02/19/14 — City gets set to move plane for makeover

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City gets set to move plane for makeover

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 19, 2014 1:46 PM

The F-86 Sabre fighter jet that has graced downtown Goldsboro will make a trip to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for refurbishing.

The city of Goldsboro will move the plane, which has sat on a pedestal outside the Police Department for decades, early Thursday.

Center and Ash streets, as well as Piedmont Airline Road will be closed while the plane is being moved. The trip down Ash Street is expected to take about two hours, city officials say, and will happen about 2 a.m. to minimize the disruption to traffic.

"They will come up Center Street and then turn down Ash all the way to the Ash Extension before going down Piedmont Airline Road to the base fence," Goldsboro Public Information Officer Kim Best said. "They went round and round about taking the fence down but they will lift it over the fence with their own crane."

The plane will be lifted over the base fence between 8 and 9 a.m., base officials say.

Airmen of the 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron will refurbish and repair the plane.

Work on the plane -- an icon of the Korean War -- is expected to take between two and four months.

"We wanted to choose a time when there wouldn't be much traffic on the road to move the plane," Mrs. Best said. "I expect people will be out to watch it but I don't think there would be much driving traffic."

Moving the plane is not expected to require the removal of any mailboxes but city Public Works staff will be on hand to remove and replace mailboxes if need be, she added

No power lines will need to be pulled down but a few will be lifted, Mrs. Best said.

The base offered to refurbish the plane at no cost to the city, except for materials, after the Air Force requested the plane be refurbished.

The jet is on loan to the city from the Air Force through Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The plane has been on loan to the city since 1970 when it was placed in Herman Park.

In 1993 the plane was refurbished and moved to the police department .

The city plans to move the jet to a new location following the work but no spot has been decided on yet.

The move is in part to allow for the future expansion of the police department.

Possible locations for the jet include the Cornerstone Commons area or near the traffic circle at Ash and Center streets.

"We want to make sure we put it back somewhere that it is well-displayed but is safe for the artifact," Goldsboro City Manager Scott Stevens said.

The city is also looking into changing how the jet is displayed, from sitting on its landing gear to having the jet held up by a single pole made to look as if it were flying.

"There would be some different structural issues that we would have to look at with that and talk about the cost with the base," Stevens said. "The jet wasn't made to be held up by a single pivot point."

The city wants to be sure the jet is set up in a way that discourages climbing on it but also looks good, he said.

Its location at the police department for the last two decades accomplished that well, Stevens said.

City personnel were able to roll the plane to the base the first time but Thursday morning the plane will be transported on a flatbed truck.

The materials for the refurbishing are expected to cost the city about $4,000.

A budget amendment was approved in November to allow the city to spend $20,000 on the project.