Flying Tigers
revised and updated


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)

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 several 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, ten years after she was pulled from that Russian lake, BW-372 went home to Finland. It's now on display at the Suomen Ilmavoimamuseo (Finnish Air Force Museum). The occasion was supposedly a loan to celebrate the 90th anniversay of the Finnish Air Force, but BW-372 remains there to this day, cleaned up but not restored.

Here are my files about BW-372:

1 - 1942: The last mission for a Brewster fighter

2 - 1998: BW-372 found in a Russian lake

3 - 'That was when they started shooting' (Gary Villiard's story)

4 - 'The Last Brewster' (from a Finnish newspaper)

5 - The odyssey continues: from Ireland to Pensacola

6 - 'It's so wrong, what has happened' (Marja Lampi's story)

7 - BW-372 on display in Finland

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

Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo

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Posted July 2017. Websites © 1997-2017 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.