On 2 June 2012, a rare Heinkel He115 was raised from the sea at Sola near Stavanger in Norway, by a team from the Sola Historic Aviation Museum and Birger Larsen, Klas Gjølmesli and Nancy Koch from the Bodø Aviation Historical Society. The twin-engined Luftwaffe floatplane is in remarkable condition, thanks largely to the corrosion-resistant alloy used for much of its construction.
The Heinkel He115 breaks the surface for the first time in 70 years
A source from the Bodø Aviation Historical Society described the fuselage, wings and tail as being in “very good condition,” adding that some components “looked like they just needed cleaning.” The aircraft’s colour scheme and markings were still clearly visible. Other elements fared less well, notably those built from standard aircraft-grade aluminium and steel, the latter including the surviving port engine. The starboard engine is missing, probably having been torn off when the aircraft force-landed. The floats are also missing, but otherwise the Heinkel is substantially complete.
The remarkable condition of the He115 is readily apparent
The He115 was a B-1 model Werknr. 2398 belonging to Luftflotte 5, which used the floatplanes as torpedo-bombers, shadowers and minelayers against Arctic convoys.
As well as the Luftwaffe using the He115 from Norwegian bases, the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service also operated the earlier A-2 variant. The Sola Museum has not yet decided whether to restore 2398 in its German markings or to display it as a Norwegian aircraft. The wings, rudder, engine and nose section have now been dismantled and are being treated in a desalination pool for conservation.
Much of the Heinkel’s original paintwork is intact
Photographs courtesy of Oyvind Lamo and Nancy Koch of the Bodø Aviation Historical Society