WWMT Newschannel 3 - Search Results
WWII plane, rescued from Lake Michigan, to be restored at the Air Zoo
PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A World War II fighter plane - recovered from Lake Michigan - was unveiled in Portage Monday.
The FM-2 Wildcat crashed back in the 40s and was recovered decades later. The Air Zoo was selected by the National Aviation Museum Foundation to oversee the restoration.
Several people stopped by the Air Zoo to check out the plane, including World War II veteran Fred Davis.
"That's a souvenir I'm going to take home with me," Davis said.
He was talking about the shells he'd pulled off the plane, shells that had been stuck to the plane for years.
"I was in the army. All the time I had to walk everywhere I went. I'd look up at those airplanes and I'd say boy that's the way to go," Davis laughed.
Davis says he never got an opportunity to ride in one but at 89-years-old he still remembers them like it was yesterday.
"It almost makes me want to cry sometimes it brings back all those memories ... I saw them on the field when they were, before they were flying and when they take off. Things like that."
This fighter plane, now parked at the Air Zoo, never left the US. The Wildcat was used for training on Lake Michigan in the 1940s. It went down one very cold day in December 1944.
"He was on his third take off attempt and when he rolled, he went right off the front of the ship because the engine died ... the ship apparently hit the aircraft and rolled right over, right over the top of him and somehow he survived," said Taras Lyssenko, A&T Recovery general manager.
The plane was recovered from about 200 feet of water in December of 2012.
It's estimated it could take about four or five years to restore the plane which will then put on display, the location has yet to be determined. Davis says he'll be watching every step of the way.
"It'll be interesting to watch them, the progress they make on that putting it back together ... I volunteer so I get in free!" said Davis.