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More sad news regarding aircraft preservation.

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    More sad news regarding aircraft preservation.

    Hi All,
    I know it's impossible to save every airframe but surely this type of action can be prevented ? The article courtesy of :-

    Off shore news but it gives people maybe an insight to how bad the aircraft preservation scene in the USA is at the moment in regards to saving let alone restoring rare warbirds. A former US air base and its museum collection at Rantoul IL is in the process of scrapping several significant aircraft but a fire destroyed one overnight. "A surviving F-105 will soon be scrapped due to a museum in Rantoul IL closing it's doors. In fact, scrapping has begun on all of the aircraft in the photo- C-133, C-47, B-58, B-47, F-105 and others."

    Article below courtesy of :-
    Fire destroys plane at former Rantoul museum
    Mon, 04/23/2018 - 2:27pm | Dave Hinton
    A worker who was part of a salvage crew that was dismantling an old C-47 plane Monday, April 23, 2018, on the grounds of the former Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul watches as flames engulf it.

    RANTOUL — Rantoul Fire Department Capt. Dewey Shreves remembers training for aircraft fires at the former Chanute Air Force Base many years ago. Twenty-five years after the base closed, he and other members of the department got to put that training into practice Monday morning.
    Fire engulfed a C-47 plane on the grounds of the former Chanute Air Museum that was being dismantled by a salvage crew.

    Fire Chief Ken Waters said the plane was a total loss. “It was fully involved when they got there,” Waters said. Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour after receiving the 9:22 a.m. call. Shreves said the training the department received in fighting airplane fires was valuable in putting out the blaze. “There’s a lot of magnesium in those planes,” Shreves said. “It’s mostly aluminum, copper and steel,” but the presence of magnesium means a fire can’t be put out using just water.

    Waters said a 6 percent mixture of foam and water has to be used. “If you use water only, it flares up because it’s magnesium,” said Waters, who was also part of that training when the base used to be open. “In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Chanute Air Base Fire Training Command conducted joint training exercises with the Rantoul Fire Department on aircraft fire suppressions so that we could provide mutual aid to them in the event of an aircraft fire,” Shreves said. “Today, 25 years after they left, we used that training to put out a fire on one of their aircraft.”

    Shreves said it was the first time there has been an aircraft fire on the former base. The C-47 is the military version of a DC-3, according to Corky Vericker, Rantoul airport office supervisor. “There had to be some fuel residue that was left inside (the plane),” Vericker said. “The acetylene torch ignited it. Everything on the inside is so old and rotten ... that it just don’t take much for it to ignite.”

    Allen Jones Sr., former air museum operations manager, said the plane was one of “seven or eight” that are being cut up for salvage, as contracted by the Air Force. The salvage operator said he lost $2,000 as a result of the fire, Waters said.


    Well it's not exactly news since many museums rescued aircraft from the Chanute collection a good few years ago. Typical lazy 'after the fact outrage' by the news rag I'm afraid.

    It's great in fact that so many key airframes did escape - including the B-58 which must have been a b!tch to move.


      Doesn't look like anything rare is being scrapped?

      In response to the question posed, this action can be prevented if you dig deep!


        The B-58 was saved, and the B-47 got relocated as well, and this was/is the oldest B-47 survivor and in fact the second XB-47 prototype and hence quite historically significant - its gone to Edwards AF Base where it was flight tested, and is one of 23 currently listed as surviving from 2032 built (1% survival rate)

        Of the 35 major military airframes that are listed as having been onsite, only 6 were scrapped, with the other 29 finding new homes and that includes a number of large and difficult aircraft to dismantle and road transport including C130A, B58, XB47, Phantom II, F-111, Corsair II.

        The losses included a C97 Stratofreighter, C133 Cargomaster, and the C47 that caught fire while being "gas axed".

        Probably the rarest aircraft to be scrapped was the RB-66 Douglas Destroyer, which was one of only 294 of the type built in the mid 1950's and one of what was 6 survivors.

        However, with 5 of the 294 built still preserved, that's a survival rate of nearly 2%.

        (Compare that to say the Lancaster where 17 survive from 7,400 built, ie a survival rate of only 0.2% of a far more historically significant type.)

        So yes, you cant save everything - but in this case saving 29 of 35 is a pretty good batting average, and congratulations to the NMUSAF for finding new homes for so many of these airframes with alternative museums.


        Mark Pilkington
        Last edited by Mark_pilkington; 25th April 2018, 00:54.
        "Never has a Country so Big!, owed so Much!, to those who Flew!"


          Does anyone know if parts from the C-47 might be salvageable? If so I will try and get in touch, I am looking for parts for the Night Fright restoration.



            Great quote:
            It was interesting, he said. I dont think it was $110,000 worth of interesting though.
            If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: It's all balls. RJM.


              The museum closure and aircraft disposals have been well covered by the WIX forum. The people and organizations in position to help find homes for the airframe have known about the closure for years.

              At the end of the day, most of the aircraft the C-97 and C-133, we're to large or too expensive to move.

              I suspect the F-105 would have found a home a few years earlier but the fairly recent release of several airframe from the USAF Security Forces training area in Texas met the needs of many museums.
              There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.


                Hi All,
                Many thanks for the info JB