The OV-10 Bronco Association is Establishing the Following SAVE-A-PLANE for Immediate Action:
THE F-14 TOMCAT - A MAINSTAY OF NAVAL AVIATION
View more photos of F-14D BuNo 159600 at Airliners.net
| UPDATE: November 2, 2006 |
| An important message from OBA President Jim "Grump" Hodgson: |
October 31, 2006
As you are all aware, for the past month we have been working to save the longest serving F-14D Tomcat from the scrapper. After much work and wrangling, we set a goal of raising $15,000 to cover the cost of recovery, restoration and painting aircraft BuNo 159600, other wise known as "Christine", "Tomcatter 111", "Felix 111" and other names. As some of you may know, an aircraft on a low fuel state will often be referred to making a "trick or treat pass" at the boat. It either gets aboard or heads for the beach or a swim. This effort to SAVE-A-TOMCAT was pretty much a "trick or treat pass" as well. We either save the airplane or it would be scrapped on site.
Because of the response to date and the continuing support for our efforts, I have instructed Jim Bloomberg, our aircraft acquisition specialist, to inform the National Museum of Naval Aviation that the OV-10 Bronco Association will accept the loan of the subject Tomcat as soon as transportation can be arranged. This is indeed a fabulous Halloween treat for all of us and a special thanks goes out to all of you who have donated to our SAVE-A-TOMCAT project. We aren't finished yet and we haven't raised all the funds needed, but with a continued effort "Christine" will return to Fort Worth. We are working with the City of Fort Worth and the B-36 Peacemaker Museum to provide an appropriate display area in front of the Meacham Field terminal building. That won't happen for a while, we estimate it will take nearly a year to have this lady ready for public viewing.
In the mean time, thank you for your support. We are saving an historically significant airplane and you can all be proud of your contribution. As I mentioned, we aren't done yet, we are still short of our goal by about $4,000, so keep putting out the word. The easiest way for people to help this effort is to use the Paypal button above or send a check to us at the address listed in this article.
Thanks for having the faith in us to make this project happen. We will keep you posted and I hope to see many of you bending a wrench on this Tomcat at a work party to be announced.
Over the last 20 years movies such as "Top Gun" and the popular television show "JAG" have immortalized the Grumman F-14 Tomcat to the general public as a modern combat fighter.
Outside of aviation circles few people know that the venerable "Tomcat" has been a mainstay of U.S. military aviation since the 1970's when it replaced the F-4 Phantom II in the U.S. Navy. This workhorse has been defending our nation with honor during the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and most recently Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror.
In September of 2006, the U.S. Navy decommissioned its last F-14 squadron. The Navy is offering a limited number of F-14s, on loan, to a few selected and qualified museums in the United States. Many restrictions apply, but the OV-10 Bronco Association has been selected to receive one of these aircraft, if we want it.
If homes cannot be found for these few remaining F-14's they will be destroyed. After this occurs, there will be very few opportunities to see and touch one of these great combat veterans.
The Navy has approached the OV-10 Bronco Association (a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Museum) and the Forward Air Controllers Museum to accept F-14D Bureau Number 159600 for the Fort Worth Veteran's Memorial Air Park at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, Texas.
F-14 BuNo 159600 or "Tomcatter-111" -- or "Christine" as she is presently known (see above) -- was manufactured in 1976. It has a long distinguished combat history, from the first Gulf War through the present-day Global War on Terror. In addition to its highly decorated history "Tomcatter-111" holds the record of being the longest serving Tomcat in the U.S. Navy.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Our goal is to raise $15,000 to acquire, transport, and preserve this aircraft. To date we have raised $3,000. It's a start but we have a long way to go and a little time to act. We need sponsors to save this historic airplane from the guillotine.
Please help now. Gifts of any size will make a difference, but time is running out quickly for this old veteran.
There is an immediate urgency to act now. The Navy has given us until November 2006 to raise the funds to bring this aircraft to Texas. If we don't meet this challenge, this aircraft will be destroyed and future generations will never see an aircraft of this heritage here in Fort Worth ever again.
If we meet this goal, we will save the longest serving Tomcat in the U.S. Navy from extinction.
We need your help to preserve this great aircraft, and tell the Tomcat story, including its role as a Forward Air Controller (Airborne) platform. Some or all of your sponsorship or donations maybe tax deductible. You can make your donations by cash, check credit-card or PayPal by sending your contribution to:
OV-10 Bronco Association
505 NW 38th Street, Suite 33S
Fort Worth, TX 76106
Phone/Fax: (800) 575-0535
We also accept PayPal donations at WWW.OV-10BRONCO.NET
Please pass this message along, we can't do this by ourselves, but together we can SAVE A TOMCAT.
