HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — The Hagerstown Aviation Museum is at the crossroads in its 25-year history. It is temporarily closed to the public while officials raise money to purchase two hangars at Hagerstown Regional Airport to house their collection of vintage aircraft.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan visited the museum and walked through the only C-82 cargo aircraft built by Fairchild Aircraft Corporation at Hagerstown to have survived the Cold War. A few weeks later, he announced that the state is contributing $5 million to efforts to secure a permanent home for the museum.
So how much is all of this going to cost?
“We have estimates of just over $12 million,” John Seburn, president and CEO of the museum, said after we got seated in the cockpit of a C-119 Flying Boxcar that was built at Hagerstown in 1953.
The C-119 was a workhorse during the Korean War; hauling supplies and dropping American paratroopers on the Korean peninsula.
The cargo plane on the floor in the main hangar made its last flight from Wyoming to Maryland when it was donated to the museum. After the United States Air Force dropped C-119s from its inventory and replaced them with C-130 Hercules that could carry more cargo and more paratroopers farther than Flying Boxcars.
This particular C-119 flew in the Canadian Air Force for years before being converted into a water-bomber and used to fight forest fires in the west.
It took three days to fly N8093, the FAA end number that identified the vintage warbird to air traffic control centers as it crossed the country back home to Hagerstown.
Seburn says when the Hagerstown Aviation Museum is reopened to the public, grandparents who helped build this aircraft and a dozen others in the collection can climb into the cockpit of the C-119 Flying Boxcar, grab hold of the controls and pretend for a moment that they are on a mission over South Korea during a war which never really ended.
North and South Korea signed an armistice ending hostilities in 1953, but they never signed a peace treaty. Technically, both countries are still at war today.