XC-99 begins piece-by-piece trip to Air Force Museum
By 1st Lt. Bruce R. Hill Jr., 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 22, 2004
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- Several parts of a historic XC-99 aircraft located at the Kelly Annex to Lackland were hauled to the Air Force Museum near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, recently.
A C-5 Galaxy from the 433rd Airlift Wing here hauled the initial load of the three-phase dismantling project.
Disassembling began Jan. 20 by a company with a history of disassembling and reassembling large aircraft.
“The aircraft dictates when certain parts will be dismantled, so some parts may or may not be removed at given times during the process,” said Ben Nattrass, owner and operator of Worldwide Aircraft Recovery of Bellevue, Neb. “Each part has to be removed sequentially as it had been built, so we have to discover how to take the plane apart as we go.
“We’ve had a lot of outside interest, because this is a historic aircraft,” he said.
In the beginning, Army Air Forces officials wanted to develop an aircraft in the early part of World War II that would provide global airlift support beyond the scope of the existing B-36 bomber. It was not until after the war that the XC-99 was produced for its first flight, which took place Nov. 24, 1947.
Its first cargo run was into then-Kelly AFB on July 14, 1950, where most of the XC-99 flights took place.
The awkward-looking aircraft with rear-mounted props, an exception to conventional design, logged more than 7,400 hours of flying time and moved more than 60 million pounds of cargo.
The XC-99 made its final voyage March 19, 1957, and currently sits in an open area of the Kelly Annex until it is completely dismantled and relocated to its new home in Ohio. It is expected to undergo a detailed restoration process before being displayed in the Air Force Museum.