2010 BentProp Progress Report # 02

P-MAN XII Progress Report #02 - Side-scan sonar training
21 January 2010

On 19 and 20 January four BentProp team members (Paul Schwimmer, Rick Smith, Katie Rasdorf, and Reid Joyce) traveled to the facilities of Marine Sonic Technology, Ltd. in Virginia. They're manufacturers (and the inventors, in fact) of high-end PC-controlled side-scan sonar equipment. Our reason for visiting was to spend a day in their classroom and a half day on the water, to learn how to use their Sea Scan® PC SSS unit.

Turns out that someone had written to Marine Sonic a couple of months ago inquiring about whether they'd be willing to let the BentProp team use some of their SSS gear in Palau to support some of our underwater searches, which to date have been hampered by our lack of efficient, high-resolution technical search capability.

The letter writer wasn't exactly just "someone." He was USMC Captain Casey Doyle, grandson of AAF Staff Sergeant Jimmie Doyle, who was nose gunner on a B-24 (42-73453) that was shot down in Palau on 1 September 1944, and whose crash site we located and identified in 2004. Jimmie's remains were recovered and identified by JPAC - and some of us attended his funeral last spring.

Anyway, the Marine Sonic people were so moved by Casey's pitch that they decided to DONATE one of their older demo units to the team for our use in Palau. They refurbished the gear and have given us a tool kit, control computer, two brand-new tow cables, and two towfish. Wow.

We spent all day Tuesday in a classroom setting, learning how to use the control and review software,
and discussing interpretation of the kinds of imagery that the devices provide.

The gear is sturdy and easy to use, and the control computer (right) is pretty much waterproof.

Marine Sonic's John De Mille (center) conducted the classroom training
and led us through the process of setting up the system.

Bright and early (and chilly) Wednesday morning, we headed out on
"Sonic Boom" for some water work on the York River.

Katie discusses the water work with Pete Wilcox (boat captain) and Josh Nicholson.

Jack Herbert (Marine Sonic's Marketing and International Sales Director), Katie, and Josh
under way on the historic York River.

Paul and Rick doing some REAL SSS surveying.

Revolutionary-war-era shipwreck image.

Talk about goosebumps:
Marine Sonic put this placard on the control computer and the tool box...

- Reid

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