Don Fetterly       WWII Historian & Traveler

Discovery of Beaufighter A19-130

Discovery of Beaufighter A19-130

Rod Pearce inside the cockpit of Beaufighter A19-130

Speak about your role searching for the Beaufighter A19-130
I used my extensive network of contacts and access to various Archives built up over several years of researching New Guinea Wrecks for Kevin Baldwin, to locate a trove of detailed documents and photos on A19-130 its crew and 30 Squadron to which the plane belonged.

Even with the best documentation things can go wrong and a wreck escape detection, this is what happened on the 1999 expedition. Rod and I decided that what was needed to search the sometimes large area of uncertainty associated with documentation was a sidescan sonar. We both set off and researched the subject and decided on a homebrew system with some advanced features. While I did the computer modeling of the sonar to optimize performance Rod designed the tow fish.

The sonar came together in July of 2000 when we made our second attempt to find A19-130. The wreck was located within 10 minutes resting in 204 feet of water on the North coast of Fergusson Island. The sonar was used again this year in looking for wrecks in the Kavieng area. The sidescan sonar is now undergoing a major redesign to increase cross range resolution and swath coverage. It is expected that the new sidescan sonar will be available in March 2002 to begin hunting wrecks.

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