B-24 ‘Tulsamerican’ Survey, Croatia – Institute of Nautical Archaeology https://nauticalarch.org Institute of Nautical Archaeology Sun, 18 Feb 2018 21:37:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 B-24 Project Page on INA https://nauticalarch.org/b-24-project-page-on-ina/ Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:05:39 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5990 B-24 Project Page on INA

Tulsamerican Project 2015 Final Day https://nauticalarch.org/tulsamerican-project-2015-final-day/ Thu, 01 Oct 2015 06:24:01 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5835 Yesterday was our last day diving on the Tulsamerican and today we completed a dive on another B-24 wing in Komiza harbor to get corrosion potential and pH readings. This will make a great range in depths we’ve taken samples from, all from several places on the starboard wings of B-24s. The results should be able to tell us at what depth the B-24 is slowest to corrode. My initial guess is shallower, but we’ll see!

We took down my box o’meters and my buddy diver Dr. Bridget Buxton of URI took down a tablet she and the team from University of Zadar have been testing. I was able to write notes on it for a bit, it was very cool!

After this dive we called the project complete. Below are posters we got from Kevin Gray, project member and board member at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, which are signed by Val Miller, the bombardier during the Tulsamerican‚Äôs final flight and the last remaining survivor of the wreck. We all felt really honored to be able to share this. Pictured here is our dive operator’s copy who wanted Kevin and I to sign it as well because of my expected future fame after I get my PhD ūüôā no pressure!!

Megan Lickliter-Mundon and Bridget Buxton trying out the tech boxes.

Our final day poster.


Last Day at the Tulsamerican Site https://nauticalarch.org/last-day-at-the-tulsamerican-site/ Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:50:00 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5827 Today was the last day we worked on the Tulsamerican wreck site.¬† Our primary objective was to finish up recording measurements from our primary datum points.¬† We were also focused on making sure that we had the GoPro footage necessary to connect every part of the wreck for the computer’s 3D rendering.¬† All of the divers stayed on the shallow section, with most taking measurements.¬† The ROV left early this morning, so our dive was much shorter.

Megan into the water!

One of the B-24’s engines with a datum pole visible on the right

Exploring the Aft Fuselage https://nauticalarch.org/exploring-the-aft-fuselage/ Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:59:46 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5817 Monday we were “weather-ed out.” Today we were able to resume dive activities on the Tulsamerican site.¬† The ROV continued its work, this time on the deeper section.¬† The deeper section is¬†primarily the aft portion of the B-24’s fuselage, starting just behind the wing near the ball turret.¬† The aft section also has a large debris field around it, with oxygen bottles, vertical stabilizers and other detritus surrounding the large remaining structure.¬† The ROV “mowed the lawn” back and forth across the deep section, tying together not only the main part of the wreck but including the debris field as well.¬† Two divers, Andreas and Gabrijel, were able to focus their time on the deep section to obtain GoPro footage of the interior of the aft portion of the fuselage.¬† This footage will allow the 3D model to include the remaining interior spaces of the wreck, and was likely some of the first footage obtained of its interior since its discovery in 2010.

Two photos are attached below.¬† The first is a still from GoPro footage filmed by Andreas by reaching into the fuselage through the starboard waist gunner’s window and looking forward.¬† Visible is the ball turret still in its mount; the large circular window was the ball gunner’s primary view of attacking fighters.¬† The second photo was taken by Danijel Frka, and is an overhead view of the deep section.¬† Andres and the ROV are inspecting the port side vertical stabilizer.¬† Visible in the upper right portion of the photo is the aft fuselage and tail of the Tulsamerican.

View of the B-24’s ball turret from the interior of the aft fuselage, looking forward

Andreas and the ROV inspect the Tulsamerican’s vertical stabilizer

ROV Work Day! https://nauticalarch.org/rov-work-day/ Sun, 27 Sep 2015 10:07:02 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5702 Sunday was a bit of a repeat of Saturday, with plenty of ROV work and diving video. Attached are some pictures of our rig-

Our setup for forward facing video recording

The rig for video work looking straight down.

The ROV control screen- the GoPro footage we check after each dive

Saturday’s Video Dives https://nauticalarch.org/saturdays-video-dives/ Sat, 26 Sep 2015 09:12:02 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5698 Saturday we had a great day of diving on the Tulsamerican. We split into three groups of two divers on the shallow section to do some video work with handheld GoPros for the 3D modeling. We’re trying to completely cover the wreck with divers and use the ROV on the deeper section where we don’t have as many divers. We do have the assistance of a rebreather diver, Andreas¬†and two very experienced¬†local divers, Danijel and Gabrijel,¬†so we are able to get some time in on the tail section!

I think pictures will be better than words on this case! Pictures courtesy of Danijel Frka.

