B-52 Restoration at K.I. Sawyer

The K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum has already done it twice before.

But it’s starting its most ambitious project yet to preserve the central U.P.’s aviation history.

Some massive B-52 Stratofortress bombers used to call the old air force base home.

There’s been one on display outdoors since 1983.

They’re restoring the old bird, and they were getting started this morning, but the rain cut today’s work short.

They’re starting on the jet engine nacelles, eventually tackling the entire plane.

Bob Vick of the museum says just today, he sent an e-mail to Dayton, Ohio in an attempt to track down the exact type of camouflage paint B-52s used to wear.

The camo paint will belie the nickname of the B-52 that they have.

According to old markings painted on the fuselage, that particular plane was called ‘Black Bandit’.

The museum itself has been out of commission since the South County Community and Fitness Center closed.

And moving out of the ‘W’ would be a big headache.

But Vick says he’s working on that, too.

He says he’s in the early stages of talks with West Branch Township, trying to get permission to unlock part of the building so the museum can stay open.

The museum is constantly looking for funding and volunteers so they can afford to do to the B-52 what they did to their F-101-B Voodoo fighter last year, and to an F-106-A Delta Dart fighter in 2006.