Black Sea Salvage: P-39 Airacobra

Black Sea Salvage: P-39 Airacobra

In July 1944, Junior Lieutenant Vladimir Shishken was flying a Bell P-39 Airacobra with the Black Sea Fleet in a training exercise and saw smoke coming from the engine. He landed on the water, and although the Airacobra sank, he made it to shore with a slight head wound. Ironically, the fighter had just 9 hours and 25 minutes of flight time.

In 2017, amateur scuba diver Alexey Kazarinov found the aircraft in 18 feet of water, about a half mile from the coastline, and reported his find. After a joint study by the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Defense Ministry–during which they searched for the fighter for over a year!–last week the aircraft was lifted from water in Kalamita Bay. It is expected to go on display in a nearby museum.

In 1943, Bell P-39 Airacobra fighters entered service with the Black Sea Fleet during the Kerch-Eltigen operation and participated in the liberation of Crimea.

Click here for the complete story and more photos from the DailyMail.


The remains of the fighter were raised from their resting place on the bottom of the sea and pulled up to the quay wall by a crane (pictured)


Updated: September 30, 2020 — 1:07 PM
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