04/08/14 — City Council eyes where to put plane

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City Council eyes where to put plane

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 8, 2014 1:46 PM

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News-Argus file photo

The F-86 Sabre jet fighter being refurbished for the city of Goldsboro is seen before it was taken to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for work. The jet will be returned to downtown Goldsboro after the job is finished.

The Goldsboro City Council is moving forward with placing the city's F-86 Sabre fighter jet on a single stand once it is refurbished.

The jet, on loan to the city from the U.S. Air Force since 1970, has been undergoing painting and structural repairs at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base since mid-February.

Members of the 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron are working to refurbish the plane when not completing the duties of their official mission.

To place the jet on a single stand at an angle mimicking flight will be more costly than returning it to rest on its landing gear, city officials say.

Assistant City Manager Randy Guthrie said placing the jet on a single pole would cost about $40,000.

The city allocated $16,000 for the cost of materials to paint the plane.

Constructing a pedestal for the plane, removing railroad track from behind the sign and securing a 50-foot easement from the rail company is expected to cost another $20,000 Guthrie said.

The entire cost of the project is not expected to exceed $75,000.

"We have had very positive preliminary talks, and it seems like it wouldn't impact their operations," Guthrie said.

The plane would need to be mounted higher than it was at the police station because it will not have the proximity to law enforcement it had beforehand.

"No matter what way you do this, remember you're doing it for 20-30 years or whatever the time is," Councilman Chuck Allen said. "I think if you're doing it you need to do it right."

Guthrie said he was confident a deal could be reached with Norfolk Southern for the easement.

The last time the jet was repainted was in 1993 when it was rolled on its landing gear to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for repairs.

Since then the plane was set up outside of the Goldsboro Police/Fire Complex on Center Street.

A move is expected to give the plane better exposure and clear the way for a planned police station expansion.

The plane is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.