Public Meeting on US Navy Aircraft Trade and Exchange Program – March 12th, 2019

A&T Recovery salvaged Vought F4U-1 Corsair Bu.02465 from Lake Michigan in November 2010, one of just a handful of aircraft which have been permitted to be salvaged from the Great Lakes since such vital efforts were tied up by bureaucracy in the mid 1990s. The National Naval Aviation Museum is hosting a meeting on March 12th where such recoveries might become a more regular occurrence, with some aircraft available for trade for civilian ownership. (photo via Taras Lyssenko)

The Director of the U.S. Navy’s National History and Heritage Command has announced a public meeting concerning the Navy’s Trade and Exchange Program which will take place on March 12th at the National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) in Pensacola, Florida. According to well-known aircraft salvor, Taras Lyssenko of A&T Recovery, the meeting is intended to come up with a format whereby civilians may gain actual ownership of former U.S. Navy assets, whether this be a recently retired Beech T-34C Turbo-Mentor, or a sunken WWII Douglas SBD Dauntless, in a similar process to the way this used to take place prior to the mid-90s. Lyssenko, as most readers will be well aware, has been involved in the recovery of thirty or so vintage military aircraft from their wartime crash sites at the bottom of Great Lakes and oceans. All of these have been in close cooperation with the National Naval Aviation Museum. Despite popular misconceptions, the NNAM has long wanted to return to the earlier procedures when civilian exchanges were possible; it was a time of mutually beneficial exchanges which rewarded civilian contributions while also leading to the preservation of important historical artifacts. In fact A&T Recovery was involved in five such recoveries where some WWII airframes reached civilian hands while also leading to the recovery of unique aircraft, such as the Vought SB2U Vindicator for the NNAM. However Navy bureaucracy further up the food chain brought a virtual halt to those earlier productive days. Hopefully this is now set to change…

The world’s sole surviving complete Vought SB2U Vindicator seen here during A&T Recovery’s salvage operation on Lake Michigan in October, 1990. (photo via Taras Lyssenko)
The SB2U-2 following her restoration in 1999. Such a historic aircraft might still be sitting at the bottom of Lake Michigan were it not for the original Navy Aircraft Trade and Exchange Program. Hopefully this process will be renewed following the coming meeting at the National Naval Aviation Museum. (photo via Wikipedia)

In conversation with Lyssenko yesterday, he noted that he had just received word that Congress is taking the meeting seriously enough to send military legislative assistants, and it seems likely that the Senate will as well. The Secretary of the Navy is also involved, so this will be a major opportunity to get positive movement which will hopefully lead to the preservation of important historical artifacts, some of which may one day take to the air again under civilian ownership.

While the public is very much invited to attend either in person or via conference call, this should not be seen as a venue for an ill-informed ‘gripe’ session, as that would be incredibly counterproductive.

The U.S. Navy’s formal announcement for the meeting is as seen below.

The Department of the Navy is seeking to revitalize and improve its Trade and Exchange Program.


National Naval Aviation Museum
1750 Radford Blvd., Suite C
Pensacola, FL 32508

The Director, Naval History and Heritage Command invites the public to attend a meeting detailing the Navy’s Trade and Exchange Program at 1:00 PM CST on 12 March 2019 at the National Naval Aviation Museum; 1750 Radford Blvd., Suite C; Pensacola, FL 32508. The meeting will be open to the public and include an overview and current status of the Program as outlined in 10 USC 2572. The meeting will then shift to public comment on improving visibility, interest, access, and participation in the Trade and Exchange Program.

A phone call-in line will also be provided for those unable to attend in person. To ensure an adequate number of call-in lines, please RSVP to Ms. Robbie Musgrove at no later than 8 March 2019, if you plan to call in to the meeting. For further information, or to provide a comment or suggestion for the Program via email, contact Ms. Robbie Musgrove at


Business Rules for Museum Exchange Meeting on 12 March 2019

1. This meeting is informational and for fact-finding purposes. No decisions will be made at the meeting. Comments provided by attendees will be reviewed and considered for the purpose of revitalizing and executing the Museum Exchange Program.

2. The public comment portion of this meeting is intended to be an open discussion of ideas.

3. Parties wishing to speak must first be recognized by the moderator. After being recognized, a party will have up to five minutes to comment on the topic being discussed. If the party has additional comment on the topic after the five-minute period expires, the party may provide further comment via email to the meeting note taker.

4. Comments will be documented by the meeting note taker and responded to in writing as appropriate following the meeting.

5. Parties may not make digital or electronic recordings of the meeting.

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