March 13, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is dismantling and returning a rare North American F–82 termed the Twin Mustang to the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, following the rejection of a settlement offer from the CAF.
The CAF, based in Midland, Texas, felt that it had an agreement from the Air Force in 1968 to keep the F–82 and return it to flying status. The matter went to court. After a ruling that the airplane must be returned, the CAF appealed. The CAF recently offered to drop its lawsuit and agree not to fly the aircraft, if the Air Force would allow the airplane to remain on static display at the CAF Airpower Museum in Midland. The National Museum of the Air Force rejected the deal.
Although the aircraft will be shipped back to the museum, the CAF appeal will continue.
“I had great hopes that this would be an amicable way to agree-to-disagree, yet still concede to the USAFM’s policy to not fly the F–82, which has supposedly been their concern. This decision to reject our proposal is confusing and disappointing,” said Stephan Brown, president and CEO of the CAF. “Our mission is to honor American military aviation, through the flight of these historic aircraft, but we felt it was better to keep this important piece of our history on static display, rather than lose it altogether.”
The official Air Force museum response states: “After a robust and thorough discussion, the voting members of the Heritage Board unanimously decided that, based on the history of this matter and the precedential import of the judicial determination concerning the ownership of the F–82 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the other Armed Services, the offer of settlement could not be accepted.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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