boycott the USAF museum!

Discussion in 'Off Topic - Card Modeler Lounge' started by -Jim G, Feb 8, 2007.

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  1. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    Help Preserve a BLACKBIRD!

    I live in a part of the world that has very few military trophies on display. Minnesota had one gem though... The Minnesota Air Guard Museum had a beautiful example of an A-12 Blackbird.

    Now the bad news: The USAF Museum has reclaimed this beauty and taken it away from public display. They intend to make it a spy plane on a stick on the grounds of the CIA Headquarters in Washington DC. The public will no longer be able to run their hands down her sleak sides. Instead the weather will eventually claim her into piece of junk status!

    Isn't there already a Blackbird (or two) in the DC area? This makes me so angry. I am a USAF veteran and I had been planning to visit the USAF museum in Dayton Ohio. Now they couldn't pay me to go there.

    They are also responsible for taking the Memphis Belle away from Memphis and jerking the B-36 from Fort Worth.

    I say that if you must go to a military museum, BOYCOTT DAYTON and go to Pensacola or Tucson.

    -Jim G
  2. paper warrior

    paper warrior Member

    WTF, that ain't right! Someone should start a petition.
  3. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Even though I live in the Twin Cities -- and have even climbed over that particular Blackbird at the Air Guard museum -- I have no huge beef with it going to the CIA headquarters. Langley has a bigger connection to the plane than Minnesota. Yeah, the locals refurbished it, but what the USAF gives, the USAF can take away....

    If you want to get up in arms over it, then question why there are THREE Blackbirds in Alabama. Alabama?!?

    Yeah, when I think of the A-12 or SR-71, I sure as heck think "Alabama"....
  4. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    I am not much of a pessimist, just a realist... kiss goodbye to the Blackbird and I think you can write off the Air Guard museum too.

    The MN ANG museum survives on donations. Without their one big draw I predict the demise of the museum. Somehow the people I talk with don't get as excited about visiting a C-97 as they do when I tell them that my son sat in the cockpit of a Blackbird.

    Without the ANG museum where can I bring my son to show him an F-4 Phantom? (like I worked on).

    BTW I personally know half a dozen people that were involved in developing the Blackbird's controls systems. The Twin Cities were heavily involved in the development of the Blackbird and many other Cold War efforts, but we have very little in the way of artifacts that commemorate this. I guess I gotta move to Alabama...

    Additionally, putting a bird on a stick is the worst way of displaying it and the best way to let the weather and live birds to damage it. If you gotta stick a bird on a stick at the CIA Headquarters, why would you take the best preserved one?

    ARMORMAN Guest

    I loved the story during the Clinton years, the Secret Service and CIA went all over Martha's Vineyard and found an old Hellcat in about 40 feet of water. The local air museum with help from the state raised it and started restoring it. The Air Force sued to get it back on the gounds of taking military property. The museum and the state countersued them for pollution and illegal dumping.
  6. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    Let's get part of the story straight.

    The group that wanted to keep the "Belle" in Memphis was given several years by the USAF Museum to come up with a plan and funding to get the bird out of the weather and into a proper facility. They failed to do so. After giving them a fighting chance, USAF said "enough," and took the Belle back.

    No one who saw her in her last years in Memphis can say that she was well cared for. She was a mess, and without proper restoration and preservation, her future in Memphis looked like more of the same.

    I don't fault the people of Memphis. They tried, but the money and public will weren't there. And you can't build a sustainable museum around one airplane, no matter how famous she is.

    Memphis is one of my favorite cities to visit--BB King and BBQ on the same street. In an ideal world, I'd love to see the Memphis Belle in her namesake city. But it's not an ideal world, and I'd rather see her properly cared for and preserved in Dayton than crumbling into scrap in Memphis.

    No worries,
  7. murphyaa

    murphyaa Designer

    Maybe somebody can arrange a trade. If the CIA really wants a Blackbird-on-a-stick, see if they'll trade the MN 'bird for the one here in Arizona at Pima Air Museum. That one looks like crap after years in the desert sun anyway.
    *removes tongue from cheek*

    BTW, anybody know the tail number of the one in MN? I've been trying to track down all the Blackbirds my Dad worked on.
  8. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    I drove past the airport yesterday and saw her still on her parking spot. We have had a stretch of sub-zero (F) temperatures here
    and I hope that is slowing progress.

