Friday, August 20, 2010

Divers Raising a Helldiver

The AP via the Oakland Press: Salvage crew has plane primed to move in San Diego

Salvage divers have dislodged a rare World War II dive bomber from the floor of a San Diego reservoir and are primed to hoist it up and out of the water.
A mission to rouse any diver at heart - recovering a historical artifact hidden from view for 65 years.

The plane, a Curtis SB2C Helldiver crashed into the reservoir during a training mission in 1945.  It currently rests in 90 feet of water in what is described as zero visibility by the salvage divers.

  The Helldiver was the Navy's replacement dive bomber for the SBD Dauntless of the Battle of Midway fame.  The Helldiver was not nearly as well liked as the Dauntless it replaced and its early models were described as a difficult planes to fly with troublesome characteristics. However, the Helldiver went on to be the aircraft with the most sunken shipping to its credit of the war.

Of the 5,100 Helldivers produced, there are less than a dozen display examples left and there is currently only one Helldiver left in flying condition, belonging to the Commemorative Airforce:

With luck, the aircraft at the bottom of the reservoir can be raised and restored to at least display condition if not flyable condition. Once raised, it will be taken to the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola, Florida for restoration.

Update: They did it! WWII warplane raised from California reservoir

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