138th Aviation Company Memorial Kickstarter Campaign

The Ute aboard its low loader during the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade with veterans and supporters of the 138th Aviation Company walking by its side. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
The Ute aboard its low loader during the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade with veterans and supporters of the 138th Aviation Company walking by its side. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
The Ute aboard its low loader during the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade with veterans and supporters of the 138th Aviation Company walking by its side. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)

WarbirdsNews recently reported on progress with the 138th Aviation Company Memorial and their efforts to create a fitting monument to the service and sacrifice of the men and women of their unit from the Viet Nam War through the Gulf War. Two weeks ago, they transported a former US Army Beech RU-21A Ute from the donor, Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater, Virginia, down to its temporary home at Orlando Executive Airport in Orlando, Florida. Shortly after the aircraft arrived on its Les Chapman Transport low-loader truck, it took part in the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade with veterans from the 138th Aviation Company and their supporters marching at its side.

The Ute aboard its low loader during the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade with veterans and supporters of the 138th Aviation Company walking by its side. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
The Ute aboard its low loader during the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade with veterans and supporters of the 138th Aviation Company walking by its side. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)

Following the parade, the 138th Aviation Company Memorial unloaded the RU-21 at Orlando Executive Airport, its temporary home while volunteers reassemble and prepare the aircraft for its installation in a memorial park beside the Ute’s former base during a period of her military service, Orlando International Airport.

Unloading the Ute at Orlando Executive Airport. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
Unloading the Ute at Orlando Executive Airport. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
Unloading the Ute at Orlando Executive Airport. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
Unloading the Ute at Orlando Executive Airport. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
Safely on the ground again at Orlando Executive Airport. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
Safely on the ground again at Orlando Executive Airport. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
A group of Delta Airlines mechanics standing in front of the Ute in its temporary home at Orlando Executive Airport. These men will be part of the team  volunteering their time to rebuild the Ute for the 138th Aviation Company Memorial. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)
A group of Delta Airlines mechanics standing in front of the Ute in its temporary home at Orlando Executive Airport. These men will be part of the team volunteering their time to rebuild the Ute for the 138th Aviation Company Memorial. (photo via Andrew Rodriguez)

As we reported earlier (HERE), the Ute suffered some damage to its tail during the loading process in Bridgewater, Virginia, so some repairs will be necessary with spare parts provided by Dynamic Aviation. Dynamic Aviation has been of immeasurable help in the whole process, having donated the airframe and a good deal of volunteer labor already. Word reached us this morning that they have also just delivered the spare tail section, gear door and air scoop required to replace the damaged parts as well, and members of the 138th Aviation Company Memorial have repeatedly expressed how much they’ve appreciated everything Dynamic Aviation has done for them.

The memorial organization chose to initially base the aircraft at Orlando Executive Airport during the preparation phase, as it will allow easier ramp access for the restoration crew than the far larger and more security sensitive, Orlando International Airport (MCO), which will be the Ute’s ultimate home. The 138th Aviation Company Memorial has already made plans with a number of Delta Airlines maintenance personnel based at MCO to form weekend work parties to get the RU-21 ready for display. One of the first orders of business will be drilling out the 200plus rivets in the rear fuselage to allow the mating of the replacement tail section.

This is the how the memorial should look like once completed. The current plan is to build the memorial next to the B-52  and F-4 on display in a park at the Orlando International Airport.
This is the how the memorial should look like once completed. The current plan is to build the memorial next to the B-52 and F-4 on display in a park at the Orlando International Airport.

Importantly, the 138th Aviation Company Memorial started a Kickstarter Campaign in mid-November to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete the restoration of their Beech RU-21A Ute, the base to mount it on, future maintenance and insurance. Please click HERE to go to the website to make your contribution. This is the FINAL two weeks of the Kickstarter Campaign, so please do visit the site and take part if you can as every little bit counts.

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