Black Shadow Aviation

Roy L. Stafford
P.O. Box 15035
Amelia Island, FL 32035

Phone: 904-334-2154

Restoring Submerged Aircraft
Posted: 05/01/2008

One of my favorite vintage and war bird magazines, Classic Wings, published by Classic Wings Downunder Ltd, in Blenheim, New Zealand, was doing a series of articles on the restoration of aircraft recovered in both fresh and saltwater. They asked me to contribute some of my experiences and photos in the restoration of these aircraft, and you can see the results by picking up a copy, Vol. 15, No.1, 2008, Issue 64, which I received in April 2008.

There you will see how Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat Bu.66237, piloted by Ensign Robert F. Thomas crashed into the Pacific ocean during a training flight, was recovered in 1970, and after much open air deterioration and neglect, was ultimately restored by BSA during the 1990’s. The warbird is now prominently displayed as a proud and distinguished exhibit in the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, as a lasting tribute to all those brave young Naval and Marine aviators who flew and fought in the Hellcats during WWII.

The tedious restorations by BSA of other WWII aircraft which were recovered submerged in fresh water are also discussed. Check it out. You can find a preview of the article at the Classic Wings website under our links page.

Go to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, and you can see the F6F-3 recovered from the Pacific ocean in 1970 and restored in the 1990’s.