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Feds to Decide on Air Museum Proposals

The Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association is hoping to make improvements that would allow greater public access.

An extended fence line, additional space for its book collection, the establishment of a veterans memorial, relocation of an immobile plane.  

The nonprofit Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association which operates the in Horsham, is hoping to get the ok from the federal government to implement four proposals which they hope will make it easier for the public to view the roughly two dozen aircraft and other aviation-related artifacts on display.

The Horsham Land Reuse Authority, during its meeting Wednesday afternoon, directed HLRA staff to submit DVHAA’s proposals to the Navy Base Realignment and Closure Program Management Office for review and consideration.

HLRA Executive Director Mike McGee said he expects a “quick response” from the government.

“They are aware of the proposals,” McGee said, adding that the Navy did not want to comment until the HLRA acknowledged support.

DVHAA volunteer Mark Hurwitz told Patch after the meeting that the fence extension – which would make it longer along Route 611 – would cost about $3,000 and would allow easier public access for the aircraft in the rear exterior of the museum.

DVHAA also hopes to install modular trailers for its book collection, as well as offices.

“This will not require anything more than a review by the Navy,” McGee said. “All revisions to the property need to be reviewed by Navy before being implemented.”

The federal government owns the property currently in use by DVHAA. The Navy has a lease with the HLRA, which, in turn has a . As part of the for , the air museum would nearly double its existing acreage to a total of 13 acres.

Other more immediate DVHAA proposals discussed Wednesday include the creation of a veterans memorial, including a flagpole, which would be “consolidated for public view” along Route 611, according to McGee.

DVHAA also hopes to get permission to relocate its P-3, something that is impossible currently because, according to McGee, “the airplane is not fit to move.”

Hurwitz said that until the restoration team is given the go-ahead to evaluate the plane, it’s hard to say if the aircraft needs a few nuts and bolts, or something more complicated.

“We have to get in there to look at it,” Hurwitz said.

Still hanging in the balance is how a circa to the museum. Some have suggested that the plane be flown into the shuttered runway at the base.

McGee said that’s unlikely. 

“We can’t stop the United States from reopening an airport,” McGee said, adding that he would be “flabbergasted” if that is granted. No one, including the President of the United States, would be allowed to land on a shuttered runway, for safety reasons, McGee said.

Regardless, Hurwitz said the Mailwing would once again make its home in Horsham.

“The plane is coming, that’s for sure,” Hurwitz said. Once legal matters are settled with the Pitcairn family estate, Hurwitz said he anticipates a reconfigured museum to make way for the plane, which he hopes to have on display sometime around Labor Day.

JNB56 July 18, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Sure, the government would obviously have to grant permission for the Pitcairn Mailwing to land on the closed runway. But there's absolutely nothing unsafe about allowing a one time landing. You don't have to look far to find all sorts of uncontrolled airfields, grass and even paved runways without air traffic control towers, fire and rescue services, you name it. Helicopters and many other aircraft take off and land every day all across this country at many such airfields. Using the closed base's runway would be far safer than landing at any other airfield in the area, simply because there is no other air traffic, no vehicular traffic to consider and the runway is still in great shape. The only other option is to dismantle the aircraft and truck it to the museum, then reassemble it. With care and skill, that shouldn't be a problem, but there is some risk involved that could be avoided by simply flying what is a relatively small, and very safe aircraft into the base. Besides, how much more fitting a honor could be paid to the Pitcairn family than to allow what would most likely be the final landing at THIS airfield, famous for the history that Harold Pitcairn, his family, and his employees, made here, to be a Pitcairn built aircraft?
Steven Lindrooth July 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Operations like landing the PA-8 are common on closed runways at other similar facilities. The United States Air Force Museum and the National Park at Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, NY are two examples of museums on closed airports with closed runways that allow such operations.
Mike Shortall Sr July 19, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I would love to see the museum become a featured attraction at the new JRB development. Mr. McGee is correct. So long as the Navy allows it, that's fine. But all costs - including whatever local safety and security might be needed - should be covered by the sponsoring activity.
Steve Czerviski July 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM
There is NOTHING WRONG with the runway at Willow Grove. I worked there from May1994 til Sep. 2011 (as a weapons loader on the A-10 for the 111th FW). Just more lies and scare tactics from Mr. McGee and the township. He's wanted this base closed for a long time and he finally got his wish. I agree with JNB56, this would be a fitting end for the mailwing and the base. It's bad enough that all the history at the base will be dulldozed over soon enough.
Robert Applegarth July 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM
What a great and fitting manner to have the plane come full circle to land and finally nest at home. McGee should attend the event and issue a proclamation commemorating the event to the Pitcairn Family and the Museum in a show of support and thanks to them. Horsham should be proud and excited to host this historic event.
Ruby claire July 20, 2012 at 10:06 AM
I always appreciate the productive wait. Rather than waiting .................... <a href="http://www.sampleproposal.org/">Sample Proposals</a>

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