Helldiver Up

By lex, on August 21st, 2010

A US Navy Curtis Helldiver that has been at the bottom of Sandy Eggo’s Otay Reservoir since 1945 has been salvaged, and the son of the pilot manning the aircraft when it when down was on hand to see the old girl out:

With a crowd of hundreds on shore, many applauding the sight, the SB2C-4 World War II Helldiver, which crashed into Lower Otay on May 28, 1945, finally was lifted from its muddy grave. Hundreds of people had gathered at the lake all week as the long and tedious process of raising the plane took longer than expected and involved more equipment. The plane was known as “The Beast” because pilots struggled to control it, and it was a monster to retrieve from Otay’s mud…

“Oh man, look at that big old engine and tail; now there’s a plane that hasn’t been in the air in 65 years,” said Richard Frazar, whose father, E.D. Frazar, of Richmond, Tx., was forced to ditch the Helldiver into Lower Otay when the engine on the plane failed. He and Army Sgt. Joseph Metz of Youngstown, Ohio, survived the crash, swam to shore and hitchhiked back to their base at Ream Field in the South Bay. Both have since passed away, but some members of their family enjoyed the day of remembrance that came with the sight of the men’s plane.

A pair of FA-18′s buzzed the lake as the airplane was pulled ashore, and had your humble scribe been aware, an American Champion Citabria might well have joined them.

On hand and speaking in the video was the Naval Aviation’ Museum’s CAPT Bob Rasmussen, who was commanding officer at Naval Aviation Schools Command back when your host was an ensign.

 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Naval Aviation, Naval History, Neptunus Lex

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