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Enthusiasts Invited to See Rescued FM-2 Wildcat

 

FM-2 Wildcat
The FM-2 Wildcat recovered from Lake Michigan on December 7 can be seen at a private hangar until it's shipped to Pensacola for restoration.

FM-2 Wildcat

FM-2 Wildcat

December 12, 2012 - Last Friday's raising of a Grumman (Eastern Aircraft) FM-2 Wildcat, which had been sitting at the bottom of Lake Michigan for about 68 years, went off with no squawks, according to Taras Lysenko, co-owner of A&T Recovery, Chicago.

"The gods like us - the lake was extremely calm," he said, regarding the slow, days-long journey towing the submerged warbird from more than 45 miles off Waukegan Harbor, Illinois.

The story, featured on EAA.org last week, has gone viral with coverage on virtually all local and regional TV newscasts, newspapers, and radio stations, as well as national outlets like the Fox News Channel (see below), National Geographic, and others.

The wrecked warbird, which crashed in December 1944 during carrier landing practice, has been temporarily relocated to Charles Greenhill's hangar at the Kenosha (Wisconsin) Airport (ENW). Greenhill, EAA 113991/Warbirds of America 12289, provided funding for its recovery and is inviting interested enthusiasts to come have a look at the historic airplane.

Tim McCarter, hangar manager, says they've had numerous visitors thus far. "Several walk-throughs, usually six or eight people at a time," he said. "We love to have this opportunity to teach people about the plane's history." He invited EAA and Warbirds of America members, school groups, Boy Scout troops, modeling clubs - all are welcome to come and get a glimpse of history. Viewing appointments can be made by calling the hangar at 262-658-4577.

The airplane will be in Kenosha for the foreseeable future, Lysenko said, but will eventually be shipped to Pensacola, Florida, where craftsmen at the National Naval Aviation Museum will start the restoration work. The project could take five years or more.

Adds Lysenko, "I think America could use some good news for a change. This is one of those stories."

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