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Hill AFB Museum to trim aircraft numbers
by TOM BUSSELBERG
Mar 09, 2014 | 2346 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A vintage military aircraft at Hill AFB Museum - Courtesy photo
A vintage military aircraft at Hill AFB Museum - Courtesy photo
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HILL AFB - There will soon be 18 fewer vintage military aircraft at the Hill AFB Aerospace Museum.

After nearly 30 years in operation, the museum is scaling back, trimming the 18 aircraft, three missiles and a number of support vehicles, a base press release said.

It’s a relatively small number when compared to the more than 2,000 aircraft currently sprawled over the museum’s 34 acres, said Acting Museum Director Aaron Clark.

The downsizing is necessary because “the museum no longer has the manpower, funding or means necessary to give these aircraft the care they need,” he said.

These aircraft need restoration and repair to maintain their appearance and integrity, Clark said.

“An outdoor static display aircraft routinely needs repainting every five to six years, with both small and large aircraft costing a significant amount,” Clark said.

For example, to repaint an F-4 Phantom in-house could cost the base nearly $15,000. For such larger airframes as the B-47E, which is on the museum grounds, that cost would escalate to $100,000 to repaint and restore, he said.

Reducing the number of aircraft will put the museum in a fiscally responsible position and enable the museum to refocus on reflecting the history of aviation pertaining to Hill AFB and Utah, the release said.

“Most of the aircraft slated to be cut from the collection are those that have little if any ties to the history of the base or the state,” Clark said.

“However, a C-47 currently on display outside the museum will remain and is scheduled for restoration, because the aircraft has significant ties to the history of Hill,” he said.

Only one aircraft is gone, so far, and it will take time for others to be removed, Clark said. There are still more than 50 aircraft on display inside and outside of the museum.

“While some of our regular visitors may be disappointed with the decision to excess a portion of the collection, we understand the fiscal challenges in trying to maintain the collection and the rationale for downsizing,” said Ret. Maj. Gen. Kevin Sullivan. He is chair of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah, the private entity that helps fund acquisition, restoration and maintenance of museum static displays and exhibits.

Last year, more than 113,000 people visited the museum.

The museum is open for free to the public Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Donations are accepted. For more information, visit www.hill.af.mil//library/museum/index.asp.

The museum is just east of the Roy I-15 exit.

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