Several parts of a
historic XC-99 aircraft located at the Kelly Annex to Lackland AFB
were hauled to the Air Force Museum near Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base, Ohio, recently. A C-5 Galaxy from the 433rd Airlift Wing here
hauled the initial load of the three-phase dismantling project.
Disassembling began Jan. 20 by a company with a history of
disassembling and reassembling large aircraft.
“The aircraft dictates when certain parts will be
dismantled, so some parts may or may not be removed at given times
during the process,” said Ben Nattrass, owner and operator of
Worldwide Aircraft Recovery of Bellevue, Neb. “Each part has
to be removed sequentially as it had been built, so we have to
discover how to take the plane apart as we go.
“We’ve had a lot of outside interest, because this
is a historic aircraft,” he said.
In the beginning, Army Air Forces officials wanted to develop an
aircraft in the early part of World War II that would provide
global airlift support beyond the scope of the existing B-36
bomber. It was not until after the war that the XC-99 was produced
for its first flight, which took place Nov. 24, 1947.
Its first cargo run was into then-Kelly AFB on July 14, 1950,
where most of the XC-99 flights took place.
The awkward-looking aircraft with rear-mounted props, an
exception to conventional design, logged more than 7,400 hours of
flying time and moved more than 60 million pounds of cargo.
The XC-99 made its final voyage March 19, 1957, and currently
sits in an open area of the Kelly Annex until it is completely
dismantled and relocated to its new home in Ohio. It is expected to
undergo a detailed restoration process before being displayed in
the Air Force Museum. [ANN Thanks 1st Lt. Bruce R. Hill Jr., 433rd
Airlift Wing Public Affairs]