Led by previous Restoration Director and current Museum Board chairman, Larry Greenwich, the many volunteers of the Illinois Aviation Museum have put hundreds, if not thousands, of hours into three major restoration projects over the past years.
The first project was a T-2 Naval training jet, loaned to our museum from the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, FL for restoration and static display. It was picked up in Pensacola in 2003 and after repainting and reassembly, rolled out on Oct. 2, 2004. A video from first day at Pensacola thru the end of the roll out ceremony can be found here: https://youtu.be/jlFOOQg3v2k
The Museum’s second restoration project was an Air Force T-33 trainer jet, also loaned to our museum from the National Museum of Naval Aviation for restoration and static display. It was brought back to Bolingbrook from Sugar Grove, IL for a much larger restoration project on Dec. 4, 2004, which was completed and rolled out in 2007. A video of the roll out ceremony can be found here: https://youtu.be/nQ3kQWJMVUE
Our third major restoration project was an US Navy A4 attack jet. In 2011, it was donated to our museum by the Warbird Heritage Foundation in Waukegan, IL, in poor condition. Over the next four years, it was heavily restored and rolled out on October 17, 2015, during Bolingbrook’s 50th anniversary. A video of the roll out ceremony can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hqO7pyzE2Q
“Stubby” started life as a T33 which served in the US Air Force, went to Rantoul Air Force Base where it had the wings and tail removed and was used as a training platform to ejection seat mechanics. Along the way it eventually went to an Army/Navy store and finally wound up on the farm of a “little old lady” in East Peoria, IL, where it sat in mud for years. It was donated to the museum in April of 2009. Restored and painted in Thunderbird colors, this aircraft is a crowd favorite as it represents the museum at parades and other events.
And while not actually a “restoration” project, the volunteers worked hard at creating a non-flying (Ground Bound) aircraft. Modeled after a 1916 Curtis Jenny, and made from a riding lawnmower, plywood, and custom-crafted and engineered parts, it is used by the Museum to provide rides at airport activities, parades, etc. It is a favorite of the kids at the annual Cavalcade of Planes event. To date, it has given over 10,000 rides to our “future aviators”.