Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles

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Tiny Robot Investigates 54-Year Old Crash Site with National Park Service; Assesses Plane and Prepares NPS Divers for Mission Next Spring

VideoRay LLC today announced its work with the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center (SRC) and Lake Mead National Recreation Area on a three-day ROV (remotely operated vehicle) reconnaissance mission to explore an Army Air Force B-29 bomber, which crashed in Lake Mead over 54 years ago. For this mission, the 8-pound VideoRay will gather video footage for the National Park Service as it is flown in and around the aircraft, which is located at a depth that is difficult for divers to access for sustained periods of time.

The crew from VideoRay will include Charles Joseph “CJ” Christ, who flew B-29s exclusively from 1951 to 1952, including twenty-three combat missions over North Korea. The VideoRay crew also includes CJ Christ’s son, Bob Christ, who is an owner of VideoRay LLC and has worked on previous National Park Service projects, including the survey of the USS Arizona battleship sixty years after its sinking in Pearl Harbor.

CJ Christ has been researching and comparing the various accounts of the B-29’s crash and hopes to aid the National Park Service as they seek more definitive answers about both the condition of the aircraft and the events of that day. The reconnaissance mission with the VideoRay will help the National Park Service in its cultural resource assessment and prepare the SRC team for an archeological dive exploration of the B-29 next spring.

“The VideoRay has proven itself as an invaluable tool for allowing the Park Service to image and access submerged resources in specific areas,” says Brett Seymour, a photographer for the Submerged Resources Center who was part of the USS Arizona exploration. “This initial assessment of the site using the VideoRay will provide the visual information for the Park Service to make future management decisions for this historic aircraft.”