|Midnight Express on the Move
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Midnight Express, a Boeing B-52G, built at the Boeing plant in Wichita in 1960, was retired after 31 years of service to USAF, and was placed in the custody of the Museum of Flight in Seattle. She made her last flight on 21 September 1991 under the Command of Capt. Bill Stimson from Castle AFB in California to Paine Field in Everett, Washington.
Over the next almost 26 years, she was moved back and frth, to and fro, from the Boeing Flight Line to the South Ramp by the Fire Station, then to the ramp beneath the Control Tower, and finally, ignominiously, to the grass nearby, as Boeing's Everett plant airplanes gobbled up every square foot of pavement on the airport. There she has sat, more than a little forelorn, for the past decade or more. Her ultimate fate was sometimes bleak, but due to the hard work of many people, not least her former crew, she was saved from the scrappers and is now destined to be the centerpiece for a moving Viet Nam Air War Memorial Park at Boeing Field.
In preparation for that display, the Summer of 2017 will be devoted to her restoration, cleaning and repaint. This will be followed, likely in the Summer of 2018, by her move - by surface - to the Museum's Main Campus. On Wednesday, 26 July 2017, she was at long last saved from her long place of abode, out-to-pasture if you will, and moved across the airfield to the Kilo 6 taxiway on the west side, for her restoration.
The following photo essay documents that move.
About 1000 hrs, a flurry of activity began to occur around the old girl.
2584 - her Official name to USAF
Sheree Van Berg washed her windows
Tom Cathcart showed up with his big tug and his coolest shades
Austin Ballard jockeyed the towbar with Museum volunteer Jerry (a cardiologist in his "spare" time.)
One of the last passenger Boeing 747s looked on from the Boeing Flight Line
The 26 years had not treated our girl kindly
But soon, she will get a makeover, and become a whole new woman
Her Nose Art - Midnight Express - has faded into oblivion.
Only the eyes of her wise old owl still stare down on us mortals below.
Time to Move-Out! Good bye grass. Hello Tarmac.
They can't say I didn't "leave my mark."
Whew! I honestly thought I was gonna die in that spot....
Airplanes are living things, or didn't you know that?
Well, you must not have been coming to my Museum talks.
We're going to move out - move out onto a REAL airfield.
With clearances from the Tower and all that important stuff.
Here, I've been cleared onto the Bravo taxiway.
Moving west on Bravo, that's Alpha just ahead.
I remember all this important stuff.
Starting to feel 25 years younger already.
They're starting to find out just how big I am.
Trying hard not to knock over that sign.
Heading south on Alpha
Hey, maybe some of you are starting to understand how I got my nickname..... BUFF
This is a BIG moment - turning west on Alpha 7
I'm holding short of the runway for a departure!!!
There she comes! A brand new 787 making her First Flight!!!
Look! Her nose wheel is off.
She's about to stop becoming "a machine", and start her new life in the sky as an Airplane.
Yes! I am now crossing Runway 34L - 16R - the main runway at Paine Field.
Behind the departing traffic.
Did I say I felt 25 years younger?
Hey, Man, I'm feeling 57 years younger!
'Cause that's how old I am, and it was 57 years ago when I made my first flight.
Just look down that pavement - I landed on that strip back in 1991.
Seems just like yesterday.
Nice landing, Bill Stimson!
Did I tell you I had 15,305 flying hours under my belt?
And - listen to this - less than 1000 Landings.
Yup - when I took off, I was into some serious flying - averaging over 15 hours per flight.
The BUFF ain't no wimp machine......
Arriving at Kilo 6 for my restoration and repaint.
Tom turned me around and pushed me in backwards.
That Cathcart guy drives a mean tug!
Watch out for that fence!
Safely in my new home - for the next year or so.
So glad to be out of that grass. It's so cold and so damp....
You'll be able to see me through the fence from the Historic Flight Foundation's ramp.
A great place to visit, BTW You can see their B-25 and DC-3 in the background.
. You can find all the details about them here.
When you come visit - give me a wave. I'll know.......
My pal Bob's website is about to grow by leaps and bounds - click here and check it out
Click here for some more great pictures
And now here's the important part - support this activity by clicking here - open your heart - and your wallet.
2017 Robert Bogash. All Rights Reserved