By Chris Tanaka, Hawaii News Now
A pristine F-111 fighter jet was unveiled at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
The jet was long a bastion of the Royal Australian Air Force, with a storied 37-year service career. It was Australia’s principal strike aircraft from 1973 to 2010.
The fighter jet was gifted to the museum by the Australian government. This is unique in that it is the only being gifted outright, and the only one being given outside that country.
“Generally we’ll have an airplane donated, an airplane on loan to us, but now this is an airplane that we own” said museum Executive Director Ken Dehoff.
While the F-111 dominates the front of the hangar, an old C-47 hides in the rear. It’s still a work in progress, as the restoration shop crew begins the process of getting it ready for display.
The shop crew works entirely as a volunteer unit. Comprised of around 45 individuals, they are staffed four to five at a time.
“Some of them are former air force, some of them are former navy, former airline, some are businessmen” said shop manager Jim Martinelli.
While the volunteers come from different backgrounds, they all share a common goal: to preserve history for the benefit of others.
“We really have a mission here to interpret and preserve the aviation history of the Pacific” said museum Curator Burl Burlingame.
The Pacific Aviation Museum is a private 501c3 nonprofit organization, and relies on donations for continued operation.
If you would like to support the museum, you can do so by logging on to pacificaviationmuseum.org.