Noah Doughty, September 18, 2006


NOAA Teacher at Sea
Noah Doughty
Onboard NOAA Ship Western Flyer
September 18 – 22, 2006

Mission: USS Macon Wreck Archeological Expedition
Geographical Area: California Coast
Date: September 18, 2006

The science crew in the Control Room of the WESTERN FLYER as we watch video from the Tiburon.

The science crew in the Control Room of the WESTERN FLYER as we watch video from the Tiburon.

Greetings from the sunny coast of California!

Today aboard ship we began to survey the wreck site of the USS MACON, a US Navy Dirigible and its Sparrowhawk airplanes. The MACON, a rigid airship referred to as a “flying aircraft carrier,” sunk off the coast near Big Sur, just south of Monterey, on February 12, 1935. The goal of the survey is to create a photo-mosaic image of the wreckage.  To accomplish this we are using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called the Tiburon. Much of today’s operations centered on getting the ROV into the water early with the camera at a 45-degree angle to capture as many images of the wreck area as possible. Plus it enabled the scientists and historians on boat to get a feeling for the condition of the wreckage.  Altogether we found all four of the airplanes, each in a different state of decomposition, but some parts remarkably well preserved (we could make out part of a star painted on one wing). One of the things the scientists did was to make a GIS map of the wreck site.

The real work begins tomorrow when researches from Stanford University begin a two-day project to create the photo-mosaic of the area.

GIS map of the MACON wreckage, see the next page.  Outlines indicate approximate location of various objects.

GIS map of the MACON wreckage. Outlines indicate approximate location of various objects.

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