Restoration: Desperate Journey
A Junkers Ju 88 is pulled from a Norwegian lake.
- By Douglas Hinton
- Air & Space magazine, March 2001
(Page 2 of 2)
“It’s taken years to get to this point,” Glenne says. “We get no subsidies from the government or the military for our work. And all the help is provided by volunteers.” The Saastad Diving Company, which performed all the salvage work, donated its services.
Before the recovery could begin, the aircraft’s precise location and condition had to be confirmed by a remotely operated vehicle dispatched to the wreck. Then last August, using a TV camera, cutting tools, and mechanical arms, salvage workers attached cables to the aircraft with a spreader bar to distribute the weight. Finally, on August 31, workmen raised the Ju 88 from the bottom of the 185-foot-deep fjord.
Aside from having lost its engines—which fell off because of corroded mounts—the Junkers was in remarkable shape because of its anodized aluminum structure and the oxygen-poor water at the bottom of the fjord.
Bullet holes later discovered on one upper wing surface may explain why Voss ditched. Was he bounced by fighters flying from a base in Oslo?
The answer may never be known, but perhaps the aircraft will reveal more of its secrets during the three to five years that its restoration at the Armed Forces Museum is expected to take. When the work is finally completed, the craft will be one of only three restored Ju 88s in the world.
As the aircraft breached the surface of the Kilsfjord last August, two elderly women quietly watched the proceedings from a small motorboat. As young girls, Aase Heibø and Ingrid Tuft had rescued Willi Voss and were the last to see the Junkers when it slipped beneath the waters of the fjord more than 50 years ago.