In the summer of 1998 UAS returned to the location of the TBD-1. Throughout the previous four years, a number of legal issues surrounded this particular wreck. With time running out for successful recovery, another site evaluation was required.
UAS has three objectives for this return mission. First, the status of the wreck will be evaluated. With its continued submergence the TBD’s integrity is expected to degrade. The extent of this deterioration is important for future recovery operations. In an effort to slow the deterioration, an anode will be placed on the wreck. Anodes are used to divert the electro-chemical erosion away from the object to which they are attached. Second, high quality images from every angle are taken to aid the recovery process. There will be only one chance to recover this fragile artifact so every conceivable obstacle must be identified and addressed. The third objective is to again return with a piece of the artifact showing conclusively that UAS has the capabilities successfully recover this aircraft.
Doug Champlin, owner and operator of the Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, Arizona is a primary contributor in this project. His comments on legal conflicts with the U.S. Navy over this artifact appeared in a recent historical aircraft journal.
Doug Champlin's comments
Gallery of images from the 1998 mission