A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany jet display: Another step

Written December 28th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
One of the A-4 Skyhawks the way it looked at the Albany Airport in June 2013.

One of the A-4 Skyhawks the way it looked at the Albany Airport in June 2013.

The long-standing plan to put three vintage fighter jets on display at the Albany Airport has taken another step toward becoming reality.

I discovered this when, with time on my hands Tuesday night, I scannned the list of pending planning projects on the City of Albany website. There, I found a Dec. 21 decision by the community development director — that would be Jeff Blaine — to approve construction of “two 24-by-30-foot concrete slabs with mounting hardware for static aircraft displays.”

Both pads will be on Aviation Way, the airport access road. One is to be near the entrance off Knox Butte Road and the other between the airport and Interstate 5, in full view of people passing by on the freeway.

A group of private pilots at the airport — Jack and Heath Kasper, father and son, and Dan Miltenberger among them — got the project started about 10 years ago. The late Dick Ebbert, himself a former fighter pilot and then the city’s economic development director, briefed the city council about the plan in March 2007. The Albany group would obtain three mothballed A-4 Skyhawks from a warplane boneyard in Arizona. The state would take ownership from the federal government and the planes — stripped of engines and avionics — would then be loaned to Albany for display. The Albany group had to put up the $10,000 fee demanded by the state to handle the transaction, and they would get reimbursed by getting a break on their hangar fees at the city-owned airport. Eventually the pilots hauled the planes to Albany on trailers at their own expense.

In 2012, four students from the Albany Options School under the guidance of pilot and retired educator Jay Sluiter worked on the planes to help get them ready for display. A story in the Democrat-Herald showed them dismantling the inside of a fuselage. The idea was to take out weight because the plan then — now apparently abandoned — was to display the craft on a pole as if in flight.

Because the two pads will be in the Airport Historic District, their construction went through a special “historic review” at the city. The application submitted for the review suggests the third plane might be displayed on the east side of the airport facing Timber-Linn Park. But plans for that were not included.

The approval of the two pads is valid for three years. There was nothing in the paperwork available online to indicate just when construction might take place. This is a volunteer effort, so it probably depends on availability of funds. (hh)



7 responses to “Albany jet display: Another step”

  1. Richard Vannice says:

    What ever happened to the plane that was on static display several years ago. I don’t recall what the designation (F-???) it was.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      I don’t know, but it was removed in the 1970s. One story in the files of the Democrat-Herald says the government took it back; another that it was removed because of vandalism. In any case, I don’t recall it being there when I moved to Albany in 1977. (hh)

  2. Rich Kellum says:

    Thanks for the history Hasso

  3. John Hartman says:

    Have yet to read the usual caterwauling from Cordier and/or Shadle and/or Kellum in regards to taxpayer funds being used to develop memorials to be placed at Albany airport. Whenever Mr. Hering publishes anything having to do with CARA and the ongoing CARA-Sell operation, the three gentlemen mentioned above immediately climb their High Horses in order to be better heard. However, in this instance, we see little in the way of protest from the Three Cheap Musketeers. We look forward to seeing the efforts of the F-4 fans come to fruition. I hope the public financing angle in Mr. Hering’s story will goad the terrible threesome into a fit of conservative fury. They are fun to watch.

  4. Tony White says:

    It’s amazing the imaginativeness of government when it comes to spending other people’s money. I’m sure folks will come from miles around to visit Albany because of this, and spend tons of money which will quickly repay any funds required to complete this project. It’s also amazing how many volunteer projects eventually devolve into public funding (“special breaks for hangar fees,” construction of display pads).

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    “Because the two pads will be in the Airport Historic District, their construction went through a special “historic review” at the city.”

    Airport Historic District?
    The inmate are running……


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