FM-2 Wildcat Recovered from Lake Michigan | Flying Magazine

FM-2 Wildcat Recovered from Lake Michigan

Warbird to be fully restored.

FM-2 Wildcat

FM-2 Wildcat

FM-2 Wildcat

U.S. Navy

An FM-2 Wildcat that sat at the bottom of Lake Michigan for nearly seven decades was brought to the surface on Friday as the nation marked the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The airplane was lost during a training mission after its engine failed on takeoff from a converted steamship in late 1944. William Edward Forbes, the pilot flying the Wildcat, survived the ditching.

The historic airplane will now make the journey to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, where it will undergo a total restoration that could take several years to complete.

The warbird is the latest of 31 airplanes that have been retrieved from Lake Michigan over the years. Experts estimate the lake still harbors some 70 or 80 airplanes, thanks to its heavy use as a training hub for military pilots leading up to World War II.

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