    Here is an image from the MN ANG Museum site ( )

    OK, maybe the Memphis Belle is in a better spot - but that is no excuse for putting the best preserved example of an A-12 on a stick.
  9. paulhbell

    paulhbell Guest

    We in the UK have the same problem with the Vulcan bomber. Rotting away outside and the one that is possibly flyable, we struggle to get money for it. It is a iconic 60/70's airplane for us brits, nearly as iconic as the 40's spitfire. What other plane did we have that could have flown from England to the falklands, bombed the runway and flew all the way back. And it was BRITISH not built by europe like the tornado and the typhoon.
  10. Rick Thomson

    Rick Thomson Member

    Not to hijack the thread, but speaking of the Vulcan, and the raid on Port Stanley, I have to recommend the book, "Vulcan 607" by Rowland White. A great read.
  11. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    sakrison is correct about the Memphis Belle.

    The B-36 in Texas was in a similar situation. I would MUCH rather have a B-36 sitting somewhere out of the way, all prettied up than rotting away while politicians and businessmen fight about the "best" way to do something. In the end, The Air Force museum gave the resource to the next requester on the list, a base where the type actually was assigned.

    Part of the job of the National Museum of the Air Force is to protect historical Air Force assets. However, the A-12 was purchased by the CIA, owned by the CIA and flown operationally by the CIA. When the aircraft type was retired, it still belonged to the CIA. I don't know for sure, but in this situation, I believe the CIA allowed the Air Force museum to handle the surviving A-12s as historical assets since the museum had experience in handling Air Force assets.

    Since the aircraft did belong to the CIA, they have every right to it. It was not the National Museum of the Air Force which said, "Okay can't have an A-12 anymore." It was the CIA saying, "We decided we want to put an A-12 on a stick in front of our Langley headquarters. The one in Minnesota will suit us just fine. Make it happen AF."

    This is speculation, yes...but the job I held in the Air Force for a 20 plus year career, was in public affairs. In that job we were basically the board of directors for local museums, working with the Air Force museum as required. I know how the museum operates in some situations, what they can do and can't do (to the extent my memory is valid).

    If you want to be upset at anyone, get angry at the Central Intelligence Agency who now wants to show off one of their crowning achievements.
  12. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    send 'em a pink flamingo instead

    If in a 'time of war' the U.S. Federal Government decides to waste more money and ruin a national treasure, then they should, in my opinion, get a public affairs black eye. The National Museum of the USAF is administrating this injustice and they deserve bad press.

    The CIA apparently has excess money in their coffers and I will write every official I can to make sure that they are more limited in the future. If the money they are wasting on their lawn ornament project were spent on real CIA matters maybe they could give the Administration correct information regarding national security in the future?

    Has anyone seen a pylon mounted airplane that is in good shape after a couple of years? How much would it cost to send someone up on a lift on a regular basis to remove bird nests and maintain a large airplane? It must be excessive because I have never heard of it or seen it done. If they were proposing to send the Blackbird to a place where it was more accessible to the public and would be better preserved for future generations, I could support the loss of the plane from Minnesota. That is not what they are proposing.

    Anyone that gives a lick about aviation history should be outraged when such a valuable asset is ruined because someone in power wants a fancy pink flamingo in their yard.

    just my opinion...-Jim G
  13. jparenti

    jparenti Member

    Whether or not the CIA has a right to own the A-12, someone SOMEWHERE should have had the good sense to realize that this particular A-12 is in very good condition and is preserved as a monument to the nation's technological prowess. People see this airplane and feel good about what their government has done. And the citizens are the one's who pay for the government's projects, too, don't forget.
    The best idea for a lawn ornament for the CIA is to reclaim a less spectacular aircraft, give it a nice new coat of paint, and do whatever the hell they want with it. Let the public have the privelege of seeing this A-12 up close. Put the slightly more ugly version on an inaccessible stick in the CIA's yard.
  14. Bluenoser

    Bluenoser Member

    Amen to that!
  15. NYC Irish

    NYC Irish Member

    ohhhh what a book... you want to do what?????

