A-3 SKYWARRIOR WHIDBEY MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
P.O. BOX 1402
OAK HARBOR, WA 98277

Project Status and Restoration Updates

The Whidbey A-3 Makes Its Final Journey

On Friday, 28 August and Saturday 29 August 2015, the Whidbey A-3 made its final journey. At long last, it was time for the Whale to leave the confines of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, where it has been located since April 2011, and move to a location only feet away from where it will be on permanent display. Our Whale didn’t fly this time. It rolled behind a Navy tow tractor, and it made the trip in typical A-3 style. There were a few obstacles to be avoided along the way, but the Whale took it all in stride, arriving in perfect condition. The total distance it traveled was nearly 4 miles.
The trip started on Friday the 28th at the NAS Whidbey aircraft parking ramp. From there it went to the approach end of Runway 32 and then across a large grassy field to the Air Station’s perimeter fence. A path across the field had been prepared by NAS Whidbey several years ago and was still in good condition. Towing an aircraft as large and heavy as an A-3 across an area of grass, dirt, shrubs, and trees isn’t a usual procedure. Fortunately, Whidbey experienced an unusually dry, warm summer this year and the soil was firm. Once it reached the perimeter fence surrounding the Air Station, the Whale was parked overnight with the Air Station’s Security personnel keeping a close eye on it. Before dawn the next day, 29 August, the aircraft was towed through the fence and onto Ault Field Rd. This is a busy public roadway. Access to normal traffic was closed in a rolling fashion as the A-3 moved 1.5 miles to Langley Blvd. Once the Whale reached the intersection of Ault Field Rd and Langley Blvd, the towing crew had to make a sharp, 90 degree turn for the final run down the hill. There were several road signs, a telephone pole, and trees that made this part of the trip a little tricky. But the NAS Whidbey aircraft directors and tractor driver carefully maneuvered the Whale around the obstacles, and the aircraft made it down the hill without a scratch.
The Whale is now temporarily parked very close to its final home at the Memorial Site which is near the Langley Gate of NAS Whidbey Island. This location is on Navy property, but outside the main perimeter fence surrounding the Air Station. It will therefore be accessible to the public at all times.

We expect construction of the Memorial Site to begin in the very near future. All the necessary permits and approvals have been acquired. The construction will consist of the installation of a large concrete pad for the aircraft to stand on, as well as placement of the memorial wall. 664 engraved pavers will be laid in the ground around the aircraft, including 263 memorializing those who perished while flying the A-3 over its long career. In addition, lighting will be installed to illuminate the A-3 during hours of darkness.
As soon as we have additional information about the construction schedule for the Memorial and the anticipated date of the dedication ceremony, we will publicize it on this page and in emails to our members.
The successful movement of the A-3 was only possible because of the close cooperation and partnership that exists between the A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation (A3SWMF) and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. We would particularly like to thank the following individuals who played key roles in this event:

CAPT Mike Nortier: Commanding Officer NAS Whidbey Island

Mr. Bill MacMillan: NAS Whidbey Island Airfield Manager

Mr.Mark VanOort: NAS Whidbey Island Airfield Facilities Manager

Mr. Wayne Trumbull: Wolf Creek Government Services, Inc.

ABH1 Lonnie Hancock: Lead Aircraft Director

ABE1 Luke Hart: Aircraft Tow Tractor Driver

Jeff Hansen: Vice Pres. A3SWMF, A-3 Crewman Navigator and Brake Rider

Bill Conley: Secretary A3SWMF, Assistant Brake Rider

Larry Irvin: Charter Member A3SWMF, Chock Walker

Bill Burklow: Director A3SWMF, Chock Walker

Additional key personnel who participated in the A-3’s movement are identified in the photo at the end of this article.
Friday, August 28: Whidbey A-3 at end of Runway 32, preparing for the move across country rolling across the grassy field. Wings and tail folded to clear obstacles along the way 
   
 Saturday, August 29: About 5 a.m. The Whale on Ault Field Rd. At the intersection of Ault Field Rd and Langley Blvd.
 
   
 Making the turn at Langley Blvd Tight squeeze at the top of Langley Blvd 
 
Moving down Langley Blvd. Langley Gate and NAS Whidbeyin the background. 
 
