If you visit Heritage Park in the next few weeks, you may see a missing display and one covered in tarps. This is because two static displays at Heritage Park will be undergoing maintenance and refurbishing during the next three weeks.
All of the displays in Heritage Park recently underwent an inspection. Two aircraft, an OV-10 Bronco and an O-1 Bird Dog, were considered for restoration due to damage caused by exposure to the elements.
The displays are on a paint cycle; these planes were last painted in 2008.
“We restore these planes constantly to keep them in static display quality,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Philips, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Heritage Park custodian. “We take pride in the quality of our planes and the upkeep we do.”
For this round of work on the Heritage Park displays, these aircraft were chosen because they need the most work. The two aircraft had significant fading paint and deteriorated metal on certain areas.
A team of six Airmen assigned to the restoration of the two planes began sanding down the aircraft and repairing any damage they could. Finally, they applied a new coat of paint.
Some people may worry about the impact of working on the OV-10 Bronco in the park.
“The sanding of the latex paint is not harmful,” Philips said. “The painting accomplished at Heritage Park is safe for the environment due to the paint being general latex house paint.”
The O-1 Bird Dog was removed from its location and transported to the painting facility on base.
“The reasoning to move one aircraft was because the aircraft was able to be removed from its static location,” Philips said. “This makes it easier for us to perform our work. We can repair damage and paint with a polyurethane paint which has to be controlled in our bioenvironmental paint booth.”
Philips expressed restoring all of the aircraft has not only had an impact on the base, but also on those who flew the aircraft.
“The restoration of these planes to us as Air Force members is to preserve our history,” Philips said. “We keep the heritage alive for our Veterans to come out and remember what they did and how we honor them.”
Completion of the restoration is slated for May 9.