A German Dornier Do-17 that was shot down off the Kent coast more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain was successfully raised from the sea bed in the English Channel on Monday. Attempts by the RAF Museum to salvage it had been hit by strong winds over the last few weeks, but weather conditions for the hour-long operation were “near perfect” on Monday evening:
It took three years to come up with a plan to raise aircraft which ultimately involved divers attaching lifting equipment to what was believed to be the strongest parts of it’s frame and then raising it whole in one single lift. Originally, the plan called for building an aluminum frame or cradle around the wreck, but those plans were abandoned after it became clear it would take too long cost more than the £600,000 project budget to do so.
The Dornier Do-17 aircraft is believed to be the only intact example of its kind in the world and has lain in 50 feet (15 meters) of water on the Goodwin Sands. However, the aircraft will still need a two-year restoration at the RAF Museum’s site in Cosford, Shropshire.