A Convair B-36J Peacemaker, the largest bomber ever built by the United States, was slowly rolled out onto the grounds of the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., earlier this month. The B-36 has been secured in its new site, enabling visitors to walk directly under and around the massive plane.
The staff of the restoration division at the museum, assisted by volunteers, slowly escorted the huge plane, which has a 230-foot wingspan and is 162 feet long, from the restoration area of the museum to its display location on the northwest side of the museum.
Called the “City of Fort Worth,” the plane is the last B-36 built by Convair at its Fort Worth, Texas, plant. It was delivered to the Air Force Aug. 14, 1954. The plane is owned by the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which assigned the loan of the B-36 to the Pima Air & Space Museum for restoration and public display in June 2005.
The restoration crew, led by Scott Marchand, director of collections and restoration at the Pima Air & Space Museum, drove to Fort Worth and coordinated transport of the plane to Tucson.
“For the past four years, the restoration crew has been painstakingly and lovingly putting this plane back together,” said Yvonne Morris, executive director of the museum. “It was transported to Tucson in pieces. More than 24,000 man hours have gone into this project, involving five technicians, several restoration experts and many volunteers.
“Restoring the B-36 is a huge achievement for our museum,” she continued. “And it is a great addition to our collection.”
The museum houses 300 aircraft on 80 acres. The collection includes an SR-71 spy plane, one of President Kennedy’s Air Force Ones, a super guppy plane from NASA, and numerous historic aircraft and helicopters.
For more information: www.pimaair.org.