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Lost B-17 Bomber Found After 51 Years




With only twelve B-17 bombers left flying in the world - equal to only one squadron out of the thousands of these distinguished warplanes that were built during WWII - it is safe to say that they are very rare. The famous Boeing-designed combat plane and icon of the air war in Europe is best known by civilians for their distinctive and sometimes erotic nose art and remembered by their crews as being reliable, uncomfortable and menacing.

Soon there may be a 13th B-17 flying. That is if Don Brooks of Douglas, GA has his way.

Don Brooks and a unique team of salvage experts found their B-17 after a five-day search on the bottom of a remote lake in the boreal wilderness of Labrador, Canada. The US Army/Air Force B-17 was making its way from Greenland to Goose Bay, Labrador, in December of 1947 when weather and low fuel conspired against the crew and forced them to land the big plane on a frozen lake a hundred miles from the nearest civilization. The plane pilot made a textbook approach and safely landed on the thick ice with no injuries and little damage to their B-17. The five-person crew had to camp on the side of the lake for a couple of days until the weather cleared enough for the military to send a rescue plane. They were rescued from their icy, inhospitable camp on Christmas day, 1947, none the worse for wear, but the plane was left behind and no one had seen it since.

Don Brooks is what you might call a WWII aircraft fancier. He flies his own vintage C-47 with its restored WWII paint job. Don owns a very rare P-40 B model. Don was involved in the 1992 Greenland “Lost Squadron” recovery effort, which recovered a P-38 resting some 250 feet below the surface, locked in ice cap. The B-17’s in the Lost Squadron were not recoverable. The Icy coffins literally crushed and ground the aircraft into unusable hunks of Aluminum and steel. Don’s fancy for WWII era aircraft is peaked by B-17’s. It is doubtful he will be content until one is recovered and restored to flying condition.

UAS specializes in the Location Identification and recovery of submerged items to include WWII era submerged aircraft.