COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Valiant Air Command, the group that owns the vintage World War II torpedo bomber that splash-landed off Patrick Space Force Base on Saturday, was planning to move the aircraft back to its museum.
The move came a day after workers using a large crane hoisted the intact aircraft out of the tide and onto a waiting tow late Sunday, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
By Monday morning, the aircraft — which sat under guard at Patrick Space Force Base — was set to be taken back to its Titusville home for what could be years of repairs.
The exact route back to the museum was not immediately known.
The plane, which was taking part in the Cocoa Beach Air Show, made an emergency landing in the ocean as dozens of stunned beachgoers watched it glide over the waves before splashing down.
The unnamed pilot, seen stepping out of the cockpit moments after guiding the aircraft into the shallow water, was not injured.
“Most of you know that our TBM Avenger was forced to land due to engine failure. The good news is that the pilot is fine. The not-so-good news is that it may take several years to rebuild the Avenger,” Valiant Air Command said in a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday.
The aircraft remained partially embedded in the sandy shoreline Sunday. The group is asking for donations to go toward repairing the saltwater-logged aircraft or have it become a display item at the Warbird Air Museum in Titusville.
Sunday morning, officials from Valiant Air Command, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Patrick Space Force Base, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and a towing company discussed plans to remove the aircraft safely.
“We are planning to float her to the Port Canaveral harbor area and crane her out there. We are thankful that our pilot walked away unscathed from the incident. We are also thankful for all of your comments of support you have sent us,” Valiant Air Command’s Facebook post said.
Officials were hoping to remove the aircraft late Sunday or early today.