B-17 Coming Back From The Deep


A wealthy aircraft collector (is there any other kind?) is going to great lengths, and depths, to add to his inventory. Don Brooks, of Douglas, Ga., is mounting an ambitious operation to recover the wreck of a B-17 on the bottom of a lake in Labrador in northern Canada. “There’s very few B-17s remaining,” Brooks told the Tacoma News Tribune. “I think it’s a worthwhile project to preserve the heritage of our country’s aviation history.” The plane in question was on a Christmas Eve delivery mission in 1947 when the crew made a forced landing on frozen Dyke Lake. None of the seven aboard were hurt and they were rescued two days later. The plane was abandoned (we just report it) and fell through the melting ice the following spring. To recover the wreck, the team hired by Brooks will attach balloons to the airframe and lift it to the surface. As complicated as it sounds, it might be the easiest part of Brooks’ quest. The salvage has been tied up in Canadian courts for years, but a recent decision gave the project the green light. Although Brooks can never claim clear title to the B-17, the courts decided that if anyone else tries to claim ownership they’ll have to pay Brooks for the cost of recovering it. Brooks said he doesn’t know how much the month-long effort will cost.