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F6F-5 Hellcat Wreckage Located in the Yap Island Harbor
(Crash site discovered by the Missing Air Crew Project on Septmeber 16, 2006)

UPDATE: The wreckage we located in the Yap harbor during our September 2006 trip has been positively identified as wreckage from a F6F-5 Hellcat. Please see the comparison pictures below and more information at the following link: Read more. A number of people have donated their time to help identify the harbor wreckage including Mike Rawson with Rawson Restoration, Mark Noah with History Flight, Larry Webster and Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech who supplied many of the comparison pictures listed below. Thank you to everyone who has helped identify the wreckage pictures!

The search group in the water and ready for the first dive.
We located the F6F-5 Hellcat wreckage on this dive!

Prior to arriving on Yap in September 2006 we had a lot of solid information and research about the location of the Anthony B-24 that was shot down over Yap on August 10, 1944. We had high hopes of locating the Anthony B-24 during our 2006 trip. We were thrilled to locate wreckage of what we believed to be the Anthony B-24 on our first dive in the Yap harbor. Due to the location of the wreckage and the research we had compiled we were confident we had found the located of the Anthony B-24. However, upon returning home and consulting with aviation experts we have now determined that the wreckage is most definitely from a F6F-5 Hellcat and not from a B-24.

We spent over three days mapping out the crash site in water depths between 30-120 feet after locating the wreckage on our first day of diving in 2006. The wreckage is spread out over a large area with four main wreckage areas (rear fuselage, tail, cockpit area and a wing with flaps) and numerous smaller pieces. The wreckage area indicates that the plane hit the water hard and broke up upon impact. We photographed the wreckage in detail under water and also brought various smaller pieces to the surface to review for part numbers and details. The pieces that we brought to the surface were returned to the water as soon as we had an opportunity to examine and photograph the individual parts. Once again, all the data we recovered from the wreckage area indicated that the wreckage is from a F6F-5 Hellcat. Also, a number of historic aviation experts have agreed that the wreckage is from a F6F-5 Hellcat.

Please email questions and comments to: pat@missingaircrew.com

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Pictures of the F6F-5 Hellcat wreckage found in the water

Matching F6F-5 Hellcat engine mount and cowling pictures with wreckage picture:

Compare the picture of an F6F-5 Hellcat engine mount and cowling below to the wreckage pictures below to match up with the v-shaped engine mount and the cowling going back towards the cockpit area:

Picture courtesy of Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech.

Matching the F6F-5 Hellcat Rear fuselage (OUTSIDE), spine, antenna, and position light mount to the wreckage pictures:

Here are pictures of an F6F-5 Hellcat rear fuselage from the outside and inside showing the top spine of the aircraft including the antenna and position light:

Picture courtesy of Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech.

Matching the F6F-5 Hellcat Rear fuselage (INSIDE), spine, antenna, and position light mount to the wreckage pictures:

Here are pictures from inside the F6F-5 Hellcat rear fuselage that clearly show the structure that matches the wreckage we found in the Yap harbor:

Picture courtesy of Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech.

Matching the F6F-5 Hellcat position light on the spine with wreckage pictures:

Here are pictures of the position light on the spine of two different F6F-5 Hellcats. The position light and mount matches up with the wreckage and mount we found on Yap:

Picture courtesy of Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech.

Matching the F6F-5 Hellcat MT-64/ARC-5 radio rack with shock mount with wreckage pictures:

Here are pictures of an MT-64/ARC-5 radio rack with shock mounts (black mount in pictures) on a F6F-5 Hellcat. Although the ARC-5 radio receiver was used on both AAF and Navy/Marine planes, the MT-64 manufacturer number indicates that the mount was likely on a Navy plane. AAF manufacturer numbers on radio mounts had a “BC- xxx” designation. The AAF used similar command set gear as the Navy ARC-5, but they called their series SCR-274N. The ARC-5 and the SCR-274N are commonly thought to be the same set and do look very similar, but are different sets and are not interchangeable.

Picture courtesy of Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech.

Matching the F6F-5 Hellcat AN104 antenna and mount with wreckage pictures:

Here are pictures that show the AN104 antenna. You can barely see the bottom of the antenna, the coax, connector and its mounting bracket. The lightening hole is visible that matches the holes in the wreckage pictures below. The flange on the former and the side of the “I” beam that the antenna is mounted on also match the wreckage pictures. The built up “I” beam structure makes up the beefy roll over structure behind the pilot's head and armor plate.

Picture courtesy of Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech.

Matching the F6F-5 Hellcat vertical (or horizontal) stabilizer with wreckage pictures:

Here are pictures of the Hellcat vertical and horizontal stabilizers:

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