The National Museum of the Air Force board of directors has rejected an offer from the Commemorative Air Force to drop its lawsuit concerning the ownership rights of an F-82 in exchange for allowing the airplane to remain on static display at the CAF Airpower Museum in Midland, Texas.
In its proposal, the CAF proposed to drop its appeal and let the ruling in the trial court stand, in exchange for allowing the CAF to retain physical possession of the F-82 in the museum’s loan program. In that program, Air Force-owned aircraft are loaned to aviation museums around the country.
The basis of the disagreement is the Air Force’s prohibition against allowing vintage warbirds to fly.
“I had great hopes that this would be an amicable way to agree-to-disagree, yet still concede to the USAFM’s policy to not fly the F-82, which has supposedly been their concern. This decision to reject our proposal is confusing and disappointing,” said Stephan Brown, president and CEO of the CAF. “Our mission is to honor American military aviation, through the flight of these historic aircraft, but we felt it was better to keep this important piece of our history on static display, rather than lose it altogether.”
“It will be a sad day for 9,000 active CAF members and those before them, who have poured tens of thousands of dollars and man-hours into saving this airplane,” Brown said. “How ironic that our founders Lloyd Nolen and Marvin “Lefty” Gardner saved this airplane (and many more) from the Air Force’s destruction, just to have the Air Force Museum repossess it in order to ‘preserve’ it.”
The CAF’s appeal continues, he added, explaining it is a “de novo review, in which the Appellate Court is not bound by the trial court, but reviews the entire case. We are hopeful that the Appellate authority will see things differently,” Brown concluded.