German bomber to be conserved

The only surviving German Second World War Dornier bomber has been raised from its watery grave in the English Channel.

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  1. Derek Johnson

Salvage of WW II bomber aircraft postponed

Organisers will try again to lift a World War Two German bomber from the Goodwin Sands. Last night's attempt was abandoned due to bad weather. Crews could head out on Thursday or postpone the operation for a week.

We speak to Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye from organisers RAF Museum Hendon, Martin Barker from the diving company, Paddy Hughes the son of an RAF pilot, and aviation author Chris Goss.


German bomber is last of its kind

Nicknamed the Luftwaffe's ''flying pencil'' bombers because of their narrow fuselage, this aircraft is said to be in ''remarkable condition''.

Experts are excited by the find because other than the effects of sea life, such as barnacles, coral and marine life, it is largely intact.

Amazingly the main undercarriage tyres remain inflated but the propellers clearly show the damage inflicted during the bomber's fateful final landing, experts have said.

Lifting it from the sea will use pioneering technology but will be tricky because of tide and weather conditions.

Bomber on sea bed at Goodwin Sands

The existence of the aircraft at Goodwin Sands, off the Kent coast, became known when it was spotted by divers in 2008 at a depth of some 50ft lying on a chalk bed with a small debris field around it.

Sonar scans by the RAF Museum, Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority then confirmed the identity of the aircraft as the Dornier Do 17Z Werke number 1160

Lifting operation through the night

The aircraft was shot down more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain and the project is believed to be the biggest recovery of its kind in British waters.

A spokesman for the RAF Museum said a diver will attach a final cable by 9.30pm and then the aircraft will be lifted out of the water.

The operation has been hit by bad weather in recent weeks, forcing the museum to rethink its method.

The new plan involves attaching lifting equipment to what are believed to be the strongest parts of the aircraft's frame and raising it whole, in a single lift.


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