Messerschmitt Me 109 “Lake Find” (Pt. 2)

In my last post, I left off with the last combat action of Messerschmitt Me 109 410077 and its Spring 1944 descent into the frigid waters of Estonia’s Lake Swiblo. Almost 50 years later in 1990, it was raised to the surface and recovered by a group of Russian aircraft enthusiasts who worked at a small Moscow company called “Retrotechnika”, who upon recovery, transported it to Moscow. Copies of newspaper articles documenting the recovery (in German) are with the aircraft and one is shown.

Around 1990-1992, the Me 109 was moved to Tuchino AFB in Moscow and stored. Soon after, it came to Georgia, USA and was offered for sale on the warbird market by Ben Kolotin of a firm called “Kolair.” An article on the Me 109 was published in a warbird magazine soon after. The plane and restoration project were then purchased, along with an earlier Me 109 G-2, parts of another G-6 and several wings, by noted collector the late Ed Zaleski of British Columbia, Canada, who planned to establish an aviation museum but suffered injuries in an accident and eventually passed away in 2009. According to a telephone conversation I conducted with Mr. Zaleski’s son Mark, the aircraft and components were stored in Washington State, the USA at the time his father owned them.

Next, the aircraft and parts inventory were sold by Mr. Zaleski to Mr. David Prewett of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, who purchased the aircraft in 1999 for restoration, moving it from Canada to Australia. Over the next few years, Mr. Prewett acquired two spare engines, comprising one DB 605 cylinder block, crankshaft, and connecting rods, as well as an assembled, detailed and very complete (possibly overhauled) DB 605 engine. The overhauled unit is remarkably complete and highly detailed, including a turbo-supercharger and fuel-injection plumbing. During his tenure, Mr. Prewett also accumulated an amazing amount of documents, including blueprints, workshop manuals, parts catalogs, technical drawings, and more. These documents cover all systems of the aircraft, including the Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine. Some have been translated to English.

The airframe, wings, engines, parts inventory, and documentation were carefully stored within two standard-size shipping containers under climate-controlled conditions prior to their sale to the current owner. All parts and components are fully cross-referenced to a detailed spreadsheet inventory list. It is hoped that this aircraft will eventually be restored to airworthy condition or restored for static museum display. It is also an impressive static museum display piece “as is”, and could provide a wealth of original parts and data to assist with another restoration. Update: I understand that restoration is very well underway and the aircraft will be returned to airworthy status.

Parts Inventory:

Airframe as recovered

2 RH type F wings

Pair engine mounts

Pair undercarriage legs and mounting brackets.

Bomb /belly tank mounting frame

DB 601 engine badly damaged

Parts subsequently acquired over the years

DB605 engine

DB 605 cylinder liners

Centre and rear cockpit canopy

Windshield frame

Main wheels and tail wheel with tyres

Port side brake assembly

Tail wheel strut

Wing flap

Supercharger intake

Supercharger and oil pump

Complete instrument panel

Seat base

Electrical panel

Mother compass

Oxygen regulator

Oxygen mask

Undercarriage hydraulic cylinder

10 x cowl latches

Fuel and oil caps


Relay assembly for magneto

External power socket

Battery mainswitch

2 x hydraulic pumps,

Primer pump

Firewall hydraulic units


generator regulator

2 x oxygen bottles

rudder pedals

Electric starter motor

Fuel injection pump

12 Fuel injector nozzles

24 spark plugs

2 coolant tanks

Radio Antenna

New “old stock” bolts studs and circlips

Umformer- inverter for artificial horizon

Technical Information

Engine workshop manuals

Airframe drawings

Parts book, “K” version, Tragwerk rechts

Parts book, “K” version, Tragwerk links

Parts book “K” version Rumph, fuselage

Parts book “K” version Triebwerk, engine systems, attachments and cowlings

Parts book G1-G6 version, fuselage, landing gear,fuel systems, cooling systems, hydraulic systems, control systems.

Parts book G1-G6 version, engine attachments and systems, armaments, radios.

Parts books F/G-G2 similar to above.

Ersatzerliste Fur DB 605A/B, Engine parts book

Einspritz gerate fur DB flugmotoren

DB 605A/B flugmotoren handbuch (English)

DB603 flugmotren handbuch

Reparatur anleitung DB605A/B, engine repair manual.

Einbau-mappe fur den DB605A/B flugmotor, engine repair manual

DB601E-G, 603 A-F 605A-C, flugmotoren Schlosser, engine repair manual.

G2 G6 Flight manual, translated from Finnish into English.

German Aircraft standards 1920-1939.

BF109G1-K4 engines and fitting (English)

BF109G2-G6 flight manuals (translated from Finnish to English)

BF109G2 Electrical. Finnish State Aircraft Factory.

F1-F4 Teil 8A Schubwaffenlage (armament) MG17/FF & 151

G5 Teil 8A Schubwaffenlage MG151 -2x 131

G6U4 Teil 8A Schubwaffenlage MK108-2×131

G6U4 Teil 0 Allgemiene angaben

G3 Teil 9D Bordenfunkanlage (radio) FuG16-17-25

G3 Teil 0 Allgemeine angaben

G3 Teil 0 Beheift 1

G5 Teil 0 Allgemaine angaben

G5 Teil 7C, GMI anlage, nitrous oxide.

K4 Teil 9B Electriches bordnetz

Wiring schematic derived from Finnish G2

Update (March 17/2019): Here’s a great update on the Messerschmitt Me 109 restoration to airworthy status by Mike Vadeboncoeur and his team at Midwest Aero Restorations from FF Journal. I am stoked to see how far this amazing project has come to date!

I’ll post further updates to the story on our Facebook page from Midwest Aero as well:

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