The A-3 in its temporary location outside Langley Gate 
 
The Aircraft Movement Crew: NAS Whidbey Island and A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey
Memorial Foundation

L to R: AM1 Callender, ABHAN Scott, ABFAN McBride, ABFAA Bell, ABE2 Schneider, ABH1 Hancock, ABE1 Hart, ABHAA Stroope, Larry Irvin, Jeff Hansen, Bill Conley, Bill Burklow, ABHC Wagner 
Whidbey A-3 Skywarrior on Display at NAS Whidbey Island Open House 27 June 2015

On 27 June 2015, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island held an open house. For the second year in a row, the public was invited on board the Air Station to view aircraft on static display and numerous other exhibits inside and outside the hangars. This year’s open house was held in conjunction with the final day of the three day “Prowler Sunset Celebration”. This event commemorated the end of the 45 year history of the EA-6B Prowler’s service with the U.S. Navy. A highlight of the open house was the fly-off of the last Navy Prowler. Thousands of active duty and retired personnel attended the open house along with many more civilians from the surrounding communities. The Whidbey
A-3 was a very popular attraction as attested by the long lines of people who waited for a chance to view the interior of the aircraft. Jeff Hansen and Jim Croft stayed by the aircraft all day, to assist people who wished to look inside the cockpit, and also to answer questions about the Whidbey A-3 and its restoration.
  
 L to R: Bill Burklow, Ralph Estes, Ed Capasso at the A3SWMF booth during the open house. Bill, Ralph, and Ed served together in VAH-4 aboard USS Oriskany, 1965-1968. Spectators in line to view the A-3 cockpit at the open house

 
Whidbey A-3 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Open House 19 July 2014
The Whidbey A-3 made its most recent public appearance at the NAS Whidbey Island open house on 19 July. About 2,000 visitors from Whidbey Island and throughout the Puget Sound area attended the open house and had a chance to view aircraft and other displays representing the various squadrons and other organizations stationed at NAS Whidbey. One of the stars of the show was the Whidbey A-3. Members of the Whidbey A-3 Memorial Foundation were on hand to provide the public with literature about the project and answer questions about the Memorial and the A-3 aircraft.
Whidbey A-3 on the flight line during Open House Jeff Hansen at the Whidbey A-3. Answering visitors’ questions about the aircraft and the Memorial Foundation’s mission.
Whidbey A-3 Memorial Foundation Reps at the Foundation’s information booth:
L-R: Bill Burklow, Ralph Estes, Jim Croft, Alex Cole (Bill B’s grandson), Jeff Hansen, Bill Young.

SUMMARY OF MEETING AT NAS WHIDBEY ISLAND, 1 MAY 2014
On 1 May 2014, the directors and officers of the A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation met with representatives of Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island to discuss the future of the Memorial.
Captain Michael Nortier, Commanding Officer of NAS Whidbey Island, opened the meeting. He announced that funding had been identified that will allow NAS Whidbey to proceed with the characterization study to determine the nature and extent of the contamination at the memorial site located at the corner of Langley Blvd and Ault Field Road. This is the original location of the memorial site where work was stopped because of soil contamination associated with a buried fuel tank. NAS Whidbey intends to go ahead with the clean up of this site and, if all goes according to plan, to build the memorial there rather than at some other location.
Captain Nortier reaffirmed NAS Whidbey’s full commitment to a successful completion of the A-3 Memorial as expeditiously as possible and in a way that will be a fitting tribute to all those whom the memorial commemorates.
After Captain Nortier’s opening statements, NAS Whidbey officials stated that the contract to do the characterization study will be let within the next few months. This work will involve taking soil samples at the planned memorial site and analyzing the results. The characterization report will probably be finished by the September 2014 timeframe. NAS representatives recommended that everyone concerned should meet again at that time to discuss the results of the study and its implications for the prospects of continuing with the plan to build at the Langley Blvd location. If the results indicate that the site can be cleaned up for a reasonable amount of money and in a timely fashion, the funding to proceed with the clean up will be sought and work will continue. If this is the case, we might expect the site to be available for construction of the Memorial by the summer of 2015. If it appears that the clean up will require a substantial amount of funding that may not be available in the foreseeable future, it may be necessary to identify an alternate site for the memorial.
Those of us who have been working on the Whidbey A-3 project for more than four years consider NAS Whidbey’s announcements to be good news. We think the Langley Blvd location to be ideal for several reasons. Not least is that it is in a spot that allows unimpeded public access to the memorial while still being close enough to NAS Whidbey to ensure adequate security. Although there is no guarantee that the contamination at the site can be cleaned up and the site made available for construction in the very near future, there would also be delays associated with starting work at any alternate site. Therefore, we consider this plan to be the most advantageous alternative at the present time and we look forward optimistically to seeing things proceed relatively smoothly from now on. We will update this page with further information as it becomes available.
In the meanwhile, we want to thank all our members for their support in the past and to assure all of you who have helped make this memorial a reality that we’re on the job and committed to seeing this project through to a successful completion as soon as possible.
  

