Dot­tie Mae flies again

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port & photo Frank Mormillo

Re­cov­ered from Aus­tria’s Traun­see lake on 13 June 2005, P-47D Thun­der­bolt Dot­tie Mae was the last USAAF air­craft lost in ac­tion dur­ing WWII. Man­u­fac­tured at Evansville, In­di­ana in the sum­mer of 1944 with se­rial 42-29150, the P-47 went into ac­tion with the 511th Fighter Squadron, 405th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force on 16 De­cem­ber 1944, and flew ninety com­bat mis­sions be­fore wind­ing up in the Traun­see on 8 May 1945 - the very last day of the war.

Named Dot­tie Mae by its reg­u­larly-as­signed pi­lot, Lieu­tenant Larry A Kuhl, the Thun­der­bolt was be­ing flown by Lieu­tenant Henry Mohr on a morale­boost­ing fly­over of the nearby POW/ con­cen­tra­tion camp at Ebensee. The over-en­thu­si­as­tic Mohr got so low that the Thun­der­bolt’s pro­pel­ler blades clipped the wa­ter and the fighter wound up in the lake. Two Aus­trian girls saw the im­pact, com­man­deered a row­ing boat and res­cued Mohr. How­ever, the Thun­der­bolt re­mained at the bot­tom of the lake un­til Brian Ken­ney and the Aus­trian firm Sandy Air Corps fi­nally raised it to the sur­face in April 2005. Shipped to Chino, Cal­i­for­nia, the air­craft was sold to former B-17 nav­i­ga­tor Jack Croul’s Al­lied Fight­ers or­gan­i­sa­tion and en­trusted to Mike Bres­hear’s Vin­tage Air­frames shop at Cald­well, Idaho for restora­tion to fly­ing con­di­tion. A dozen years later, Dot­tie Mae fi­nally took to the air on 22 June 2017 at Cald­well with Planes of Fame Air Mu­seum VP John Maloney at the con­trols. After a very thor­ough flight test pro­gramme, Maloney flew Dot­tie Mae back to Chino. The Thun­der­bolt now re­sides in the Al­lied Fight­ers hangar along­side Croul’s P-38L Light­ning Honey Bunny. For fur­ther info: www.al­lied­fight­ers.com

Crashed into an Aus­trian lake on the last day of WWII, this P-47 has been re­stored in the USA to its former glory

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