Tuesday 26 September 2017

German plane to be lifted from sea

A German bomber from the Second World War is set to be raised from the sea bed
A German bomber from the Second World War is set to be raised from the sea bed

The only surviving German Second World War Dornier Do 17 bomber is to be raised from its watery grave in the English Channel, the RAF Museum said.

The aircraft was shot down more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain and the project is believed to be the biggest recovery of its kind in British waters.

A spokesman for the RAF Museum said a diver will attach a final cable and then the aircraft will be lifted out of the water.

The operation has been hit by bad weather in recent weeks, forcing the museum to rethink its method.

The new plan involves attaching lifting equipment to what are believed to be the strongest parts of the aircraft's frame and raising it whole, in a single lift.

It will then be placed on a barge and sent to the museum's conservation centre at Cosford, Shropshire. Peter Dye, director general of the museum, said: "We have adapted the lifting frame design to minimise the loads on the airframe during the lift while allowing the recovery to occur within the limited time remaining.

"The RAF Museum has worked extremely closely with SeaTech (the dive company) throughout this process and both organisations remain determined to complete this challenging task and see the Dornier safely recovered as planned and delivered to the museum's conservation centre for preservation and public exhibition."

The existence of the aircraft at Goodwin Sands, off the Kent coast, became known when it was spotted by divers in 2008 at a depth of some 50ft lying on a chalk bed with a small debris field around it.

Sonar scans by the RAF Museum, Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority then confirmed the identity of the aircraft as the Dornier Do 17Z Werke number 1160.

Nicknamed the Luftwaffe's ''flying pencil'' bombers because of their narrow fuselage, this aircraft is said to be in ''remarkable condition''. Experts are excited by the find because other than the effects of sea life, such as barnacles, coral and marine life, it is largely intact.

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