Thanks for your support,
Jim "Boomer" Bloomberg
Director of Aircraft Operations
Click here for a downloadable/printable PDF version of this article
FMI: Read the Oct. 10, 2006 article in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram here
| SAVE-A-TOMCAT |
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
| Q: || If you don't succeed in raising the money, will I get a refund? |
| A: || We can certainly refund the money if that is part of the request, no problem. However, we would hope you might consider thinking of it as a general contribution to our goals... either to save the F-14, or failing that, it will be used to continue the restoration of our other aircraft (QF-4S, F-5E, O-2A, and two OV-10A's), for seed money for future acquisition opportunities, to pay for the costs associated with our operations (ie, paying rent for the hangar space, keeping the lights and phones turned on), or to otherwise help with our mission to preserve our history and educate the public about it. We follow the Marine's creed of "doing more with less" and we take seriously our responsibility to use all contributions effectively and wisely to work towards our statetd goals. |
| Q: || Will this plane ever fly again? |
| A: || Unfortunately, no. The government is "sensitive" about combat aircraft being released, especially when a hostile power (Iran) still operates the type. This aircraft will be for display only. The government retains ownership, and the plane must remain incapable of flight... i.e., it won't have engines installed. We can, however, restore her to better-than-new condition, cosmetically. |
| Q: || If the OBA/FACM doesn't get this plane, can someone else with the money get her? |
| A: || Very unlikely. Tomcatter-111 has already been offered to several other museums, all of whom, for whatever reasons, decided not to take her in. The Navy's offer to the OBA/FACM is her very last chance. If we don't get her, she is due to be destroyed for her scrap value. Even if someone had the money, the government still has a lot of requirements that must be met before you are eligible to receive such items, such as being approved by the GSA to recieve government items and the military has their own standards for loaning aircraft. (The Navy retains ownership, nobody can buy a plane outright from them.) It took us years of hard work to gain this eligibility. |
| Q: || I'd like to help, but I don't have much money. Are there other ways to help? |
| A: || Certainly! First off, ANY amount of money will put us that much closer to our goal, so don't feel embarassed if you're not able to send a lot. Every bit helps! But aside from money, there are many other needs... we will need volunteers to put her on the truck, volunteers to take her off the truck, and volunteers to help reassemble and restore her once she's in Ft. Worth. Right now, one of the most helpful things you can do is simply SPREAD THE WORD to all your friends about our needs... the more folks who know, the more likely we are to be able to raise the money to save her. Remember, time is growing VERY short! |
| Q: || What happens a few years down the road? |
| A: || Well, the Navy retains the title to their aircraft, and has the right to take her back at any time. However, generally speaking, so long as the plane is being properly cared for, it's not terribly likely that they will take it back without a strong reason to do so (perhaps there is a special exhibit requirement, for example.) The key is to treat the aircraft with the respect she deserves. The loan papers specify certain minimum requirements that we must meet in order to retain eligibility to keep the airplane at our facility. We have every intention of continuing to meet those obligations, not just because the Navy says we have to, but because it's simply the right thing to do to preserve the airplane for future generations. |
| Q: || I checked my logbooks, and I have time flying in this plane (or working on her). Are you interested in my records? |
| A: || Absolutely! We'd definitely love to hear from anyone with a personal connection with this aircraft... 90% of aviation history isn't about a particular aircraft itself, but the people connected to it. Let us hear about it! |
| Q: || Are you guys in competition with other museums/organizations? Isn't the F-14 more of a fighter than a FAC aircraft? |
| A: || Not at all! Every group has a stated purpose; we can't fulfill every mission and neither can anyone else. Whenever possible, though, we try to work with other groups with similar interests of historic preservation and education. While we focus mainly on the Forward Air Control part of history, this inevitably has a lot of crossover with other communities: fighters, bombers, ground-pounders, helicopters, etc. Many (if not most) of our members are also members of other organizations, and we often go to other group's events (Pop-A-Smoke, FAC Association, etc.) and they are always welcomed at our events. The OBA and FACM offer full, open membership to everyone interested enough to join, and please leave the "cliques" at the door. The F-14 fits into many categories... fighter, bomber, FAC, naval aircraft, etc. and we have no desire to place one community or historical aspect over any other. There's plenty of history to go around, and many valid ways to look at and present it. We just want to make sure that a plane at the center of the history is preserved. |