The A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Wall is complete:
After many months of planning and work the Memorial Wall has been completed. The design of the wall is the brainchild of Bill Burklow, one of the Whidbey Memorial Foundation’s directors. With the help of Ralph Estes, the Foundation’s Chairman, Bill worked closely with Todd’s Monuments to make sure the wall turned out exactly as we envisioned it. Our sincere thanks go to Lucy Mae Martin, owner of Todd’s Monuments in Conway, Washington for her enthusiasm and generosity in making the wall a reality. We are also grateful to Ms. Martin for donating a significant portion of the costs in labor and materials, which helped make it possible for us to pay for the wall within our budget.
The wall is entirely a product of Washington State. It is constructed of basalt stone hand selected from a quarry in Ephrata, Washington and shipped to Princess Jade in Everson, WA where the columns were carefully unloaded and prepared for the cutting and polishing. After this process was complete the 3 beautiful custom basalt slabs were delivered to Todd’s Monuments in Conway, which is a short distance from Whidbey Island making it possible for Bill and Ralph to pay several visits to Todd’s Monuments workshop and consult in person with Ms. Martin as the wall was under construction.
These photos show the raw columnar basalt before being shipped from the quarry: When molten lava cooled and cracked many millions of years ago, it was formed into these distinctive pentagonal shapes.
The finished segments of the wall:
After arriving to Princess Jade on the Mount Baker Highway, the raw basalt columns were cut & polished, then delivered to Todd’s Monuments workshop where it was completed by Lucy Mae Martin. The wall consists of three segments, engraved front and back. The centerpiece contains an inscription dedicating the memorial to those who flew the A-3 Skywarrior and who perished while operating the aircraft. On either side of the inscription are the lyrics of the song “Silver Wings”. On the reverse of the segments is a map of the world along with the designations of all the squadrons and other units which flew the A-3 over its long history. Martin did all of the engraving herself and the results reflect the pride that she takes in her craft.

        
            
            
When the three segments are joined and mounted at the memorial site, the wall will be approximately twelve feet long by four feet high:  
Front:
 
Back: 
From 8-11 August 2013, Whalers from all over converged on Whidbey, Island, Washington, for the A-3 Skywarrior Association’s sixth bi-annual reunion. Over 300 were there as former A-3 crewmen, maintenance personnel, and others who served in A-3 squadrons gathered to reunite with old friends and make new ones. The festivities included a “Flight Suit Picnic”, a tour of the Boeing aircraft production facility, a banquet, and a barbecue. In another highlight of the reunion, NAS Whidbey Island organized a special display consisting of the Whidbey A-3, an EA-6B Prowler, and an EA-18G Growler. Reunion participants had a chance to view all the aircraft at close hand and many of them climbed up the A-3’s boarding ladder for a look inside the cockpit. The members of the Whidbey A-3 project wish to thank the A-3 Skywarrior Association for bringing the reunion to our part of the world. Special thanks, also, to NAS Whidbey Island for making the aircraft display possible.

Banquet at NAS Whidbey Island Officers Club
  
 
Bill Burklow and Jeff Hansen of the Whidbey A-3 Skywarrior Memorial Foundation conducted tours of the Whidbey Whale and answered questions about the process of restoring the aircraft.
(Photo courtesy of John Phipps)

 

 
(Photo courtesy of John Phipps)

Whidbey A-3 Skywarrior and EA-6B Prowler on display at NAS Whidbey
(Photo courtesy of John Phipps)
   
On 26 March, the underground storage tank was removed from the site where the Whidbey A-3 Skywarrior
Memorial will be located. Removal was done under a contract between NAS Whidbey Island and a company called Diane’s Tanks. The soil surrounding the tank has been found to be contaminated with oil that has leaked from the tank. Cleanup of the site is the responsibility of NAS Whidbey Island. So far, we have received the following information from the Public Works Department of NAS Whidbey Island concerning the status of the site:
  

On 2 April (In response to our request for information about tests on the soil samples taken on 26 March):
“We haven’t received any result yet. We don’t expect them to come in for a few weeks. The results won’t change our schedule for clean-up unfortunately. At the earliest, 2014 is the most optimistic for completion.”
  

On 4 April:
“Please share this with the rest of the A-3 Foundation if I left someone out.
We’ve been talking to Diane’s Tanks about the contamination data. Unfortunately, we cannot allow the results to be available for public release. Our spill response employee is the project manager and needs to develop a mitigation strategy coordinated with the State. The data is treated as sensitive information during this coordination period.
I can keep you guys apprised of the schedule and progress we are making as it pertains to the A-3 construction schedule. So let me know if you have questions and I’ll do my best to find you the answers.”
  

What this means is that construction of the memorial site is postponed until the site can be cleaned up. Because of cutbacks related to the budget sequestration, NAS Whidbey does not have the funds to begin cleaning up the site this year. Therefore, we are hoping that construction of the site will resume sometime in 2014. The technical plans for the site have been drawn up, the memorial wall is being engraved , and all the memorial pavers are ready to be laid at the site. As soon as we get the go-ahead from NAS Whidbey, we will finish construction of the site and move the Whale to it.
  

We regret this delay, but there is nothing we can do to expedite the process. The site is on NAS Whidbey property and they must adhere to established regulations and procedures in order to clean up the contamination before any other work can be done.
  

