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The Salvage

Friday, August 27, 2004

Today is busy with the continued preparation of the aircraft for its river journey.Mark, Gordy, John and Zak work on the placement of the last of the lift bags and continue to work on the rigging.  

Hamilton and Joey start to work on pressure washing the aircraft to remove the algae from the aluminum.  Some types of algae secrete an acid when they die that can etch metal, so it is important to remove it to help with the preservation process.

As the work proceeds, the issue of primary interest is the weather. The down river trip to Lobstick where the aircraft can be removed from the water is 80 miles. It is unknown how fast the aircraft can be towed. If it can be towed at 5 knots the trip will take less than 16 hours, if the tow can only be made at slower speeds a much longer period of good weather may be required. Mark believes that a 3-day window of good weather will be necessary. The present weather reports tell of wind waves 4 feet and higher on Smallwood Reservoir. That type of wind and wave action is not favorable for the transit. So far this year there have been only two windows or opportunities that had favorable weather, one in early August and the other occurred while the team was working on lifting the aircraft off the river bottom. The current weather forecast predicts another good weather window is opening up in the next few days. The team works towards being ready to start towing as soon as the weather permits.

In the early afternoon all the divers are in the water to sweep the river bottom one more time for any remaining parts. Guides Gary Shaw Senior and Junior provide boat support and recover several of the divers that are carried well south of “Bomber Run.”

Pressure washing of the plane has revealed the aircraft’s number, 790, on the fuselage as well as the star and bar that is clearly visible with the algae removed.