Phil, joined forces with Stephen Hepworth, Stewart Bradley and Jeff Bough in the summer of 2010 and returned to the site. They went well equipped with a proper support boat, state of the art depth sounder, underwater communications, lights, still and video cameras. In the course of a week they were able to locate, map and photograph the Commodore where she rests on the lake floor. They were also able to locate and interview an eye witness to the sinking in 1942 and spoke with her husband who had helped Harold Hewlett in his salvage attempt in 1963.
As events unfolded, more questions were raised than answered as to the fire and sinking:
“If the fire started in the engine, why(?), in the original picture of her burning on the lake is smoke coming from the rear of the hull of the plane? Why was she well out in the lake, with her engines stopped when she went down if the fire began on startup at shore? Why, in 1963 was the Canadian Government still interested in locating this aircraft?”
Returning to Vancouver, the winter of 2010/2011 was a busy time. The first priority was to register the location of the site to have it legally protected by the Heritage Act of BC. Next, to obtain permission from the Heritage Branch to allow the Commodore to be raised from the lake floor. This entailed securing a permanent home in a recognized museum. The best fit, considering her heritage, was the San Diego Air and Space Museum in California. Jim Kidrick and Katrina Pescador of SDASM were excited to learn of the discovery and have been a great resource as the project moves forward.
This information package has been prepared to assist in raising funds for the research, recovery and transportation portion of the Commodore project. The current goal, funding permitting, is to raise this historic aircraft. Enclosed you will find a short video shot on the 2010 and 2011 expeditions. Back to Home Page.