Please watch this page for any additional information that may become available.
  
 Within a few days of beginning construction of the Memorial Site, the contractors discovered an old underground fuel tank. This tank is situated in the area where the concrete pad that will support the A-3 will be located. As a result, work on the site has temporarily stopped while the Navy evaluates the steps that will be taken to remove the tank and to determine whether a cleanup of possible soil contamination on the site is required. At present, the best estimate is that construction of the Memorial Site will resume in the March/April timeframe and be completed about a month later. The dedication of the Memorial Site is still scheduled to be held on 10 August 2013 in conjunction with the A-3 Association Reunion at Whidbey. Updated information will be posted on this website and in emails to our members as soon as it is available.  

Contractors inspecting the buried fuel tank found at the Memorial Site

The home for our new Whale!
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Click here for the Whidbey News Times article about the installation of the sign



Click here for the fly-in of the A-3!


Ground Breaking Begins!

On the foggy morning of 20 September, construction crews headed by P&L General Contractors of Oak Harbor broke ground on the Whidbey A-3 Skywarrior Memorial Site. If all goes according to plan, the site will be ready for the A-3 to be moved onto the concrete slab in about three weeks. Watch this page for more photos and other news about the construction of the site.
Click here to view an article in the Whidbey News Times on the groundbreaking

The first of many shovelfuls of soil

Bill Burklow, Jim Croft, and Jeff Hansen give thumbs up
to the first step in site construction



Restoration Update as of
29 June, 2012

The Whale is now wearing a new coat of gloss grey paint as well as brand new markings. The work involved washing the aircraft, masking various sections of the airframe, sanding it to enable the new paint to adhere properly, and then applying the new paint and the markings. Altogether, the process took five weeks and was accomplished through the painstaking efforts of two of our volunteers, Jeff Hansen and Jim Croft, along with a number of active duty Navy personnel from the Fleet Readiness Center, Northwest. As shown in the photographs below, the Whale looks better than ever and is now ready to be moved to the Memorial Site where it will be on permanent display.
We estimate that at least 4,000 hours of work were required to restore the Whale to its present configuration and condition. Many of those hours were donated by active duty Navy men and women. In particular, we wish to thank VQ-2 for its invaluable assistance and support during the beginning and middle phases of the restoration. A special thanks also to the Fleet Readiness Center, Northwest, for their expert assistance during the washing, sanding, and painting of the Whale. We couldn’t have done it without them. “BZ” to them and all who worked on the Whale throughout the last ten months.

Starboard side: VAH-10 Broadsword on fuselage, NP tail code Port side: VAH-123 insignia on fuselage,
NJ tail code
L to R: Jeff Hansen, AE3 King, AE 3 Stone, AM2 Schippers,
AMAN Hayes, AMAN Griffin, Jim Croft
L to R: Jeff Hansen, AE3 Stone, AE3 King, AM2 Schippers
(team leader), AMAN Hayes, AMAN Griffin, Jim Croft. 
Not pictured: AMC Rael (supervisor). 
  
Numeral 263 commemorates those who perished while flying the A-3 and while supporting its missions.

      Engine intakes and exhausts are protected from incursions by birds and other wildlife by specially made plexiglass covers.

A-3 Skywarrior, Bureau Number 144825,
before restoration.
 
144825 with wings and tail folded in preparation for
 
movement from the flight line at NAS Whidbey Island to the display site.
Watch this page for more information. 

Restoration Update as of 21 May 2012

On May 14th our Whale went into the wash rack at NAS Whidbey Island for a complete scrub down. Cleaning the aircraft was necessary to make sure it would look its best prior to going on display as part of the VQ-2 Disestablishment Ceremony which took place three days later, on May 17th. There were a good number of volunteers on hand to help with the job, but it still took over two and a half hours. When they were done, the aircraft was clean, shiny, and ready to stand inspection by the hundreds of people who attended the ceremony. VQ-2 flew the A-3 longer than any other squadron. The A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation was proud and honored to be invited to play a part in the ceremony that marked the end of that squadron’s long and illustrious history. It was also necessary to clean the Whale in order to get it ready for a complete repainting. On May 21st , our volunteers began sanding the aircraft to prepare it for repainting, which is scheduled to begin the week of May 28th. We expect that spraying a new coat of paint and applying the markings, which the aircraft will wear when it’s on display, will take about two weeks. Watch this page for more photos as this, the final step in the Whale’s restoration, takes place. 


