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World War II plane recovered in Illinois

Dec. 8, 2012 at 12:56 AM

WAUKEGAN, Ill., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A fighter plane that crashed during a training mission in 1944 emerged Friday morning from Lake Michigan off Waukegan, Ill.

The recovery was timed for the 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Charles Greenhill, a pilot and aviation enthusiast from Mettawa, Ill., arranged and paid for the salvage. Another plane he helped recover two years ago is in the National Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.

"It's a pretty inspiring thing," he said, watching a crane pull the plane from Waukegan Harbor. "You think you get used to it, but you don't."

The plane, an FM-2 Wildcat, was used to train pilots to take off and land from carriers. It rolled off a steamship converted to simulate a carrier when an engine failed.

The pilot survived the crash.

A&T Recovery of Chicago towed the plane underwater from the crash site to Waukegan earlier in the week. Taras Lyssenko, a partner in the company, said 31 World War II planes have been pulled out of Lake Michigan, and he said as many as 80 may still be there.

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