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Pasco Tribune

Zephyrhills airport won't move WWII-era plane

ARJAY MORGAN Special Correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:20 PM

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ZEPHYRHILLS -

Volunteers at Zephyrhills Barracks Museum, located at the city's municipal airport, have been bringing a C-47 aircraft frame back from the dead. At this week's meeting, the city's airport authority decided to display the iconic craft right where it is — just behind the museum.

"Most of us in the museum group are satisfied to keep it where it is now," authority Chairman Dan Evans said. Originally, there were plans to display it at the entrance to the facility, but Evans said it would be risky to move it any distance.

The plane, designated as both a C-47 and DC-3, was the primary cargo and glider towing plane in World War II. It was discovered in a state of decay in Georgia, and museum volunteers had it trucked to the airport. A hunt for missing parts ensued, and things like engines and landing gear were pain-stakingly reassembled. The plane will never fly, but it will be an accurate representation of what it once was.

Evans told authority members that a Boy Scout is interested in creating a memorial garden around the plane and airport consultant AVCON has agreed to design a mount for the aircraft.

The bulk of the authority's meeting was taken up with consideration of regulations for the operation of powered parachute aircraft.

Gary Fitzgerald has been the lone operator of such a craft at the airport for years, but he bumped into existing airport regulations because he has no tail number. Powered parachutes don't have a tail.

The authority was considering a set of regulations which Fitzgerald had compiled based on his five years of flying the powered parachute, which is basically a go-cart, driven by an aircraft engine and lifted by a large parachute.

The problem, as seen by pilots on the authority, is mixing the slower powered parachutes with much faster aircraft in the landing patterns.

By a 3-2 vote, the authority denied the powered parachute operations, but gave Fitzgerald the option of re-applying.

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