  

 

  

  

144825 drying in the sun after wash down
    Some of our members and friends 17 May

Heritage aircraft display 17 May

Inside the Hangar, VQ-2 Disestablishment 17 May


Restoration Update as of 8 February 2012

Our Whale was moved into hangar 6 at NAS Whidbey on 2 February to continue the restoration that began last October.
On 2 February, work got underway with Jim Croft and Jeff Hansen restoring the escape chute panels that had been removed when the bungee cable that dampens the closing and opening of the lower boarding platform was replaced. Jeff and Jim also removed the large Raytheon decal from both sides of the vertical stabilizer.
That same day, Harvey Herrigstad, Lynn Taylor, Larry Irvin and George Haigh went to work on the removal of the pylons on both wings and the bomb rack on the starboard wing. Pylon exterior panels were removed to expose some of the mounting bolts. Later in the day, Navy personnel delivered the Whale’s drag chute that had been stored at the NAS air terminal since the aircraft flew to Whidbey last April. Jim and Jeff repacked the chute and stored it in the crew compartment.
On 3 February, Jeff Hansen and Jim Croft went to work and repaired the tail section aft of the drag chute doors where a previous fiberglass repair was starting to delaminate. Next, they started working on the large panel on the exterior of the starboard side of the fuselage that had recessed connections for wiring associated with test equipment. They fabricated some backing plates and applied a coat of filler to the holes. AM3 Thompson, a metalsmith with VQ-2, removed the forward fuselage anel that had also been installed when the aircraft was reconfigured as a test platform. He and AM2 Spitzer, also a VQ-2 metalsmith, fabricated a new panel to replace that one. AM2 Spitzer started removing the aft panel above the “hell hole” door that needed to be replaced.
On Saturday, 4 February, Larry Irvin, Ron Foster, George Haigh, with no help at all from Barney O’Connell, who mostly stood around and offered encouragement, went to work on a big job. They removed both of the wing pylons along with the bomb rack on the starboard side, as well as the adaptors that held the pylons to the wings. The bolts holding the pylons to the adaptors were torqued at 640 ft/lbs. A lot of ingenuity and muscle were required to break those bolts loose. The guys fabricated a breaker bar out of a piece of scrap metal and attached that to the end of a large wrench. With two of them pushing on this tool the bolts finally came loose and the rest of the job was fairly straight forward, even though it took most of the day.
Everybody took Sunday off, but they were back at work on Monday the 6th. Larry Irvin and Ron Foster stowed the wire bundles associated with the wing pylons by feeding them one at a time back into the wings. They also removed some old fuel stains that were exposed when the pylons were removed. Ron took measurements to fabricate the starboard wing fold hinge panel that was missing when the aircraft arrived at Whidbey. He and Larry also finished removing the aft fuselage panel that AM2 Spitzer had started to work on several days before. In the meanwhile, Jim Croft and Jeff Hansen finished doing some repairs to the large starboard fuselage panel, the tail cone, the area aft of the drag chute doors and the port speedbrake. The circular panel above the starboard wheel well was also removed and a rough replacement fabricated. By the end of the day all the panels requiring replacement were in the VQ-2 metalsmith shop as templates for the new panels.
On Tuesday, 7 February, the VQ-2 metalsmiths fabricated and drilled the new circular panel and the aft fuselage panel.
On 8 February, work resumed at a good pace. Ron Foster installed the wing fold hinge panel that he had fabricated, then primed it. Jeff Hansen and Jim Croft finished fabricating, drilling and countersinking the three starboard fuselage panels. Then they did a wet seal installation and primed them all. They also manufactured and installed plates to cover the holes where the wing pylon wires exited the wings.
On 9 February, Larry Irvin finished removing the last of the adhesive left on the vertical stabilizer when the Raytheon decal was removed. Jeff Hansen and Jim Croft did some final cleanup and the restoration was complete.
As of now, the Whale is ready to be repainted. In the near future we hope to have some news on how and when the painting will be done.
After the paint is applied, the next step will be to plan for movement of the plane to the display site and to start making preparations for the design and construction of the site. Check this page of our website for more information about both of those parts of the project.
Our thanks go to Jeff Hansen for coordinating the restoration for the Skywarrior Memorial Foundation. He planned the sequence of steps involved in the work and, along with Jim Croft, used their expertise to do most of the technical work on the airframe and associated components.
We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all the men and women of VQ-2 for the superb support and cooperation they have given us throughout the restoration phase of the project. Special thanks go to AM2 Carmen Fielding, the restoration coordinator at VQ-2, for her help in all areas of the restoration over the last six months. She helped obtain hangar space, assisted in the movement of the Whale to and from the hangar, and spent many hours doing work on the aircraft. This has truly been a cooperative effort involving active duty sailors from VQ-2 and NAS Whidbey Island along with the volunteers members of the Whidbey Skywarrior Memorial Foundation. Many hundreds of hours went into this restoration, and it was a memorable experience for everyone who took part.

