Warplane, M.I.A. For 60 Years, Comes Home to WNY
By Pete Gallivan - WGRZ.com
It was a journey that began christmas morning, 1943 in Wheatfield. A P-39 Airacobra, one of the 30,000 planes produced here in Western New York for the war effort, rolls from the hanger and takes off, headed west.
She was one of 10,000 planes, many from here in Western New York, that were sent to Russia. It was also a bit of WNY technology turned the tide against the Nazi's.
The P-39 was known as the "flying cannon". She was a force in the air. It was equipped with 2 machine guns in the wings, two more in the nose, a 37 mm cannon in the nose and a state of the art radio system.
But on a mission in 1944, this plane disappeared
Fast forward 60 years to July 2004. A fisherman on Lake Mart-Yavr in arctic Russia spotted something under the water. A British warbird recovery team was called in and what they found was absolutely astounding.
The plane was recovered intact. The pilots remains, and medals were still in the cockpit, so was the plane's logbook.