Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The F-89 is back on her wheels at Heritage Flight Museum.

Here's a view from the top of the fuselage, looking into the cockpits.

And a walk around of the left side.

Just like old times. At the crack of dawn we assembled at the F-89, ready to work.

First the fuselage was lifted from the trailer and the left stand removed.

Hal had a great idea: suspend each wing by adjustable lifts in the pitch and roll axis, and then match the wing to the fuselage's angle.

Hal carefully guided JR on the forklift while Lyle and Eric lined up the wing.

With this elegant and simple idea the left wing easily slid into place.

Where the team swarmed over it, reattaching the wing bolts.

Erika and Rich worked on the top of the wing...

JR and Steve worked on the bottom...

and Harley did a FOD check of the right wing, looking for any critters that may be hiding.

Exhausting work, those FOD checks...

The right wing did not quite go on as easily, but it did with a little applied persuasion as shown by Eric

and Lyle.

Wings attached, and the left main gear is down as Bill looks on approvingly.

Hit play to watch the right main gear lowered into position.

The crane is removed as the F-89 rests on it's wheels again.

And Bill took a quiet moment by himself.

Wings on. Gear down and locked.

The weather gods chose clear skies over pitching rain today, much to the relief of HFM's maintenance crew whose duty it was to re-affix the F-89 wings to the fuselage. Everyone was on site by 7:15 this morning, along with a big forklift and an 85 ton crane!

The port-side wing popped right into place and took a mere half hour to secure. The starboard-side wing took a little longer, but it was all over by lunch time! Wings attached. Gear down and locked. Crane, straps, come-alongs, tools, guide ropes stowed and pizza ordered.

Next order of business is to put some lead weights in the nose - the radar and various other pieces of equipment have been removed for cleaning - to move the already aft-placed center of gravity a little further forward. Then it's on with the tow-bar and back into the maintenance hangar.

Photos and video to follow... [KS]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Scorpion's Lair...

Thought you might enjoy a picture of the Scorpion in our maintenance hangar.

The left wing has been cleaned and the new tire mounted on the wheel. We plan to finish the right wing in the next couple of days, and hope to remount the wings Wednesday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Work Continues Here In Bellingham

It's been a few days since we posted anything, but rest assured that the maintenance crew hasn't taken much of a break since they got back from Montana!

They had a couple of days to catch up on some much-needed sleep while the fuselage and wings made their way here, and as the previous entries photos show, they did in fact make it in one piece... albeit on two different trailers! In the time since the major parts arrived, shrouded in the early morning mists, the fuselage, wings and horizontal stabilizer have been removed from the trailers and stored in the main maintenance hangar and the auxiliary storage hangar.

For those of us awaiting the arrival of the aircraft and her dis-assembly team, it's really pretty exciting to have them all finally back here! The fuselage alone is massive, just barely fitting into the maintenance hangar. Volunteers have been busy cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and removing various instrumentation for further cleaning, and otherwise prepping the aircraft for getting it's wings back next week.

At this very moment, the starboard wing is sharing the hangar space with it's old pal the fuselage - safely suspended on it's own cradle - while an army of volunteers drop the main gear out of the wings and replace the old, cracked, worn out tires. With this done, all the major parts are just about ready to be reunited. That monumental task will take place next week with the assistance of an 85 TON crane!

Amazingly, the nose gear have been pumped up, continue to hold air, and are looking to be in not bad shape... which is good since we'll need a bigger jack to change out those tires once the wings are back in place.

Despite being squirreled away in miscellaneous hangars, the F89 has garnered a lot of attention from the local airport community with folks constantly dropping by to marvel at it. One of our old tower controllers, the fantastic Jimmy Wright, cropped up out of Oregon earlier this week and shared with us many a story about the time he spent as an RO in the back seat of the F89!

And today we received some fantastic mail in the form of a letter and collection of photos from Col. Bob Gruenhagen who not only worked on P-51's in Keflavik, Iceland (represented in the paint scheme worn by our P-51 Mustang) but also worked on F-89's! In fact, not just ANY F-89's but the very one's at Montana where ours came from! And that's not all, he actually knew our airplane and sent us some fantastic photos from it's grander, more airworthy days! Such a treat!! Col. Gruenhagen - we know you follow this blog, so consider this fair warning that we WILL be getting a hold of you!

From F-89J Restoration Project

That's about it for now... we're hoping to have the aircraft back 'on it's feet' in time for our Museum's big Veteran's Day celebration, with an official welcome reception closer to our November Fly Day on the 21st.

Stay tuned, there's more to come... [KS]

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honey, I'm HOME!!!!

What's that in the mist????

Museum Executive Director Greg Anders inspects our latest acquisition.

"Delivered to Heritage Flight Museum: 1 (one) F-89 Scorpion. Sign here, please. Will that be cash, check, or credit card?"

Now the unloading begins, and this phase of the blog ends. Stay tuned as we begin the restoration!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Crew

Mission Accomplished!

JR, Lead Mechanic

Hal, Mechanic

Einar, Mechanic

Erika, Civil Air Patrol and SAR

Steve, CrewDog

Lyle, Photographer

Dave, videographer

Homeward bound!!!

Homeward bound!!!

Tonight we'll just let the pictures do the talking.