WICHITA, Kan. — This morning the Kansas Aviation Museum took on the difficult task of towing two vintage planes from Yingling Aviation near Mid-Continent Airport in west Wichita across town to their facility next to McConnell Air Force Base.
The planes, an Allied A-2 single-engine prototype and a 1949 Rawdon T-1, were moved to the museum's new restoration storage facility. They've been housed at Yingling Aviation because KAM didn't have an appropriate way to store them until now.
The Rawdon is a trainer craft and one of only a few known to exist from a company that was based in Wichita. The A-2 was built in 1948.
For the move, the museum had to get a permit from the city of Wichita and rely on cooperation from airport security, museum staff and at least 10 volunteers. It's often done in the middle of the night because of the large number of obstacles the planes must be maneuvered around, including utility poles underpasses and bridges. The wingspan on these planes is roughly 36 feet.
Only 3 miles into the 14 mile cross town trip, the wing of one plane collided with the guy wire of a utility pole, ripping its fabric. It can be repaired, but its an example of the maneuvering challenges they faced.
Later, the nose gear on the A-2 collapsed forcing them to put it on a dolly - which meant moving even slower.
The move began at 2 a.m. and it took a couple of hours longer than expected, but they eventually reached their permanent home at the Kansas Aviation Museum.
"This move represents a huge step in the development of the museum," said Lon Smith, executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum. "Consolidating all of our large scale artifacts into a central storage facility is another great milestone for us."