Planes often have to be shipped from the other side of the earth to join a collection. Imagine how exciting it must have been for the Yanks Air Museum of Chino, California to locate an F-104 Starfighter just 28 miles away at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California.
The plane, “Smoke II,” in addition to being located nearby had the added benefit of having already been mostly restored, making the acquisition well-nigh irresistible for the organization. The plane was disassembled, shipped and unloaded with the entire operation taking only two days, the first day spent on disassembly and placement of the wings into shipping racks while the second day consisted of lifting and loading the plane on a flatbed trailer and then the subsequent unloading upon arrival at the museum. Short of having a plane fly under its own power to one’s facility, adding a plane to a collection doesn’t get much easier than that.
Looking over the plane showed that it was mostly complete, with only a couple of items missing from the cockpit and a stray access panel or two missing from its fuselage. Replacement panels were easily located and shipped posthaste to the museum. The plane will receive its finishing touches and take up residence in the museum’s “Jet Hangar,” joining the museum’s ever-growing collection of vintage warbirds on display.