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BW-372 at home in Finland
More than ten years after she was raised from a Russian lake, the only Brewster Buffalo in the world went on display at a museum north of Helsinki. Here's Vladimir Bolshakov, who in 1998 led the diving team that raised the plane. (Photo kindness of Marja Lampi)

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THE SAGA OF BW-372

In August 1998, the small world of Brewster Buffalo buffs was electrified by the news that a Finnish Brewster had been salvaged from a lake in Russia. Over the next six years, our hopes were raised and repeatedly dashed, as the salvors smuggled the plane out of Russia and concealed it in Ireland while they tried to find a buyer; the buyers, meanwhile, fretted about the ownership trail.

At last, in August 2004, BW-372 was acquired by the Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, which planned to restore the aircraft and put it on display in its Finnish Air Force warpaint--plans put on hold when the museum was wracked by a hurricane. Finally, nearly ten years after she was pulled from that Russian lake, BW-372 went home to Finland. It's now on display at the Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo (Aviation Museum of Central Finland), where she'll be restored to her 1998 condition over three or four years, with the work visible through a view window.

Here are my files about BW-372:

And here are some links where you can learn more:

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford