Naval Aviation Museum Set To Begin The Restoration
After 65 years at the bottom of Califorina's Otay Reservoir, an
SB2c-4 Helldiver has made its way to Pensacola, FL, where it will
be restored by the Naval Aviation Museum for display there.
The airplane was ditched in the reservoir when it lost
power during a training flight in 1945. The pilot and rear gunner
managed to swim to shore, but the plane sank to the bottom and was
eventually covered in silt and mud. It remained there until a
salvage crew brought it back to the surface a couple of weeks ago,
and it is now in Pensacola awaiting restoration.
"It's an airplane that we've been trying to get for our
collection for a long time." said museum director Captain Bob
Rasmussen. He said the previous Helldiver that had been on display
at the museum had been on loan from the National Air and Space
Museum, and had been taken back to Washington, DC.
Television station WALA in Mobile, AL reports that the Museum
has been trying to retrieve the plane from the California reservoir
for a year and a half. Now, Rassmussen says the first step is to
clean the mud off and out of the airplane using high-pressure water
and a lot of scrubbing. He says the Helldiver won't be ready to
display for about three years.