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Painted and Primed
Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, C-T

CAPTION: The F-105 fighter bomber was removed from its perch at the entrance of the Chillicothe municipal airport to undergo major renovations. When it is put back in place, the aircraft will have a new look. The camouflage color is now back awaiting U.S. Air Force markings, resembling its original appearance. The aircraft was painted in Thunderbird colors (red, white and blue) upon its arrival in Chillicothe in 1985.

Submitted Photo, C-T

Aircraft Removed for Major Renovations
Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 by Catherine Ripley, C-T

CAPTION: The F-105 fighter bomber was removed from its perch at the entrance of the Chillicothe municipal airport Monday to undergo major renovations. When it is put back in place, the aircraft will have a new look. It will be painted camouflage and have U.S. Air Force markings, resembling its original appearance. The aircraft was painted in Thunderbird colors (red, white and blue) upon its arrival in Chillicothe in 1985.

Photo, C-T / Caption, Ann Kieffer

July 8, 2008 - One of Chillicothe’s most recognizable landmarks came down Monday. The F-105 Thunderchief fighter bomber which has towered over the entrance at Chillicothe Municipal Airport on U.S. Highway 36 since 1985 was taken off its pylons by cranes Monday. It’s absence at the entrance is not permanent, though. It was removed only to undergo major renovations. When the aircraft is put back in place, the plane will have a new look — painted camouflage with details resembling its original Air Force markings. The new look will be similar to its appearance when it first arrived in Chillicothe 23 years ago. Members of the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard in St. Joseph will repaint the plane, according to Chillicothe City Administrator Dean Brookshier. “We are very appreciative of them helping us out,” he said.

The city had appropriated $20,000 in last year’s budget to restore the plane. While the city will be financially responsible for taking down the plane and putting it back up as well as having the aircraft’s paint removed through a sandblasting process, the Air National Guard will be providing the services of making repairs to the sheet metal and painting the plane. Brookshier, who worked closely with the Air National Guard while serving as Congressman Sam Graves’ deputy chief of staff prior to his appointment as city administrator, said the project is beneficial for both the city and the Guard.

The city which will see fewer expenses than if it had it repaired the aircraft on its own and the Guard will benefit from the training experience of making sheet metal repairs and painting the aircraft. “This is very beneficial for the city and for them,” Brookshier said. “We get the jet taken care of which is badly needed, and their guys can use that experience for training. It gives them training on something they normally don’t see.” The guard usually deals with C-130s, Brookshier said. A completion date has not been set. “We will work around their schedule,” Brookshier explained. “It will be quite a process to repair it.” All work will be done at the airport. Superior Coatings of Chillicothe is being hired to clean the plane’s surface.

Obtaining the aircraft was no easy feat for the city of Chillicothe and the process took around three years to complete, according to Constitution-Tribune records. The airport board had tried to locate a retired aircraft for use at the entrance to the airport for over three years. Then, within a two-week period, the airport board learned of three different locations where an aircraft was available. The airport board chose the F-105 because “it was by far the most impressive.” The late Bob Staton, a member of the airport board, was instrumental in obtaining the plane.

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