Tail Section with Andreas Diving

Megan using the meters on the Tulsamerican

Megan and Tony measuring in datum points

A great overview

Thursday weather, Friday work! https://nauticalarch.org/thursday-weather-friday-work/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:39:15 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5682 Thursday was a weather day (complete with thunderstorms and water spouts!) so we made the most of our time by visiting the Vis museum along with the folks from the Croatian Conservation Institute.  The museum there has a small but interesting collection of artifacts ranging from ancient Greek black glazed pottery right up to substantial parts from B-24s collected around the island. The museum staff was kind enough to allow us into their storage areas to see many of their WWII artifacts, which had particular significance given our current project.

Friday we were able to resume our work on the Tulsamerican.¬† The morning’s weather was still rainy and fairly windy, so the dive captain decided that we would head for Rukavac at noon.¬† By noon he meant 12:30, so by 1:00 we were all on the boat and ready to go. The borrowed ROV had to go back to Zagreb, so this was a manned dive.¬† Each of the eight divers was equipped with at least one GoPro camera, provided by Mark Petersen.¬† (Thanks Mark!) Each of the divers was assigned a particular area of the wreck to maximize the diversity of footage obtained.¬† With a safety plan in place, we headed to the wreck!

Also part of the day’s goals was deploying the pH meter and the corrosion potential meter on the wreck. We also made it to another B-24 wing on the north of the island to take measurement, so a very successful day!

The dive was successful, and plenty of video of the forward section of the wreck was secured. The weather was also pretty fantastic, and put on a beautiful show as rain moved around the dive site.

The pH Meter and Corrosion Potential Meter after the dive.

Danijel Frka grabs the mooring buoy to secure our boat


The mooring buoy’s helpful label!

The weather put on a show- rain coming in!

Dive Days, Trials and Tribulations https://nauticalarch.org/dive-days-trials-and-tribulations/ Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:59:09 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5466 We got in a good dive yesterday and today but also unfortunately experienced setbacks to the project both days. Our ROV arrived with a damaged whip and joystick from travel (we think during inspection the pelican case lid was shut on them). Luckily we’ve been able to source another VideoRay while we wait for the whip repair to be delivered. On Tuesday we were able to dive and place the datum points and some targets, but had to curtail the rest of the day due to not having the ROV. Today we were able to put the ROV on site, however a regional wind made further work impossible after a few hours. We abandoned the Tulsamerican site for the day and completed a dive on a B-24 wing in the sheltered¬†KomiŇĺa harbor. We are diving at least 2 other B-24 wing sites in harbor areas to take corrosion potential measurements and pH readings. These wings were caught in trawler’s nets more than 40 years ago and brought closer into shore to be dumped. Comparing the measurements to the ones we take off the Tulsamerican will help us determine the corrosion rates of B-24 aircraft in this area.

A distant view of the datum point and 3 surround targets to make a meter square box.

VideoRay on site

and divers in the water!

First Day- Gear Check, Getting Ready https://nauticalarch.org/first-day-gear-check-getting-ready/ Mon, 21 Sep 2015 17:37:54 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5435 Those of us who came a few days early were told we were experiencing the last days of summer for the year. This turned out to be true for the project- today our first day was too windy to get on site, so we performed gear checks in the harbor of KomiŇĺa. After our check dives we shared stories of the Tulsamerican, the factory, and the crew members, along with pictures from previous years’ surveys. During our arts and crafts hour we cut and taped all our targets in readiness for doing the first dive tomorrow!

Tomorrow’s dive plan is to lay the first two datum points and the meter square targets around them. We’ll have about 10-13 minutes bottom time with 8 divers working in shifts.

Danijel Frka (left) and Kevin Gray (right) discuss the possibility of fuselage remains on site.

Drew Pietruszka making motes.

Steve Van Meter is preparing the VideoRay Pro4 for its first dive!

60 Photoscan alignment targets on white tiles, using the Kota Yamafune and Rodrigo Torres method!

2015 Survey Begins 9/21/2015 https://nauticalarch.org/2015-survey-begins-9212015/ Sat, 12 Sep 2015 04:04:52 +0000 http://nauticalarch.org/?p=5394 The 2015 season of the B-24 Tulsamerican survey will begin in under two weeks on the 21st of September. Our team will be assembling in Vis during the next week. This project’s goals are to complete a 2D photomosaic map of the wreckage fields, to obtain enough images to create a 3D model of the airplane, and to gather corrosion readings from the aluminum. Our project team’s primary PI is from the¬†Croatian Conservation Institute with an adviser from the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The project is led by PhD student Megan Lickliter-Mundon¬†as part of¬†her fieldwork in underwater aviation archaeology at Texas A&M’s Nautical Archaeology Program.¬†The project also benefits from having a representative from the¬†Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The information gathered in the survey will inform a possible future recovery mission led by DPAA for the three crew members killed in the crash.

Team members include¬†Tony Burgess,¬†Russ Matthews, Mark Petersen, Donat Petricioli,¬†Danijel Frka,¬†Kevin Gray,¬†Steve Van Meter,¬†Bridget Buxton, and¬†Andreas Sannerman. We’ll be introducing everyone as the project continues.

A comparison between a test 3D model made from images recorded during the 2014 season and an image of the interior port engine.