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR A LARGER VIEW
 
Jim Croft, Jeff Hansen removing decal  Jim Croft repairing tail section 
 
Jim Croft, Jeff Hansen repairing panel   Larry Irvin, AM2 Burklow remove pylon panels  
 
Larry Irvin starting pylon removal  George Haigh, Ron Foster 
 
Ralph Estes, Larry Irvin removing panel  Ralph Estes removing wire connectors 
   
Ron Foster, 'I need a bigger wrench'   George Haigh has a good idea  
   
Ron Foster, Larry Irvin, George Haigh  Larry, Ron go to work on bolts 
   
 Bolt starts to move    Adaptor under wing, pylon coming down 
   
Pylon wire bundle  Bill Young, Barney O'Connell, Jim Croft, Jeff Hansen, Larry Irvin
 
   
Larry pulling wire bundles into wing   George Haigh, , Larry Irvin, Barney O’Connell, Jeff Hansen 
   
A-3 Bureau Number 144825 Ready for Paint   
  

Restoration update as of 16 Nov 2011
   So as you can see 144825 now has an RA nose radome (bullnose) and a version tail installed (duckbutt).   Along with that the conduit fairing run has been removed from the stbd side and some metal work has been done to start prepping 825 for paint.   Many thanks to the Commanding Officer of VQ-2 for the use of his hangar! At this time '825 is back outside in front of the "Whitehouse". Hopefully it will be back inside as it's cold working on the line.   Here's a list of projects signed off or awaiting maintenance   Tail R&R - Complete Nose Radome R&R - Complete Conduit fairing run removed - Complete   Patch wire run holes in stbd fuselage - In Work Fill in conduit run fairing screw holes - In Work   Lower door bungee cable replacement - In work (Need to grade 4 the cable and replace the door panels) Thanks to the guys at the FRC Northwest airframes and welding shops for the help with the cable!! 
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Manufacture and install stbd upper wing fold panel - Awaiting Maintenance   Jack the aircraft - Awaiting Maintenance Fill main and nose wheel tires with foam - Awaiting Maintenance (This requires a set of jack pads, Mike Glenn is looking into his pre-ex to see if he has a spare set we can borrow. We will need to coordinate with FRC Northwest to get the jacks. Some creative comshawing will need to be performed in order to get hangar space for about two weeks, hopefully during the holiday period.)   Pencil drain fuel tanks - Awaiting Maintenance    Procure strut locks - Awaiting Maintenance   Aircraft Paint Prep - Awaiting Maintenance Removing Raytheon decals Identify and treat corrosion and corrosion prone areas Sealing up doors, hatches, panels Scuff sand aircraft   Aircraft Paint - Awaiting Maintenance Paint scheme - Original Paint Procurment - NAS Whidbey Island and a possible donation Stencil transfer paper - NAS Whidbey Island Cutting stencils - VAQ-129 Aircraft painting - VQ-2 and volunteers Stencil application - VAQ-129/VQ-2 and volunteers    

   

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RESTORATION UPDATE
20 OCT 2011
 
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RESTORATION UPDATE
18 OCT 2011
 
Today Jim, Jeff, Bill, Barney Ralph (and a little bit of help from me during my lunch hour) they were able to mate up the Duck Butt tail to '825.
 
The holes lined up, but there were some differences between the way the two tails mount up. Nothing that a little elbow grease from Active Duty Airframes muscle and the retired old guys couldn't overcome.

VQ-2 Night Check Airframes cleaned, prepped and primed the mating surfaces so they would be ready for install today.

With the tail on we now need to finish installing the bolts and then get it ready to be sealed.

Jim and Jeff had to leave early, and with nothing more to do to the tail Barny, Bill, AM3 Dinger and myself went at removing the missile nose radome from the aircraft.   "It's easy" I said, and it was until me and AM3 had to remove the radome. Seems "someone" forgot the two hidden bolts" (that's me).

AM3 Dinger removed them and within 5 minutes we had the missile nose off the bird and on the deck.

I would not be supprised if Barny, Bill and AM3 Dinger had the shark nose RA radome installed.

Work progresses, next up will be the removal of the wing pylons and then to start fabricating patches to cover the various wiring and cooling holes in the aircraft.
 
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Bill, Barney, Ralph and AM2 Dinger
 
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RESTORATION UPDATE
11 OCT 2011
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29 June 2011 Meeting with NASWI 
 
1. On 6/29/11 at 1300 hours, Ralph Estes, Joe Hawkins and I met with Bill MacMillan (Airfield Mgr), CDR Dan Worra (OPSO), Mark VanOort (Airfield Facilities Mgr), Kim Martin (PAO), and Scarano (Air Terminal) to address the priorities of the A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation. Bill MacMillan opened with support for our efforts, and indicated an openness to address our proposed modifications and possible airborne display, dependent upon structural engineering analysis.

