A Visit to the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB

After staying overnight in Warner Robins, the last stop of my Macon and Warner Robins Road Trip was the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB. I wanted to see their progress and perhaps get some photos of aircraft in the pattern at Robins AFB, but unfortunately there wasn’t anything flying while I was there. Fortunately, there more surprises than that one disappointment. One aircraft that was tucked back in a corner and was somewhat disassembled was back together, another had new paint since my last visit, and there were some new acquisitions at the museum.

The Museum is currently working on restoring a B-17G Flying Fortress in the Scott Hangar. They’re coming right along with the restoration and have made quite a bit of progress since I last visited. All four engines and props are now mounted and it looks like they’re working on the chin turret. There is also a sign by the nose of the aircraft requesting fund raising assistance for a new nose cone to replace the cracked one on the aircraft; it also explains the repair made to the current one. I never knew that you could repair cracks in transparent plastic parts by lacing them together with copper wire. In the first photo in the slide show below, you can also see one of the museum’s most recent acquisitions – a P-63 Kingcobra.

The Museum of Aviation recently acquired two aircraft from the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, OH. The first of the two is a Bell P-63E Kingcobra, 42-11728, which is on loan from the National Museum. It is now in the Scott Hangar next to the B-17G that is under restoration. It’s currently painted bright orange because it was once intended to be used as an aerial gunnery target. It was never used for that purpose, however, and there has been discussion of repainting it. The second aircraft that the Museum received from the National Museum is a C-45H Expediter, 52-10893. The C-45 is also in the Scott Hangar, tucked toward the back awaiting restoration work. The first two photos below show the P-63E Kingcobra; the third shows the C-45H, which is to the left of OH-58A 73-21905 and under the wing of the HU-16B.

Another of the Museum’s recent acquisitions, A-7D Corsair II, 69-6237, is behind the Century of Flight Hangar awaiting significant restoration. There is also another A-7D, 70-1002 in the fenced in area of the Restoration Hangar that looks like it will be used as a parts bird. The first five photos in the slideshow below are of 69-6237, the last photo is 70-1002 (note that it doesn’t have any wings attached). I grew up around the Navy when the A-7 was one of their carrier jets, so it’s always been one of my favorite aircraft; I can’t wait to see the Museum of Aviation’s fully restored.

For the last few years, the Museum of Aviation’s EC-135N, 61-0327, had been tucked back in a corner, almost in the woods with part of the wings removed. Due to funding shortages, it was quite honestly neglected – a sad state for such an historic aircraft. From 1966 to the mid-1980s, it was an ARIA (Apollo/Range Instrumentation Aircraft and Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft) aircraft with a distinctive “Snoopy Nose” and from 1987 to 2003 (when it was retired) it served as a command aircraft for the commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM). Much to my surprise, as I walked behind the Century of Flight Hangar, there was 61-0327 all in one piece. It was wonderful to see her back together and I hope that some new paint is in the not too distant future.

I was also happy to see that the Museum’s WV-2/ EC-121K Constellation/Warning Star, 141297, was recently repainted. It saw service as a United States Navy aircraft, hence the Bureau Number instead of a USAF serial number, but was painted in USAF markings when it was acquired by the National Museum of the Air Force. It retains those markings with the new paint and it’s really looking sharp! The EC-121 was a predecessor of the E-3 AWACS and was used for both early warning and signals intelligence purposes during the Vietnam War. Electronic Warfare and Command Control and Intelligence aircraft are particularly interesting, I’ve included some closer photos of 141297’s radomes in the slideshow below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s