“Full Stall Landing” Revisited (Point Loma — 150 fsw)


We interrupt our regularly scheduled Antarctica posts to bring you (finally) some new post about rusted metal!

Tyler and I found and potentially identified a new TBF about a year ago. We did two dives on the wreck and we had pretty bad visibility on each of those dives.

I have a running “to-do” project list and building a good photogrammetry model of this wreck was high on the list. After returning from Antarctica, I booked a dive day to see what we could do since conditions in SoCal have been crap recently. I invited along Drew Wilson to help and take photos while I was working on the model.

To give a sense of the visibility challenges and the poor photogrammetry model, here are some previous pictures from April/May 2022 and the “draft” model I created (scroll down to see pictures from this dive for a comparison):

The photogrammetry model definitely needed some more attention, time, and detail.

The Dive

We headed out and had pretty good conditions; however, there was a weird swell that was in such a direction that it really rocked the boat back-and-forth. We even had some small dolphins cruise around us which got Captain & Scout riled up. The video below makes the ocean a lot calmer than it actually was. It wasn’t a “bad” day, but just an odd swell.

We did some scanning of other targets and then went on to the TBF and dropped our downline. The surface was definitely a bit murky, but we had our fingers crossed for good vis at the depth of the wreck. As I made my way down the line, I could start to see fish from about 110-120 feet so I knew we were on the target and that we would likely have good visiblity.

As I dropped in on the plane, I briefly stopped and took a few natural light photos. You can see how much better the conditions were compared to the dives last year. I could see the entire wreck.

I spent about 25 minutes on the bottom and made two passes around the wreck to make sure I got all the photos needed to build a good model. Here are some of the photos from the process. The wreck is covered in fish which doesn’t make the photogrammetry process easy at all!

I was lucky enough to have Drew Wilson with me on the dive. He was on a scooter and would move around in the background taking pictures of me while I was at work on the model.

Drew and I have a “process” down now for these types of dives and he got some truly amazing photos:

Photogrammetry Model

Building a “good” model was the primary objective of the dive. I took 677 photos for the model and all of them aligned correctly. I built a model with the JPG files right out of the camera and was pretty happy with it but felt that it lacked the “pop” of the strawberry anemones that are on the prop, port wing, etc.

I imported all the photos into Lightroom and made some global adjustments but it went too far and the results are that it almost looked “fake” or out-of-place so I re-did some of the photos around the port wing and the prop and built another texture. After I was happy with the result of the texture, I built a final model with high-quality settings.

Below is the progression through the three different textures:

Below are screen captures of the final model and a link to the model on Sketchfab.

Below is a link to the “high-resolution” model on Sketchfab. There is also a lower resolution version on Sketchfab that might work better on mobile.

Next Steps

This project is mostly complete…but, we have a gut feeling that the tail section might be close by so we are going to go look for it one of these days. It would be really cool to find it and connect the two.

Thanks To…

Drew Wilson for always having my back and make sure I don’t get tangled or run into something while I’m concentrating on taking photos – and for taking great photos!

Lora, Chris, Captain & Scout – they always get the downline perfect. It is always so much fun and laughter on the Marissa.

Tyler Stalter for being the “research guru” and identifying the different targets. We dove this one together to do the aircraft type and ID and Tyler had identified the potential target. Teamwork!

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