F8F-1 Bearcat Update (Point Loma — 230 fsw)

Original post is here: F8F-1 Bearcat (Point Loma, CA — 230 fsw)

When we first found the wreck and identified the airplane as a F8F-1, we started working to identify the specific aircraft. In the post, we stated that we had “high confidence,” based upon some specific characteristics of the wreck site, that we though it might Bureau Number 94928.

Tyler ordered the accident report and it took a while longer than usual and he recently received it and it reinforces our conclusion. Below is a copy of the report along with a few items noted:

  • “The target was a radio controlled boat located about 3 mi. SW of Point Loma
    • This location matches where we found the wreck
  • The pilot “…knew that the engine had stopped”
    • Matches with the propeller not being badly broken
  • The pilot decided to land by the target and “Flaps were lowered at about 860 ft landing was full stall.”
    • This matches my observation that the flaps were full down (see original post picture) and also that the propeller was intact (full stall)
  • The “plan sank immediately after pilot left the cockpit”
    • This implies that it would be close the known location of the target (3 mi SW of Point Loma) and also that it would be mostly intact. Airplanes that hit the water at high speed end up being debris fields as opposed to this wreck which is only missing the tail section.

Given all the facts in the accident report, we believe it reinforces our conclusion on the specific airplane. Without another dive on the site to locate the ID plate, this is about as concrete as we can get.

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