“That’s big”: Navy bombers from the Second World War restored at the Air Zoo


PORTAGE, Michigan (WOOD) – A World War II aircraft was subsequently restored five years of hard work by volunteers.

Now another start is pending.

“We have a Douglas Aircraft Built SB9-2P Dauntless Dive Bomber,” Daniel Brant, deputy restoration manager at Air Zoo in portage said.

It’s a WWII Navy bomber. Brant said there isn’t any documentation that definitely says it flew in major battles, but it was on an aircraft carrier during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

“The carrier was shot. In our book, that plane is still a war veteran, ”Brant said.

In 1944, in freezing weather, the plane crashed into Lake Michigan while attempting to land on a flat ship. The pilot, Lt. John Lendo, was not injured, but the plane sank 60 meters into a watery grave and stayed there for 65 years until it was recovered in 2009.

“It was brought to the surface and the Navy eventually decided that the Air Zoo should do the restoration work on the aircraft,” Brant said.

It took more than 40,000 volunteer hours to restore the plan to its quality state. Some of these volunteers were retired mechanics and pilots. Others knew nothing about airplanes but had an interest in getting their hands on a historical artifact. It was meticulous work, but Brant said it was worth it.

“To be part of something like this is great. They put their hearts and souls into this plane and it will be hard to see it fly away, watch it go away and not be here to work and touch it, ”he said.

The aircraft will be dismantled starting Monday and will be brought to Honolulu, Hawaii later this month. In December, it will be unveiled at a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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