Saturday, November 19, 2016

Group seeks to bring retired F-4 jet to Grove Regional Airport

The possibility of bringing a retired F-4 Air Force jet to Grove has city and airport leaders flying high with enthusiasm and anticipation.

Pete Norwood addressed the council about the project saying the first item of business is for the city council to approve City Manager Bill Keefer to write a letter to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

“There is no financial commitment for the city,” Norwood said, adding that the F-4 Phantom II jet is the coveted aircraft for Grove.

Dave and Beverly Helms and Norwood are part of the organization, Friends of the F4 Phantom, which is seeking pledges and donations to bring the aircraft to Grove.

If everything goes as planned, the jet will be displayed near the south side of the new airport terminal at the Grove Regional Airport. No timetable was given on the date when the jet, if approved, would be set up in Grove.

“After the letter is written and it is approved they (the Air Force Museum) will offer a tail number,” Norwood said. “We can turn it down for any reason.”

However, the first step is for the city to send a letter to the museum, he said.

The jet will not belong to the city, if anything happens to the jet, the museum can repossess it or restore it, Norwood said. A plan is for private donations to fund the transportation, set-up, and long-term maintenance, he said.

“Just transportation is $75, 000,” Norwood said.

A Florida company that specializes in moving aircraft said the demilitarized jet would be partially disassembled and transported to Grove in three semi-trucks, he said.

“We would be getting the shell of the plane,” Norwood said.

One of the possibilities of displaying the jet is on some type of pedestal, he said.

Norwood, who has a background in flying jets, said, “his goal is to save one (jet) at a time.

“The airport board is strongly behind it,” said Keefer, adding that initially the cost to maintain the jet would be minimal.


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