TILLAMOOK COAST HISTORY ALLIANCE: What’s happening at Tillamook Air Museum? Extended days, New Signage Coming

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Spring is right around the corner here in Tillamook, and that means that Spring break is nearly upon us. As in year’s past as the tourist season heats up, the Tillamook Air Museum will be extending its days of operation to welcome visitors to the Museum. Beginning Monday, March 14th and continuing until April 3rd the Museum will be open 7 days a week from 10am- 4pm to accommodate all the visitors anticipated on the coast. We’re excited for Spring Break to show off all of the progress that we’ve made at the Museum!

In news that we wanted to share with our community first, the Tillamook Air Museum is making plans to remove the United States Navy A-4 Skyhawk (aircraft) from the stanchion at the intersection of Long-Prairie Road and Highway 101. As you well know, the A-4 has been a “gate guard” for many years along the highway and has always been quite a wonderful conversation piece. However, due to the inclement weather that we’re all too familiar with here on the Oregon Coast, the A-4 is beginning to deteriorate significantly. The Museum was forced to make the difficult decision to relocate the airplane into the Museum itself. Of course, we are all sad to see the A-4 Skyhawk removed from its place on the highway, but we know that it is what is best for preserving and protecting our heritage for future generations of museum-goers. Once on the ground, the A-4 will be moved inside the Museum where a painstaking restoration on the airplane will begin to combat years of wear and tear that have battered the airplane. In its place atop the stanchion will be constructed a 3-D metal rendering of a Navy airship, (blimp) a symbolic reminder of Naval Air Station Tillamook’s heritage as a WW ll dirigible hangar that served to protect our community. The airship is being built in partnership with Tillamook Bay Community College and their Welding Technology Program, with a big shout out to Ron Carlbom TBCC’s welding instructor, for helping bring this idea to life! If you’re interested in learning more about the project or volunteering with the restoration, please to reach out to us at info@tillamookair.com or call the museum at 503-842-1130. We’ll be updating the community as the project comes together, so follow us on social media for the latest news and updates. We plan to accomplish three main goals with this project. First, proper display and restoration of the Naval aircraft; secondly work with TBCC and their continued efforts to provide a board range of degrees and certificates that allow students to learn and give back to the community, and thirdly to revitalize the marquee that marks the southern entrance into Tillamook city proper.

In other news, Winter has been a busy time for our staff. While visitor traffic typically slows during the shoulder-season, our work was not! In fact, we’ve been working harder than ever during this off-season to improve upon your experience here at the Museum. As reported previously, our restoration crew has been tackling the Museum’s latest acquisition, a 1959 B-52 Stratofortress cockpit. If you recall previously from this space, our B-52 flew 14 missions during the first Gulf War, based out of both Moron, Spain and Fairford, England. Named “Osiris,” the Egyptian god of the dead and resurrection, this B-52 served the United States Air Force with pride for well over 30 years before it was retired and dismantled to satisfy terms of disarmament treaties between the United States and the Soviet Union. Fortunately, this 30-foot section of airplane (cockpit) survived, which we acquired this past September. To improve upon the exhibit AND to allow for more “hands-on” interaction between our visitors and the B-52, our team recently made a small cut in the rear of the cockpit. This will allow visitor access to the airplane, an up-close and personal “behind the scenes” view of the B-52’s “offensive” stations, home to the radar navigator/bombardier. You’ll also be able to look above and around you, where the Electronic Warfare Officer and Rear Gunner positions are located! As for the exterior of the ship, our team has recently completed a much-needed sanding of the exterior of the airplane. Soon, the aircraft will be primed, and when the weather warms in Spring, repainted into desert camouflage, colors the airplane sported during the Gulf War. In the meantime, our team is working to complete the reinstallation of the B-52’s instruments, which is quite a challenge given the sheer volume of equipment inside! We are anticipating completion of the exhibit and the airplane’s grand opening on or near Veterans Day (in November).

Keep up to date with all our projects and recent acquisitions by visiting our website, www.tillamookair.com, and follow us on Facebook & Instagram @tillamookair!

The mission of the Tillamook Coast History Alliance is to promote and support our history-based museums, societies and organizations in Tillamook County in order to better inform and educate the general public visiting or residing in the County. https://www.tchistoryalliance.org/