Pictures: World War II-Era Fighter Raised From Lake Michigan
Much more at link. The FM-2 was a General Motors built version of the Grumman F-4F Wildcat. Replaced by the F-6F Hellcat as a first line fighter in 1943, Wildcats continued to be built for training and second line duties almost to the end of the war.
Salvagers recovered a World War II-era fighter plane that crashed during takeoff nearly 70 years ago from Lake Michigan last week. Pulled from its watery grave on December 7, 2012—71 years after Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor—the plane will eventually be restored at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.
The FM-2 Wildcat fighter plane, recovered from approximately 200 feet (61 meters) of water, crashed into the lake on December 28, 1944. The plane’s engine had died during an attempted takeoff from the U.S.S. Sable, one of two U.S. aircraft carriers used for pilot training on Lake Michigan in the 1940s.
“They were small, sidewheel steamer aircraft carriers and smaller than a normal aircraft carrier,” explained Taras Lyssenko, who co-owns A&T Recovery, a Chicago-based company that led the salvage project.
Between 1942 and 1945, 17,000 pilots were trained to fly and fight on Lake Michigan, and the small, tubby FM-2 Wildcat was one of the primary training aircraft used.