The unique aircraft was found right outside the Museum of Aviation History. After 70 years the Luftwaffe aircraft in Hafrsfjord will be returning to base - which in the meantime has become a museum.
On 26th December 1942 when Norway was occupied by German forces, a Heinkel 115B seaplane from the Küstenfliegergruppe 906 based at Sola, sets down on Hafrsfjord when one of the floats tears off, capzing the plane.
The crew is rescued and so is one of the engines but the plane sinks to the seabed where it lies forgotten for almost seven decades until it was accidentally rediscovered when the Norwegian Charting Authorities were testing new sonar equipment.
Ironically, the plane, which is so rare that no other specimens have survived til today, has been laying there for so many years less than three kilometers from the Museum of Aviation History.
Salvage on June 2nd
According to plans the old warbird will be raised on 2. June. The goal is to have the aircraft safely placed in a tank of fresh water tank and hopefully displayed at the Sola Airshow which takes place the same weekend.
Hafrsfjord is a threshold fjord. The inner part of the fjord, where the wreck is located, have low oxygen values. From an environmental standpoint this is not desirable, but beneficial to the conservation of the 70-year-old aircraft. This means that corrosion is less than you might otherwise expect. Moreover, there is little movement in the bottom water, so that the wreck has remained stationary. The plane is upside down on the bottom and seems to be very little damage.
- But it is as much salt in this water. So when the plane is raised, it must be immediately removed and rinsed, says Helge Nyhus who sits on the museum board.
He 115 facts
According to the Aviation Museum the He 115 was used in the first phase of the war for laying mines off the British coast. The aircraft was deployed less successfully during the Battle of Britain, resulting in the loss of 33 of the 60 planes. During the invasion of Norway in April 1940, 115 He primarily used for reconnaissance and bombing and torpedo against shipping.