The long journey of restoring 049 is nearing the end of the current phase.
FINANCES OF 049
To date there have been approximately 310 individual donations from about 290 entities. Of those donations, about 12 are from corporations, the balance being individuals. About $112,500 has been raised. Of that total, about $15,000 is corporate. The remaining balance in the EC-135 fund is just over $25,000 with over $3,800 specifically earmarked for an exhibit. In-kind donations of carpet and paint were $8,000 and $15,000, respectively. Regarding the paint, there is plenty for the wings and engines. In addition, there is enough funding available to restore the wings and nacelles.
The Museum is about to undergo a massive redevelopment that will involve moving every aircraft. Due to the complexity of this operation and the logistics involved, as well as the Restoration operations needed to plan and execute this massive undertaking, the restoration of the 049 wings and engines will not commence within the next two years. In addition, no plexiglass partitions will be installed for the interior in the foreseeable future.
For the next year, approximately July 2021 to July 2022, 049 will be moved into Hangar B for display and continued preservation and final restoration (minor completions such as labeling). Since it will be moved often in the next 2-3 years while occupying our largest rental space, it will not be accessible in the interior except for special occasions. As we prepare for our redevelopment project, 049 will then be moved outside with the other aircraft as Hangar A renovations begin.
While outside, 049 will not be accessible. Once renovations to Hangar A are complete, 049 will then be moved into its permanent location in that Hangar. During the timeframe between summer 2022 and 2024, the wings and engine nacelles will be restored. When 049 is returned to
Hangar A there are no plans at this time to attach the wings in any permanent fashion. The wings will be placed in position where they would be to demonstrate the full size of the aircraft. As there may be a future need to adjust aircraft locations, this is also a reason not to attach the wings.
On the subject of Plexiglas partitions, there are several considerations. Often referenced are the Presidential aircraft at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Often overlooked in the reference to the NMUSAF aircraft is the awkward “how big are you” box that people have to squeeze through to determine if you can fit on the Presidential aircraft. In addition, the aircraft at NMUSAF have an entry and an exit, a one-way path. Our EC-135 does not have a one-way path, creating a bottleneck. There is also a safety concern of the aircraft acting a dead-end corridor in the event of a fire emergency and it does not have a fire suppression system. There are many reasons why the aircraft will not be open on any regular basis and we will not be installing Plexiglas.
ACCESS TO 049
Since 049 will not be accessible to the general public, it will be well preserved to showcase for special occasions. Special requests will be considered by the curatorial staff to view the interior from those associated with the aircraft’s history. A full virtual tour of the interior will be made during the museum redevelopment.
The Museum is currently using our creative department to design EC-135 merchandise for the store.