TRIANGLE, Va. (AP) — In October 1943, as war raged in Europe, a student pilot crashed an SBD Dauntless dive bomber into Lake Michigan during a training mission.

The pilot was rescued. The aircraft sank to the lake bottom, where it would remain for half a century.

By the time the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle acquired the ill-fated Dauntless in 2008, corrosion had done a number on it. Fifty pounds of lake sediment had collected in the wings.

Five workers would spend 63,000 hours removing, rebuilding and piecing each part back together. Their efforts were so thorough and meticulous that the bomber is practically air worthy, said exhibit services chief Chuck Girbovan.

The Dauntless, newly suspended above the central gallery as if in flight once more, is one of two recently installed features that will greet visitors when the museum reopens Friday.

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