Intact Japanese navy aircraft in the ocean near Midway

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by rank amateur, May 8, 2013.

  1. rank amateur

    rank amateur Member

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    #1 rank amateur, May 8, 2013
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
    I just happened to see 5 minutes of a documentary on Discovery about WW2. Nothing shocking there.
    But in those 5 minutes I saw footage of japanes Navy aircraft landing on the water because their aircraft carriers were sunk and they were out of fuel.

    Now we have been about intact Spitfires in Burma and Australia, but does any one know if any one ever investigated the feasibility of raising one of those planes from the Pacific?
    I would not be surprised if there were dozens to be found and with the current prices, it might actually be a reasonable investment.

    But there might be other factors I am overlooking.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Raising a plane that has been sitting in salt water for 60+ years would require a LOT of work and money to get them in any kind of condition, even for static display.
     
  3. rank amateur

    rank amateur Member

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    No argument there but it is still happening now and then. And we are talking about planes of which (hardly any or) no examples have survived.
     
  4. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i think the fact some may be considered war graves might have something to do with them staying there. also midway is a LONNNNGGGGG ways out there. just to get the salvage equipment out there and bring something back is going to take a lot of money..... profit vs cost is going to come into play. most of the stuff you see being reclaimed in salt water is right off the coast of somewhere and somewhat easy to get to.
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It depends on the type and the investor who is recovering it. When they pulled the plane out in San Diego to restore it a few years ago, just recovery cost was $300,000. After that much time in the water, corrosion takes hold, especially in the warmer waters, fast. Once you bring it up, there is a chance that the structure can disintegrate, or fall apart. With what it costs to recover and restore it, you could probably build a replica from original plans cheaper. The planes also ditched in the sea, and chances are, suffered damage in doing so, which presents additional risks for recovery.
     
  6. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Plus if you are talking Midway, chances are, the aircraft are in deep water. Deep water recovery is more risky, and considerably more expensive. Even with seasoned recovery teams, chances of success are varied.
     
  7. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    It would cost hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) to even locate an aircraft out there. Then the cost and risks involved in raising such a fragile structure after all these years.

    Once you had it on the surface, you would have a multi-million dollar pile of scrap. Then you would have to rebuild it.

    The only aircraft that are being raised now are ones that had some luck in their locations (oxygen-depleted water, fresh water, etc)
     
  8. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    The salt water wrecked those planes even if we could find them. Lake Michigan was kinder to our carrier-qualification blunders.
     
  9. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Read Charles Darby's books in the '80s on remaining Pacific aircraft. Actually one of the biggest problems re ocean recovery is water... this comment from a page I photocopied re an A6M2-b recovery:

    '...over the next few days most of the town's inhabitants (Rabaul) came to see the unique fighter being washed with fresh water and treated with anti-corrosive chemicals. The cleaning process certainly needed local goodwill, as it consumed most of the town's water supply and resulted in an increasingly evil-smelling pile of dead coral, algae and other marine organisms accumulating around the aircraft.'

    From other books I've read, water is a VERY precious commodity in the islands, not simply a flick of the tap!
     
  10. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but I humbly question what you think you saw. I seriously doubt said footage exists. What you likely saw was footage of american planes ditching. Sadly it happens all the time. I have seen Dauntless's dive bomb the ships at pearl harbor. Sad state of affairs with documentaries.
     
  11. rank amateur

    rank amateur Member

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    It definatly resembled a Mitsubishi product. Now I am pretty sure that I did not see actual footage of fighters and bombers ditching after attacking Midway. Fat chance any camerateam being around just at the right place and the right time, but that is not the issue. The narrator specifically mentioned the ditching.
     
  12. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    I don’t know how feasible it is to recover these aircraft but I know the fishing around Midway is great!
     
  13. model299

    model299 Member

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    #13 model299, May 9, 2013
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
    Back in 1996-7, the now-closed Planes Of Fame museum at Flying Cloud airport in Eden Prairie Mn was "loaned" a Dauntless that had been pulled from the former training area of the Great Lakes. It was a mess. The plan at the time was to restore the plane to non-flying display condition. But some in the organization thought it should be left "as is." The odd thing about it was that the propellor had two paddle blades, and one standard blade. One of the old timers pointed that out to me. "So it flew OK like that?" I asked. "That's the way they pulled it out of the lake," he said.

    The collection (Formerly Bob Pond's collection) was moved to the Palm Springs Museum when the Flying Cloud museum was closed. A quick look at thier website shows they have an apparently freshly painted Dauntless, but I don't know if it's the same one. There's not much information on their aircraft on the website. Perhaps some local could chime in on that.

    Point being, even though it sat at the bottom of a cold freshwater lake, there was STILL no way that thing would ever see the air again. To do so, it would have to have been rebuilt from scratch.
     
  14. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    I've seen some pretty messed-up aircraft 'rebuilt' (generally almost from scratch)

    All you really need is the dataplate. Which is one reason anything at the bottom of the ocean at Midway is too expensive to recover - you wouldn't be using much (if any) of the original structure anyway, so why bother?
     
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