2. A packet was provided to each attendee which included: (1) a cover photo of a NRA-3B with the bull nose and desired duck butt; (2) second photo of a NRA-3B with no conduit on the starboard fuselage; (3) a listing of our desired changes to the nose radome, duck butt, paint scheme, bomb racks/fairings, conduit removal, and engine preservation mod; (4) a listing of site plan display options, including dirty configuration(s), dirty airborne and clean airborne with our overall consensus desiring the latter clean and airborne display; (5) list of applicable tech manuals; (6) sample of desired support equipment nomenclature and part numbers; (7) sample part requisition addressed to NNAM; and (8) our proposed "hold harmless agreement" still with the legal office for review. We reiterated our fundamental goal of providing an A-3 aircraft for display with a 1960's era presentation as expressed in our Constitution, By-Laws, previous draft MOU, and as the foundation for our non-profit status with the State of Washington and the IRS. A picture of many A-3s on the NASWI flight line taxiing drew considerable interest, and further provided a basis for our request.

3. After discussion about a letter to the National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) to respond to the standard loan agreement, it was determined that the A3SWMF would provide a summary within the next ten days to list desired modfications to the 144825 airframe, that a timetable for ready for display would be 01 October 2012, and all desired configuration changes, need for parts/ equipment, desired system functionality to be retained, and any other issues that should be addressed to NNAM regarding this project. If anyone has any specific issues which they feel should be addressed in our letter/email to NASWI to be forwarded to NNAM, then feel free to inform me prior to July 6, 2011. I will then prepare a response to the NASWI request for everyone's review and comments, and shortly thereafter provide the final draft to NASWI as soon as possible therafter, but absolutely no later than July 11, 2011.

4. Of issue to NASWI, is the current status of fuel and oil onboard 144825. Joe Hawkins will coordinate with Bill MacMillan, et.al. to defuel the aircraft and remove all oil in order to minimize the risk of any hazmat or environmental concerns.

5. By separate correspondence, Ralph received confirmation from Ron W. that Raytheon does in fact still have the bull nose radome and duck butt tail section. Bill MacMillan and CDR Worra indicated that Ken Ballard was still on track to get those items to NASWI, to include shipping data if I understood correctly. We have proposed possible airborne mounting points to be the jack points on the wings, tail and possibly nose section dependent upon a structural engineering analysis for an airborne configuration situated only four to six feet off the ground. There is an issue of whether a fence will be required per the loan agreement; however, NASWI has stated all along that they want the display accessible to the public and are against having any fences.

6. The discussion and proposals do provide an opportunity (time) to raise sufficient funding to cover the cost of our desired goals. However, our projected expenses over the next year is substantial and will require a bonafide effort on our part to raise possibly another $80K (if not more). The Gateway Project cost $162.7K for two aircraft, and included financial support from the City of Oak Harbor (which does not apply to us). We may get some help from donated labor/materials; however, we are in uncharted territory in that an A-3 has never before been mounted in an airborne clean configuration beyond wind tunnel testing. Ralph and I briefly discussed some of our costs to include: (1) restoration materials (disposal material used for sanding, taping, prepping, etc) $4 to 6K minimum per other projects; (2) structural engineering design work, est $10 to 20K; (3) structural site prep to include iron work, est $60K; (4) site plan prep to include lighting/walkway, possible $6 to 8K; (5) marble memorial, est $28K; and (6) pavers, est $6 to 10K. Thus, minimum estimate of $114 to maximum estimate of $132K. Those numbers will drop from donations by contractors; however, it provides a starting point from which to work towards with regards to raising funds to do it right. We still have not addressed any costs related to movement of the aircraft from the flight line to the approved site location.

7. The CONA celebration on July 30th will permit a tent and table at the A-3 aircraft flight line display as well as in the exhibit section of the hangar. I have a 12' X 12' tent used for baseball that will be available, and am looking at a portable table. Brochures are in work with Jack Stiltz of Bay Printing and will expect 2500 copies for under $500, as approved at our Saturday meeting. Following the meeting Ralph and I visited several possible routes from the NASWI flight line to get to the display site, and there are no easy solutions based on trees, traffic lights, low hanging cables/wires, street signs, etc. Overall, we are moving in the right direction and just need to keep forging ahead until we get the desired final result. Keep the pressure on any and all funding sources.
 
Whales Forever, Bill Young 
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  From Ralph Estes, Chairman A-3 to Whidbey Project
 
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
 
There is a Charter Membership Meeting at 11:00 am, Saturday, June 18th at Flyers Restaraunt in Oak Harbor, WA.
 
Good afternoon all, this is a quick update as to where the Foundation stands.

We have applied for our own non-profit status as the National A-3 Association wishes to drop us from their 501(3)(C) program so they can get on with their other projects.
 
A couple of items that are paramount to our future.
 
With the non-profit status we are required by law to have current up to date by laws.
 
Bill Young is updating them now.
 
More importantly we must have:
1. A PRESIDENT
2. A TREASURER
3. A SECRETARY
 
There may be other positions, these come to mind immediately.
 
Without these positions filled we don't become a non-profit association.
 
