Dottie Mae flies again
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