- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The Air Mobility Command Museum is now the only place in the United States where one can see a complete set of every significant Lockheed airlifter built since World War II.

The museum at Dover Air Force Base completed its collection Tuesday when it received a C-60 Lodestar airlifter.

The collection of Lockheed airlifters includes the C-121, C-130, C-141 and C-5, said Michael Leister, director of the AMC Museum.

The newly acquired C-60 was transferred from the Robins Air Force Base Museum in Georgia as part of a downsizing plan.

“They were going to get rid of this airplane,” Leister said. “We knew that it fit our mission and after some negotiations, the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio approved the transfer. … In the world of collecting aviation history it’s getting harder to find World War II aircraft that are still available, and by getting the C-60 this makes this the only place to have this collection.”

The Lodestar series of aircraft was developed to compete with the Douglas C-47/DC-3 Skytrain, but the Army Air Force purchased about 400 Lockheeds in comparison to more than 10,000 C-47s.

“It wasn’t completely successful because the C-47 was there first and got a lot of the airline contracts,” Leister said. “The C-60 filled a need and was a backup during World War II because during the war we bought a lot of different fighters and bombers to fit different needs.”

Some of the C-60s were assigned to the Air Transport Command and used for paratroop training. Some were used to haul freight and passengers or general utility service, Leistar said.

The entire C-60, complete with both engines and in-board wing, was able to fit in a C-5’s cargo compartment to transfer the plane to the AMC Museum.

It took four days to disassemble the plane and three days to load and unload the parts.

“This was a difficult load because the clearances were very hard and it was a very tight fit,” said Larry Koewing, AMC Museum photo archivist. “We had a team go down to Georgia and disassemble the airplane so it can fit and it took a lot of work to do so. It consisted of unbolting all of the pieces to make it a size small enough to transfer it over here.”

The aircraft will be reassembled and ready for display before the end of November. It can be seen at the museum while work is in progress.

“A lot of the airplanes that we get here are in terrible condition and we have to do a lot of work on them,” Leister said. “This airplane is in great condition. There are some broken nut plates, some corrosion that needs to be fixed and a few paint places that need to be touched up.

“It was flown up to 1992 by a civilian owner and he put on some antennas that are not correct for a World War II airplane,” Leister added. “We’re going to take those out and put the plane back into the configuration it had when it was flying in World War II.”

Leister is excited about the addition of the C-60.

“It’s a win-win for us,” he said. “An airplane that’s historically important got saved and moved from one museum to another and we get to keep an important link to our history.”

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