Condition Assessment of Historic Aircraft in Yap
the week of June 18 to 24, 2006, The International Group for Historic aircraft Recovery
(acronym TIGHAR, pronounced tiger) conducted an archaeological assessment of
World War II-era Japanese aircraft wrecks in the State of Yap, Federated States
of Micronesia. The work was carried out
by a four-person team of experienced TIGHAR researchers under contract with the
Historic Preservation Officer of the State of Yap. Thomas F. King PhD provided off-site supervision as PI. The contract
called for the documentation of what were thought to be four "Zeroes"
on the old Colonia Airport,
an assessment of their current condition, and recommendations for
their management. The TIGHAR team, working
closely with local government officials and landowners, identified a total of
eight Japanese aircraft wrecks on the
old airport - six Zero fighters, a rare "Kate" torpedo bomber,
an equally rare "Betty"
bomber, and a "Tabby" transport. They also located two protective
revetments and a gun emplacement. All of
the aircraft sites, with the exception of the Tabby, were mapped, sketched, and
documented with both still and video digital photography. The Yap HPO is
currently reviewing a draft report and recommendations prepared by Dr. King. The final report is due September 30, 2006.
is also working closely with the HPO of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and with the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval Historical
Center in Washington, DC to evaluate two extremely rare and largely intact American
aircraft on the bottom of Jaluit lagoon. TIGHAR's work in Yap and in the Marshalls
mark the first time that Micronesian governments have contracted with aviation archaeology
professionals to address the management of their aviation-
related historic properties.