Wwii Fighter Plane In Sahara Desert
Published: May 11, 2012
Wwii Fighter Plane In Sahara Desert, As German Gen. Erwin Rommel chased British forces across the North African desert, a stray Royal Air Force fighter crashed in the blistering sands of the Egyptian Sahara on June 28, 1942. The pilot was never heard from again. The damaged Kittyhawk P-40 — a couple of hundred miles from civilization — was presumed lost forever.
In what experts consider nothing short of a miracle, a Polish oil company worker recently discovered the plane believed to have been flown by missing Flight Sgt. Dennis Copping. And almost 70 years after the accident, it’s extraordinarily well-preserved.
The fighter’s “state of preservation is incredible,” British military historian Andy Saunders told CNN. “The thing just landed there in the desert and the pilot clearly got out. … It is a complete time capsule really (and) an exceptionally rare find. These things just don’t happen.”
Most of the plane’s fuselage, wings, tail and c**kpit instruments remain intact. For safety reasons, Egyptian officials have removed its ammunition and guns.
Copping’s plane — authorities have not confirmed his identity, though it has been widely reported in British newspapers — crashed after the 24-year-old pilot got lost while trying to fly it from one RAF base to another for repairs to its front landing gear, which wouldn’t retract.
Copping, part of the RAF’s Egyptian 260 Squadron, was trying to get the American-built plane back in fighting condition in the run-up to what would prove to be the pivotal Battle of El Alamein. (CNN)
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