Back in March, WarbirdsNews published a story concerning the 138th Aviation Company Memorial, a small organization trying to put together a fitting tribute to the valiant, and often unheralded work done by the US Army soldiers who flew and maintained the Beech RU-21 Ute. The Ute, based upon a Beech King Air, flew clandestine electronic eavesdropping missions over enemy territory during the Viet Nam war, and later conflicts. Though not glamorous, it was dangerous and important work, and it’s fitting that those associated with this hard working aeroplane should be commemorated with a proper memorial. In the previous article, which you can re-read HERE, we told how the 138th Aviation Company Memorial team had reached a deal to acquire an ex-Army RU-21 from Dynamic Aviation, a company in Virginia which had acquired several surplus RU-21 airframes for spares use in maintaining their King Air fleet. Here is the latest progress report, along with some interesting photographs. There are also ways which our readers can help with the project as well, and we hope those who can do so will….
Since our last update, interns working over the summer at Dynamic Aviation of Bridgewater, Virginia have begun the process of pulling any salvageable parts from the aircraft they recovered via the cross country road trip from Acme Aircraft Sales and Salvage in Denver Colorado. They have also provided photos of the non-functioning Pratt and Whitney PT-6A engine cores that are being built in order to rebuild the engine nacelle from the firewall forward.
In addition, they provided photos of the interior of the aircraft, showing an instrument panel completely bare, with the exception of the throttle quadrant, and the call sign reminder plate, “Army 18113”. We also got some good shots of the Manufacture’s Data Plate and Army Acceptance Stamp located below the horizontal stabilizer.
We’ve also been informed, that due to business requirements, the donation of the aircraft will not include any painting or restoration of the aircraft, so our group will be looking for experienced aircraft restoration companies that can prepare the aircraft for display “on site”, once the aircraft is transported to its permanent home. If you are reading this and have experience with aircraft restoration, or architectural or engineering expertise related to preparing the display site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, we have received notice of our application for 501(c)3 status is in the final review process, and barring any paperwork issues, should be approved shortly. This is important because although in our current status, donations made to our group are tax deductible, large corporations require proof of tax exempt status before making their donations.
Finally, members of the 138th Aviation Company got together for a reunion this past Labor Day weekend at the Shades of Green Armed Forces Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida and raised over $700.00 dollars for the memorial. A lot more is needed, so we would be grateful for your support. Please consider donating today.