeat.

Navy

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

Today in U.S. Naval History: July 22

Today in U.S. Naval History - July 22 1802 - Frigate Constellation defeats nine Corsair gunboats off Tripoli. 1905 - Body of John Paul Jones moved to Annapolis, Md.

Unplanned Encounters Discussed at Navy CNO's China Meeting

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert has left the People's Republic of China (PRC) after a successful four-day counterpart visit with military leaders,

Environmental

Maine Port City Bans Oil Loading

City councilors in South Portland, Maine, voted late Monday night to ban the loading of crude oil onto tankers along its waterfront, throwing up yet another roadblock

Pier Damaged at Port Canaveral

Undergoing Repairs While Coast Guard Investigates   The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a weekend incident that caused pier damage and scattered concrete debris in the harbor on Sunday.

OSRO: The Child of Necessity

Most people in the maritime industry in the United States are familiar with the concept of the Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO).  It is one of the many quiet

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1808 sec (6 req/sec)