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The Yap Survey

In June 2006, TIGHAR conducted an archaeological survey of four Japanese WWII aircraft on Yap Island in the central Pacific. Craig Fuller, the principal and founder of AAIR, and a TIGHAR member since 1993, was selected to be one of the four members of the TIGHAR expedition team. 

The survey was conducted under a US National Park Service Grant for the Yap Historic Preservation Office (HPO). Yap falls within the Federated States of Micronesia. As a former US Trust Territory it is still supported by the US National Park Service. The primary purpose of the survey was to provide the Yap HPO with enough information to come up with and decide on a management plan for the WWII aircraft. Specifically we were to document:

  • Location relative to the airport runway in absolute geographic terms, using global positioning technology.

  • Overall appearance, documented photographically, videographically, and in sketches and sketch-plans.

  • Condition, with special attention to evidence of recent vandalism or other forms of physical damage.

  • Evidence of damage incurred during WWII.

  • A visual conservation assessment of the exterior and, where possible, the interior of each aircraft for the deterioration resulting from oxidation or other natural process of degradation.

5)   Due to budget and time constraints we were asked to focus on four specific sites.  After completion of the four site surveys, we found time to document three more sites in less detail and briefly visit several others.

I want to specifically thank Pat Ranfranz for supporting the team with background information on Yap.  Patís uncle was shot down in a B-24 over Yap.  In the process of his research of the incident, Pat has come across a tremendous amount of information on Yap during WWII which he has graciously shared with us. Pat publishes the website Rather than restating information from his site, I recommend visiting it for further information on Yap.

For general information and the location of Yap, go to:

For the history of air battles over Yap, go to:

The Yap Field Team. Back row, left to right, Craig Fuller, Gary Quigg, Walt Holm, and front left, John Clauss. Front right, John Tun, Yap Deputy Historic Preservation Officer.

Below are hyperlinks to photos of the sites visited by the team: 

Primary Survey Sites
Site 1, Nakajima B5N Kate

Site 2, Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Site 3, Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Shore Gun & Burn Area near Sites 2 & 3

Site 4, Mitsubishi G4M Betty Bomber


Secondary Survey Sites
Site 5, Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Site 6, Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Site 7, Mitsubishi A6M Zero


Visited Sites
Showa/Nakajima L2D Tabby

Revetment with Aircraft Parts

Continental Boeing 727


©2006 Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research. All rights reserved.