The National Museum of the Air Force Board of Directors has rejected the Commemorative Air Force’s offer to drop its lawsuit concerning ownership of the F-82 in the CAF collection, in exchange for allowing the airplane to remain on static display at the CAF Airpower Museum in Midland, Texas.
In a written proposal, hand-delivered to the Air Force History Department in Washington D.C., the CAF proposed dropping its appeal and letting a trial court ruling stand, in exchange for allowing the CAF to retain physical possession of the F-82 under the USAFM’s Loan Program. The same loan program is used across the country for static display of Air Force-owned aircraft at aviation museums.
The CAF proposal stated: “This proposal is put forth in the spirit of trying to put this unpleasant disagreement behind us….. Although we still disagree with the position of the Air Force to not allow its vintage warbirds to fly, we would prefer to continue this discussion through persuasion versus litigation.”
“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 history on static display, rather than lose it altogether.”
The response to the CAF’s proposal by the Director of Air Force History and Museum Policies and Programs stated: “After a robust and thorough discussion, the voting members of the Heritage Board unanimously decided that, based on the history of this matter and the precedential import of the judicial determination concerning the ownership of the F-82 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the other Armed Services, the offer of settlement could not be accepted.”
As a result, the F-82, which has been a part of the CAF collection for 40 years, must be shipped back to the USAFM in Dayton, Ohio immediately.
“Of course the judgment will be obeyed,” said Brown, “and 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. 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,” he said.
“However, now we will continue forward with the appeal, [which] 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.
For information: www.commemorativeairforce.org