    Greatest Military Operation ever and I cannot imagine anything like it ever again with UAV's ETC. Im totally going to London of there is any chance the Vulcan can make its expected flypast during the 25th Falklands thing

    By the way if you are boycotting Such museums I was in London last week and went to the RAF Museum and well apaerntly 1 inch of snow was enough to close that place down for the day...I mean...its indoors...arggghhhh

    but the Imperial War Museum...well thats wll worth a trip to...the had the P-51 Big Beautifull Doll hanging from the evey guy wants in his bedroom eh?

    John John
  16. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    Public opinion can do a lot. Get with the newspapers, the people, the Air Guard, start a campaign to educate the public about the situation. Someone below asked why the CIA can't get a lesser preserved resource to show off since it will be exposed to the elements. There is no reason that can't happen. There are enough out there that the CIA can get another. But without public outcry and/or congressional pressure, little will be done.

    Get the public involved...get congress involved...get anyone and everyone involved. It's not hard that difficult to do. Put out to the media...ask the Air Guard to get involved...write the CIA...offer alternatives, and don't give up.

    Most important of all...make sure your facts are right before you go about it. Otherwise it will all be for naught. I spent many a day doing what I could to keep the public on the Air Force side when the press was against the Air Force. In the end, I did pretty good...and that was because I kept the public on my side with the facts.

    I personally believe a change of plans can be affected...but it won't be easy.
  17. diamondback

    diamondback Member

    If the spook-pukes want a darn lawn-ornament to display, then why waste the taxpayers money on one that will decay and need replacement later? Why not drop the bucks once to do it right and have a full-scale mockup made, specifically crafted to survive the elements, bird-crap and such?

    I move, instead of shoving a pole up a Blackbird's backside, somebody oughtta find the joker who hatched this scheme and shove the pole up HIS backside, displaying him publicly as an example of the problem with our bureaucracy.


    Please note, this is after a one-week cooling off period. I'm not gonna tell you guys how I REALLY feel...

    I will note, though, that I seriously envy Darth Vader at the moment.
  18. shrike

    shrike Guest

    And then some people will decry the expense of having a replica made when, "There's all that old junk around" It's a no-win situation.

    Like it or not, if the CIA owns it, they can put it where they want to. We should probably be happy that the decision was made to put any of them on display rather than scrapping or bulldozing them all when their operational usefulness was over. That has happened far too often in the past.
  19. Rick Thomson

    Rick Thomson Member

    I have to agree with Jim here, putting a bird on a stick and leaving it to the mercy of the elements is pretty hard on it.

    The museum I volunteer for has rescued a Sabre Mk6 and a T-33 from the elements and we have a very long and hard task ahead of us getting them into what we hope will be looking like they are newish. Corrosion has bit hard and deep in both of them, and parts are hard to find (especially on a shoestring budget).

    Now these are what were fairly common aircraft at one time, so consider the task of doing the same to a rare bit of kit like the Blackbird. Seems to make much more sense to keep it in a nice dry hanger to me.

    One more thing, it does not belong to the CIA, it belongs to the people who paid for it, ie the taxpayers.
  20. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    I will address your points one at a time
    I don't think that a replica should be made. I think that the CIA has no business putting anything in its yard - especially a large historical object that will bring attention and make the CIA headquarters a 'destination' for aviation buff tourists. IMHO instead of attracting attention, the CIA ought to move its headquarters to 'an undisclosed location'. Furthermore, the Blackbird in question is not a piece of junk laying around...YET. Give it a couple of years on a stick and it will be.
    The CIA does not own this or any other Blackbird. They did have claim to it at one time, but were forced to turn over all of their air assets to the U.S. Air Force. I agree with Rick that it is owned by the taxpayers, and as one of those taxpayers my voice should be as important as the muckity-mucks that have made this bad decision.
    I absolutely agree with you.

    -Jim G
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