By Austin Hancock
Belleville, MI – The Yankee Air Force/Museum, known for operating a gorgeous outfit of WWII “heavy iron,” is seeking to add to their ever unique collection of aircraft. Along with the B-17, B-25, and C-47 flying, the YAF has an arsenal of static display planes which is equally impressive. The ground-based birds include a PB4Y-2 “Privateer,” and a B-52D “Stratofortress.” The Yankee crew now aspires to add a US Navy EC-121 “Warning Star” to the static-fleet. Based on the Lockheed “Constellation” (USAAF C-69), the EC-121 was used as an early-warning and control radar surveillance aircraft. Vital during the Cold War, the “Distant Early Warning Line” served as a radar area that was monitored for activity from Soviet missiles. The EC-121 that Yankee wishes to acquire served an integral role in giving the US “peace of mind” during those trying times.
The US Navy asked the Yankee Air Force to help “save” the EC, and they gladly accepted the challenge. The plane is currently being disassembled at it’s location in Rantoul, Illinois. Assistance is needed, however, to continue the effort beyond this point. “Unfortunately, that’s (recovery) only half the job,” states the YAF website. “Help us restore this iconic craft with a contribution toward the expert work that lies ahead. The Warning Star – your Warning Star – is completely unique with its preserved spyware and instruments, a historic forerunner to the Sentry AWACS to come.” The Yankee team plans to restore the EC-121 to static condition, as to best represent the “Star” as she looked during her days of Cold-War fighting. From here, the aircraft will continue to serve a vital role, this time in education.
“This EC-121 “Warning Star” will get the setting it deserves – as one of the centerpiece aircraft at the new Yankee Air Museum. Set inside the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant, the new space will be a stunning exhibit showplace for the aircraft collection.” The Yankee Air Force is actively seeking support for the continuation of the “Warning Star” Rescue Project. For more information, or to make a contribution, visit the project website at http://yankeeairmuseum.org/rescue/.