ROV Team Discovers Submerged Crashed Plane

By Mike Ball / 27 Jun 2021
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Seafloor Systems sonar imaging

Seafloor Systems has confirmed that a team of hydrographers has discovered a submerged plane on the bed of Folsom Lake, a large man-made reservoir used by the company to test hydrographic survey equipment aboard unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

While conducting routine tests, live feed sonar images appeared to show wings, a fuselage, and tail section of a small aircraft approximately 160 feet below the surface. Drought conditions in the California foothills have translated to lower-than-average water levels, making it easier for the sonar system to paint a clear image of the downed plane. The discovery prompted the team to take a closer look, and they returned to the site with a submersible ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) fitted with a camera.

Though suspended silt caused some visibility difficulties, the lights on the ROV clearly illuminated a propeller and tail. Working with Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the team determined that the aircraft was from a previously reported 1986 case where a plane went down with no fatalities.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact