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Aviation

How a World War II seaplane earned the title ‘Queen of Dago Lake’

  • Author: Bob Hallinen
  • Updated: December 5
  • Published December 4

A 1943 Consolidated PBY Catalina – one of the most widely used seaplanes of World War II – has been on display at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum since 1987. The amphibious aircraft made a forced landing at Dago Lake on the Alaska Peninsula in 1947 after its engine failed – which is where it earned its title "the Queen of Dago Lake." When the military returned to the lake to retrieve the plane, parts had been stripped off.

Seventeen-year-old pilot Fred Richards later bought the plane, but before he could salvage it, even more parts had been stolen. Richards sold the engines to an outfit in Southeast Alaska.

In 1984 the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum moved the plane as far as King Salmon. In 1987, the Alaska National Guard moved the plane to Lake Hood with a Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter, where it has become a cornerstone of the museum.

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