Soviet-Era Cargo Plane Still Grounded

If you’ve been to Sawyer Airport anytime in the last year, you’ve probably wondered what the big old cargo jet was doing near the terminal or how it got there.

Turns out it should never have been allowed to leave Texas.

It’s been grounded by unpaid bills left over from when it was there.

And it’s not going anywhere just yet.

Air-1 Flight Support of Denison, Texas was granted a default judgment of ownership of the plane earlier this year.

Air-1 attorney Raymond Gregory says his client would have preferred a dismissal of the restraining order that the plane’s former owner, Air Support Systems of Boca Raton, Florida, was trying to get in court today.

But that didn’t happen.

Marquette County Circuit Judge Thomas Solka has ruled that the plane can’t leave Sawyer until August 27th.

However, if Air Support pays off the $63,000-plus that it owes Air-1 from the default judgment a few months back, Air Support can then take ownership of the plane again and fly it away.

Air Support claims the plane is worth at least $4 million.

But after getting the plane in the default judgment, Air-1 sold the plane for $60,000 to a scrap metal company based in Delaware.

Judge Solka set an evidentiary hearing for November 17th to determine if the sale was commercially reasonable.

Solka also had harsh words for the entire affair, calling it a farce and a financial sinkhole.

Gregory says his client took reasonable channels to sell the plane, advertising it in a magazine dedicated to aviation sales.

If Air Support Systems doesn’t pay off what it owes Air–1 by August 13th, another company called Headlands has a chance to pay the $63,000-plus plus by the 27th.

If Headlands can do that, they can fly the plane away instead.