And frankly, I don't know what we would do in that case.

The Law Firm of Skinner & Saar has been working with us in many phases of our legal requirements.
 
One of their attorneys, Leif Johnson, has worked very close with us on this non-profit status and other than the outright cost to the state and the federal government they are doing this pro-bono.

Therefore, the purpose of this meeting is once we have you in the room we simply won't let you out until we have all the officers we need for meeting the Feds rules for non-profit status.
 
Although I joke about this, it's very serious, we must have these officers on board and in writing before the feds will authorize our 501(3) (C) status.

We have several volunteers to work on the aircraft, however, we have been asked not to work on the plane until after CONA.
 
We do have one requirement to complete by the 28th of July.
 
A plaque on the side of the aircraft that states the plane is on loan from the Naval Air Museum, Pensacola, FL.
 
I have the correct wording in another e-mail and will bring it with me to the meeting.
 
There may be some other requirements by NASW before the meeting on the 18th.

Please drop me an e-mail if you will attend.
 
Greg Tritt (owner of Flyers) has given us a room again.

Please take this seriously and consider a position.

Also pass the word around about this meeting.

Thank you, Ralph Estes, Chairman A-3 to Whidbey Project.
 
 
 
Location of Flyers Restaraunt
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THE A-3 SKYWARRIOR WHIDBEY MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
 
MISSION STATEMENT
 
To provide the means and solicit funds to place the A-3 Aircraft on static display at the
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island as a memorial to those who flew this aircraft, to
those who perished and those who provided the support for the crews and their mission.
 
The purpose of this aircraft was to preserve peace during the Cold War era,
to provide support for the Vietnam and Gulf War.
 
The aircraft and its crews shall not be forgotten.
 
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Possible Display Configurations Of The A-3 Skywarrior
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“SAVE THE WHALE”
On October 28, 1952 the Douglas Aircraft Corporation built A-3 Skywarrior aircraft took to the skies for the first time.  After retiring from the fleet in 1991, the “Whale” has continued to fly for nearly six decades, performing in flight system testing for the Raytheon Corporation in Van Nuys, CA.  The distinct sound of the two Pratt & Whitney J-57 engines were often clearly and quickly identified as coming from an A-3 in the groove, with LSO comments like “sounds good, keep it coming”.  Initially designed as a long range nuclear bomber, the mission of the A-3 transitioned to heavy attack, and later electronic countermeasures, electronic surveillance, photo reconnaissance and in-flight refueling tanker aircraft. 
 
Over time the lessons learned and many personnel from the A-3 community were transposed into A-6 Medium Attack Intruders and EA-6B Electronic Attack Prowlers, and more recently into EA-18G Growlers.  Squadron designations evolved into VAH, VAQ, VAP, VQ, and VAK.  The two early primary bases for A-3s were at Whidbey Island, Washington and Sanford, Florida.  Who could comprehend a small “27-Charlie” carrier with a dozen heavy attack Whales onboard? 
 
During the Cold War and Vietnam Conflict, many lives were saved or preserved by virtue of the A-3 aircraft and her crews performing their missions, often with aircrew and maintenance personnel creativity as new challenges evolved.  One late 1960’s deployment on the USS ORISKANY (CVA-34) reportedly had 69 aircraft saved as a result of the reliable “Whale” delivering fuel as needed.  Many a fighter/attack pilot found themselves seeking “Texaco”, synonymous with “where is the A-3 or Whale?, on double cycles or when the bolter pattern became full. 
 
Now, the A-3 Whales are seeking another type of “Texaco” or face certain demise at the hands of chippers.  The Navy has decided to remove the A-3 Skywarrior aircraft from its inventory, and by May 1st, 2010 those remaining assets will need to be destined for museums or static displays or face being chipped into recycled metal on site in order to save funds.   Three A-3s at Mojave Desert were recently destroyed and lost forever from being preserved as a part of naval history.  What can we do?
 
Veterans from the Northwest and Whidbey Island area formed the A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation in conjunction with the A-3 Skywarrior Association and are making a strong effort to raise the necessary funding to make a permanent display for one of the remaining flyable assets. 
 
The Whidbey Memorial Foundation has established a charter membership through June 1st,  2010 for a minimum tax deductible donation of $125.  Ralph Estes, Bill Burklow, Jim VanderHoek and Bill Young are leading the charge with the able assistance of many others.   Your help to “Save the Whale” is urgently needed at Whidbey, Charleston, Mobile, Edwards, Castle and elsewhere, and time is of the essence.   
 
More information is available at the following websites:  www.a3skywarriorforwhidbey.org and www.a3skywarrior.com or contact
The A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 1402, Oak Harbor, WA 98277.
 
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The following are proposals of three different Memorial Walkways from Bill Burklow.
Click on the pictures for a larger view
 
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To view the homecoming information and images of aircraft 144825 click here