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B-17 Search 1998
The Salvage

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Mark heads out with Roy and Gary Sr. to side scan sonar search for the tail section in a bay to the northeast of our camp where a local fishing guide recalls having seen the tail section back in the 50s. John, Zak (ears still hurting from infection) and Gordy continue to rig the aircraft for lifting. Lift bags are secured in place, the "T" fill lines are attached.

The side scan sonar search revealed a few targets that might me the remains of a heavily ice damaged empennage. The sites are marked for further investigation by divers. Later in the day Ives St. Marie and Roger Hodge of Hodge Brothers trucking come up to visit the operation and discuss the crane and truck requirements at the Lobstick site with Don and Mark.

David suits up and makes the last dive of the day, the first one on this aircraft for our young intern. Diving with John and Zak he not only gets to see the aircraft, but also lends a helping hand with the rigging and preparation.

The evening briefing reviews the lift plan and contingencies and possibilities for the next day. Don is concerned that the aircraft may be in a fragile condition and possibly break apart during the lift. There is also the strong potential that the aircraft will not lift evenly. The condition of the engine mounts required us to change plans from lifting from above to a combination of lifting from below and above. The initial lift is complicated by the dynamics of the centers of buoyancy, center of mass of the silt laden aircraft structure and the river current. We end the briefing and try to get some sleep.